Amityville II: The Possession – 40 Years Later

There is perhaps no more famous or well-known “haunted” house in the US than one that sits on Ocean Ave in Long Island, New York.  Because of the bestselling novel and long-lasting horror franchise, the town of Amityville will always be synonymous with the alleged haunting.

And while The Amityville Horror sensationalized an alleged haunting (that many argue was an outright hoax), there was a very real tragedy that occured in that home that’s often overlooked in discussions about the house itself.  It was that story that Amityville II: The Possession attempted to tell.

Prequel Rather Than Sequel
Initially, there was a sequel to Jay Anson’s “Amityville Horror” which continued with the Lutz family and the alleged supernatural occurrences that still plagued them after they left Amityville.  However, due to increased skepticism about their story and more and more people believing them to be frauds, the studio decided to make the new movie a prequel.  It features a fictionalized version of the DeFeo family (now called the Montellis) and the buildup that led to their tragic end.

Amityville 3
Right from the first scene, the tension among the family is already there.

Whether or not the Lutzs’ story was true is certainly up for debate.  And George Lutz’s subsequent lawsuit for not using his story for the sequel definitely paints him as something of an opportunist.  But at its core, the Amityville story is and has always been about the ill-fated DeFeo family, and it seems strange that they merely serve as the prologue to the original novel and movie.

Much Darker
Starring Burt Young (Rocky franchise), Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter), and James Olsen (Commando), Amityville II: The Possession feels like a much darker movie even from the start.  The family is far more dysfunctional than the Lutzs were, and going in, we already know the horrific fate that awaits them.

Between the abusive husband and incestuous relations between the oldest son and daughter, there’s definitely a tense build up that allows the demon to thrive and possess Sonny (the oldest son).  The real Ed and Lorraine Warren (of The Conjuring fame) served as demonology advisors.  Their own writings on hauntings have always reinforced the idea that negative spirits thrive in environments of turmoil and negative energy.

Amityville 1
Originally, there was a much longer sex scene between the brother and sister, however test audiences didn’t like it, so the scene cuts away after they kiss, and the rest is stated via dialogue.

Their involvement with the Lutz family haunting was what propelled them to a level of fame never seen before.  So it was fitting they assisted the production, even if it was a highly fictionalized version of events.  Many fans have even pointed out that the events of this prequel directly contradict facts mentioned in the original movie.

Despite these contractions however, the movie ends up telling a story just as, if not more compelling than the original.  Given the tragic ending (which we know about from the start), it gives the story very real stakes that just weren’t there from the start.  And in the years since the original book/movie’s release, a lot more evidence and doubt has come out, leading many to believe that George and Kathy Lutz were perpetuating a hoax.  So it makes that original movie harder to watch knowing that, while this story (even in a fictionalized version) is based very much on a real crime.

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Ed and Lorraine Warren remain among the most famous paranormal investigators of all time.

It didn’t make the same waves as its predecessor, but it’s a solid horror movie in its own right, and retains some level of integrity.  After its release, the franchise went completely off the rails with time travel and to this day, it’s still going on, with ridiculous low budget spinoff after the next.  To date, it has over 20 films in its franchise, the latest of which was 2022’s Amityville in Space, which is as absurd as it sounds.

Despite all this, Amityville II: The Possession deserves credit for rivaling and surpassing its predecessor in several ways.  It’s much darker, more disturbing, and tells the more interesting half of the Amityville story.

What did you think of Amityville II: The Possession?  Let us know in the comments!

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