The Amityville Horror Trilogy (1979,1982,1983/Blu-ray/ScreamFactory)Review

The Amityville Horror is one of those horror films that truly has an impact on those who have seen it. While I am not someone who is a big fan of haunted house films I will say that this film in particular is one of the best ever of its kind. When I first saw it as a kid I was blown away by how chilling it was. Aside from one of my favorite haunted house films of all time "The Haunting" I cannot think of any others that really impacted me as much as The Amityville Horror did!

If you are one of those people who have not stumbled upon this film yet I will give you a basic rundown of the plot. The film follows a family who move into their dream home and as each day passes it becomes more and more of a nightmare. The biggest thing I enjoy about this film being much older is that it has a great atmosphere and tension throughout and just gets better as it progresses. The tension really gets amped up when the ending of the film comes and doesn't let up until the final frame. Unlike other films like The Amityville Horror this one truly does stand the test of time.

Of the characters I have to say the father played by James Brolin does a fantastic job at taking his character from a normal everyday guy to a man who has stepped beyond the line of sanity. The other characters are great as well, but I always loved the father more than the rest. I guess that because minus the possession part I think he is someone alot of people can relate to when it comes to the stresses of life. I might as well give some credit to the mother because she is relatible as well with being the person who is trying to hold everything together as the world around her is literally going to hell.
Now when it comes to the picture quality of this film in the set I have to say that it looks great. There is the occasional speck here and there, but nothing too distracting. The film grain is still intact and the detail is excellent. Now there was a release on Blu-ray before, but I can't really compare the two because I never saw that release. I can say that it is quite an upgrade from the way older DVD. Overall this is a damn good release that is worth the upgrade.

Special Features:

  • New interview - Haunted Melodies with Composer Lalo Schifrin
  • "For God's Sake, Get Out!" Documentary with actors James Brolin and Margot Kidder
  • Audio Commentary by Dr. Hans Holzer, PH.D. in Parapsychology (author of MURDER IN AMITYVILLE)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Radio Spots

  • Amityville 2: The Possession: What do you get when you mix The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist? What you get is Amityville 2: The Possession which is a sequel to the original film but ends up being a prequel. The film is loosely based on the family that was killed by their son before the Lutzm family from the first film moved in. I have found that most horror fans are not the biggest fans of this film and in many ways I could see why, but I am of the horror fans who actually like this one. I could see viewers not liking it due to it seeming like nothing more than a cash in on the original film and or the fact that it seems to push the envelope and made the film that much more shocking than the original. I think if you look at this movie on it's own and not try and compare it to the original than I think more people would enjoy it.

    The only thing that I really found that made this film hard to get through was the fact that the family was just overly fucked up and not the nicest to one another especially the dad. The father just seemed to go off on everybody and just was overly aggressive. Even though I really like the actor who played him which was Burt Young who I like from the Rocky films, I still could not get past the fact of how unlikable he was. Oddly I really like the character of Sonny Montelli the most. I think it's like the things I liked about The Exorcist and that is the blatant blasphemy that he says when the demon emerges from him. Now don't get me wrong some of the other characters were not that bad, but really didn't do it for me in the end.
    This film is very much special effects heavy and luckily it was made when it was because there is no CGI in this film. The special effects are quite awesome especially for me the makeup effects they used on Sonny when he is possessed and also near the end when you get to see him literally coming apart. Overall what this film has to offer as far as effects go this film has some that are top notch. The presentation on this film was great as well and really is an upgrade from the old DVD release. Now like the original film there is some film damage from time to time but it is nothing too distracting. The audio is good as well. You get a choice of either a 5.1 HD Audio or 2.0 HD Stereo Audio.

    Special Features:

  • The Posession of Damiani - Interview with Director Damiano Damiani
  • Adapting Amityville – New Interview with Screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace
  • Family Matters – New Interview with Actress Diane Franklin
  • A Mother’s Burden – New Interview with Actress Rutanya Alda
  • Father Tom’s Memories – New Interview with Actor Andrew Prine
  • New Interview with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer (GROWING UP HAUNTED: A GHOSTLY MEMOIR)
  • New Audio Commentary with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer (GROWING UP HAUNTED: A GHOSTLY MEMOIR)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • Amityville 3-D: Here we are at the last Amityville film in this set and trust me when I say that this is the worst of the trilogy. I know there are more sequels but try and forget those ones! If you are like myself and enjoyed the first two then you will want to avoid this one if you can help it. Unlike the other two that were longer and had good pacing and atmosphere this one is the shortest at only 93 minutes and seems like its 3 hours long! 
    The plot is pretty basic and follows a journalist who buys the Amityville house for a steal and decides to debunk the reputation of the house. Along the way the people around him in the house start being picked off one by one. Has John finally met his match in this legendary house?! Or is all that is happening just one coincidental chain of events?! As you can see this is a pretty basic film. Honestly at this point I was just waiting to see the creature who's are is on the cover of the bluray. I couldn't help but keep thinking that I'd rather be watching the far superior film Poltergeist than this Poltergeist wannabe. 
    The characters were nothing too great and none of them really made me want them to survive their time in this horrible film. I was hoping that maybe a new character would show up and save this lifeless film, but sadly that did not happen. Two cast members that I totally forgot were in this sequel was Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan which was alright to see but they did nothing for the film. 
    Now there was one last thing I was hoping would be good and that was the special effects. For the most part the effects were decent, but there was a couple of effects that did stand out. Those effects were when you see this demon come out of the water and the other was when this woman's corpse comes flying out of the water. Sadly those type of cool special effects are few and far between. 
    The presentation of this release is very mixed. What I mean by that is since this film was originally shot in anaglific 3D and you can tell because you can see things all over the film with a halo effect to them.  Then when you get a scene that is a close up of the characters it looks very detailed and awesome. Sadly I can't properly give my opinion on the 3D version on this release due to not having a TV that can show 3D. The audio on this release is just as good as the other releases in this set. The special features are quite lacking for this release probably due to having two versions on the disc so you only get a theatrical trailer and interview with Candy Clark. Overall this is a weak film with a mixed up presentation. Of this set I say watch the first two films and only check this one out if you can watch it in 3D!

    Special Features:
  • 2D and Blu-ray 3D presentation of the film for the first time!
  • A Chilly Reception – New Interview with Actress Candy Clark
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • When it comes down to it I still recommend upgrading to this set because it is worth the price! Fans of these three films I think will be happy with what this set has to offer! 

    -Daniel "Damnation" Lee

    Director: Stuart Rosenberg/Damiano Damini/Richard Fleischer
    Lead Actor/Actress: James Brolin/Jack Magner/Tony Roberts
    Genre: Horror
    Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
    Theatrical Release Year: 1979/1982/1983
    Time Length:  119mins./104 mins./93 mins
    Rating: R
    Region Code: A
    Release Company: Scream/Shout! Factory
    Website:  www.shoutfactory.com