Monday, December 28, 2020

When It's All There, Right In the Title...

Despite my Long Island heritage, the
Amityville Horror franchise is a pretty large blind spot in my genre fandom, so when one of its many, many entries popped up on Shudder with one of the best/dumbest subtitles I've ever seen, how could I not give it a go?


Quick Plot: Architect Jake returns home after a business trip to New York--well, a little east of New York, that is--bringing with him an antique clock that he thinks his teenage kids will adore. 

Cause, you know, if there's one thing teenagers in any decade dig, it's antique clocks. 

Good girl Lisa and bad boy Rusty have been under the care of Andrea, Jake's all-too-generous ex-girlfriend who can't seem to shake her old relationship off.

They are not overly impressed by the clock. 

Jake, on the other hand, quickly falls under its spell (because obviously, it's evil). After being attacked by the usually friendly German Shepherd next door (in a delightfully The Beyond-like sequence), Jake is injured enough that poor saintly Andrea moves back in to help, just in time for her ex to begin displaying some werewolf-ish aggression.

Meanwhile, daughter Lisa's haunting takes on a different manifestation: horniness. 

Only Andrea and Rusty seem to be immune to the clock's possessing spirit, and both enlist the help of those closest to them to solve the mystery. For Andrea, that means her current squeeze, a pretentious psychiatrist just begging for a vicious death. For Rusty, it's his best friend: the eccentric old lady next door who always has a chess set ready for when he wants to cut class chess with the eccentric old lady next door.

As Jake gets angrier and Lisa hornier, the clock's evil intensifies. 

It's pretty sweet.

Directed by Hellraiser 2 and Ticks' Tony Randel, Amitvyille 1992: It's About Time is exactly as much fun as its silly title implies. There are wacky, creative genre sequences laced with an odd sense of humor. A pre-Final Destination-ish drawn-out near death experience involving an ice cream truck, a mirror possession, toy train set seduction that turns into a body melt. It's a weird thing to enjoy, but you also kind of have to appreciate that it flirts with some sibling seduction, clearly an homage to The Amityville Horror II: Possession. 

I can't speak to how It's About Time measures up against the rest of the rarely universally loved Amityville series, but by golly, it sure is fun on its own. You might even say ...

High Points
The Sterling's house is so wonderfully late '80s awful that it genuinely makes the whole film pop

I do not have the ability to express how happy the film's final line made me, mostly because it's a feeling that might be bigger than anything else I've experienced in my entire 38 years of life

Low Points
As is true of many an early '90s horror film, there's a sort of lack of commitment to a full out spooky or comedic tone. While it works out when you watch it 30 years later, I do wonder what the real intention was meant to be

Lessons Learned
Unleashed architects are one of the more dangerous sorts to be haunted

Life is like a Skullcrusher song

Ice cream truck drivers can radio in emergencies

Sit yourself down and watch this weird little movie. I know what you like. 

And in case you forgot...


  1. Jinkies! I had no idea there were so many Amityville movies till I went looking for this one on Amazon. It's a franchise that just keeps on giving.
    Everything you promised and more! That house! The hair!
    For whatever reason it kind of reminds me of the Phantasm series.
    I'm not sure I liked it, but it was entertaining.

    1. Definitely a fun time! And the Amityville series is such an odd duck in its layout. I don't know what's "official" canon and what is just adjacent. No clue what else is worth pursuing! Seems like they're all different studios and there's not even a clean streaming site or DVD set that lays them out chronologically!

  2. This one sounds awful, in the best way possible. I wish I had more pals who were into this kind of thing because I feel like it would be way more fun to watch with friends.

    I loved the original Amityville when I was young but I re-watched it last year and couldn't figure out what I had liked about it so much. I had mixed feelings on part 2 and 3-D back then so I can't imagine I would like them at all now...but jeez I'm a sucker for vintage 3-D so I might be open to trying that one again.

    Off topic but as this is your last post of 2020, I just wanted to say thanks for yet another fantastic year of dedicated horror blogging. I look forward to your latest installment each week, it's one of my fave internet stops! All the best in 2021!

    1. Thank you so much! It really means a lot to hear from readers. You brightened my rainy day!

      Amityville, to me, is one of those movies that sort of means more culturally than works as a standalone film. I think the other side is that once you see Burnt Offerings, it's hard to not be mad about how much more love the mediocre Amityville gets in comparison!