Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton, John Larch, Natasha Ryan, KC Martel, Meeno Peluce

More info: IMDb

Tagline: "For God's Sake, Get Out!"

Plot: Newlyweds move into a house where a murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Gee, that's a tough one...leaning toward 'no'.

I've always wanted to live in a haunted house. Wail, let's back up. I don't believe in ghosts so it would be really cool, if they exist, to live in a haunted house. The Amityville story has been proven to be a hoax (not that it was necessary for me to believe it wasn't real) but it still makes for a great tale. I've never read the book but I understand that there hasn't been a film faithful to the novel, which apparently is told better than the movies. That said, there's only one movie that features a shot like this...

HOKEY SMOKE, BULLWINKLE! I've had a crush on her since I was 9 watching SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978) in the theater. It was only a few years later that I caught AMITYVILLE on HBO but I completely forgot about this scene. Oh, yeah, the movie. It's not too bad but it's a ways from being a solid horror classic with an emphasis on 'solid'.

For starters, it's too long. Two hours is too much. There has to be some way to truncate it or at least make some bits have more weight. There are A LOT of scenes with Rod Steiger that could have been dropped. Don't get me wrong, he's fantastic in this and I loved every minute of him but there sure was an awful lot of business for him to do when it wasn't all that necessary we see it. Gotta love the flies.

The performances are generally good but I felt Brolin was either miscast or should've had some better acting chops to show more of an internal struggle (if there was one). I don't know, maybe the character could've been written with a little more care. The bottom line is the flick is two hours long and it feels like more and to top it all off, it just ends abruptly. In a way that was kind of neat but still. I felt like after all that time there should've been a stronger payoff. Gee, I almost forgot. Lalo Schifrin's score is great. Screw it. I'm done.

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