Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Amityville Horror

Tonight's movie was the "true story" The Amityville Horror (1979).  I picked up this copy of the book in a thrift store a while back because 1) it's a hoot to read and 2) there's a Scholastic Books logo on it, meaning it was packaged for school kids to buy through their English class.  Elementary school kids.  Because in the seventies, we didn't screw around with "Goosebumbs," we started straight on the hard stuff.

It's... interesting.  As a cultural artifact, it's a nice little piece- were Margot Kidder and James Brolin (Lois Lane and the guy from Marcus Welby!) ever that young?   But watching it after reading the book kills it-you know they're all going to escape at the end, so there's not any real suspense.  In fact the most horrific part a child getting his fingers smashed by a window. (Oddly enough, the Defeo murders are pretty tame compared to an episode of Law and Order).

I also watched the Amityville Horror episdoe of In Search Of... (10.4.79).  It's an even bigger crock of poop than the movie itself (no, I don't buy into the "true story" b.s.) but it does make for a good companion to the movie dealing more with the murders that instigated the events of the movie.

I remember when the remake came out- I was working at a mall bookstore and people came in looking for copies of the book, which at the time was out of print but could be easily found in second hand shops.  I saw the remake in a virtually empty theater and I got caught up in the suspense, up to a point, but I realized I knew how the story ended so I allowed myself to forget about the story and pay attention to something I loved- the sets and props.  And I tell you, the remake is more seventies than the original.