Amityville: The Evil Escapes

08/17/2015 20:09

Film: Amityville: The Evil Escapes

Year: 1989

Director: Sandor Stern

Writer: Sandor Stern

Starring: Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt and Fredric Lehne



This was a sequel to The Amityville Horror. I had found out about it from doing some research and I was such a fan of the original and its sequel growing up. When I discovered this made for TV movie, I decided to seek it out. I got a chance to see it in my theater as well when there was a double feature with this as the first film. The official synopsis is the demonic forces in the haunted Long Island house escape through a mystical lamp which finds its way to a remote California mansion where the evil manipulates a little girl by manifesting in the form of her dead father.

I do have to give this film credit in that it creates an interesting concept. The previous films have been in the house and it has gotten stale. This one allows itself to move out and actually go all the way across the country. This one is based off a novel by John G. Jones and I am interested in reading what his concept was.

The problem is that the film was made for television and it has that feel. It isn’t all bad though, so don’t get me wrong. There are just little things here and there that give it that feel. Overall though I thought the film was edited well. It gets right into it and it never really lags. It was a solid idea to have the lamp arrive the same day as Nancy Evans (Patty Duke) and her children. There is also an interesting dynamic that a lot of things that are happening do have a logical explanation and it drives a wedge into the family.

Another aspect to the film is that Nancy’s husband passed away and he didn’t leave them much money to carry on, hence why they are moving into Alice Leacock’s (Jane Wyatt). The one taking it the hardest is the youngest daughter, Jessica (Brandy Gold). She is also the one targeted by the demon in the lamp by pretending to be her father. The idea is sad, but the film doesn’t do really well at portraying the emotion here for us to feel for her. The other two siblings, Amanda (Zoe Trilling) and Brian (Aron Eiseberg), do what they can to help but they are bothered by some of the things she says.

The acting is okay for the most part, but it is too bland. Duke and Jane Wyatt act like families on television. Frederic Lehne was pretty solid as Father Kibbler who defeated the demon. I like that the film has him knocked out from the battle, which ends up why the lamp leaves the property. Lou Hancock as Peggy the housekeeper did well. Gold, Trilling and Eisenberg all pretty good also.

I do want to say that the lamp is ugly, so I’m not sure who would actually want it, but the film knows that. The spirit being inside of it is interesting, but I think the special effects used with it are somewhat weak. The film also has a lot of household accidents, which I like when it comes to haunted house/item films.

I’ve already stated my biggest issues. The top one being that it is made for television. This one does try to do something different with the Amityville haunting concept and it leads the way for other sequels. What happens in this film is just weak, it isn’t scary and it gets pretty boring throughout most of it.

Something that was pretty good in my opinion was the score of the film. I thought it definitely helped to build tension for scenes and make things more eerie.  It's not a soundtrack that I would come back and listen to, but it was fitting for what this film ended for sure.

Now with that said, I would only recommend this film if you are a fan of the Amityville series. By itself it is a weak haunted house, possession, haunted item film. I thought the film did try to do something different, which was good. Some of the acting though does come off as a bland as do some of the effects. I hated when we could see the demon in the lamp and just having household things act up was good at first but its really mostly what they rely on. I do think this film had potential but overall it is average in my opinion. I did have fun seeing this film again though.


My Rating: 5 out of 10