Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Haunted House Film, Supernatural Horror  |   Release Date - Sep 24, 1982 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - Mexico , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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One of the strangest sequels in horror film history, Amityville II: The Possession is a wildly disturbing and over-the-top retelling of the original DeFeo murders that occurred in the infamous Long Island house in 1974. The first thing to notice is that it's very obviously set in the 1980s, complete with '80s automobiles and demonic walkmans. The second thing that'll catch one's eye is the severely dysfunctional family, headed by Burt Young (Paulie from the Rocky series) as the crazy abusive dad in a household of overacting dimwits that includes a neurotic mother, two cornball child actors as the kids whose idea of fun is putting plastic bags over their heads (followed by the "just kidding!" line), plus a messed-up twentysomething-year-old son and his near-nubile younger sister, played by Diane Franklin (Monique from Better Off Dead). Directed by Italian maestro Damiano Damiani from a script by John Carpenter alumni Tommy Lee Wallace, the sequel is a hoot of a horror film that pulls no punches with the blood and black goo, yet still manages to be an outrageous slice of schlock cinema that confounds its viewers at every step. Whether it's the extravagant Evil Dead-style camerawork or the shocking scenes of incest and bloody murder, the film would be reprehensible if not for the campy performances and utter disrespect for the real-life story. By the time the movie skids into a blatant and hysterical Exorcist rip-off mode in the third act, either the tortured viewer is ready for anything the flick's got to dish out or they've already tuned out. With an uncredited rewrite by Dardano Sacchetti (another Italian veteran who has collaborated with Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento!), Amityville II is known in some circles as a near-masterpiece that was reportedly an inspiration for Ringu and, subsequently, most of the J-horror fad. Whatever camp one finds themselves in, there's no doubt that by the time the house literally blows up at the end, the audience's mind has been as well. Severely overlooked for too many years, The Possession eclipses the original in guts, gore, and downright shocking material that somehow through the years has gelled into one ridiculously fun time at the movies.