Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

JackieT

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You can stream that craptastic knock off on numerous services including free on AMC, or Youtube tv, Philo, Sling and several others.
 
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Kaskade1309

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The film isn't actually known as The Amityville Horror II...so technically, the thread title is wrong.
 

Kaskade1309

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Are we going to get into trouble talking about this film (A II) in a forum for a different film, 1999's "The Haunting?" ....well:

Yes, another fan :)

Magner is so unsung. He's f*cking believable and compelling in every scene (except when he screams in the green lighting and the house freaks out). Just balls out acting: "go away damned bitch" was a shocker as he was manifesting/suffering, and being on the stairs from POV of the demon, his simmering birthday party at the dinner table, avoiding the priest, attacking the priest...but again, that jail cell scene (though the set looked so staged), though, was about the best that showed a lot of range in his Sonny character and the actor: confusion, mockery, possession, pain, physical attacking, and inside religious knowledge ... yet ultimately, pathos.

View attachment 80534

You are right, Adam, afterwards Magner did seem to age more than expected. Great pictures you added...I've seen them, & think they average around 2010-2015-ish. I'm sure he's been asked a million times why he left acting and what career choice he changed to. But I just can't find his answer...? Amityville II was very, very negatively received by critics - really bad. And that could have damaged his career at the time despite this strong, leading role. His subsequent small role in Firestarter is virtually forgettable - sad. Maybe he had a bad agent, too. Maybe he went into real estate? I've always wanted to know. It's all sad, b/c he showed a lot of promise in a very demanding, gutsy role. .....Quinton Tarantino (who liked this film a lot!) to the rescue? And then there is the beautifully haunting but tragic, then turning into menacing orchestral music ♫♪ - all in a few bars -that no one gives credit.

Yet honestly, there is a lot to bitch about the film, and I get it. Here is a wretched if condescending review, a lot of elements one can't deny, though some I disagree with ...just so unknowing home theater forum folks know this is NOT a liked film:

And I wasn't complaining about you mentioning the time-period presentation of the film at all, just adding to it (not to mention Trica's totally `82s valley girl dress at the birthday party, the still-cool poster of Deborah Harry) - in fact, I think it's an interesting point to the film: Why wasn't it set in 1974..etc Good discussion about "marketing" a horror film at that time.

Your background is fantastic as you did a deeper dive into the history and living so close to the place....wow. And knowing folks close to each family - wow! Great to read about that. In the last year or so, I discovered an interview with a guy who was a friend of one of the DeFeo's as a boy. Regarding the whole story of the "Red Room" in the basement behind the stairs - he and one of the sons were friends, and were bored, and the father just gave them some paint and said they could paint that room red - pretty simple! And it blew up into this other gateway to hell thing. Hmm.... Yes, I am a fan...not the smartest though LOL - you are more advanced than myself. So, Adam:
* I also read 1979's "Murder in Amityville" by Hans Holzer ...back in the 1990s, and I thought it was either genuinely compelling and closer to the truth or sometimes amped-up, misguided bullshit. It seemed hot or cold to me....it's been so long, i can't think of examples, but that was the impressions I had. But I should read it again. I remember his daughter did an audio commentary as you mentioned (and reviews said she was not very good), though I haven't listened to it. What was most compelling about it to you?

* with "High Hopes: The Amityville Murders" - I will confess that the prosecuting attorney, Gerard Sullivan, I believe was very one-sided about nailing R DeFeo Jr. and he basically did. But his book brought up a lot of elements from the trial - I thought a lot of factual elements. A huge element was Sullivan's claim that DeFeo Jr really really really wanted the insurance policy and didn't want to share it with any of the family - and being narcisstic and regularly under the influence, basically let it rip one night & killed them all.... Though it's such a profoundly catastrophic thing to do, it's hard for me to believe there wasn't some kind of evil influence, too, that Sullivan ignored. been a long time since I read it, but that was my impression. So why do you only consider it "interesting?" Is it too one-sided? I think he dismisses supernatural, because it was a legal court case...and maybe that was unrealistic?

* tried to watch R Defeo Jr. in interviews on Youtube...and he's so narcissistic / sociopathic, I just can't finish his interviews. It's just like trying to watch Diane Downs in interviews. uggh...can't get through em. Am I missing something here?

* Attorney William Weber admittedly is a good speaker at first....but the more you listen to him and study him, he becomes so discredited and crooked, it's hard to watch him in interviews or give much credence to his claims, even if he was close to some of the people. Uggh. I'm acquaintances Chris Lutz (actually Quaratino) on Facebook, and he said some vicious things about Weber's recent death.

* I was at Barnes and Nobles one day, (back in the 1990s again) and came across Stephen Kaplan and his wife's book (forgot the title, but a black and white cover with them in front of the house). Chronicling items published against the Lutz claims and how the Lutz were damaging the fragile credibility of (1970s) burgeoning paranormal studies in academia and society (ie becoming ultimately preternatural). But I have to say, the more I read through Kaplan's book, the more hysterical and over the top resentful he became, which it seemed like it came from him being repeatedly rejected, ignored and mostly denied access to folks involved in Amityville. Well, join the crowd, dumbass. So his resentment charged forth and aimed to discredit the Lutz's and their affiliates right and left, with his "mission" to protect parapsychology. ...yeah. Though I believe he brought out some evidence to his claims, but after reading more and more.... I just wanted to yell at him to: get a life! I got tired of his massively negative claims...he just seemed resentful - a cry baby. Jealous. Sour grapes. Uggh. Even if he was validated, it was sickening. If you are humble, this jealous type vibe, doesn't shine through. Though, again, this was years and years ago when I read this....so these were my impressions. Maybe if I read it again today, I'd do a 180! LOL Anyway, do you think I'm off? What were your thoughts of him and his claims that you recall?

* Did you see 2012's "My Amityville Horror" with Daniel Lutz? An angry man always plays pretty well on screen, imo. I.E.: the VERY intense Daniel Lutz of today!!!....so I found it compelling. He was definitely affected by shit that happened in the house, and I believe him when he said that George's involvement in the occult really aroused whatever was there, so soon after the horrific 6 murders. And I lean to believe most of his other claims. But the tail-end of some of his outbursts, ending with a hard steely, bring-it-on look - I think he was doing for drama, imo, because Daniel knew no one could really refute him in the interviews, though they (the director Eric and Laura DiDio) tried a little here and there. Even so, with my interest in this, I watched it about 3 times...it's very rewatchable for me - again, an angry man on screen always seems to work, and the director Eric just moved things right along. And Daniel is obviously a wounded kid of divorce, which is painful to witness (I am too), and ultimately, Daniel's pain manifests and he becomes simmering or very explosive...(his brother, Chris less so). ....but if you have any idea, why did Daniel keep his last name as Lutz? Also what did you think of this documentary if you saw it?
I agree with most of what you say here, Jim, and will respond to individual questions and paragraphs as soon as I have more time. For now, I will answer your question about the Stephen Kaplan book, of which he was pictured in front of the house in black and white...it was called The Amityville Horror Conspiracy.
 
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Kaskade1309

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Magner is so unsung. He's f*cking believable and compelling in every scene (except when he screams in the green lighting and the house freaks out).
Indeed; this sequence was a little ridiculous, attempting to show and "explain" the physical possession of Sonny's body -- in my opinion, it's not something that's supposed to be shown, as William Friedkin understood so expertly when he shot The Exorcist. There's also a moment in The Conjuring where we see Lili Taylor's character being "taken over" by the witch demon, Bathsheba (the story was based on a real case investigated by the Warrens in Rhode Island), and this reminded me of the possession sequence in Amityville II.

It was also ridiculous when we see Magner's head "expanding" and morphing into what appears to be a dual-head effect; I don't know what Damiani was going for here, but it seems he was clearly inspired by the latex applications seen in John Carpenter's The Thing and The Beast Within. Further, the whole angle of the house "reacting" to Sonny's possession was stupid, as well, what with the bed turning (PERFECTLY mind you) around in circles in the master bedroom, the boiler in the basement catching fire and the pipes exploding with steam.

However, how effective and chilling was the whole pre-possession sequence once the family leaves the house to go see Father Adamsky for Anthony's (Burt Young) apologies to the priest? When Sonny first hears the door slam shut -- when he KNOWS no one is home but him -- and then heads out into the hallway to ask "WHO'S THERE???" before picking up a hammer and heading downstairs is a chilling moment in the film, to say nothing of when he is passing his parents' room and a piece of furniture decides to pick itself up and throw itself against the wall, barely missing him. Really creepy, effective stuff here, and something a lot of haunted house stories simply miss.

Then, there's the moment when he hears that soft demonic laughter from somewhere in the living room -- twice; that scene always freaked me out, and still does. I mean, imagine KNOWING you're home alone and hearing that? Would you not shit yourself on the spot?

Just balls out acting: "go away damned bitch" was a shocker as he was manifesting/suffering, and being on the stairs from POV of the demon, his simmering birthday party at the dinner table, avoiding the priest, attacking the priest...but again, that jail cell scene (though the set looked so staged), though, was about the best that showed a lot of range in his Sonny character and the actor: confusion, mockery, possession, pain, physical attacking, and inside religious knowledge ... yet ultimately, pathos.
I agree with everything you say here, especially the "GO AWAY, DAMNED BITCH!" moment; indeed, exhibition of a good range of acting. However, what did you mean when you said the set looked "staged" in that jail interrogation sequence? The way the cell looked?

How awesome was the whole dialoguing between Magner and Olson in that jail cell scene, which you refer to graphically here below?

View attachment 80534

"Hehehehehehehehehehehe......I TOLD YOU YOU'D HAVE TO LEAVE!"

"Do you want to destroy this boy's life?"
"I DO WHAT I WANT!"
"You must LEAVE this boy's body which your following presence occupies...."
"WHY SHOULD I LEAVE? I LIKE IT HEEEEERE!!!!!"
"I will cast you out"
"OH....HOW??"
"With an exorcism..."
"YOU CAN'T DO THAT, YOU'RE NOT AUTHORIZED...."
"How do you know?"
"Haahahahaha....WE KNOW EVERYTHING!!!!"
"Is it your intention.....not to show yourself again?"
"I COULD...."
"When?"

"WHEN I PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

To this day, one of my absolute favorite pieces of exchange in a horror film, right next to the whole Father Karras/Reagan chat in her bedroom in The Exorcist (".....AND I'M THE DEVIL! NOW KINDLY UNDO THESE STRAPS!!!").

And how wicked cool was it when Sonny-demon licked Adamski's hand with the acid saliva?

Interestingly, I found this when searching around; can you believe there is actually clothing and other goods supporting this character?


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You are right, Adam, afterwards Magner did seem to age more than expected. Great pictures you added...I've seen them, & think they average around 2010-2015-ish. I'm sure he's been asked a million times why he left acting and what career choice he changed to. But I just can't find his answer...? Amityville II was very, very negatively received by critics - really bad. And that could have damaged his career at the time despite this strong, leading role. His subsequent small role in Firestarter is virtually forgettable - sad. Maybe he had a bad agent, too. Maybe he went into real estate? I've always wanted to know. It's all sad, b/c he showed a lot of promise in a very demanding, gutsy role. .....Quinton Tarantino (who liked this film a lot!) to the rescue? And then there is the beautifully haunting but tragic, then turning into menacing orchestral music ♫♪ - all in a few bars -that no one gives credit.
I hope you were joking about the "real estate" thing...LOL...

But, yeah, it's kind of disheartening what happened to him, how he fell off the radar completely. He actually doesn't look that well to my eyes; I hope he's not seriously ill or something.

Yet honestly, there is a lot to bitch about the film, and I get it. Here is a wretched if condescending review, a lot of elements one can't deny, though some I disagree with ...just so unknowing home theater forum folks know this is NOT a liked film:
Why would forum members need to know it's not a liked film? Seems to me everyone here, outside of you and I, have already made their minds up about that and are eager to contribute those sentiments to an otherwise spirited discussion amongst at least two fans.

I don't think it deserved the critical treatment it received; are there things wrong with it? Sure. Did Tommy Lee Wallace cop out and jump the demonic shark for the conclusion, completely ripping off elements of The Exorcist (the "Save Me" in blood and the whole "Let it be me, my God, not HIM!" angle)? Yes. But it still unsettles like few films since ever could, and it has a classic nostalgic vibe that's difficult to put into words; perhaps this is just from being so smitten with the film as a little kid and growing up around the area, and all the stories we all heard about 112 Ocean Avenue...there's just something about it that I love.

And I wasn't complaining about you mentioning the time-period presentation of the film at all, just adding to it (not to mention Trica's totally `82s valley girl dress at the birthday party, the still-cool poster of Deborah Harry) - in fact, I think it's an interesting point to the film: Why wasn't it set in 1974..etc Good discussion about "marketing" a horror film at that time.
No worries; I was merely explaining why I thought reviewers were skewed in their analysis of the time period they regularly complain about when it comes to this film. All you have to do is look at any review of Scream Factory's Blu-ray box set of the first three films and you'll see what I mean about reviewers having an "issue" with the fact that the story was supposed to take place in the 70s yet the entire set is drenched in 80s memorabilia.

On a side note...ever take notice of the Doors poster Sonny has on his wall in his bedroom? At the end of the film, when Adamsky completes the exorcism. the camera meanders around the house, finally ending up in the room, but if you watch closely, SO much is wrong with that tracking shot -- first, the camera skips an entire floor of the house before zooming in on Olson's face. Then, the spot where the poster is behind Olson doesn't make sense; and why would that still be pinned there after the house was abandoned?

And why does that final exorcism sequence set look like the bedroom is more like a high-ceiling warehouse of some kind? There's no way Sonny's bedroom had those gigantically high ceilings with all the wood beams....but it was left in for that final scene, and it looks awful. It's like the set wasn't finished.

Another trivia tidbit: The three original films in the trilogy were filmed in a studio in Mexico for the interior scenes, while the outside sequences depicting the house were shot in Tom's River, New Jersey, using a house that was famously altered to look like the "movie house" as it became known.

Your background is fantastic as you did a deeper dive into the history and living so close to the place....wow. And knowing folks close to each family - wow! Great to read about that. In the last year or so, I discovered an interview with a guy who was a friend of one of the DeFeo's as a boy. Regarding the whole story of the "Red Room" in the basement behind the stairs - he and one of the sons were friends, and were bored, and the father just gave them some paint and said they could paint that room red - pretty simple! And it blew up into this other gateway to hell thing. Hmm.... Yes, I am a fan...not the smartest though LOL - you are more advanced than myself. So, Adam:
From everything I understand and have researched, that room was nowhere near as dramatic as it was painted to be (no pun intended) -- when the Lutzes discovered it when they moved in, it was really just a small closet-like area that was painted a blood red, but what concerned them most was that it had a bad odor and their Black Lab, Harry, wouldn't go anywhere near it (depicted in Rosenberg's Amityville Horror a little).

Truth be told, I don't think this was necessarily "the gateway to hell," but it sure made for creepy exposition in all the films, especially the second and third entries.

* I also read 1979's "Murder in Amityville" by Hans Holzer ...back in the 1990s, and I thought it was either genuinely compelling and closer to the truth or sometimes amped-up, misguided bullshit. It seemed hot or cold to me....it's been so long, i can't think of examples, but that was the impressions I had. But I should read it again. I remember his daughter did an audio commentary as you mentioned (and reviews said she was not very good), though I haven't listened to it. What was most compelling about it to you?
Yeah, Alexandra Holzer's commentary track on the Amityville II Blu-ray wasn't anything exciting, and was mostly an attempt to validate what her father said about certain elements of the De Feo case as the film went on, with Magner supposedly portraying the tormented Butch De Feo.

As for Murder in Amityville, I still have this on my shelf and actually took it with me to read by the pool during my honeymoon in Hawaii; I had read it several times before that, of course, but I agree with your assessment that sometimes it read like truth and other times it read like complete horse shit. I couldn't really get a line on Holzer; he seemed to be convinced that the home was definitely occupied by vengeful spirits of Native Americans who settled on that land and left their dead to die there when practicing witchcraft, in and around the time of the Salem trials. There is definite historical accuracy here, as a number of tribes made their way through what is now the south shore of Long Island, settling many towns and villages along the route, with Amityville being one of them -- and it has been confirmed that some of these tribes buried their dead in or near the water there along the shore, and that some kind of devil worship took place in the midst of all this.

For what it's worth, I think De Feo's ultimate tragedy was that he was an avid, out of control LSD abuser -- which would have explained the voices he said he heard in the house -- who was seriously abused by De Feo Sr., both psychologically and physically, and these two elements could have definitely opened him up to some kind of spiritual vulnerability that simply can't be explained. So, I think the murders were the result of a nasty fusion of abuse, drug use and something that was there on the property, feeding off all of this -- in the case of the Lutzes and subsequent tenants, this makes sense because there already would be the overtones of bad, dark spiritual energy from the six people murdered on the property. There's NO way ANY house would be "quiet" after something that terrible occurred there; even if it's just some kind of really bad karma.

* with "High Hopes: The Amityville Murders" - I will confess that the prosecuting attorney, Gerard Sullivan, I believe was very one-sided about nailing R DeFeo Jr. and he basically did. But his book brought up a lot of elements from the trial - I thought a lot of factual elements. A huge element was Sullivan's claim that DeFeo Jr really really really wanted the insurance policy and didn't want to share it with any of the family - and being narcisstic and regularly under the influence, basically let it rip one night & killed them all.... Though it's such a profoundly catastrophic thing to do, it's hard for me to believe there wasn't some kind of evil influence, too, that Sullivan ignored. been a long time since I read it, but that was my impression. So why do you only consider it "interesting?" Is it too one-sided? I think he dismisses supernatural, because it was a legal court case...and maybe that was unrealistic?
I agree with you that it's dismissed too frequently that something paranormal was happening there; and you can see my comments above regarding the influence this may have had on De Feo.

But as far as the book, after seeing Weber's interviews during the History Channel documentaries (have you seen those?), it seems to me he was only after crushing the Lutz story once he felt he couldn't make money off of them anymore. That's where the whole "they made this bullshit up to throw the wool over an unsuspecting public's eyes" angle of his came from during every interview he gave; you gotta understand, there was SO much about this case that could be talked about -- from the scandal of the Lutzes taking lie detector tests after the film came out to American International Pictures being sued to the rumors of author Jay Anson proving many people connected with the real story were mysteriously killed -- that it makes it almost impossible to discuss in one forum thread.

And, you're right -- the book did bring up interesting tidbits, such as De Feo wanting the insurance money for the murders, the whole "I ran into a bar and screamed someone shot my family!" thing. the aspect of Butch working for his grandfather's Buick dealership in Brooklyn and harboring a grudge for some reason against the father and grandfather, the weapon that was found in the storm drain (I think it was) or behind the house by the dock....I just don't think we'll ever know EXACTLY what happened there on that fateful night, nor if anyone else was involved, such as his sister Dawn.

* tried to watch R Defeo Jr. in interviews on Youtube...and he's so narcissistic / sociopathic, I just can't finish his interviews. It's just like trying to watch Diane Downs in interviews. uggh...can't get through em. Am I missing something here?
,


No -- you're not missing a thing. The guy is really off the wall; I guess all those drugs all those years took their toll. He also looks really sickly, like he has cancer (he's shriveled up to the point I can't believe he's still alive).

He's a sociopathic liar who likes to hear the sound of his own voice, and who has gotten a kick off of all the publicity surrounding the case; in many ways, he reminds me of Manson when he used to do those interviews, bragging and boasting and then saying "I leave it up to you to determine whether I'm fucking crazy or not...." in so many other words.

* Attorney William Weber admittedly is a good speaker at first....but the more you listen to him and study him, he becomes so discredited and crooked, it's hard to watch him in interviews or give much credence to his claims, even if he was close to some of the people. Uggh. I'm acquaintances Chris Lutz (actually Quaratino) on Facebook, and he said some vicious things about Weber's recent death.
If this case brought out anything from the woodwork, it would be people accusing other people of things for what seems like generations; all one needs to do is look at the ongoing feud between Ed and Lorraine Warren and Stephen Kaplan, who made it his life's mission -- until he DIED -- to disprove the Lutzes and the Warrens, no matter the cost to him, his marriage or his life. I mean, this is some DERANGED stuff...

Want to see more of why I think Weber was mostly full of shit? Try to catch the History Channel documentaries I mentioned via YouTube (they were part of the MGM Amityville Horror Collection DVD box set, which I own and still enjoy).

* I was at Barnes and Nobles one day, (back in the 1990s again) and came across Stephen Kaplan and his wife's book (forgot the title, but a black and white cover with them in front of the house). Chronicling items published against the Lutz claims and how the Lutz were damaging the fragile credibility of (1970s) burgeoning paranormal studies in academia and society (ie becoming ultimately preternatural). But I have to say, the more I read through Kaplan's book, the more hysterical and over the top resentful he became, which it seemed like it came from him being repeatedly rejected, ignored and mostly denied access to folks involved in Amityville. Well, join the crowd, dumbass. So his resentment charged forth and aimed to discredit the Lutz's and their affiliates right and left, with his "mission" to protect parapsychology. ...yeah. Though I believe he brought out some evidence to his claims, but after reading more and more.... I just wanted to yell at him to: get a life! I got tired of his massively negative claims...he just seemed resentful - a cry baby. Jealous. Sour grapes. Uggh. Even if he was validated, it was sickening. If you are humble, this jealous type vibe, doesn't shine through. Though, again, this was years and years ago when I read this....so these were my impressions. Maybe if I read it again today, I'd do a 180! LOL Anyway, do you think I'm off? What were your thoughts of him and his claims that you recall?
As I had mentioned in a previous post, Kaplan's book was The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, and it was written by a bitter, ostracized and self-centered man who eventually destroyed his marriage over his hatred for the Warrens, De Feos and everything Amityville (regardless of what his wife claims in the History Channel documentaries). In many ways, his passion for hating everyone involving a certain case or circumstance reminds me of what's going on now with this global, intercontinental and, in my opinion, downright irrational hatred of the U.S. president (I mean, there are those who actually BELIEVE -- and I have spoken with them -- that Trump is rounding minorities and Mexican nationals up and throwing them into gas chambers like Hitler did during World War II...you CAN'T make this up, and that's how deep Kaplan's hatred went for the Warrens in particular).

* Did you see 2012's "My Amityville Horror" with Daniel Lutz? An angry man always plays pretty well on screen, imo. I.E.: the VERY intense Daniel Lutz of today!!!....so I found it compelling. He was definitely affected by shit that happened in the house, and I believe him when he said that George's involvement in the occult really aroused whatever was there, so soon after the horrific 6 murders. And I lean to believe most of his other claims. But the tail-end of some of his outbursts, ending with a hard steely, bring-it-on look - I think he was doing for drama, imo, because Daniel knew no one could really refute him in the interviews, though they (the director Eric and Laura DiDio) tried a little here and there. Even so, with my interest in this, I watched it about 3 times...it's very rewatchable for me - again, an angry man on screen always seems to work, and the director Eric just moved things right along. And Daniel is obviously a wounded kid of divorce, which is painful to witness (I am too), and ultimately, Daniel's pain manifests and he becomes simmering or very explosive...(his brother, Chris less so). ....but if you have any idea, why did Daniel keep his last name as Lutz? Also what did you think of this documentary if you saw it?
Ahhhhh...Laura DiDio....the cavalier reporter who got her start by trying to sensationalize the Warrens' spiritual investigation of 112 Ocean Avenue...

I did see parts of My Amityville Horror; in my opinion, this kid is just fucked up from being a step son in a somewhat broken family. I don't believe George physically abused his children, nor do I believe most of anything else that came out of his mouth. He came across, to me, as a drunken, bitter mess of a person who needs some serious help.

Admittedly, I need to see the film again...
 
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JimJasper

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Kaskade1309

Adam, if a making-of Amityville II: The Possession ever needed a new featurette for a future (4K?) release, I think it would be like crack cocaine for you and I to undertake that project. ….in the style of Laurent Bouzereau .....

Just for fun to respond to your responses, though I admit I fail to phrase my prose as well as you :chatter::


  • 1 The physical possession of Sonny’s body - not seen….yep, ironically I think it would have been more effective, and fires up the imagination, like “The Exorcist;” it would work in the narrative. To be honest, Adam, I’d never thought of that, but I think you are right. Laughed hard at you mentioning bed turning “PERFECTLY” lol…because it did – obviously on a contraption, and unfortunately looked circus-like - all that house activity....just....didn't.....work. A classic case of: less is more, regarding his actually possession ….like The Conjuring’s possession….good point. With Sonny’s expanding head during the climax I also thought of The Beast Within - picture following:
1603388954684.png

  • 2 The pre-possession sequences were incredibly spooky and well filmed of Sonny walk around by himself in the house…trying to understand - really some of the best parts of the film, and all haunted house films. That chair being thrown at him was a great jump scare for the audience, but, unfortunately, I will say that Magner seemed a little too prepared for it – not too shocked as he should have been. The soft demonic laughter x2….so wicked....that was successful examples of "less is more" moments. All that you said….so true.
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  • 3 Staged-like jail cell…. Adam, I mean the set itself – to me it looks like a set - it’s too clean, the floor, the walls, just kind of weak, the sliding jail door’s bars look too clean, and too carefully lit. the cell didn’t feel real to me. It doesn’t look heavy (brick and steele), worn, genuinely fatigued…..after a few times seeing the film, then seeing it on DVD for the first time where it was in widescreen and very very clear, I noticed this. Two other examples of unrealistic sets, despite decent budgets are 1) Basic Instinct’s interrogation scene of Stone – looked great, but it was authentically outrageous to have such a glamorous room with that kind of alluring, blue lighting and large size etc….but caught up in the moment of the film, it strangely works. 2) John Carpenter’s 1998 Vampires…one of the opening scenes they go to an “abandoned” church or similar house like structure. If you look closely, the entire set looks very well-built with good bones and nothing sagging, but it’s insanely weather fatigued as if to look old….but all it’s angles look too good – the crew who built it were too good with the leveling measurements. Took me out of the moment instantly - it looked Hollywood. Not to mention James Woods was like casting Jerry Seinfeld – shitty casting imo.
  • 4 Fun to know that the jail cell scene is one of your favorite exchanges in a horror film. Me too. If one isn’t partying it up and laughing at the film’s dramatics (like some party crowds did), but honestly caught up in the film by that point, it is fucking strong. Yes, the acid licking too was a contemptuous surprise. Yes, one of mine as well – again, great, totally unsung acting range by Magner throughout this scene…and genuinely sad at the end of him looking at the pictures – “the devil comes to kill steal and destroy” indeed. I was also going to mention the end when manifesting Sonny says, “You want to dominate like your Bishops and more…I can give it to you Adamsky.” Just a very powerful temptation – very targeted, likely envious secret desire of Adamsky.… just like evil tries to do.
  • Many strong, desperate, alarming scenes in this gutsy film…. Again, for the non-partying crowd. I’m trying to think of another exchange in horror. Yes, that Exorcist one is strong.
  • 5 Yeah the “I DO WHAT I WANT!!” Contempt….!! And that cartoonish graphic of Magner you discovered …haha, I’ve never seen it. Thanks for posting that – it’s fun. Magner himself would probably get a kick out of it!
  • 6 I mention the film isn’t well liked for other folks who come onto this forum and don’t like the film and want to blast us in the future. Or for newbies who get excited about all our excitement, then may go down the path of having really high expectations before watching the film, glossing over some of our reservations. Does that make sense? My intent is to briefly, at one time, recognize the negative criticism toward the film, which is substantial, and get it over with… .really not much more than that. You’re right that the rest of us have come onto this shared forum, since we’ve already made our mind up liking the film, but…just thinking of the future, and clearly covering the point. I’m probably like you, in that the film is semi-nostalgic from my childhood as well….something about it I like. Though, go ahead and laugh, but I don’t like to watch the murders – grieves me too much – I skip through that. Probably makes me sound like a horror hypocrite, but I don’t care.
  • 7 The Doors poster changing….I did notice that, but kind of forgot about it. Always thought it was strange.
    1603389059758.png
  • 8 The ceiling in Sonny’s room. Well, the ceiling just isn’t seen otherwise, is it in the film?….Sonny's room's side walls are rafters that don’t look like they don’t even have insulation throughout the film. But I suppose the filmed room in that ending scene was larger than the room used primarily in the film – you are probably right. here is a shot of the side rafters:
  • 1603389569542.png
    1603389334313.png

  • 9 Interesting about Murder in Amityville…that’s right. He dug into the Native American history in the past on the film. I think this book was used as somewhat reference material for the film itself.
  • 10 Butch DeFeo’s act of murder….after you mention that with the LSD…I think you are very likely right since it opens our senses to other things, and could have put him in a “state” and or connected him with evil at the same time. And, yes, in interviews DeFeo Jr bigtime likes the attention…and seems to lack remorse!!!…I just can’t get through it.
  • 11 If Dawn was part of the murder, I think her participation would have been discovered quickly. The fact that it’s been brought up sometime in late 2000 reveals another “change” to the story, and traditionally this is a result of a lie – i.e. “the story keeps changing.” And then Dawn is also face down and shot like the rest of the family… So I say bullshit. That’s my thinking, I certainly don’t know, but those three elements lead me to believe Dawn was not involved in the murders. I could be wrong! I know there is a documentary on this on Youtube. Uggh.
  • 12 I haven’t seen the Weber interviews on the History Channel documentaries. I do have the DVD The Amityville Horror Collection DVD box set (I think it’s from 2005), but I don’t remember this featurette at all on the DVD with Weber - maybe he was in a few brief clips. Anyway, I think your assessment of him is true based on my past research about him.
  • 13 Kaplan….is just one of the most depressing people to study because of all you said and so tragic ultimately toward himself. Insane bitterness. Definitely deranged from it, as you said (and I think envy from being ostracized). Tragic. Uggh.
  • 14 Laura DiDio…..I would argue she was both reasonably shrewd and ambitious about the Lutz story, yet I also believe that she cared about Kathy and the kids more than she needed to, and recognized George as a dominating jerk. Always felt like she embraced ALL of experience (the notoriety for herself, the family, the house’s history and current drama, Ed and Lorraine), and I also think she had a lot of natural, reporter instincts. I don’t know a lot about her, but always liked her enough. She's very good in the 2012 film following:
  • 1603390226589.png

  • 15 Adam, I hope you soon watch 2012’s My Amityville Horror. It moves right along and is a good watch. It’s been uploaded to Youtube a few times…and taken down! haha
  • 16 I recently read the infamous Amityville Horror book (novel? Nonfiction? LOL) again, right after watching 2012’s My Amityville Horror, and holy cow….I think Danny Lutz is right: the story was all about George – that book has so much “George” dominating it. Gave the book a completely different, and I believe, insightful revelation after watching 2012’s My Amityville Horror. Of all the people in the story, I really liked Kathy.
    1603391061861.png
  • I felt like Kathy got pushed around a lot and had immense pressure on her, but really loved her kids, and half killed herself to make it work with George. My heart goes out to her.
  • 17 Are we taking this all too seriously? I’m sure the rest of the world might laugh at us ...but oh well.
 
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Kaskade1309

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Jim,

You make some very interesting and noteworthy points, and I will get back to them in detail just as soon as I can. In the meantime, I can leave you with this: If you own the 2005 MGM box set, which I do and which, yes, I was referring to, you already have the History Channel documentaries -- they're on the fourth bonus disc called Amityville Confidential. Weber is seen multiple times in that doc.

Also -- I can't tell you HOW many times I have been on that EXACT corner of Ocean Avenue and the side street DiDio and Lutz are walking on in that pic (can't recall the name of the side street), either sitting with friends in the car and telling them stories about the house around Halloween time or even being pulled over by Amityville police who wanted to know why we were loitering around and "bringing more attention to the town," LOL.
 
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Not sure who Rob Ager is but check out number 18 in his top 25 horror films:

Probably almost ten years ago now, Quentin Tarantino named Amityville II as one of his top 50 sequels in an interview in an issue of Video Watchdog (arguably the greatest genre magazine ever produced).


EDIT: It was Video Watchdog #172 from January/February 2013. Back issues still available for $15 here: http://www.videowatchdog.com/home/issues.htm#170
 

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Probably almost ten years ago now, Quentin Tarantino named Amityville II as one of his top 50 sequels in an interview in an issue of Video Watchdog (arguably the greatest genre magazine ever produced).


EDIT: It was Video Watchdog #172 from January/February 2013. Back issues still available for $15 here: http://www.videowatchdog.com/home/issues.htm#170
I actually don't see it on that list in the link...
 

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If you have to scroll down, it's issue 172 with a drawing of Tarantino on the cover. The interview/list itself isn't on there, I just posted the link to where someone can purchase the issue.
I'm looking at issue 172 -- it's not on that list of films mentioned in the little box.

I am not referring to the interview itself not being there, of course.
 

Kaskade1309

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I guess it's not listed individually in the index since it's just part of Tarantino's list. Since he covers 50 movies, it's not an in depth discussion of the movie so that may also be why they don't list it individually.
But there are a ton of other titles listed there, is my point...Amityville II should be somewhere in the beginning, as it's going in alphabetic order...

At any rate, I take your word for it, as I recall something about him really digging that film...
 

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But there are a ton of other titles listed there, is my point...Amityville II should be somewhere in the beginning, as it's going in alphabetic order...

At any rate, I take your word for it, as I recall something about him really digging that film...
Here it is. #50 out of 50.
 

Kaskade1309

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Adam, if a making-of Amityville II: The Possession ever needed a new featurette for a future (4K?) release, I think it would be like crack cocaine for you and I to undertake that project. ….in the style of Laurent Bouzereau .....
LOL...LOL....I'd absolutely love to do the commentary with you on a 4K release of the title....

Something tells me we're not gonna see that, though; seems to me fans were lucky even to get MGM to put out the DVD set (for the record, that set was the first time The Possession and 3-D were made available on something other than VHS in the U.S.). The fact that a studio/art house like Scream actually went to the lengths they did to produce them in high def? Almost unbelievable...

As another tidbit of trivia: There is a UK version of this film on DVD, as well as for part three, that's really a loaded deluxe edition that I wish a studio in the States would have made; it's a Collector's Edition, and while I don't care for the front cover artwork (Scream needs to be applauded and commended for featuring the original theatrical poster work on the films in their box set, especially The Possession, with those awesome blue glowing windows), this thing is supremely a packed version, with commentary tracks, a 5.1 sound remix and a booklet containing information about the real De Feo murders, which I thought was GENIUS:


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And, if I'm not mistaken, there's even a collection of stills of some sort that put together the infamous "lost souls" sequence in which Adamsky encounters the entities in the basement (this is cut severely in theatrical versions, which we're all used to).

I always meant to get around to buying this, but I was never sure if I could play it on my disc players, what region it was locked in, etc.

Just for fun to respond to your responses, though I admit I fail to phrase my prose as well as you :chatter::
  • 1 The physical possession of Sonny’s body - not seen….yep, ironically I think it would have been more effective, and fires up the imagination, like “The Exorcist;” it would work in the narrative. To be honest, Adam, I’d never thought of that, but I think you are right. Laughed hard at you mentioning bed turning “PERFECTLY” lol…because it did – obviously on a contraption, and unfortunately looked circus-like - all that house activity....just....didn't.....work. A classic case of: less is more, regarding his actually possession ….like The Conjuring’s possession….good point. With Sonny’s expanding head during the climax I also thought of The Beast Within - picture following:
View attachment 80645
I think I mentioned somewhere that Damiani and his crew had obviously used The Beast Within when planning latex applications for Magner's makeup; but, yeah, that's a great point you make.

**But wait...didn't Beast Within come out after '82? Now I'm not so sure...

Speaking of makeup and applications -- did you ever notice the slipup on the DVD edition (and, I assume, on the Blu-ray) in which you can actually SEE Magner's bladder effects tube positioned at the back of his head for that final sequence when his face comes apart? I NEVER noticed this in all the years I watched this film over and over on VHS and cable transmissions:

1603423349180.png


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If you look VERY carefully at that second image, you can see the little clear tube behind Magner, coming out of his shirt...as I said, the ONLY time I EVER noticed this was when viewing the film in DVD-quality resolution.

By the way...did you know that Diane Franklin recently starred as MRS. DE FEO in a direct-to-cable film about the murders? And Burt Young starred as the De Feo grandfather, if I'm not mistaken...

2 The pre-possession sequences were incredibly spooky and well filmed of Sonny walk around by himself in the house…trying to understand - really some of the best parts of the film, and all haunted house films. That chair being thrown at him was a great jump scare for the audience, but, unfortunately, I will say that Magner seemed a little too prepared for it – not too shocked as he should have been. The soft demonic laughter x2….so wicked....that was successful examples of "less is more" moments. All that you said….so true.
So interesting that you determined that was a chair flying at him in that scene...lol...most people think it's almost impossible to make out...

As for Magner's reaction, I see what you mean...but I think it was genuine because he was in a TOTAL state of shock and absolute terror...imagine being home alone and something throws a piece of furniture at you like that? I know I'd be like having a delayed reaction of sorts...like "WHAT THE [email protected][email protected]!? JUST HAPPENED?" while my heart raced a thousand beats per second.

Staged-like jail cell…. Adam, I mean the set itself – to me it looks like a set - it’s too clean, the floor, the walls, just kind of weak, the sliding jail door’s bars look too clean, and too carefully lit. the cell didn’t feel real to me. It doesn’t look heavy (brick and steele), worn, genuinely fatigued…..after a few times seeing the film, then seeing it on DVD for the first time where it was in widescreen and very very clear, I noticed this.
Well, I certainly know what you mean about seeing it on DVD and the clarity (see my comments above about Magner's bladder effects equipment); I also noticed this in the basement sequence when Sonny has the gun out and opens that door that leads to the underground "lair." On previous VHS and cable editions, and on smaller televisions, this was always so murky and dark you couldn't make any details out...on the DVD, suddenly I was able to see the detail in the stone pillars, the shadow detail in the blacks beyond, the hand coming out of the wall, its finger shooting blood (did you ever notice this?)...

Two other examples of unrealistic sets, despite decent budgets are 1) Basic Instinct’s interrogation scene of Stone – looked great, but it was authentically outrageous to have such a glamorous room with that kind of alluring, blue lighting and large size etc….but caught up in the moment of the film, it strangely works
Well, as a male watching that film, I was really only interested in ONE shot.....;);):P:dance::rock::banana::dancing-banana-04:

John Carpenter’s 1998 Vampires…one of the opening scenes they go to an “abandoned” church or similar house like structure. If you look closely, the entire set looks very well-built with good bones and nothing sagging, but it’s insanely weather fatigued as if to look old….but all it’s angles look too good – the crew who built it were too good with the leveling measurements. Took me out of the moment instantly - it looked Hollywood. Not to mention James Woods was like casting Jerry Seinfeld – shitty casting imo.
Okay...here is something I'm also familiar with, being a MASSIVE John Carpenter's Vampires fan (and of Carpenter in general); this film will always hold a special place in my heart because I remember seeing it on opening night with a college friend, the night before Halloween of '98, and the next day I was picking up my brand new car at the time, a '99 Honda Accord Coupe in bright red...I also hosted a Halloween film watching party at my house that evening, as I always did, because it's my favorite day of the year.

I own the Superbit DVD of the title, and will never let that go...

1603426339160.png


But anyway, I disagree about Woods being miscast there -- I thought he was perfectly effective as the trash-talking, wise-mouthed supreme "slayer." Did some of the dialogue get cheesy, and was Baldwin kind of annoying? Sure. But I loved when he mouthed off to Valek in those scenes ("This cross? Hey Valek, let me ask you somethin'....after six hundred years, how's that dick workin'?").

Even still, being a huge fan, I don't actually recall taking into consideration the legitimacy of that shot in the church...and I JUST watched the DVD a few weeks ago. I'll have to revisit...

Fun to know that the jail cell scene is one of your favorite exchanges in a horror film. Me too. If one isn’t partying it up and laughing at the film’s dramatics (like some party crowds did), but honestly caught up in the film by that point, it is fucking strong. Yes, the acid licking too was a contemptuous surprise. Yes, one of mine as well – again, great, totally unsung acting range by Magner throughout this scene…and genuinely sad at the end of him looking at the pictures – “the devil comes to kill steal and destroy” indeed. I was also going to mention the end when manifesting Sonny says, “You want to dominate like your Bishops and more…I can give it to you Adamsky.” Just a very powerful temptation – very targeted, likely envious secret desire of Adamsky.… just like evil tries to do.
  • Many strong, desperate, alarming scenes in this gutsy film…. Again, for the non-partying crowd. I’m trying to think of another exchange in horror. Yes, that Exorcist one is strong.
  • 5 Yeah the “I DO WHAT I WANT!!” Contempt….!! And that cartoonish graphic of Magner you discovered …haha, I’ve never seen it. Thanks for posting that – it’s fun. Magner himself would probably get a kick out of it!
Indeed; I ALSO love that end exorcism sequence, though it doesn't go on long enough IMO.

Best dialoguing:

"I LIKE YOU ADAMSKY.....I UNDERSTAND YOU. YOU WANT TO DOMINATE LIKE YOUR BISHOPS....AND MOOOOOORE. I CAN GIVE IT TO YOU, ADAMSKY...."

"Sonny....if you can hear me....resist the unclean spirit......will it to leave your body...."

"YOU'VE DECIDED TO DO THIS ALONE...WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE CHURCH........YOU ARE DISOBEYING THE CHURCH.......NOW YOU ARE ALONE, ADAMSKY......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA........."

And let's get something else out of the way quick and in a hurry....what was up with the house "raining from within" when Adamsky arrives to go after Sonny at the end? And the wet cobwebs in the corners of the staircase, as if the house had been sitting for like six decades abandoned? Give me a break.

I mention the film isn’t well liked for other folks who come onto this forum and don’t like the film and want to blast us in the future. Or for newbies who get excited about all our excitement, then may go down the path of having really high expectations before watching the film, glossing over some of our reservations. Does that make sense?
Well, I suppose; but we can also find just as many supporters of the film in the critic world such as that unstable nut Q.T., so...

My intent is to briefly, at one time, recognize the negative criticism toward the film, which is substantial, and get it over with… .really not much more than that. You’re right that the rest of us have come onto this shared forum, since we’ve already made our mind up liking the film, but…just thinking of the future, and clearly covering the point. I’m probably like you, in that the film is semi-nostalgic from my childhood as well….something about it I like. Though, go ahead and laugh, but I don’t like to watch the murders – grieves me too much – I skip through that. Probably makes me sound like a horror hypocrite, but I don’t care.
I won't laugh at that -- there are PLENTY of films I press the "skip" button on my disc player's remote during because the scenes get to me in an uncomfortable way...namely films that depict animals being harmed, as I can't STAND that. A good example is John Carpenter's The Thing -- I can't watch the sequence with the Husky that turns into the creature and attacks the other dogs. I also can't watch the dog being shot by Josh Brolin's character in the beginning of No Country for Old Men, nor the scene when Sadie is killed on the side of the Perron house in The Conjuring.

The Doors poster changing….I did notice that, but kind of forgot about it. Always thought it was strange. View attachment 80646
Was strange that Sonny would like The Doors?

The ceiling in Sonny’s room. Well, the ceiling just isn’t seen otherwise, is it in the film?….Sonny's room's side walls are rafters that don’t look like they don’t even have insulation throughout the film. But I suppose the filmed room in that ending scene was larger than the room used primarily in the film – you are probably right. here is a shot of the side rafters:

You are most probably right -- I didn't take into consideration that the bedroom shots in the middle of the film were always bathed in thick, dark shadows...so you couldn't really get a glimpse of the ceiling. Just thought it looked strange when, during the exorcism scene, the ceiling in his bedroom looks like it has seven hundred feet high vaulting, ya know?

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BTW...here are some random images I found related to the film; the one with Diane Franklin was taken from her interview on the Scream Factory Blu-ray (she's still rather sexy):

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This pic includes that direct-to-cable film I mentioned before in which Franklin actually PLAYS Mrs. De Feo:

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Obviously, casting her and Young were nods to Amityville II...

Interesting about Murder in Amityville…that’s right. He dug into the Native American history in the past on the film. I think this book was used as somewhat reference material for the film itself.
It was -- and it served as research/inspiration for Tommy Lee Wallace's screenplay.

Butch DeFeo’s act of murder….after you mention that with the LSD…I think you are very likely right since it opens our senses to other things, and could have put him in a “state” and or connected him with evil at the same time. And, yes, in interviews DeFeo Jr bigtime likes the attention…and seems to lack remorse!!!…I just can’t get through it.
  • 11 If Dawn was part of the murder, I think her participation would have been discovered quickly. The fact that it’s been brought up sometime in late 2000 reveals another “change” to the story, and traditionally this is a result of a lie – i.e. “the story keeps changing.” And then Dawn is also face down and shot like the rest of the family… So I say bullshit. That’s my thinking, I certainly don’t know, but those three elements lead me to believe Dawn was not involved in the murders. I could be wrong! I know there is a documentary on this on Youtube. Uggh.
Can't say I disagree with any of this...

I haven’t seen the Weber interviews on the History Channel documentaries. I do have the DVD The Amityville Horror Collection DVD box set (I think it’s from 2005), but I don’t remember this featurette at all on the DVD with Weber - maybe he was in a few brief clips. Anyway, I think your assessment of him is true based on my past research about him.
As I mentioned in a previous post, that box set should have a fourth bonus disc called Amityville Confidential, which contains both History Channel documentaries, and in them, Weber appears a few times.

Kaplan….is just one of the most depressing people to study because of all you said and so tragic ultimately toward himself. Insane bitterness. Definitely deranged from it, as you said (and I think envy from being ostracized). Tragic. Uggh.
  • 14 Laura DiDio…..I would argue she was both reasonably shrewd and ambitious about the Lutz story, yet I also believe that she cared about Kathy and the kids more than she needed to, and recognized George as a dominating jerk. Always felt like she embraced ALL of experience (the notoriety for herself, the family, the house’s history and current drama, Ed and Lorraine), and I also think she had a lot of natural, reporter instincts. I don’t know a lot about her, but always liked her enough. She's very good in the 2012 film following:
  • View attachment 80649

Fair enough about Laura.

Adam, I hope you soon watch 2012’s My Amityville Horror. It moves right along and is a good watch. It’s been uploaded to Youtube a few times…and taken down! haha
As I said, I did see bits and pieces of it and saw it through to the end once, but admittedly need to sit through it again; I'm going to try and get the DVD used if it's cheap.

I recently read the infamous Amityville Horror book (novel? Nonfiction? LOL) again, right after watching 2012’s My Amityville Horror, and holy cow….I think Danny Lutz is right: the story was all about George – that book has so much “George” dominating it. Gave the book a completely different, and I believe, insightful revelation after watching 2012’s My Amityville Horror. Of all the people in the story, I really liked Kathy. View attachment 80651
  • I felt like Kathy got pushed around a lot and had immense pressure on her, but really loved her kids, and half killed herself to make it work with George. My heart goes out to her.
  • 17 Are we taking this all too seriously? I’m sure the rest of the world might laugh at us ...but oh well.
Fair enough points about George and the original novel; I have it sitting on my shelf right now, just feet from where I'm typing...and, indeed, it is a lot of George, LOL.

Want to read a plethora of George-esque stuff? Try Amityville: The Final Chapter (which I also own):

1603425760168.png


Boy, does Jones really stretch the whole "the haunting followed us to California...and beyond!" angle until it's proverbial mincemeat...
 
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Kaskade1309

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Here it is. #50 out of 50.
That's not the original list I was referring to, which was provided earlier; I merely meant that I didn't see the title in that box for the issue that supposedly covers it.
 

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That's not the original list I was referring to, which was provided earlier; I merely meant that I didn't see the title in that box for the issue that supposedly covers it.
I’m aware of that. That original list was of reviews in that issue (see next post), not Tarantino’s top 50. Which is why I supplied a link to his actual list.
 

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