Reviews: iconic scare flick gets BR treatment – the Amityville Horror

Published On June 15, 2017 | By Garth Cremona | Film TV & Theatre, Reviews

The Amityville Horror,

Directed by Stuart Rosenberg

Starring Margot Kidder, James Brolin, Rod Steiger

The classic 1979 haunted house movie comes to glorious Blu-Ray and has never looked or sounded better. The Lutz family have moved into their dream home, the house is huge, just what they want for a growing family but should be out of their price range, but it’s been undervalued for a sale, and their family needs this fresh start. They are aware that a family member of the previous owners had gone through the house and killed his family, hence that low price for such a big home, but the house is too good of a price to turn down, and they move in. Within twenty eight days they are terrorised and finally leave the house without anything they own, never to return, and this is their story.

The Amityville story has been in the psyche of those who believe in the paranormal for decades now. The stories have been well documented, scorned, admired, and feared since coming to light. The original book was a huge international bestseller (despite much debate over how true some of this “true story” was) and the 1979 film was not just a success, it injected itself into horror film history, becoming one of the iconic movies of the genre. Recently we have seen part of the story shown in The Conjuring 2 but it was in 1979 that we got the first fictional film of the story. Now nearly forty years later, in limited edition steelbook, the film comes to Blu-Ray, all cleaned up specially.

This film, along with the first Nightmare on Elm Street, was one of the first batches of what was then the modern horrors that I was exposed to in the 80s. My father was a huge fan of horror films too but those were mostly the classic Universal horrors like The Invisible Man and Dracula. But I’m the youngest of five brothers and the elder brothers decided that at the tender age of 7 or maybe 9 it would be great to show me this film. Needless to say I lost it. I believed every creak on the stairs and every shadow that passed the hallway outside the bedroom was paranormal. Thanks guys!

The story is simple and has been copied many times since, an innocent family move into a house with a sinister past and start to experience low levels of supernatural events. In The Amityville Horror though the events were more deeply personal and almost possession like. James Brolin stars as the family head George and he is the most affected by whatever spirits inhabit the house with them. This is the role that for me proves the man can act, I don’t think he’s lived up to his performance here again. Joining Brolin is Superman actress Margot Kidder, playing Kathy and like Lois Lane is a feisty lady. Kathy had three children before meeting George and he’s struggling to be accepted by them as a Dad. There is a background story about the Priest, played by Rod Steiger, who tried to bless the house, and was tormented for his efforts.

This new rejuvenated version of the film looks beautiful and sounds fantastic, the background music with tones familiar to those in the Psycho franchise, all adds together to make the film an onslaught to the senses. If you believe this to be true or just the manifestations of overactive imaginations will add to your discomfort while watching. But there are many great additional features on the Bluray that make this one of the best purchases that a horror fan can make, or that you can make for the horror fan in your life.

By today’s standards some of the performances are a little dated, but you still feel the same build up of fear that the on screen family is going through. Director Stuart Rosenberg and screenwriter Sandor Stern manage to keep you on the edge of your seat for the running time. This is one that you add to your collection, no sequels, no remakes, this one. Get out there and treat yourself.

The freshly restored Amityville Horror limited edition Blu-Ray Steelbook edition is due out from Second Sight on June 26th

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About The Author

Garth Cremona

Garth Cremona is an Irish writer, as well as reviewer of films, comics and books

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