As mentioned in yesterday's piece on Margot Kidder over at The Film Experience it was the 40th anniversary of The Amityville Horror this past weekend -- as also mentioned in that same piece I re-watched that movie this past weekend and it is dreadfully bad, piss poor, dreckitude. But even in the garbage you can find a treasure or two -- if that wasn't true where would we be as horror movie fans? -- and this movie has its few and far between moments.
Granted they mostly involve James Brolin walking around in tighty-whities or flashbulb eyeballs popping in the darkness, but I have to admit my own eyeballs popped amid the darkness when a frazzled half-possessed Jimmy wandered into the local library stacks -- you know me and my movie shelves. The prominently featured children's fly drawing is a hysterically on point touch...
... since by this point in the film we've already seen the extraordinary power of devil flies unleashed -- they attack a priest, they drive cars off they road, and they even speak!
But frazzled James Brolin isn't there for fly pictures, he's there for books and learnin' dammit, and before you know it he's shoving learnin' right down his tight pants.
On the topic of down the pants -- my main issue with Amityville is it never decides what kind of movie it wants to be. It lives (literally) in the gap between The Exorcist in 1974 and Poltergeist in 1982; it's not really about religion like the former or the suburban family like the latter. It's just sort of a collection of things that happen -- the walls bleed, the windows slam, the dog barks and Margot Kidder wears one leg warmer.
It can't even be sexual properly, which is the movie it needed to be, what with the way it leers at Kidder and occasionally Brolin too -- these are Horny Hot Parents whose sex life keeps getting fucked up by their kids; that's your horror movie, movie! The Amityville Horror tiptoes towards that idea, but it never commits. The flies scream, but they should be fucking.