Friday, July 26, 2013

Amityville: The Evil Escapes

 Amityville: The Evil Escapes

PLOT- The demonic forces in the haunted Long Island house escape through a mystical lamp which finds its way to a remote California mansion where the evil manipulates a little girl by manifesting itself in the form of her dead father. 

LOWDOWN - This week after watching The Conjuring, I decided to go back and re-watch the entire Amityville series since The Warrens worked on the aftermath of the original case back in the 1970's. These past few days I have all ready watched Part II, and It's About Time. Not really having a method to the order of the movies I watch, I decided to simply watch the movies I own and tackle the ones I own first before deciding to venture out and buy Amityville The Curse, and The Amityville The Haunting. These are the only two movies out of the series I don't own on either DVD or tape. Deciding to save the original, remake, Dollhouse, and Next Generation for this weekend. I decided to dust off my DVD copy of Amityville 4 The Evil Escapes that I've owned for some time now, and sadly haven't gotten the time to get around and watch it yet. I do remember for years hearing all the negative reviews dealing with this movie, and time and time again the subject of how this was the movie that began with the films no longer taking place in the iconic house, instead it dealt with cursed objects that carried the evil spirits that caused all the trouble in the first three movies. 

Well, all I knew about this movie was Patty Duke was the lead, and that it dealt with a cursed lamp. I think two or three times before in the past I even attempted to pop this movie in but always shut it off in the opening scene for some strange unknown reason. There it sat collecting dust until just yesterday when I decided to give it a try.

The way I looked at it was if I loved It's About Time, and The Next Generation, I shouldn't have any problem with this installment since it was the first to deal with a cursed object from the house. Sitting down, I decided to go into the movie with an open mind. First off it was a made for TV horror movie which is a huge positive in my mind. Back in the 1980's and early 90's some of the thriller/horror made for TV movies were acutely a whole lot better than half the stuff released in theaters! The second was the fact it had some good talent behind it, and seemed like a cool enough object. I mean anything can't be as silly as the Dollhouse one.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. It had exactly the sort of feel I love watching in a movie, and captured the spirit of the past Amityville movies even though it did move it's location. Setting up a wonderful story, we have a group of priests enter the iconic house on Ocean Ave to do a blessing during a stormy night. Here all Hell breaks loose and one of the younger priests sees something horrible in a antique lamps sitting in one of the rooms. I feel this movie must have taken place between one and three simply because at the house is blown to bits at the end of the third one. But then again when did this series ever really pay attention to it's time line. 

Anywho, we follow a recent widowed woman and her three children. Deciding to spend some time at her mother's beautiful sea side house, they look forward to a fresh start even though the youngest daughter hasn't seemed to have gotten over the shock of loosing her father. This location is simply breathtaking. Due to some clever camera work they make it look as if it sits right on a cliff over looking the ocean. Looking up the house, it actually sits in the middle of what appeared to be a valley that either grows lemon or orange trees. Like I said it's truly breathtaking and very mystical with the tree lined road that leads to it. Hey, what can I say? I'm a location nut!

The movie shows the grandmother's sister who lives in the Amityville area and how all of the houses' belongs (who I feel must have belonged to the Luz's) are sold off in a massive yard sale. Here the sister sees the very creepy tree shaped lamp and remarks what a gas it would be to ship it to her sister who lives on the West Coast. While joking around and looking at the lamp, she accidentally cuts her finger on it. This is the part that grosses me out the most. Her friend remarks that maybe she should get a tetanus shot, but the sister laughs it off. Soon afterwards her finger looks like a dried up prune. Shipping the lamp off, she soon collapses and is taken to the hospital where low and behold the lamp gave her a rare strand of tetanus which is attacking her blood stream and no medications are responding.

Unaware her sister is even in the hospital, the grandmother on the other side of the country receives the unusual gift and places it in the living room. Just then her daughter and three children arrive, planning on spending some time at the new house. Right away strange things start to happen. That night over coffee, the grandmother lectures her daughter about not planning more for the future and her three children. The daughter becomes angry saying she had no idea her husband was going to drop dead at age forty-two, and tells her she's only staying here until she can get back on her feet. Here she confesses to her mother that she's worried about her youngest daughter since she still talks as if her father is alive.

Just then the radio starts playing what used to be the daughter's song with her husband. Feeling comforted by this, she says maybe it's her husband's way of welcoming the family here. Just then the grandmother badly burns her hand on the tea pot.

That night the daughter is awakened by her youngest one awake in the living room talking to the mysterious lamp. She insists that she was talking to her father and the next morning she seems to be running a high fever. It isn't long before strange horrible accidents begin to happen at the house.

Meanwhile the young priest who was at the original house that night learns that all of the objects in the house were quickly sold off, and instantly he tries tracking down where exactly the mysterious lamp was taken due to the fact he saw something pure evil inside it that faithful night. Fearing the worst, he follows it's bloody trail across the country where it's reeking havoc on this poor innocent family.

I was shocked that I had owned this movie for so long and honestly never gave it the chance it deserved. I'm taking years here that it just sat collecting dust being ignored simply because I had read up on some negative reviews. Sad, just plain sad. Goes to show a collector, that sometimes you have some truly hidden gems just a few feet away and it takes a while to discover what you have. I think it's pretty funny it took this long and the fact that even after all these years I can still look in my movie collection and find several movies I own but have never gotten around to watching. Amityville 4 has became one of those movies.

Now I'm not saying it's the best sequel. I'll give that title to It's About Time. In fact I really enjoy the Amityville movies. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say part II was by far the scariest and most powerful. I still remember renting this and being blown away by the effects. A pretty cool prequel, with one hell of an ending. Part III is a guilty pleasure of mine. I have fond childhood memories watching this movie over and over again, and still have my original tape from the video store still sealed in it's original packaging. In fact at my very first horror convention in 2006, I was stunned to learn Robert Joy didn't have any photos from Amityville III, which he himself admitted was stupid since over the years the movie has gained a strong fan following.

The other sequels, The Curse I remember renting years ago simply because of the cover. I mean come on, the person hanging from a tree. What eight year old wouldn't be interested in that? I re-watched it on demand a while ago and besides the lead actor being cute, really couldn't tell you much about that one. I guess I'll have to re-watch it sober and do a proper review. It's About Time is by far my all time favorite sequel.

My review here for It's About Time

In fact I was very pleased to see that John from Freddy In Space loves the sequel just as much as I do!

I also may be the only person around who loves The Next Generation as well. With a great cast, a cool cursed object I really dug the movie and the loft apartment building setting. Also we get to see the guy from American Werewolf In London look super sexy in a track suit! Amityville Dollhouse well...ehhh. I had strong memories of thinking it was the scariest movie ever growing up whenever I rented it. In fact I still remember the cover (which they photoshopped from part 4) When I bought it on line last year and re-watched it I was very disappointed. Guess it didn't hold the magic I remembered it did.

This reminds me, I need to review all these movies!

I dug the remake when it first came out simply because of a certian lead actor's insane body fresh off Blade III. As time worn on though I saw the flaws of the remake and really rather watch the original. (The only thing I do have to hand it to the remake is the scene when the daughter is walking on the roof. I honestly have never felt so nervous before in my life.) The recent installments I have yet to watch but I'm sure if I get them for a cheap buck I'll check it out.

The Amityville case has been something I've been very interested in my whole life. I've read the books, watched the specials on, and still have yet to visit the house that sadly no longer looks the same. I'm beyond pleased that at age twenty-four after growing up with these movies, I've gotten around to watch yet another sequel that I feel is underrated and that I highly enjoyed. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it not the best installment? Yes. Did I have fun watching it? Of course!

With a stunning setting, some really memorable scenes (the chainsaw in the basement, the hand going down the drain, and of course the longest cord on a lamp e-v-e-r.) I have to say Amityville 4 ranks in in the top four favorite sequels in this very bizarre series.

4 Stars!

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