AMITYVILLE II:THE POSSESSION
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That Ronald DeFeo Jr. was convicted of murdering his parents and siblings on the night of November 13, 1974 is true. To this day Ronald denies it, and even fields questions from the Internet community at large through his official website at thenightexposed.net/.
But what Jay Anson (THE AMITYVILLE HORROR - 1977) and Hans Holzer (MURDER IN AMITYVILLE - 1979) tried to pass off as truth in the 1970s, remains pure hokum.
Where the first THE AMITYVILLE HORROR was taken from the Jay Anson novel, AMITYVILLE II: POSSESSION, is from the Hans Holzer book, which is about the DeFeo family. In this movie, however, they are not called DeFeo, but Montelli, and Ronny DeFeo is now Sonny. Coming right on the heels of the first AMITYVILLE, this movie is sort of like a slingshot effect. Stretch the story back past where the first story began kinda prequel thing.
We begin in 1974.
The - ahem - Montelli family arrives at their new home. Patriarch Anthony Montelli (Burt Young: CARNIVAL OF BLOOD, HACK!) looks about, disappointed in their new and beautiful mansion of a home in Long Island New York; in a little suburb called Amityville. His wife Dolores (Rutanya Alda: THE FURY, WHEN A STRANGER CALLS , THE STUFF, THE DARK HALF, THE GLASS HOUSE) and daughter Patricia (Diane Franklin: TERROR VISION) see the house and get all excited, singing to each other in glee until Anthony threatens them ("Shaddap afore I raps yez all in da mout!").
The oldest son, Sonny (Jack Magner: FIRESTARTER) shows up and Anthony walks over to the car and starts threatening HIM ("Hey! You want me to rap yez in da mout?"). Basically, Anthony is an unrepetent selfish asshole and Burt Young was picked for this part to basically revise and repeat his role as Paulie from Rocky.
For the longest time, nothing scary happens. Not even anything that should be scary. This is largely due to the family dynamic where Anthony is so damn violent and prone to rage ("You wants I should rap yez all in da mout?") that he's a far greater danger to everyone than any ghosts in the house ("No Papa! Don't rap us all in da mout!").
It's already a freaky Catholic family anyway. There is brother and sister incest (relax, no nudity worth mentioning - a quick nipple shot is hardly worth mentioning unless yer pretty damn desperate), and the almost non-stop rage of Anthony.
Eventually the house starts picking on Anthony specifically and he loses his marbles in no time flat. Which is too bad because by this point we're ready to see the whole family die. Sonny achieves this and then the movie gets to be about what it's really about, the exorcism of the demon within Sonny. Only thing is, we don't care about Sonny or the hammy acting of James Olson (THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN). I grant you, the direction by Damiano Damiani (A STREGA IN AMORE) is no great shakes and he even made Moses Gunn appear awful. Still James Olson had the biggest role here, playing Catholic Priest, Father Adamsky, as a self-appointed exorcist (his church is dead-set against him even trying it. He's not a properly trained one). Olson and Damiani go to the well way too many times with Olson looking directly at the camera and shouting things like "Unclean spirit!"
Not my approach, but I'm more of a "Kill 'em with Kindness" kinda guy. Shouting insults at the demon is not going to make it listen to reason, let alone consider personal hygiene. You can attract more flies with sweet honey that sour vinegar after all - since we are talking about the Amityville Horror House that's an important distinction!
So Father Adamsky tries to convince Police Detective Turner (Moses Gunn: THE NINTH CONFIGURATION, FIRESTARTER) to let him take Sonny out of jail and perform an exorcism.
Sheesh! The plotholes, devices, and stupidity yawn ever wider before this flick is through. The only thing that stops this from being a tiresome TV movie is the flash of nipple and some poorly created gore. That doesn't save it though.
One Shriek Girl.