Amityville II: The Possession
|Amityville II: The Possession|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Damiano Damiani|
|Produced by||Ira N. Smith
Stephen R. Greenwald
|Screenplay by||Tommy Lee Wallace|
|Based on||Murder in Amityville
by Hans Holzer
|Music by||Lalo Schifrin|
|Cinematography||Franco Di Giacomo|
|Edited by||Sam O'Steen|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|September 24, 1982|
|Box office||$11.3 million (domestic)|
Amityville II: The Possession is a 1982 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 easy-going roles. It is the second film in the Amityville series.
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.
The Montelli family; father Anthony (Young), mother Dolores (Alda), elder son Sonny (Magner), elder teenaged daughter Patricia (Franklin) and two younger kids, move into what they think would be the house of their dreams. Initially things begin well, but everything changes after it is discovered that there is a tunnel leading into the house - from where is unknown.
An evil presence is shown to be lurking within, unknown to the family. After unusual and paranormal activities, like unknown bangings on the door, an ugly message on the youngest Montelli kids' room's wall (for which their father beats them after suggesting it is them who did it and also beats their mother for intervening, resulting in a huge showdown between the entire family), Dolores tries to have the local priest, Father Frank Adamsky (Olson), bless the house but Anthony drives him away during an incident in the kitchen with Anthony blaming and abusing the youngest kids for it when he tries to stop him and, to Dolores' mortification, Adamsky leaves in disgust, finding his Bible torn to pieces. It is shown all is not well with the Montelli family - Anthony is strict but abusive, and sacrilegious towards the Church, and Dolores is trying 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. Soon afterward, the family go to church with Anthony, so he can "apologize" for being rude to Adamsky, but Sonny stays as he is "not feeling well." He soon hears an alarming noise, and goes downstairs to get his father's gun, and hears laughter, following it to the tunnel - the (unseen) presence pursues a frightened Sonny to his room and he then falls victim to demonic possession. The first thing a now possessed Sonny does is approach Patricia to "play a game" with her - where he is a famous photographer and she is his model; she agrees and then reluctantly has sex with him. She later reveals that she enjoyed having sex with her brother, and did not feel guilty about it.
She goes to tell Father Adamsky this, but has a breakdown while telling him; 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, who usually contacts Sonny through his Walkman earphones. On Sonny's birthday, he isolates from his birthday party, and calls Patricia who comes up to check on him, freely offering him sex once more. However, due to his demonic phases and his body's gradual demonic contortions, he sends her away, calling her a "damn bitch." Patricia runs away, crying, and tries to tell Adamsky that she thinks Sonny is possessed, but he does not answer. Instead, Dolores slaps Patricia after eavesdropping on them. Later that night, the evil spirit tells Sonny to "kill 'em" to which he goes and gets his father's gun, shoots his father, then his mother, his younger sister, his younger brother, and after a chase, finally kills Patricia.
The next day the cops have arrived and pick up the bodies; Sonny is arrested, but states he does not recall of ever killing his family, and is taken away. 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 therefore takes it upon himself to free Sonny, and frees him from the prison and takes him to church where Sonny escapes after seeing the crosses on the doors. Adamsky soon runs after Sonny and traces him to the house, where he performs the exorcism, releasing Sonny's soul. As the cops arrive, Adamsky asks Father Tom (Prine) to take Sonny away from him, while it is revealed that the demon has transferred into Adamsky. His whereabouts and what happens afterwards are unknown.
- James Olson as Father Frank Adamsky
- Burt Young as Anthony Montelli
- Rutanya Alda as Dolores Montelli
- Jack Magner as Sonny Montelli
- Diane Franklin as Patricia Montelli
- Brent Katz as Mark Montelli
- Erika Katz as Janice "Jan" Montelli
- Andrew Prine as Father Tom
- Leonardo Cimino as Chancellor
- Moses Gunn as Detective Turner
- Ted Ross as Mr. Booth
- Petra Lea as Mrs. Greer
- Martin Donegan as Detective Cortez
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.
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."
While a prequel, Amityville II contradicts the opening of the 1979 film which shows the family massacre, and like the actual event they are all sleeping. The bodies are also removed from the house in the morning, but in the first film, it's in the middle of the night.
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 teenaged sister, who are based loosely on Ronald DeFeo, Jr. and his sister, Dawn and a rumored incestuous relationship.
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.
Amityville II: The Possession was panned by film critics. Rotten Tomatoes's site 7% positives reviews. Critics panned this film went overboard with the effects and the storyline was not as interesting as expected to be. 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. He and Gene Siskel selected the film as one of the worst of the year in a 1982 episode of Sneak Previews. 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.
- "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.
- Possessed Child Narratives in Literature and Film: Contrary States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) by Adrian Schober, pages 81-85. ISBN 1-4039-3510-6 The author argues that Amityville II: The Possession "acts out a crisis of fatherhood/patriarchy, where the sins of the father are the sins of the son, rather thinly disguised as possession" (p.83).
- Amityville II: The Possession at the Internet Movie Database
- Amityville II: The Possession at AllMovie