For me the 1970’s should be regarded as the seminal ‘golden age of horror’. There are no doubt many who would disagree, perhaps pointing out the influence and genuine chills of the Universal horror era of the 1930’s & 40’s, or others that would equally extol the virtues of the deliciously horrifying and sexy Hammer movies of the 1960’s. There are many too who would quite confidently (and rightly) suggest that the 1980’s also provide it’s fare share of classic horror with umpteen examples of near-perfectection. In the time honoured tradition of 5D I would not-so-humbly-suggest that they would all be wrong. Very, very, very wrong – and as always I am correct, well that is until somebody takes me to task with a well constructed comment. However, The Wicker Man (1973), Halloween (1978), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), The Exorcist (1973), The Omen (1976), Don’t look now (1973) and Theatre of Blood (1973) are just a mere scratching of the surface of offerings available in that golden 1970’s period. Oh and by the way, as I look at that list, just how bloody good was 1973?! – Holy moly.
At the very end of the decade there came along a film that effortlessly became an instant classic and in the process gave birth to numerous sequels and virtually single-handedly reinvigorated the haunted house sub-genre by inspiring endless copycat storylines that continue to this day. As you may have gathered, I unashamedly adore The Amityville Horror (1979).
For those of you not in the know, The Amityville Horror is based upon the book of the same name written by American author Jay Anson in 1977. The book recounts the story of George and Cathy Lutz who moved into their ‘dreamhome’ in 1975, just one year after the previous owner had shot and killed six members of his family. The story goes that the Lutz family only lasted 28 days in their new home before abandoning the property and telling of terrifying demonic attacks on the family, attacks that seemingly came from the very fabric of the house itself. Having become something of a real-life paranormal phenomena in the mid-1970’s the account of the Lutz’s bad choice of home-buying was ripe for the big screen treatment.
Now I’ve had my own share of bad house choices, but in truth they added up to little more than some rising damp and the need to completely refit the plumbing, electrics and re-plastering of the walls. In The Amityville Horror, George (played by the ever dependable James Brolin) and Kathy (Margot Kidder) beginning to slowly experience all manner of distinctly unsettling events; a freezing cold house, voices in the walls and swarms of flies in the attic are just a few of the creepy delights that begin to suggest that there may be some sort of demonic presence involved – and this is one pissed of paranormal entity!
My perception has always been that this film, despite doing incredible box office business on its release, has always been viewed as the poor cousin of The Exorcist and other examples of paranormal possession. I would regard this as a mistake, because for a start in my opinion The Exorcist is vastly overrated (puts tin helmet on and waits for the flak to come his way). More importantly The Amityville Horror is quite simply a cleverly crafted piece of cinematic terror, a perfect example of how to almost perfectly increase the tension ever so slowly until the horror well and truly thumps the audience in the solar plexus. The performances from Brolin, Kidder and the legendary Rod Steiger as the priest are uniformally excellent – as is perhaps the finest of all the character performances, that of the house itself. Simply brilliant.
This is not the first time that the film has been released on disc, however I would argue that this is definitely the first time that the film has looked this good. Thanks to Second Sight Films this brand new version is breathtaking both in terms of the rich visual textures brought to life and also in the clarity of soundtrack which now adds even more to the whole chilling experience of the movie.
If all that isn’t enough then there is a veritable overload of interesting extras with brand spanking new interviews and commentaries. Take a look at the following;
BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE:
‘Brolin Thunder’ – A new interview with actor James Brolin
‘Child’s Play’ – A new interview with actor Meeno Peluce
‘Amityville Scribe’ – A new interview with screenwriter Sandor Stern
‘The Devil’s Music’ – A new interview with soundtrack composer Lalo Schifrin
‘My Amityville Horror’ – feature-length documentary with Daniel Lutz
‘For God’s Sake, Get Out’ – featuring James Brolin and Margot Kidder
Intro by Dr. Hans Holzer, PhD. in parapsychology (author of ‘Murder in Amityville’)
Audio commentary by Dr. Hans Holzer
Original trailer, TV spot, radio spots
Four reproduction lobby card postcards (SteelBook Exclusive)
New optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Title: The AmItyville Horror Limited Edition Steelbook Release Date: 26 June 2017
Cat.No. Blu-ray: 2NDBR4067 RRP: £22.99
Cert: 15 Running Time: 117 mins. approx.
The Amityville Horror received its first ever UK Blu-ray release in a limited edition Steelbook courtesy of Second Sight on 26th June. 5D is delighted to have been sent by the lovely people at Second Sight Films one of the glorious SteelBook Blu-ray editions that contains a mouth watering selection of tasty extras including brand new interviews and commentaries from cast and crew. If that wasn’t enough there are 4 reproduction lobby card postcards exclusive to the SteelBook.
For the chance to win this beautiful edition of an all-time great horror film just answer this question;
What are the names of the actors played the lead characters of George & Kathy Lutz?
Just go to the competition section of this website to submit your entry. The competition closes on the 7th July.