Mar 13, 2012


Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis.

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.

After a highly-publicized series of bizarre encounters that the Lutz family of Deer Park, New York, allegedly experienced during the early 70s, it was only a matter of time before their debacle was made into a high-profile Hollywood film.

The Amityville Horror, starring a heavily-bearded James Brolin, a soon-to-be-crazy Margot Kidder, and the all-around loveable Rod Steiger, assaulted audiences in 1979. The movie contained terrifying scenes of buzzing flies, glowing-eyed ghost pigs, and multiple takes of James Brolin chopping wood and shivering. That's...about it. The movie that people now hail as a classic, frankly, is pretty fucking stupid. It’s quite boring, and for long periods of time, nothing happens, but it’s a premise that has somehow stretched on for eight films and one remake.

For years, debates between the former owners (now deceased), ghost hunters, lawyers, and occultists have long debated over the facts of this case. Did the Lutzes truly experience these ghostly happenings they had claimed, or did they overly-sensationalize a boring house that they realized far-too-late was well out of their budgetary means? The "was it/wasn't it?" debate to this day remains more interesting than any of the films it inspired.

Speaking of uninteresting, this particular installment was the first to introduce the idea that all future "plots" didn't have to involve the infamous house at all; instead, various objects acquired from the house itself could be the reason for the bumps in the night. What sort of objects, you ask? Oh, I dunno... perhaps a stupid lamp.

- "Ugh, there's a demon in it. Let's take a ride so I can return it."
- "Where to?"
- "IKEA."
- "Fuck that. Just keep it."

Our story begins with carloads of priests pulling up in front of 112 Ocean Avenue, the mailing address for TERROR. As three priests wander through the house with their arsenal of crucifixes and holy water-flingers, attempting to purge the evil from the house, it's okay for you to laugh as you remember this house was blown to bits at the end of the previous Amityville film. They walk through the house as shutters bang, doors open and close, chandeliers swing, and blood drips from the wall. While Father Kibbler dodges flung rocking chairs, Father Manfred deals with a wacko-jacko kitchen chock-full of flaming stove tops and banging cabinets...for the house is haunted by the spirit of Kevin McCallister.

As Father Manfred takes over Father Kibbler’s station and purges the evil, we see a small bulge pop from the plug of some unseen household device, which travels up and up the cord until blowing its evil load in...a lamp.

A cloud of really mean flies come and knock over a priest, so they all flee. Despite this, they believe they've exorcised the house of its evil, anyway.

Speaking of evil, Patty Duke's in this movie.

"I'm sorry, son. I didn't mean it when I called you Blockhead.
Now take your blocks upstairs, Blockhead."

Now that the house has been cleansed of all evil, the priests decide to have a random yard sale of the house’s content, since they own all the stuff...right?

Say, I have a question: who the frig is going to buy junk from a place that once housed a brutal mass murder, various supernatural instances, and a vortex? Helen Peacock, that's who.

Yes, that's right, the nearby community that grew more and more terrified of the house from hell over the years now paw eagerly through its contents like beavers looking for…oh, say, delicious beaver candy that beavers eat.

So, Helen Peacock—

“Wait, stop. Her name is Peacock? Who wrote this movie, Parker Bros.?”

Well, though they're referred to as Leacock during the movie, the DVD I very temporarily owned called the family the 'Peacocks' in the summary, so 'Peacock' it shall be for me because that lends me joy.

Helen Peacock eagerly ponies up $100 for The Lamp, which had bore witness to a long list of atrocities, and crates it off to her sister, Alice, in California. Also, she cuts her finger on The Lamp, which gets infected with whatever - Hell, maybe - and she dies.

Score 1 for The Lamp.

Granny Alice receives The Lamp at the exact same moment that her daughter and grandkids come to live with her after the death of their husband/father/plot device. So, luckily, all of The Lamp’s trouble-making bullshit antics can be easily blamed on her three stupid grandchildren.

And The Lamp? Well, it’s an asshole. For serious. And it’s also hideous. It's a bronze tree with two arm things, and it contains one large non-shaded bulb which may or may not contain a demon troll from Ernest Scared Stupid.

The Lamp has hobbies, like making Nancy’s young son, Blockhead, pick up a chainsaw and thrash him around the fruit cellar as he inadvertently slices and dices Granny Alice’s precious jams and preserves.

The Stupid Fat Blockhead Kid Massacre

Or it will shove Granny Alice’s pet parakeet into the toaster oven. (And Granny Alice even goes so far as to blame herself for her pet bird ending up brown and toasty, insinuating that the bird opened its own cage [using its hands], set the toaster dial to crispy [using its hands and previously existing knowledge of kitchen appliances], opened and then shut the oven hatch behind it. However, that idea lasts for about two shakes before she begins to suspect that maybe it was one of her evil grandchildren performing all these random acts of "horror" that so far have not even surpassed the level of a mean-spirited camp prank.)

The Lamp oozes a sort of magical black goo - magical because it possesses the ability to get in a girl's mouth, or kill a plumber.

Speaking of that plumber, after he gets slapped in the face by a rubber hand and drowns in the goo, The Lamp spirits promptly drive his van away as Granny Alice looks on, clearly being able to see that no one is driving. It's a good thing she doesn't care. I don't, either, believe me.

Billy was really sore that he had been grounded,
so he figured he would let Mom know that.

Nancy’s youngest daughter, Annoying Brat, continuously upsets the family as she speaks to The Lamp, insisting it contains the spirit of her dead father. In fact, the family is so upset about the loss of their husband/family that he isn’t mentioned a single time outside of a brief “why they had to move out” exposition (bad debt).

As The Lamp begins to take control of the Annoying Brat, she begins to go “crazy” and smile wickedly as if she could somehow pull off being threatening instead of simply irritating. At one point in the movie, the housekeeper is strangled by The Lamp's Haunted Power Cord of Doom, relegating everyone else to ask the little girl where she is over and over. And the annoying brat just smiles in her annoyingly evil manner and tells everyone that she’s “gone home.” She's so - in fact, wait. Stop. Fucking look at this:

Get your slapping hand ready.

After some tedious lolly-gagging, there is a brief moment when the family is separated, so Annoying Brat runs up the stairs to the attic, where The Lamp now resides. The door slams shut behind her and she fucks The Lamp.

No, I’m kidding.

I guess The Lamp is trying to possess her or kill her or whatever the TV was trying to do to Carol-Anne in Poltergeist, because this film is clearly trying to rip off the other.

Father Kibbler, who has attempted to contact Nancy several times during the movie to warn her of The Lamp’s evil intentions (haha, that's weird), performs a half-assed exorcism on The Lamp. And when that doesn’t work, he does what I’m sure tens of people were shouting at their televisions when this movie premiered years ago:

“Throw the fucking thing out the window.”

And boy, does he.

The Lamp sails down over the rocks of the neighboring shore-line and dies (maybe). The family rejoices and they trade hugs for hours and hours.

Then Granny Alice's cat sticks its cat face into the shattered lamp, and as it looks at the camera, its eyes grow red and promises another sequel that would have actually been more interesting than what we ended up with: teens in a non-Amityville haunted house.

"And in 1947, I sewed a whole mitten-NO, KEVIN!"


  1. Ha. I just purchased this movie for $1 and found your article via a Google search for reviews of this masterpiece. It sounds like even the Robocop guy wouldn't buy that for a dollar. Still, the DVD (shockingly) has pretty excellent picture quality, so I'll use it as a midnight movie to drift off to in pursuit of Amityville completism (not the worthiest of ambitions, I know). BTW, I've been here before. I enjoyed and agree with your review of EXIT HUMANITY, and I tweeted your review at the time.

    1. At the very least, Amityville 4 is never boring, so, there's that...

      I adore Exit Humanity. I keep meaning to convert my review to an Unsung Horrors column because it deserves it. Thanks for sharing it with the twitterverse!