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Amityville: The Cursed Collection (1989 – 1996) - Blu-ray Review

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Amityville: The Cursed Collection Blu-ray

Objectified horror has found its home!

If you ever find the replicate of the original Amityville house in your garage, but it is pint-sized (as in a dollhouse) leave it the fuck alone.  Don’t touch it.  Don’t bring it into the house.  Burn that fucker to the ground.  Hell, if you ever come in contact with ANYTHING from the original house, you should do the same.  There’s no use in keeping anything from the original structure, whether it is a clock, a mirror, or a goddamn chainsaw.  Get rid of it.  That’s one lesson to learn from Vinegar Syndrome’s 4-movie release of Amityville: The Cursed Collection, now available on blu-ray with brand-new 4K transfers.

"The Cursed Collection in this Amityville-themed release are strictly for completists, but completists of what is the question that needs to be asked"


Look, these movies aren’t the greatest.  You already know that, but - presented here in this collection - there's something to them as a whole that screams why the hell not?! Containing The Evil Escapes, It's About Time, A New Generation, and Dollhouse, Amityville-themed horror has a new home thanks to Vinegar Syndrome.

In the 1990s, during the VHS boom, there was a demand for horror titles and more and more Amityville flicks were high on the desirable list.  They were profitable and, with the original series petering out, it became clear that a new direction was needed to spark this series into new life . . . so why not follow some items taken from the original house?  After all, even George and Kathy Lutz, the owners of 112 Ocean Avenue, claimed that the horror that was in the house followed them from New York to California and ruined a large part of their life together.

As stated earlier, these made-for-television flicks just aren’t that great.  They have their moments, though, even if the scares are few and far between a whole hell of a lot of unintentional laughs.  This set, now remastered in 4K from Vinegar Syndrome, kicks off with The Evil Escapes.  Made in 1989, this flick kicks off the new series thanks to a demonic lamp which shines its light right into the face of a priest who is trying to exorcise the Amityville property.  He is knocked unconscious.

So the property is broken up and sold at a garage sale.  Makes sense.  Directed by Sandor Stern and starring Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt, and Fredric Lehne, Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes is pretty ridiculous, but its efforts to make a lamp a villainous character are applaudable, if not completely laughable.  It’s a good drinking movie . . . which counts for something.

The next movie, Amityville: It’s About Time, concerns itself with a mantle clock that is brought into a new home from the old home.  And, yes, it starts a whole new series of hauntings and random horrors for Jacob Sterling (Stephen Macht) and his two troubled teenagers, Lisa (Megan Ward) and Rusty (Damon Martin).  Interesting enough, it takes only a switch on the clock to make the living room turn into a torture chamber.  Weird.  The weirdness continues until it becomes obvious that time itself must be rewound.  It’s about time, after all, that a nice cameo from Dick Miller.

The third movie in the set, Amityville: A New Generation, is directed by John Murlowski and features a hard turn as both the violence and the sex are cranked up.  We are in a photographer’s studio after all.  This time, though, it is about a mirror that has been rescued from the original home.  But look too deeply into it and hell follows.  It is interesting to note on this one that the effects were done in-camera and produce quite a cool effect as one looks into the mirror.Amityville: The Cursed Collection Blu-ray

Amityville Dollhouse rounds out the collection.  It is concerned with the dollhouse that looks exactly like the original house.  Directed by Steve White and starring Robin Thomas, Allen Cutler, Lenore Kasdorf, and Lisa Robin Kelly, this one has cool zombies and dead dads at war with the living, making it completely over the top and absolutely hysterical that some are really going to get a kick out of.

The Cursed Collection in this Amityville-themed release are strictly for completists, but completists of what is the question that needs to be asked.  They aren’t really connected to the original series.  Sure, there are loose threads that they try to string together – with shots of the original house and so on – but the horror element here is desperate at best.  Designed to make money, its questionable if they even did that.  The director of the final film in the series, Dollhouse, claims he was never paid because the film went over budget. 

From Vinegar Syndrome, Amityville: The Cursed Collection is unique in that it is the first time the company has released a set and the art is pretty cool, too.  Collector’s will want this, but the films just aren’t that memorable.

3/5 beers

Amityville: The Cursed Collection Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- October 29, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Four films.  One house.  And a California connection.  Wait.  What?  Vinegar Syndrome’s first blu-ray box set is for completists only, but their work here is to be commended.  The 4K transfers are clean.  The sound is solid.  And the special features are pretty cool, too.  This limited edition and painstakingly crafted boxset (designed by Earl Kessler Jr.) is limited to 4,000 units and is only available at VinegarSyndrome.com.

Video:

This restoration is mined from the original camera negative and the results are glorious.  The greens in the are crisp and the rocks are sharp.  The details are scrumptious both in and surrounding the California houses included here.  Black levels are strong throughout, too.  Colors are bolder and brighter than ever before and the gore is deeper in hues, too.  The details are clear and well-defined.  There's a bit of softness to the image but this is more due to the style of the time period than the result of noise reduction.  Skin and clothing textures are perfectly saturated.  Creature makeup is slimy and textures are insanely detailed, showing off great creature designs.  These transfers are sure to please fans.

Audio:

A DTS-HD audio mix is included for all the films.  Dialogue is clean and the haunting sounds of the horror houses are pretty cool.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features.

Special Features:

The breakdown on the films featured in this collection are as follows:

THE EVIL ESCAPES:

  • Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
  • “The Return to Amityville” - video interview with director Sandor Stern
  • “Televised Terror” - video interview with cinematographer Tom Richmond
  • Reversible cover artwork

IT'S ABOUT TIME:

  • Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
  • “Time Pieces” - video interview with director Tony Randel
  • “Clockwork” - video interview with producer Chris DeFaria
  • Reversible cover artwork

A NEW GENERATION:

  • Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
  • Audio commentary with director John Murlowski, moderated by Elijah Drenner
  • “Through the Looking Glass” - video interview with director John Murlowski
  • “Malevolent Reflections” - video interview with producer Christopher DeFaria
  • Reversible cover artwork

DOLLHOUSE:

  • Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
  • “Welcome to The Dollhouse” - video interview with director Steve White
  • “Jump Into the Fire” - video interview with cinematographer Tom Callaway
  • “Demons in The Dollhouse” - video interview with special effects artist Roy Knyrim
  • Reversible cover artwork

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Amityville: The Cursed Collection

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