Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Amityville Horror (1979, Stuart Rosenberg)


I haven’t read the book or looked into the story itself, yet regardless The Amityville Horror is a well made and creepy haunted house movie from the golden age of horror. Despite being made at the end of the decade it is still a classic and features many hallmarks of that cinema period. The cast for this is great, too, with James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger and even Murray Hamilton. This helps to sell some of the movie’s more outrageous moments.

I’m reminded of The Omen where the fantastic is based in enough realism for it to be plausible. Brolin and Kidder have good chemistry together and Steiger adds gravitas as the priest who tries to bless their home. I liked how the film used quiet moments to lure the viewer into a false sense of calm, particularly right before some weird or frightening happens.

Even though I feel this movie is a tad dated, I still really liked it. The Amityville Horror is considered one of the essential US horror films for good reason, and it helped to establish numerous genre cliches. I heard that the sequels are insane and this I must see them, too. Oh and I loved the house that was the film’s setting-that massive old thing was a character all on its own.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Car (1977, Elliot Silverstein)


Elliot Silverstein’s The Car is both a demonic presence movie and a Jaws ripoff all in one marvelous, campy package. The opening death scenes are well done, and the car itself is an evil force bearing down upon the unlucky small town it decided to roll into. James Brolin is the local hero desperately trying to save people from a four wheeled menace that doesn’t have a driver and seems to have the world’s greatest gas mileage.

Kathleen Lloyd and Ronny Cox also star, and I wonder if this movie inspired Stephen King to write Christine. One car kill is both shocking and really well done, and the final act is pretty entertaining. If you are looking for a solid entry in the killer car genre, then The Car is a worthy choice. I can see why this was one of the 1970s horror movies to be restored by Anchor Bay and also by Scream Factory.

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