You can skip this installment of the Amityville series unless drab cinematography and someone playing with light switches scares you.
A lamp from the Amityville horror house makes its way to California to torment people with poor lighting and spooky electricity gags. Let’s dig into 1989’s AMITYVILLE: THE EVIL ESCAPES, directed by Sandor Stern!
As I See It
I need a palate cleanser after this one. It was a made for TV movie but I never understood why that meant they had to light the hell out of every scene. It is supposed to be a horror movie after all.
It has the look of a Lifetime movie. No one should see eighties decor in such bright lighting.
You’re going to giggle at the poltergeist scenes. They’re about as laughable as the dead horse that keeps getting dug up and killed over and over again with this fake ass haunting story. It’s fodder for some moments of horror, but not in this film.
The lamp itself, which is supposed to be an “ancient artifact” is clearly a shitty replica of the arts and crafts era.
There is nothing scary here and it’s surprising that the writer director of this film was the original screenplay writer from the original film.
The one thing that sticks out when stacked against the benign poltergeist nonsense is the old hand in a food disposal scene which is pretty bloody. Very out of place and surprising for a made for TV movie but the director reports he did not film that scene and it must have been added in post for the home video release.
Whoever did film that didn’t do enough to save this unnecessary sequel.
Patty Duke (Nancy) won awards for her role in The Miracle Worker depicting Helen Keller. A film I remember watching in elementary school. She was also in the film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s novel Valley of the Dolls alongside Sharon Tate. She also happens to be Sean (The Goonies, Encino Man, Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things Season 4) and Mckenzie (Garbage Pail Kids) Astin’s mother. Sean is one of the true good guys in the film industry. A mensch of incredible generosity.
Aron Eisenberg (Brian) who tragically passed away at the young age of fifty, spent his career in many different genre roles but none more impactful for him than as Nog in Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
Of Gratuitous Nature
I wasn’t feeling much of anything here beyond enjoying reading up on Patty Duke.
Ripe for a Remake
A killer lamp? What’s next, a killer car!?
This is the fourth film in the series. They have made so many (at least ten) Amityville films that it gives me reflux. Makes you think of the joke in Back to the Future II, where Marty almost gets eaten by a holographic shark promoting Jaws 19.
Where to Watch
As part of their “Amityville: The Cursed Collection”, Vinegar Syndrome released this with Amityville Dollhouse, Amityville: It’s About Time, and Amityville The New Generation. It is available on Diabolik DVD. You can stream it on Shudder, AMC+, Tubi, Plex, Pluto TV, and Amazon’s Freevee.