Plot: George (James Brolin) and his wife Kathy (Margot Kidder) are newlyweds and have just landed their dream home, at an almost too good to be true price as well. But the reason for the low price is because no one in the area is interested in the house, even at rock bottom costs. A multiple murder took place inside the house and some claim that there was a supernatural element involved. But George, Kathy, and her three children move in with high hopes of a new life together. Soon however, some odd things start to happen around the house, at first just small things like unexplained noises or cold spots, but things slowly escalate. Anyone who comes into the place seems to be creeped out, to the point that a priest is brought in to bless the house, only to be driven out by hordes of aggressive flies. But George seems to be the most impacted by the house’s quirks, as he slowly slides in some kind of twisted madness. But is there a paranormal force in the house and if so, will this once loving family suffer the same dark fate as the previous residents?
Entertainment Value: This one is based on the infamous Amityville haunted house, a story no one believes, but it did launch a massive series of movies, books, and even documentaries. The Amityville Horror is pure camp, an overly serious, but endlessly hilarious haunted house tale that makes no sense and never makes even a minor effort to do so. George descends into a hellish state soon after he moves in, but no one seems to notice his ghoulish presence or outlandish outbursts, despite the fact that he looks like an absolute zombie at some points. He proves to be the best part of the movie, as James Brolin delivers an outrageous performance and is insanely fun to watch, as he dials up the camp here. Rod Steiger also hams it up quite a bit, but Brolin is just off the deep end and his antics are the highlight of the movie. Margot Kidder is also odd in her role, but not as memorable as the others. George’s unnoticed behavior is just one strange thread however, as we also have people who appear, then vanish never to be heard from again and Kathy is likely the most oblivious person to ever exist. As a serious horror movie, this one tanks hard, but as a ridiculous melodrama fueled by Brolin’s balls out mayhem, it is a fun watch.
An ever so brief nipple shot sneaks in, but it is so quick and passive, I don’t think it deserves a full point here. A tiny amount of blood is seen, when a woman is slapped and when a boy’s hand is smashed by a window dropping shut. These are both minor and non graphic instances, so minimal bloodshed is involved. But we do have some gross black sludge flowing out of the toilets, which is fun. The dialogue is overly serious and terrible, but some of the cast members offer nuclear melodrama, which makes it much more fun. Brolin is hilarious and his interactions with others are memorable, especially his arguments with Kidder and anyone else who dares to call him into question. His emotional outbursts are fun as well. Steiger goes over the top in his work too, while Kidder just seems braindead thanks to the lousy script and a mostly lifeless, oblivious performance. On the craziness scale, we have Brolin’s utter madness, the ludicrous plot turns, the least frightening demon maybe ever, and of course, Rod Steiger battling hordes of flies.
Overall Insanity: 5/10