Amityville Horror is undoubtedly the classic in this pack, and whilst it is not up to the scare quotient of the other two, or even some of the others not in this pack, it is quite a watch if you have also read the book by Jay Anson. The opening scene setters are quite noteworthy in that the principal from BACK TO THE FUTURE is in these.
Some Notes about the film:
The visual transfer is excellent. The only time it breaks up is during the bikeride by george where the visual breakup ( bad film stock??) is quite evident.
Other ghostly forces affecting Kathleen are not articulated well in the film per se, however, the new audio mix allows for sub woofer tones that are very ominous.
When the demonic eyes appear, the audio is superlative.
In this remix ( ?? apparent remix... anyways the audio is crystal) Rod Steigers voice is clearer when done through Helen Shaver.
The visual clarity shows up in the FX shots like the Axe Attack against Kathleen, where a dummy head is very clearly split; There is a very clean shot of Jody, as opposed to the previous DVD transfers. Also the Age makeup is very clear on Kathleen.
In the climactic sequence, there is an amazing improvement in the clarity of the audio, makes for a superb experience in 5.1
HOLZERS COMMENTS: Covers lots oF ground. Holzers comments are very enlightening about a great deal, and should be listened to for material about AMITYVILLE HORROR as well as the extras disc. Also, Holzer denies some details about The AMITYVILLE HORROR 2005. In talking about Holzers writing, he says "I write everything except Big Cheques".
Also, James Brolin has a great line with "We make the best movies in our head".
Great extras... good radio spots as well.
AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION
Based on the book by Hans Holzer "MURDER IN AMITYVILLE": so you have to take this with a grain of salt, since it can mean anything from "we faithfully stuck to the books story", to " we threw the books narrative away and kept the title". Anyways, the books is alleged to be a prequel. The key thing from Holzers standpoint is at least by the time Jay Ansons book is out, Holzers calims to have the reason why the events occurred... listen to Holzers commentary on the first film, and all is explained.
This film has a very horror based line, right from the arm in the brickwork scene right up to the sequences and set pieces after sonny is possessed, so many cliches, but I must admit to thoroughly enjoying the film. In the final scenes, the possesed sonny Morph looks like the same type of morph sequence in CAMERONS CLOSET. Also note... The Warren's are listed as demonology advisors in the film credits.
No Extras, and it really needed that.
Brilliant Sound. The Great Transfer shows all the subtle FX. Some shots are clearly done for 3D set pieces. There are some very good FX shots for the period. In at least one Scene, wires are very clearly visible... a shortcoming in clean ups of this period, since they could have done some digital wire removal.
The House is destroyed at the end of the movie... kind of odd. The 3D transfer has some "fudge" areas, however there are lots of movement for a 3D film... some amazing places that this story could go if you based it more solidly on Holzers work.
The Fourth disc is called AMITYVILLE CONFIDENTIAL
Contains 3 sections, two of which are renamed HISTORIES MYSTERIES Shows , and one is a worthless preview of the 2005 film.
The Disc Lists 3 "Exhibits".
A. "AMITYVILLE THE HAUNTING", 40 mins.
Histories Mysteries sreies. Claims that the Site is a Power Spot are put forward. Various explanations are put forward. Ed Warren says an exorcism was done. Hans Holzer comments some more, and basically says the exorcism of the site is to no avail. Overall the show has a broad picture, and is a sort of intro to the Amityville story.
B. AMITYVILLE:HORROR OR HOAX
A HISTORIES MYSTERIES show, 40 mins.
A Fairly detailed investigation. Some Spooky details, some not so spooky details, and an all round mess as a story.
There are some great spook photos, including the man on Horse Picture in front of Holzer; Holzer claims specifically that it is not a haunted house, the grounds are haunted. The Show details factual errors in Jay Ansons' book. In story accounts of this kind, testimonies will almost always vary... I doubt that the factual errors are enough to discredit the book as a whole. The Interview with Jay Anson is very VERY Eerie.
C. ON LOCATION: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
"SNEAK PEAK. What a waste of tape. No wonder the real George Lutz was angry.
OVERALL: Great Box Set. Neat Presentation, good discs. If you would like a good set of books about this area, Read Jay Anson's book as a really neat treat, and Hans Holzers works, whilst a bit fringe, are quite neat. You might be lucky enough to find some Skeptic work on the area... especially the one where a Psychic has a fit out on a lawn and they are miles from the house.
Also, I bought this set in time to redeem the free ticket, but the offer was off the cards well before the expiry date, and I was not happy about it. The movie money groupw that provides these vouchers will be having a number of offers in the next 6 months or so... don't buy this set, or similar ones for the free ticket offer as part of the reason for getting any sets.
[ One reason I waited so long to write a review is that the number of review of box sets done before they have been released, or even before the person has viewed them, is getting out of hand; if you review, at least have watched the disc that are being sold. ]