JULY 30, 2012
I think I watched Amityville 1992: It's About Time as a kid, as some of it felt familiar to me... but for some reason I remembered Terry O'Quinn being in it, and he's in the one about the haunted mirror. Maybe they're all just so similar that it's hard to tell them apart even when you haven't seen them. At any rate, I vow to have reviews for the entire series up before I wrap up the site (thankfully, the 1992 referred to the year of release and not the actual sequel number).
I will also finish Hellraiser, which came to mind as this entry was directed by Hellbound's Tony Randel, and brought that series' "pleasure and pain" aesthetic over. As with Possession and (the later) Dollhouse, there's a bit of an incest angle here - Megan Ward's character tries to bang her brother after she turns evil, but he pushes her away even though he is seen checking her out twice, one time before the haunted clock has even started working its powers. But she also leads a guy to his doom by leading him to a puddle of goo and letting it swallow him whole while she writhes around mostly naked nearby. Weird stuff.
And yeah, haunted clock. This was part of the post Amityville 3D "miniseries" of entries where objects from the original house found their way into the hands of other families/homes. This was the first of the DTV entries (the first "haunted ____" entry was made for TV), and it's a touch better than Dollhouse thanks to the graphic kills (courtesy of KNB) and a cameo by Dick Miller. I also harbor a crush on Ms. Ward from my younger days (thanks to Encino Man and the short-lived Dark Skies), so I enjoyed seeing her playing a girl next door type (nice ugly ass suspenders, Meg) and then vamping it up for the 3rd act.
But it just goes through the motions. Once again the family unit is fractured - the mom is dead and her role is being filled by the dad's ex girlfriend. It's very awkward; they're no longer together but she lives there and even has her boyfriend over once or twice (she also bangs the dad for old time's sake or something), and picks up the kid from school when he gets in trouble, makes plans to go shopping with Ward... what kind of ex does all of this? It feels more like a bizarre leftover element from a different draft of the script where she was actually their stepmother.
Oh, and the dad goes nuts again. They mix it up a bit by having Ward go crazy too, but once again the dad is always cold and becomes obsessed with the history of the Amityville house, drawing pictures of it and making models and such (he's an architect so at least his ability to create these mini-masterpieces has some credibility). The film's few new ideas are underdeveloped, such as when the son flicks a light switch and the room changes to some version of itself from the past - it's barely mentioned again, let alone a major plot point. And maybe I missed it, but what's with the Nazi stuff? How does that fit into a haunted clock movie?
The film peaks early on when the dad (Stephen Macht) is attacked by a dog. Not only is it pretty terrifying since the dog just won't quit and it goes beyond the possibility of simply being a dream (if it WAS it would be the most offensive example I've ever seen), but the FX are hilariously over the top. At one point the dog is chewing away on the leg and it looks like there's only a couple of tendons keeping it attached as one half is flopping around independently of the other, but later we see it being treated and it's just a surface wound (a big one, to be fair). He then mostly disappears for the 2nd act, so when he comes back in crazy mode it's even more obnoxious, as we weren't even treated to his steady decline into madness.
Oh, and (spoiler) they pull the "let's redo it" twist at the end, which is only slightly more insulting than "it was all a dream". The clock turns back time all the way back to the night Macht brought it over, except this time the "mom" smashes the thing to bits because she has retained her memory of what happened even though no one else did. Well, maybe the son did - he's just as shocked by the destruction as the others, but then he sees the old lady across the street who had given him some exposition during the original timeline and gives her a knowing look, so who knows. And if you DO know, do you CARE?
In closing, I want to give a shoutout to the boom mic, which should have been given 6th billing thanks to his co-starring work in the kitchen and hospital scenes. If there's one thing that digital has over film, it's the fact that there's no longer any excuse for boom appearances thanks to the ability to playback the footage on set. But I'd rather see a boom mic than be unable to tell a character from a dark background because the camera couldn't tell if it was a 1 or a 0. That's another thing about these older cheapies - they were laughed at when they came out but they look better than even the higher profile independent films nowadays.
Anyway, two to go...
What say you?