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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Haunted House > The Amityville Horror (1979/MGM Blu-ray)

The Amityville Horror (1979/MGM Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: C+



We have covered the film and its two theatrically-released sequels in a DVD box set MGM issued a while ago at this link:





American International had one of their biggest hits (before merging with Filmways) with the original Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) version of The Amityville Horror in 1979 that is much better than the remake, yet is not a great film.  Temporarily reinventing the haunted house film, a young couple (James Brolin and Margot Kidder) find a nice house that they like, is cheap and seems perfect for the price, but they’ll pay a higher price when all is over.


Turns out there had been an all-family murder-suicide and now, the whole place is cursed with some evil that no one is yet aware of.  Now the couple will call on the help of a priest (Rod Steiger) and more before they will conquer, leave or simply be destroyed.


When the film arrived, the makers said it was based on a true story, but when it was reveled that this was a big lie, that was the end.  There were still two sequels and a remake, but the hype was dead.  Kubrick’s The Shining (1980, a year later) put the final stake in the heart of this exploitation sham, but the makers were ambitious and it is at least still interesting and worth a look.  The film also stars Murray Hamilton, Don Shroud and John Larch as fellow priests and a pre-Supergirl Helen Shaver in this sometimes amusing romp.



The 1080p AVC @ 17 MBPS digital High Definition image was shot by Director of Photography Fred J. Koenekamp, A.S.C. (Patton, Billy Jack) with an effectiveness that helped make the film a hit and this is a slightly faded print, but you can still see the good work and how the house becomes a character in the way it is shot.  The DTS HS Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix has a score by Lalo Schifrin that also helps the film, but here, the original theatrical mono has not been as upgraded as it should be and sounds poor throughout.  There only extras are trailers for this film and the first installments in the Terminator and Species series.  Guess all want o avoid the controversy about the lying.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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