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John’s Horror Corner: Amityville Horror 4: The Evil Escapes (1989), yet another Amityville Horror movie, this time continuing the story with a hideous cursed lamp.

July 30, 2022

MY CALL: Sorry, but this movie is little more than yet another boring slog lamely continuing the Amityville curse story. The effects are even more soporific than the story. MORE MOVIES LIKE Amityville: The Evil Escapes: Uhhhhhh, stick to Amityville II: The Possession (1982) and wander no further in terms of franchise sequels. Part II has all the dumb fun you’re looking for with great pacing, but Amityville 3-D (1983) is a boring slog. I haven’t yet seen Amityville Curse (1990), but it comes next in this sequence of non-sequels.

After the slaughter of now two different families and then a botched paranormal investigation transpired in the Amityville house built over the Native American burial ground, the “FOR SALE” sign is up yet again in front of the Amityville house that, for some reason, still hasn’t been burned to the ground. Instead of a few barrels of kerosene, the film opens with a team of priests arriving to exorcize the haunted house. We’ve clearly learned by now that two priests often just aren’t sufficient. The scene is a clunky maelstrom of weak haunted house effects as this film’s made-for-TV quality is worn plainly on its sleeve.

Just so we’re clear, this movie does everything in its power to make sure every member of the audience understands that all the evil of the Amityville house has now been channeled into a hideous antique lamp. And since, for some reason, folks saw fit to sell the contents of the most cursed house ever in a yard sale, someone of course buys this eyesore of a cursed lamp and ships it to California. And thus, “the evil escapes.”

Now you might be thinking, hold on, how could the ”evil” escape? Wasn’t the cause of everything in the first movie the angry Native American spirits (angry not evil) whose graves were desecrated by the building of the Amityville house? The answer is yes! But the first sequel decided it was instead some Biblical demon of sorts (for no reason at all) and the second sequel decided a Gateway to Hell was under the house. So now we have a feisty demon on our hands.

After the sudden death of her husband, Nancy (Patty Duke; Valley of the Dolls) brings her kids—Amanda (Zoe Trilling; Night of the Demons 2, The Borrower, Dr. Giggles), Brian and the youngest Jessica—to move in with her mother (Jane Wyatt; Star Trek IV) the very day of the arrival of the lamp.

Not surprisingly, this movie is awful. There’s a possessed chainsaw scene that is nothing short of boring; a garbage disposal scene that, despite the blood and screaming, was incredibly weak and showed nothing worthwhile; a sorry death-by-drowning in pipe sewage; strangulation by animated lamp cord… it’s all cheap and forgettable.

I’m sorry to say that director Sandor Stern (Pin) did not impress me here. In the final 30 minutes—which should arguably be the most exciting portion of the movie—I nodded off twice, clearly not very stimulated. The finale features a priest fighting an inanimate lamp and a floating homicidal child with a kitchen knife. It’s not good… like, at all.

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