Amityville 3-D (1983, aka Amityville 3: The Demon)

Amityville 3-D (1983, aka Amityville 3: The Demon)Synopsis:

The infamous Long Island house is now occupied by a group of phony clairvoyants. They make a living doing faux seances. Once they are exposed, the house is quickly put on the market and it is bought by ace reporter for a yellow magazine John Baxter (Tony Roberts, Annie Hall), the man responsible for unmasking the scammers. Baxter is convinced there is no such thing as a haunted-house. It doesn’t take long before Baxter realizes that the house is indeed haunted.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Hey, I know I’m in the minority, but I really liked Amityville 3-D (the flat version was retitled Amityville 3: The Demon); it’s my favorite film of the series. Issues with the silly ending, and cheesy 3-D effects, notwithstanding, Amityville 3-D, directed by Richard Fleischer, is suspenseful, believable and goodly entertaining. I enjoyed the way writer William Wales has fun with well-known horror film clichés. It doesn’t feel like a mere rehash of the previous films either. The old chestnut gets a new coat of varnish.

Veteran filmmaker Fleischer’s (Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Fantastic Voyage) work is simple and efficient. Roberts is very good as a skeptic who gradually accepts the possibility that ghosts do exist. Tess Harper (Tender Mercies) plays Roberts’s unsuspecting wife. Candy Clark (American Graffiti) has a small role as Roberts’s co-worker. Lori Loughlin (TV’s Full House) plays Roberts’s teen daughter. Pre-stardom Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally) appears in a supporting role.

Lalo Schifrin’s chilling score is sorely missed, but composer Howard Blake’s new score is an acceptable substitute. The shots intended for 3-D are not too distracting.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

While the FX-laden finale seems to belong in another film, Amityville 3-D (1983, aka Amityville 3: The Demon) is a nice haunted-house film that fans of these types of movies will enjoy. Even without the 3-D glasses, the third chapter is fun – it’s the best of the sequels. Color, 93 minutes, Rated PG.

Followed by Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

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