With the Michael Bay produced remake merely days away from release, MGM has put together an impressive boxed set of the original tales from the house on 112 Ocean Avenue . That's right, The Amityville Horror trilogy comes home in a four disc deluxe slipcased, extras-packed set that's sure to please fans of ghost stories, demonic possession, and James Brolin's beard.
The first disc in the set is the original film, featuring a stunning new high definition transfer. I still find the original Amityville Horror to be a tense and frightening film that's held up well, despite its age, but this new transfer makes it look as good as any contemporary ghost story out there. For anyone who doesn't already know, the film is based on the controversial tale of George and Kathy Lutz, who lived in the house in Amity for a mere 28 days, before claiming that supernatural forces had driven them out. While the Lutz's still stand by there story after all these years, they've got their share of detractors (myself included, and, believe me, I've got the scathing viewer e-mails to prove it). Still, as pure entertainment goes, The Amityville Horror is still loads of fun, and still pretty goshdarned scary to boot. This disc also features a commentary track, as well as a featurette.
The biggest surprise of this set, to me, anyway, is Amityville 2: The Possession. I saw this in the theaters when it first came out, and I remember it disturbed the hell out of me. However, I hadn't watched it since, and wasn't expecting that, more than twenty years later, this film would still creep me right the hell out. Loosely based on the tragic story of the DeFeo family who were murdered in the house by the eldest son ten months prior to the Lutz's moving in, Amity 2 sensationalises the events that led up to the family's murder in a way that would make Lucio Fulci proud. As a matter of fact, in watching this film I noticed director Damiani give several nods to the Italian masters, and, in my opinion, were this film not called Amityville 2, I think it would have gotten less of a critical and commercial lashing. It's not a great film, mind you (the ending is still one of the most ridiculous ten minutes of film I've ever seen), but it is a creepy and effective horror film that should be revisited with an open mind. And the director's name is Damiano Damiani! That's scary all by its lonesome!
On the other hand, the less said about Amityville 3-D the better. I will say that I hope this is the last 3-D film to be released on DVD without 3-D glasses, as these films simply look foolish and terrible sans the effect. If you don't mind countless scenes in which actors hand items toward the screen, or random crap flies at you for no discernible reason other than to get a reaction from the audience who were wearing 3-D glasses at the time, then, perhaps, you won't mind watching this film. However, even then, the plot is threadbare and silly, and the film is just cheap looking beyond words
The fourth disc in this set features two great documentaries from the history channel; one that focuses on the reported haunting and history of the house, and the other that looks at the claims of it all being a hoax. Both are informative and interesting, and add up to a feature-length film of their own. There's also a short look at the making of the new Amityville Horror, which really has me chomping at the bit to check this flick out.
So, for not much more than the price of a couple of DVD's, you get two solid horror flicks, two great documentaries, a whole bunch of new extra material, and a really nice Amityville 3-D drink coaster.
Money well spent!