Oct 052013

The Amityville Horror Trilogy set released by Shout Factory has one semi-classic movie, a serviceable sequel and a third movie that is downright silly. The set also has a good amount of features to keep you occupied and the first two movies have good audio/video transfers while the third, at least the video, was awful.



The Amityville Horror Trilogy (1979-83)


Genre(s): Horror
Shout Factory | R/PG – 316 min. – $69.97 | October 1, 2013

Directed by:
Stuart Rosenberg
Writer(s): Jay Anson (book); Sandor Stern (screenplay)
Cast: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Murray Hamilton

Theatrical Release Date: July 27, 1979

Directed by:
Damiano Damiani
Writer(s): Han Holzer (book); Tommy Lee Wallace (screenplay)
Cast: James Olson, Burt Young, Rutanya Alda, Andrew Prine, Jack Magner, Diane Franklin

Theatrical Release Date: September 24, 1982

Directed by:
Richard Fleischer
Writer(s): William Wales (written by)|
Cast: Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Robert Joy, Candy Clark

Theatrical Release Date: November 18, 1983

Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Interviews, Theatrical Trailers
Number of Discs: 3

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA Mono)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85, 1.78, 2.35
Subtitles: English
Disc Size: 40.4 GB (Amityville Horror), 42.4 GB (Amityville II), 28.3 GB (Amityville 3-D)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

THE MOVIE – 2.25/5

The Amityville Horror (1979) — 3.5/5
Plot Outline:
For George (JAMES BROLIN) and Kathy Lutz (MARGOT KIDDER), the colonial house on the river’s edge seemed ideal: quaint, spacious and amazingly affordable. Of course, six brutal murders had taken place there just a year before, but houses don’t have memories…or do they? Soon the Lutz dream house becomes a hellish nightmare, as walls begin to drip blood and satanic forces threaten to destroy them. Now the family must try to escape or forfeit their lives – and their souls!

Amityville II: The Possession (1982) — 2.25/5
Plot Outline:
Although the Montellis – father Anthony (BURT YOUNG), mother Dolores (RUTANYA ALDA), older son Sonny (JACK MAGNER), older daughter Patricia (DIANE FRANKLIN) and younger kids Jan and Mark (ERIKA and BRENT KATZ) – are not exactly the “perfect family,” at least they’ve found the perfect home. And even though a liquid that looks a lot like blood starts gushing from the kitchen faucet and every window has been nailed shut, it still qualifies as their dream house – until all hell breaks loose! A local priest (JAMES OLSON) tries to rid the house of unclean spirits, but what he doesn’t yet suspect is that teenage son Sonny has been possessed by a murderous demon hell-bent on total destruction.

Amityville 3-D (1983) — 1.0/5
Plot Outline:
To debunk the Amityville house’s infamous reputation and take advantage of a rock-bottom asking price, skeptical journalist John Baxter (TONY ROBERTS) buys the place and settles in to write his first novel. But as soon as the ink on the deal has dried, people who have come into contact with him – and the house – begin to meet with a shocking fate. It is coincidence…or is this house really the gateway to hell?


Each film comes in its own Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip case.

The Amityville Horror (1979) — 3.5/5
Audio Commentary
– Dr. Hanz Holzer, a parapsychologist, and whose book the second movie was based upon, offers his thoughts on the movie and the real life case, though he apparently recounts rumor that were proven false. Still, it’s not a bad track, but I would’ve preferred hearing from somebody on the production or the cast.

“For God’s Sake, Get Out!” (21:34; HD) is a retrospective interviews with James Brolin and Margot Kidder discussing their time working on the film.

Haunted Melodies with Lalo Schifrin (9:56; HD) examines the score with an interview with the composer.

The disc also includes the Original Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot (3:29; SD), Original Amityville Horror Radio Spots (3:39; HD) and a Stills Gallery.

Amityville II: The Possession (1982) — 4.0/5
Audio Commentary
finds Alexandra Holzer, daughter of Dr. Hanz Holzer, further commenting on the movie and its origins.

The Possession of Damiani (6:08; HD) is an interview with director Damiano Damiani about his experience making the movie.

Adapting Amityville (12:27; HD) is an interview with screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace as he explains his process for writing the script.

A Mother’s Burden (14:09; HD) has actress Rutanya Alda talking about her time working on the film.

Family Matters (13:39; HD) is another interview, this time with Diane Franklin who played the teenage daughter.

Father Tom’s Memories (3:43; HD) has actor Andrew Pine speak about his character.

Continuing the Hunt (28:46; HD) – This is a pretty expansive interview Alexandra Holzer continuing talking about the story.

Last up are some Trailers (3:13; HD) and a Stills Gallery.

Amityville 3-D (1983) — 1.5/5
A Chilly Reception (9:46; HD)
is an interview with Actress Candy Clark.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer (0:39; HD) and another Stills Gallery.

VIDEO – 3.0/5

The Amityville Horror (1979) — 3.75/5
The 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio transfer comes presented in 1080p high-definition and outside of many instances of dust marks and scratches, actually doesn’t look too bad. The detail levels are nice and the colors appear well balanced from the lighter, daylight scenes to the nighttime shots where the flaws are more noticeable.

Amityville II: The Possession (1982) — 3.75/5
Much like the first film, this sequel, presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio, looks pretty much the same but also has many instances of dust, scratches and odd rings at least in one scene. Again, the details are nice and colors balanced.

Amityville 3-D (1983) — 1.5/5 (2D), 1.75/5 (3D)
This transfer, shown in 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, is pretty bad through and through. The picture is just soft and really out of focus. Colors are also pretty muted while the darker scenes don’t fare much better. I’m sure this is the best it could look yet this is one title that didn’t need to be on Blu-ray.

The 3D version doesn’t fare much better. Although it has been updated for modern 3D televisions and glasses, the depth isn’t there and more or less matches what I’m sure was the old R/B process.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The Amityville Horror (1979) — 4.25/5
The disc comes with both a new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track as well as the original DTS-HD MA Mono track, which I only sampled while playing the majority for the 5.1 channels. The lossless audio sounds really good from clear dialogue in the center channel to Lalo Schifrin’s haunting score making up the front and rear speakers along with the side action.

Amityville II: The Possession (1982) — 4.0/5
On a similar front, the sequel also comes with the choice of 5.1 or 1.0 DTS-HD MA tracks. The lossless audio also sounds clear with strong dialogue levels and once again, Schifrin’s score comes through quite well. I didn’t notice any distortions or dropouts.

Amityville 3-D (1983) — 3.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is probably the only good thing on this disc as the audio has decent depth with the bulk of it coming from the center channel and other elements, such as ambient noise, making the most out of the front and rear speakers.

OVERALL – 3.0/5

Overall, The Amityville Horror Trilogy set released by Shout Factory has one semi-classic movie, a serviceable sequel and a third movie that is downright silly. The set also has a good amount of features to keep you occupied and the first two movies have good audio/video transfers while the third, at least the video, was awful. If you’re a fan of the series, and can get it relatively cheap, it might be worth buying.


The Movieman
Published: 10/05/2013

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