Amityville 3-D (1983)

amityville3d1

*. 3-D! Oh no! Duck! Here comes the title!
*. I jest. A bit. The thing is, I’ve never seen this movie in 3-D, which means I may be missing a lot. Indeed, I may be missing the whole point of the exercise. A Frisbee comes flying out of the screen, and later a swordfish.
*. As with Friday the 13th Part III and Jaws 3-D, which were both released the same year as this, the 3-D process used was something called ArriVision. This was a process that was supposed to revitalize 3-D, but audiences didn’t like it. It probably didn’t help that the movies were crap.
*. I guess this is a sequel to The Amityville Horror, and its prequel Amityville II: The Possession, though none of the movies seems to inhabit quite the same fictional (or quasi-fictional) universe. This is, for example, the first film to mention the DeFeo family murders. In Amityville II the family is given a different name. And there is no mention of the Lutzes here at all (I think for legal reasons).
*. Why does it always have to be a writer who goes crazy in these haunted houses?
*. Another question: Why the hell does John want to live in such a massive mansion by himself? The Lutzes and the Montellis were married couples with loads of kids, so it made sense. But why would a single man with no kids living with him want, or need, a six-bedroom Dutch Colonial barn? He mentions before buying it that it will give him “plenty of room.” Well I should think so! But plenty of room for what?
*. I found this time out that I was starting to get tired of the house. The franchise as a whole is quite bound by the same basic set. We rarely leave the house, and that basement and that attic get very familiar quickly. Not that the series doesn’t try to get out more often, making the demon’s power remarkably mobile, but this in turn only makes me question what limits that power has.
*. The photos Melanie takes showing the rotting face of the soon-to-be-dead real estate agent are pretty creepy, but it seemed strange to me that nobody was very impressed by them. I don’t think anyone could see pics like that and think there was something wrong with the camera or the film. Though I have to admit, that angry emoji she discovers is pretty darn silly. Maybe the silliest thing in this silly picture.
*. Poor Dr. West. For a paranormal investigator he really didn’t have a clue what he was up against, did he?
*. It’s probably best known today for being what I believe was the feature-film debut of Meg Ryan, but is there any indication here of her later becoming a star? I don’t see anything.
*. There’s the same peculiar sense as in the other two instalments of a movie that isn’t sure what it’s finally about or where it’s going. Even at the end it’s left unclear what happened to Susan, or why. Is she that pathetic-looking orange light effect? As for the well being the gateway to hell, why does it fill with water? Or flames? And what is that stupid-looking, fire-breathing demon? Is that supposed to be the angry Indian?
*. The ending would seem to have driven a stake through any thought of a sequel, but then the house had blown up real good at the end of Amityville II and that didn’t stop them from bringing it back. Instead, it was poor box office that left the franchise dormant (at least for theatrical releases) until the twenty-first century, when all the horror classics from the 1970s and ’80s were remade. Next stop: 2005!

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