Amityville II: The Possession

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Amityville II: The Possession
Amityville ii the possession.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Damiano Damiani
Produced by Ira N. Smith
Stephen R. Greenwald
Screenplay by Tommy Lee Wallace
Dardano Sacchetti
(uncredited)
Based on Murder in Amityville
by Hans Holzer
Starring
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography Franco Di Giacomo
Edited by Sam O'Steen
Production
company
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release date
September 24, 1982 (1982-09-24)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States, Mexico
Language English
Budget $5 million
Box office $12.5 million[1]

Amityville II: The Possession is a 1982 Mexican-American supernatural horror film directed by Damiano Damiani. The screenplay by Tommy Lee Wallace is based on the novel Murder in Amityville by the parapsychologist Hans Holzer. It is a prequel to The Amityville Horror, set at 112 Ocean Avenue and featuring the fictional Montelli family loosely based on the DeFeo family. The cast includes Academy Award nominee Burt Young, who was known for Rocky at the time. This film includes one of Young's rare darker roles as he plays an abusive and sadistic father/husband in contrast to his more easygoing roles. It is the second installment in the Amityville franchise.

Amityville II set the pattern for low-budget sequels with little reference to real-life events in Amityville and is the only film in the series besides the original that features music composed by Lalo Schifrin.[2]

Plot[edit]

Anthony Montelli and his wife, Dolores, move into the house of their dreams with their children, Sonny, Patricia, Mark, and Janice "Jan". Things go well at first, but everything changes after it is discovered that there is a tunnel in the basement leading into the house from an unknown place.

An evil presence is shown to be lurking within, unknown to the family. After unusual and paranormal activities, like unknown forces banging on the door at night, when nobody is outside, and an ugly demonic message painted on the wall of Janice's room, Dolores tries to have the local priest, Father Frank Adamsky, bless the house but an argument breaks out within the family shortly after Adamsky arrives and Anthony orders him to leave. Adamsky leaves, disgusted at Anthony's behavior. He finds his car door open and the Bible on the passenger seat torn to pieces. The situation inside the home continues to deteriorate. Anthony is shown to be strict, abusive, and sacrilegious towards the Church. Dolores tries to keep it together for the youngest kids. Also, Sonny and Patricia are revealed to have started to have sexual feelings for each other, due to mutual attraction that neither can act on.

The family goes to church with Anthony, so he can apologize for being rude to Adamsky. Sonny stays at home, claiming to feel unwell. He soon hears an alarming noise and goes downstairs to get his father's gun. He hears demonic laughter and follows it to the tunnel in the basement. The unseen presence pursues a frightened Sonny to his room, and he then falls victim to demonic possession. Now possessed, Sonny approaches Patricia to play a game with him. They pretend he is a famous photographer and she is his nude model. Patricia agrees to pose naked and the pair end up having incestuous sex. Patricia later tells Sonny, that when the two of them were alone, she enjoyed having sex with him, and doesn't feel guilty about it.

Patricia goes to tell Father Adamsky this, but has a breakdown before she can confess. Sonny becomes more sinister and demon-like, as his face starts contorting demonically. Startled, he tries to keep his family away, but is unsuccessful due to the demon's influence. On Sonny's birthday, he isolates himself from his birthday party and calls Patricia and she goes to check on him. She freely offers him sex, but, due to his demonic phases and his body's gradual demonic contortions, Sonny sends her away, using foul language. Patricia runs away crying, and she tries to tell Adamsky that she thinks Sonny is possessed, but he does not respond. Later that night, the evil spirit tells Sonny to "kill them all". Sonny goes and gets his father's rifle, and shoots his parents, Jan, Mark, and Patricia, after hunting her down.

The next day the cops arrive, pick up the bodies, and Sonny is arrested. He lies and says he does not recall killing his family. Adamsky then realizes that Sonny is possessed and asks the church if he can perform an exorcism on Sonny, but they refuse, not believing him. He takes it upon himself to perform an exorcism, without the support of the church. After freeing him from police custody, he takes Sonny to church. Sonny attacks him, and escapes after seeing the crosses on the doors. Adamsky runs after Sonny, traces him to the house, and performs the exorcism, releasing Sonny's soul. As the cops arrive, Adamsky asks Father Tom to take Sonny away from him. Tom takes Sonny outside, where the police arrest him and take him back into custody. It is revealed that the demon has transferred itself into Adamsky. Without revealing Father Adamsky's fate, eventually the house is put back on sale.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Principal photography began March 8, 1982 at the same house in Toms River, New Jersey that the previous film used. After two weeks on location in New Jersey, unlike the first Amityville film, studio shooting was done in Mexico City for eight or nine weeks at Estudios Churubusco Azteca S.A.[3]

The explosion scene at the end of the film was real during filming. A highly explosive chemical which produces flames that burn out instantly was used. During filming of the explosion scene at the end of the movie the effect reportedly backfired and burned the side of the house.

George Lutz wanted the sequel to the 1979 film to be based on the book The Amityville Horror Part II by John G. Jones, but the producer Dino De Laurentiis secured a deal with American International Pictures for a sequel based on Murder in Amityville by Hans Holzer. Lutz sued De Laurentiis and ultimately lost, but succeeded in having posters placed in theaters stating "This film has no affiliation with George and Kathy Lutz."[4]

After director Damiano Damiani's original cut of the film was shown to test audience, several scenes had to be cut out for various reasons, one of them being the negative reaction of the audience to a scene in which Anthony anally rapes Dolores and another a scene in which Sonny and Patricia have incestuous sex. This scene was added into the script by Damiani who wanted to really upset the viewers. The original scene was much more graphic and sexual, while in the movie it cuts to the next scene almost immediately after Sonny starts kissing Patricia. Some other deleted scenes were shown on lobby cards and stills for the movie, like a scene where Anthony is sitting outside the house drinking and cleaning a gun and a scene where Jan is pushing Mark's head under the water while he is in the bathtub. The theatrical trailer also shows a shot of Jan and Mark looking at the window and holding hands. The only deleted scene which was ever released in some form is the so-called "Lost Souls" scene, originally from near the end of the movie, in which souls that are within the house appear in front of Adamsky and he blesses them. No actual footage was released but a UK special collector's edition DVD includes several stills from this deleted scene.[5][6]

Inconsistencies[edit]

Although marketed as a prequel to the 1979 film, which shows the family in their beds during the massacre as was the case during the actual events, Amityville II contradicts this and shows family members awake during the massacre. In Amityville II the bodies are also removed from the house in the morning, whereas they are removed in the middle of the night in the 1979 film.

Some of the family drama in the film did happen to the Defeos, but are exaggerated. The story introduces speculative and controversial themes, including an incestuous relationship between Sonny Montelli and his teenage sister Patricia, based loosely on Ronald DeFeo Jr. and his sister Dawn and a rumored incestuous relationship between them.

Though supposedly set one year before the first Amityville Horror film, Amityville II is full of elements that are clearly from the 1980s, such as a miniature "Walkman" radio/headphone set and the presence of 1982 cars, televisions, etc.

Much of this has led to the speculation among fans of the series that the film depicts different and later events than the original DeFeo murders. As a similar situation arose in the much later sequel "Amityville: A New Generation" which features another alternate depiction of mass murder in the Amityville house.

Reception[edit]

Amityville II: The Possession was universally panned by film critics. Rotten Tomatoes cite 7% positive reviews. Critics thought the film used excessive effects and found the storyline not as interesting as what it could have been.[7] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the first film a negative review, claimed the film "is actually slightly better than The Amityville Horror" and mentioned some good technical credits and performances and gave the film 2 out of 4 stars.[8] Both he and Gene Siskel selected the film as one of the worst of the year in a 1982 episode of Sneak Previews.[9] Variety complained that there are "actually two films meandering in this mess — one a second rate horror flick about a family in peril and another that is a slight variation on the demon-possessed Exorcist theme." [10] Likewise, Boxoffice called this attempt to cash-in on the success of The Amityville Horror an "embarrassment." [11] Rutanya Alda was nominated as Worst Supporting Actress at the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards, for the second time (the first was for Mommie Dearest). Leonard Maltin's annual publication "TV Movies," gives the film a "BOMB" rating.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "The Lady of the House" by Lee Gambin, Fangoria magazine #317, October 2012, pages 56–57, 97. Interview of Rutanya Alda regarding her role in Amityville II: The Possession. Three-page article has four photos of Alda, one recent, with additional images related to the film.
  • "The Devil (and Dino) Made Him Do It!" by Lee Gambin, Fangoria magazine #317, October 2012, pages 58–59. 97. Interview of screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace regarding his scripting of Amityville II: The Possession. Three-page article has five photos, one of Wallace.

External links[edit]