The Amityville Horror
by Charlie Spitzner
I’m convinced that The Amityville Horror franchise has only endured these past 30 plus years because of the eponymous legend it’s based on. That namesake is up there in the higher echelons of horror, maybe not next to icons like Jason or Leatherface, but standing alongside or above (sort of) reputable namesakes like Pinhead and Chucky. Simply put: EVERYONE knows about the legend of the Amityville horror. Even if they don’t know any details of the legend, they most certainly know the name. However, unlike the aforementioned figures lining the Horror Hall of Fame, I can’t see why the Amityville Horror deserves to be in there with them. The original is just a haunted house movie; a good haunted house movie mind you, but nothing that deserves to be mentioned or resurrected today.
It’s a decent enough film, nothing too special- but then why has the concept been revisited and revived 10 TIMES. Yes, 10! That’s more movies than the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise, more than the Halloween franchise (if you discount Halloween 3, like so many people do), more than Hellraiser franchise, more than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise–all series that have been thoroughly beaten into the ground. Sure, all of those movies had ridiculous moments in them, but The Amityville Horror had an entire movie based on the concept of an evil lamp. Do you think I’m making that up? Do you think a human being could even possess the mental capacity required to come up with such an idea?
Unfortunately, the fact that The Amityville Horror is just a famous haunted house is the exact reason why it’s so open to reinterpretation. Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger are all big names and that’s why they sell so well, but they are all locked in their gimmicks: Myers stabs, Voorhees slaughters, and Krueger… more creatively slaughters. A haunted house with a big name can be interpreted in whatever way the creators feel it should. Evil spirits? Sure. Evil lamp? You got it. Ryan Reynolds and jump scares? You’re damn right. Feature film made by the schlock-masters at The Asylum? Just try and stop them. The Amityville Horror can be remade a hundred times, redone and outfitted with whatever modern horror tropes happen to be at the moment, and there’s not a damn thing we can do to stop it.
by Nick Batson
I was never one for cult films until I saw The Evil Dead my freshman year of college. It was my first love, the first film I truly felt that I could call my own. Last year when I heard a remake was in production, I was quite distraught. Despite my peers raving about the film, I never saw it in theatres.
But then one lazy summer afternoon I reluctantly decided to watch the remake. I was instantly surprised at how well Fede Alvarez was able to keep the same cinematic themes from the original intact. I’m sure having the film’s original creator, Sam Raimi, and star Bruce Campbell as executive producers played a lot into this. I was expecting a lowbrow teen-scream movie, and what I saw was anything but.
In the original film, Raimi ensures that viewers stay on the edge of their seats for the entire duration of the film, and this was preserved in the remake.
The remake also begins with a prequel, shedding some light on how the evil book which caused so many problems in the original came to be.
The remake pays several homages to the original, for example in one of the opening scenes, Mia (Jane Levy) can be seen sitting on the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 from the original film, left covered in vegetation from what one can assume is years sitting in the wilderness. In a connection to the Evil Dead II, David (Shiloh Fernandez) is seen assembling a defibrillator in the same quick shot montage Ash (Bruce Campbell) used to assemble the iconic chain saw.
The remake used 70,000 gallons of fake blood, showing that Alvarez wasn’t afraid to make his vision as gory as the original.
As great as the remake was, nothing can beat the original. But for any hardcore Evil Dead fans out there, be sure to watch all of the credits, because after them Bruce Campbell makes a short appearance to end the film.
by John Fischer
Hollywood has finally figured it out. In the last few years, horror movie remakes (Halloween and Friday the 13th to name a few) have been, shall we say, flawed. Yeah, that’s a nice way of putting it. But Carrie might just be the end to that unfortunate tradition.
For those of you who have never read the book or seen the movie, Carrie White (played by Chloe Moretz in this film and Sissy Spacek in 1976) is a socially awkward teen who is ridiculed by her peers and abused at home by her deranged mother, a religious fanatic. Realizing she possesses telekinetic abilities, the film watches as Carrie takes steps to control them, only for this to be cut short at prom when a prank involving a bucket of pig’s blood sends her on a path of destruction that costs her classmates their lives.
The remake differs from the original in that it falls more in line with the plot of the novel, including scenarios such as Carrie’s birth and Sue Snell’s pregnancy, which were cut from Brian De Palme’s 1976 version. Director Kimberly Peirce presents the film in the form of a narrative while the 1976 flick depicted the story on an event-by-event basis. Peirce also provides a more modern day setting, which indirectly increases Carrie’s humiliation through the use of phone cameras and social networking.
All in all, the film is mind-blowing and disturbing thriller, providing a deeper sense and understanding of the fragile teenage psyche, and how pushing someone to the edge comes with unforeseen, and in this case, sometime deadly consequences. Carrie also does not fall into the trap of outshining the original, a feat which many horror remakes try and fail miserably to do.