Ranking the First Wave of Amityville Films

There appears to be a theme to the last few articles I have written, that being the events surrounding the tragedy that befell two families during the 1970’s in Amityville, New York. You can read my review of the latest movie The Amityville Murders here and my review of Amityville II: The Possession here. While the first two Amityville movies are among my all time favorites, it’s common knowledge that the rest of the movies in the series fall way short. After some discussion with Ray, I decided to go through and watch some more of these movies. I don’t think I have the intestinal fortitude to watch all the movies, and I know the more recent ones have been garbage (maybe one or two that is watchable), so I decided to watch and review/rank the first wave of Amityville movies. This is all the films from the first until the remake in 2005. So without further ado, here’s the list:

8. The Amityville Dollhouse (1996)

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A girl (Rachel Duncan) unwittingly releases evil spirits lurking within her toy house, which wreak havoc upon her family.

So to start, I have to say that this particular film ends up dead last by default. The reason being that I just can’t find anywhere to access it. Luckily the other films were available on various streaming subscriptions I pay for, but for some reason this one wasn’t. I have seen this film before, though, and I remember it being pretty bad. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it would’ve ended up as #8 anyway.

IMDb ranking: 4.1/10

My ranking: N/A

7. The Amityville Curse (1990)

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The infamous Long Island estate becomes the scene of more supernatural occurrences when a group of yuppies purchases it.

Yikes. Out of all the ones I watched over the last week, this was by far the worst. Although it had Kim Coates, who is a fine actor, the viewing experience was rough. Bad acting, bad storytelling, and just not scary. The dwelling in the film isn’t the Amityville house, it’s just another house in Amityville. Avoid this one.

IMDb rating: 2.9/10

My rating: 2/10

6. Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

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Keyes Terry is an art photographer who is given a mirror by a homeless person he meets on the streets. After taking the mirror home, he eventually realizes that it is possessed with the spirit of his father, Franklin Bronner, who murdered his family on Thanksgiving with a shotgun in the original Amityville house.

This was a weird one. This particular film is one of the haunted objects films. It’s an interesting idea that I don’t exactly hate. The main problem for me though is that the film is just boring. I didn’t feel a connection to any of the characters, and I probably only finished it because I intended to do this article.  It’s a little annoying that they changed the narrative of the familial mass murder so much. It isn’t unwatchable, but it’s not one I plan on viewing again.

IMDb rating: 3.7/10

My rating: 4/10

5. Amityville 1992: Its About Time

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Widower Jacob brings an old mantle clock back from a business trip to Amityville, N.Y. However, he and his family are unaware of the clock’s dark history. It’s not long before Jake; his girlfriend, Andrea; and his children, Lisa and Rusty, are faced with horrifying visions, animal attacks and the bending of time. The family must fight the clock’s evil power before they become possessed completely.

I was happy to learn that this wasn’t the awful watch I was expecting. That being said, I found it to just be kind of boring. It’s definitely head and shoulders above the previous films on this list. The scares are decent, and seeing Jacob totally lose it was entertaining. For the most part this film was just average, but it is not among the worst of the series.

IMDb rating: 4.4/10

My rating: 5/10

4. Amityville 3-D (1983)

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Investigative reporter John Baxter buys a notorious house in the Long Island suburb of Amityville, N.Y., in an attempt to prove that stories about its being inhabited by demons are fraudulent. But soon his daughter, Susan, and her friend Lisa are experiencing inexplicable terrors, while his estranged wife, Nancy, and supernatural expert Elliot West fear that the evil has begun to spread outside the house’s walls.

Now we’re getting into the portion of the list with the films I’ll most likely watch again at some point. While 3-D is no masterpiece, it is an about average haunted house flick. The premise is interesting enough, and the cast is solid. It was nice seeing Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan in some early roles. I didn’t watch the film in true 3D, so I can’t comment on that particular gimmick. One thing I really liked here was the demon toward the end, which bared a striking resemblance to the C.H.U.D. I love those 80’s practical effects.

IMDb rating: 4/10

My rating: 5.5/10

3. Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1989)

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A widow and her three children move in with her mother, putting them at the mercy of an evil force.

This one was a pleasant surprise. I can’t remember if I have seen this previously or not, but I really enjoyed it. Sure, the idea that the evil from the Amityville house was transmigrated into a lamp, then subsequently unleashed in a new house while the lamp was in use is a tad silly, but it ended up being an above average haunted house movie. Strong performances by Patty Duke and Jane Wyatt helped make this flick effective. It was easy to put this in the top 3, and it is definitely one that I will revisit at some point in the future.

IMDb rating: 4.3/10

My rating: 7/10

2. Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

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Soon after the Montelli family buys a house in the Long Island suburb of Amityville, unsettling events begin to occur. Mysterious demons seem to infest the house, preying on abusive father Anthony and ferociously religious mother Dolores, who calls on family priest Father Adamsky for an exorcism. Teenage Sonny is drawn furthest into madness, abusing his younger sister, Patricia, and eventually exploding in a horrific fury.

I’m not going to go into tremendous detail here, as I have already written on this film extensively. I’ll just say that I love it, and that it is probably my favorite horror sequel. If you want to read my review, you can do so here.

IMDb rating: 5.5/10

My rating: 8.5/10

1. The Amityville Horror (1979)

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Chiller about a family who are terrorized by supernatural forces when they move into a new house in New York State which was the scene of a recent mass killing. When swarms of flies appear from nowhere and the pipes and walls begin to ooze slime and blood, they call on a local priest to exorcise the evil spirits.

There’s not much that needs to be said regarding the original movie. In my opinion, it is the quintessential haunted house movie. Terrifying from beginning to end, with horrific scares and incredible performances by Margot Kidder and James Brolin. Whether it’s a hoax or not isn’t really the point, the story of the Lutz family is nothing short of horror gold.

IMDb rating: 6.2/10

My rating: 9.5/10

So there ya have it. The first wave of Amityville related cinema ranked. While some of these movies are pretty bad, overall I had a fun time revisiting them. The Amityville story is one of my all time favorites, and it’s cool to have a few movies that I can go to from time to time. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll muster up the courage to watch the second wave of movies and rank them (2005-2019). Although I have a feeling that experience would be more horrifying than anything George and Kathy Lutz experienced…

 

 

About Chuck Ransford 79 Articles
Ah now for the one thing everyone loathes...writing about themselves! Well for starters, my name is Chuck, and I am a south Jersey transplant living in Amish country. I’ve been a horror fan since 5th grade, about 16 years ago. My horror fandom started when I got my hands on a copy of Jay Anson’s novel The Amityville Horror. The book terrified me, and I knew I just had to watch the movie. An older cousin of mine had a copy of it, and that was the genesis of my obsession with the genre. Over the years I have expressed my horror fandom in many ways. Since about 2005 I have been regularly attending horror conventions. These have been great ways to amass collectibles, movies, and to meet some of my favorite celebrities. My best friend Mike and I used to run our own horror blog years ago, and we also dabbled in script writing. I am looking forward to going back to writing about horror, something I’ve always loved. When I’m not working (I work at PNC Bank), my non-horror interests are studying theology and economics, watching Japanese tokusatsu, and doing play-by-play commentary for professional wrestling. I’m also a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and singing in a Barbershop quartet. Oh, and I’m probably the biggest fan of the Golden Girls you’ll ever meet. My top 5 horror flicks (definitely subject to change): 1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) 2. Basket Case (1982) 3. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 4. The Beyond (1981) 5. Dawn of the Dead (1978)