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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I stumbled across many-an-announcement with regard to some awesome titles gearing up for this fall/Halloween season on Blu-ray, beyond, of course, the announcement Mike had made here about the Friday the 13th Complete Collection set (this is still on my "maybe" list); if my beloved Black Lab/Aussie Shepherd hadn't begun getting really sick this past Halloween, I would be even more estatic about these announcements...but his death during the past Hannukah/Christmas season has made enjoying the fall-into-winter transitional period very, very hard to bear...almost impossibly so, in fact. :(

Let's begin with one of my favorite franchises in all of motion picture history, as somewhat cheesy and "inaccurate" (in some instances) as they were -- Shout! has announced, in conjunction with MGM, the arrival of a Amityville Horror Trilogy Blu-ray set which will include the first three films in this long-running franchise:



Now, growing up not too far from the infamous real home in Long Island, New York, I have always been fascinated by the cases that spawned public awareness of what happened in Amityville and have written several papers on the matter for pre-law classes I took years ago at New York's Hofstra University; I won't go into the details about this now legendary tale that many in the world call a hoax as brought on by the late George and Kathy Lutz, as there's just too much that can be said about it as well as the events that followed (as well as the DeFeo murders that came before them), but as a fan of nearly all the films in the horror franchise (okay...maybe not the one in which a mirror from the "Amityville house" begins killing yuppies that have acquired it, or the clock that possesses Stephen Macht and his family when he gets it from the infamous house during a construction project...or the standing lamp that comes from the home and which possesses Patty Duke and her kids in Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes...or the dollhouse that's an exact replica of the Amityville residence or...wait...that makes all the direct-to-video entries that were utter garbage in comparison to the first three MGM-sanctioned titles!), I was quick to purchase MGM's Amityville Horror Collection four-disc DVD set when it came out some years back. The first film in the series, Stuart Rosenberg's The Amityville Horror, based on Jay Anson's book, received the most restoration care with a high-def mastering transfer and a reworked Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Both are very effective in result, the film itself never looking or really sounding better. The second and third films, Amityville II: The Possession and Amityville 3-D (also known on cable channel circuits when it came out as Amityville: The Demon), both fared slightly worse than the original title, though the second film looks as good as it's going to with an anamorphic widescreen version on one side and a full screen variant on the other; the third film looks pretty cruddy on MGM's DVD due to the soft, out-of-focus non-3D visuals that were converted from 3D elements for this release. Further, Amityville II's English Dolby Digital mono track is servicable at best with limited dynamic range and unsatisfying ultimate results. The third film carries a Dolby 5.1 track, but it's weak and shrill in most places. I am HOPING that Shout! and MGM will finally rework the second and third films in this set and give them updated surround audio elements that can really fit in the scheme of the visuals; what is NOT going to be included in this Blu-ray set, and what is ultimately making me hold on to my DVD box set if I buy the Blu-rays because it WAS included in MGM's box set, is the awesome History Channel documentary about the real-life haunting and murder stories surrounding this now-infamous house in New York, featuring the first authorized interview with George and Kathy Lutz in over 20 years. Also interesting to note is the possibility of some VERY cool (and, finally authentic) box cover art for each of the discs, which would make this set worth the price of admission as well -- judging from the teasers Shout! sent out regarding the artwork for the individual discs in the set, it seems fans may be getting treated to the original theatrical poster artwork for the titles instead of the rather rogue, random art MGM chose for the box set discs (especially on the second and third films, which had awesome original poster art). This is what they may look like:



Of note is Amityville II's original theatrical poster art -- which I actually have framed -- depicting the side of the "film house" bathed in an eerie blue light and boasting a bit of a backstory regarding the Lutzes and what they went through in this home (the second film was more of a "prequel"). THIS is what fans wanted for the artwork on the DVD releases (Region 1) but instead got this:



Further, with regard to Amityville 3-D, the original "demon claw" artwork seems to be possibly making its way as artwork for that Blu-ray Disc cover, and that's good news indeed -- and, there is still some debate, but fans MAY be getting a special 3D version of the film, restored and ready to be viewed on 3D-capable TVs and players.

Shout! has a long-running history of including rather...well..."cartoonish" and quasi-antimated artwork for many of its back-catalog title releases like Halloween II and Halloween III as well as the Phantasms which were all rather off-putting to many fans of these closet horror classics; if they decide to go the route of including original theatrical art for the Blu-ray set of the Amityville films, it will definitely be for the better.

SPEAKING OF HALLOWEEN...

One of the best independent films of all time -- and arguably the best slasher film in the genre for its use of mood, atmosphere and minimalist gore tactics -- is getting some restoration efforts for Blu-ray (FINALLY!) and will be out in time for the season which bears its name.

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3...r-art-for-halloween-35th-anniversary-blu-ray/

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3...-transfer-for-halloween-35th-anniversary-blu/

Dean Cundey returns to the editor's chair for a much more accurate take on John Carpenter's legendary Halloween -- a new 35th Anniversary Edition of this seminal little shocker is due out September 24, with Amazon orders taking place here:

http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-35th-Anniversary-Edition-Blu-ray/dp/B00DOB3N56



The release will be in a "digibook" format, as seen above, and fans will finally be able to upgrade from the rather horrid (in my opinion) Anchor Bay/Starz Blu-ray release that was so stripped down and unsensational, it was almost a travesty for a film of this caliber. Anchor Bay has finally gone back and given this film what it needed in HD -- a new Blu-ray transfer in 1080p WITH Dean Cundey's assistance for correcting the color timing of the original BD release; the disc will also boast a new 7.1 surround mix (the original mono audio will be included as well) and a plethora of interesting background notes in the digibook package, much like Warner's Exorcist BD release.

John Carpenter's Halloween has always had a sort of stigma around it in the home theater hobbyist community due to its many release variants on DVD, leading to "arguments" about which version was the most accurate or enjoyable to watch -- for what it's worth, from my understanding and all the information I was able to gather from an interview conduced with producer Debra Hill, the circa 1999 THX approved release of the film on DVD (with the simple Michael Myers mask on the cover) is the definitive transfer of Halloween as it restores Cundey's original color timing elements and ultimate vision for the visuals. I still own that DVD and refuse to get rid of it because of this reason -- even though I bought Anchor Bay's Blu-ray when it first hit shelves -- and I am hoping fans now get a REAL definitive variant of Halloween in high def...

Further -- I was one of the (seemingly) few that DIDN'T care for Anchor Bay/Starz's original stripped down Blu-ray of this title; to my eyes, the visuals and presentation was riddled with way too much film grain (to the point it was distracting) in addition to other problems beyond just the incorrect color timing issue. This will probably be a double-dip for me, though I wish Anchor Bay would authorize a complete box set collection of all the Halloween films so fans could at least have the original, the sequel, Halloween III: Season of the Witch and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers all in one place on Blu-ray (the rest of the titles in the franchise were laughable garbage).

More news to follow!
 

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You know, for some reason, even thou I like to watch horror movies, I never saw this. Hard to believe.

I will have to check this series out when it is available. Thanks for letting me know about this.

My all time favorite horror series is "The Omen".. Classic but great movie! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
You know, for some reason, even thou I like to watch horror movies, I never saw this. Hard to believe.

I will have to check this series out when it is available. Thanks for letting me know about this.

My all time favorite horror series is "The Omen".. Classic but great movie! :)
Hey JJJ!

No problem; you GOTTA check out at least the original Amityville Horror (and NOT the awful remake with Ryan Reynolds; that was a complete travesty and utter fabrication of the real events that plagued two families and an entire town); the second film in the franchise is very much like The Exorcist and even contains a near copy of the end exorcism sequence at its climax...but it has always been a creepy favorite of mine...

In a nutshell, here's the story behind these projects: In the 1970s, an Italian-American family named the DeFeos moved into a sprawling Dutch Colonial home in the seaside village of Amityville, New York and were immediately having problems -- the eldest son, Ronnie (known as "Butch" amongst his friends) was hooked on drugs and had a very bad reputation in the neighborhood, eventually getting into literal fistfights with his father, Ronald Sr. In the early morning hours one November morning, Ronnie took a Marlin rifle and gunned his entire family to death, at first telling police it was a Mafia hit (because of his dad's ties) but then confessing to the murders himself. He later tried many explanations -- demonic possession, insanity, even at one point claiming his sister Dawn was in on the killings with him. He received consecutive back-to-back life sentences and continues to be denied parole to this day -- however, several troubling mysteries about the case still linger...one of which, disturbingly so, is the fact that Ronnie was able to blast all the members of his family away in their sleep, yet NO ONE woke up during the ordeal with each explosion of the rifle. It was thought that perhaps the son drugged his family members at dinner that night, but no drugs were found in their systems at autopsy. There's also a notion that the DeFeo bodies were found in a "face down" position on their beds, which was supposedly the position by which the Native American tribes that once occupied the land at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville centuries earlier buried their dead as well as those accused of practicing witchcraft; this is where the "cursed Indian burial ground" theory came from regarding the house in Amityville.

About a year later, the Lutz family -- George and Kathy and Kathy's three children from a previous marriage -- were house hunting in New York's Long Island when they came upon Amityville, ultimately shown the old DeFeo house by their realtor. Only after they fell in love with the sprawling Dutch Colonial house does the realtor tell them about the home's greusome past -- even though they have a modest budget and George's surveying business is in the toilet, they pay $80K for the DeFeo home and decide to ignore the fact that six people were murdered in it. This is where many critics and de-bunkers claim the Lutzes came up with a "hoax" story to get rich and cash in on the DeFeo murder case -- the Lutzes claim that after some 28 or so days (it's very hazy) in the house, they were "driven out" by "supernatural events" that just couldn't be explained. Jay Anson's book version details these "horrors" that include disembodied voices telling a priest to "get out" when he attempts to bless the house, a room full of flies in the dead of winter, George's waking each morning at 3:15 am (the established time of the DeFeo killings), a red-eyed "pig creature" their daughter Missy plays with named "Jodie" and much more. The media sensation that followed the Lutzes and their haunted house story took on such a frenzied pitch, it is like no other haunted home story told to this day. The words "Amityville Horror" have themselves become an almost cottage industry, with millions of people converging on the Lutz/DeFeo home after the book and film came out and dozens upon dozens of "psychic researchers" along with them.

Sadly, George and Kathy are now both deceased but they ended up getting a divorce many years before; even still, a PLETHORA of theories, events, lawsuits and investigations have been created in the wake of their "Amityville Horror" story...some have dedicated their lives to proving their case was a money-making hoax while others have gone to varying lengths to investigate the possibility of a demonic presence on the property. Since the Lutzes moved out, there have been several owners the house has passed hands between, with none of them reporting "supernatural activity" -- except, they say, for the throngs of people who STILL run up to the home to get a glimpse inside or ring the doorbell for no reason at all. The home has been given a new look out front -- it's actually situated on a "side lot," so the side of the house faces the street and the front door sits on the side -- to discourage people from coming but I have been there many times and it's still recognizable as the "Amityville House." Further, the address has been changed and is no longer "112 Ocean Avenue" as everyone knew it; the change of the house's appearance was due to its instantly-recognizable "quarter moon windows" in the top floor as seen in all the film variants about the story, but what many people don't know is that the house as seen in the first three films was actually located in Toms River, New Jersey and was picked because it was a much more "dramatic representation" of the real 112 Ocean Avenue...

The way 112 Ocean Avenue, the site of the DeFeo murders and Lutz "haunting," looked when the stories first broke:



The way the house (with a new address) looks today:



The house in Toms River, New Jersey used in the films about the Amityville stories:



As you can see, many alterations were made to THIS home as well as the real one, due to the constant public activity plaguing the owners of the New Jersey house as well...some facades were used in the shooting of the Amityville trilogy entries to this Toms River house, and here are some more shots of what it pretty much looks like today:





Filming crews on The Amityville Horror and Amityville II: The Possession had to rig certain facades and side frames to make the house look like THIS for the films:



And, the absolute JOKE that was the "house" from The Amityville Horror remake starring Ryan Reynolds:



Many people supposedly "connected" to The Amityville Horror also died tragic deaths, believed by occult enthusiasts to be direct result of "exposure" to the home and its story -- Jay Anson, author of the novel who documented the Lutz "ordeal" in this house suffered a fatal heart attack before he could even enjoy the riches from the book's sales. An editor Anson gave a manuscript to in order to read died mysteriously with the manuscript still on the front seat of her car when the vehicle hit a ditch and she somehow "drowned." One of the de-bunkers of the Lutz case, Stephen Kaplan, who wrote The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, also suffered some kind of fatal heart problem during this whole ordeal. Meanwhile, parapsychologist Hans Holzer, who wrote Murder in Amityville, actually believed the property at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York is -- and always has been -- inhabited by the vengeful spirits of Native American chiefs who believe their land is being desecrated by people who live in the house. He believes Ronald DeFeo was "possessed" by one of these Indian chiefs when he murdered his family -- and the film Amityville II: The Possession is based on Holzer's book, albeit with many elements changed such as the name of the family, the time frame in which the murders happened and an overtly obvious demonic possession theme. The film is actually a PREQUEL to The Amityville Horror story, in that it's supposed to depict what happened to the DeFeos before the Lutzes bought the house; the family's name has been changed to "Montelli" in the film and it stars Burt Young as Montelli Sr. and Jack Magner as Sonny Montelli (who is supposed to be Ron DeFeo, and who gets violently possessed by the demonic force living in the basement of the home).

James Brolin and Margot Kidder do a good job in the first film of portraying a terrified George and Kathy Lutz, but many elements of the book were changed even in that film and many impossible "happenings" are depicted that just defy logic; still, it plays like a classic creepy haunted house story and has some memorable performances by other cast members and a vibe all its own. For what it's worth, George Lutz always claimed the book variant of The Amityville Horror was a better "documentation" of what they went through in 28 days than the "Hollywood concocted" film variant. The subsequent films that followed the first two -- save for Amityville 3-D which starred none other than Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan amongst others -- were complete concocted garbage, going direct-to-video after the theatrical disappointment that was Orion's third film. These were known as Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes, Amityville 1992: It's About Time, Amityville: A New Generation, Amityville Dollhouse and the recently executed and utterly laughable The Amityville Haunting which was supposed to be a Paranormal Activity-style take on the story but which took place in a home that looked nothing at all like 112 Ocean Avenue nor contained any accurate historical references to the events. If you can believe this, the films before Amityville Haunting included plots that revolved around various pieces from the house that somehow got possessed and took over other families and their homes elsewhere -- these included possessed lamps, mirrors and even a clock. And no, Triple J, I'm NOT kidding.

Ronald DeFeo Jr. is still in prison in upstate New York. Many investigations have been reopened examining the DeFeo debacle by would-be junior filmmakers and self-proclaimed demonic journalists and continue to be reopened from time to time. The village of Amityville has not taken kindly to this constant attention and focus on their small riverside enclave.

Please let me know if there's anything else I can answer for you about this story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
What also grabbed my attention was the announcement of a Blu-ray release of the ORIGINAL House of Wax with the late great Vincent Price:

http://www.amazon.com/House-Wax-Blu-ray-Roy-Roberts/dp/B00DQLQN3S/ref=pd_sim_mov_21



This has always been a tongue-in-cheek favorite of mine, and I own the Warner snapper case DVD variant of the title with the Vincent Price film on one side and the original it's based on, Mystery at the Wax Museum, on the other; with the remake featuring none other than the useless Paris Hilton a complete bomb, I think it's great news that this seminal classic is going high-def. This is Price in his prime, IMO, and he shines here as bright as he did in House on Haunted Hill. My issue is whether this is personally worth an upgrade because, to be honest, the DVD version looks pretty good for a film of this vintage and ultimate budget....

What's even more amazing is the fact that we may actually be seeing restored 3D elements for House of Wax on Blu -- the way the film was originally conceived -- and between this and the news of a possible AUTHENTIC Amityville 3-D Blu-ray in the aforementioned Amityville Horror Trilogy box set, it's a good time to be a 3D HD fan (of which I'm not, personally).
 

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Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be getting these titles. I love all of the original Amytiville films but the one that really stands out and I love was Amityville 2 the Possession maybe because I used to watch it over and over as a kid on cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be getting these titles.
No problem, asere! Will you be picking up all three? :yikes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes all three plus Halloween.
Oh...well...I only mentioned three in total (Amityville Horror Trilogy, House of Wax and Halloween) so are you saying you're gonna get all of these?

I'll definitely be picking up Halloween and The Amityville Horror Trilogy set, though I still have my eye on, as a diehard fan, the UK-sourced Amityville II and 3-D Collector's Edition DVDs because they contain commentary tracks as well as 5.1 surround mixes, which I think The Possession sorely needs...
 

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Oh...well...I only mentioned three in total (Amityville Horror Trilogy, House of Wax and Halloween) so are you saying you're gonna get all of these?

I'll definitely be picking up Halloween and The Amityville Horror Trilogy set, though I still have my eye on, as a diehard fan, the UK-sourced Amityville II and 3-D DVDs because they contain commentary tracks as well as 5.1 surround mixes, which I think The Possession sorely needs...
Sorry I meant the trilogy and Halloween.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry I meant the trilogy and Halloween.
Ahhhhh...gotcha! :T

As a Friday fan, did you say you picked up the Blu-ray collection?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I plan on it. I think the box set comes out in September.
Yes, I meant planned on...:doh:

I'm in a bit of a stalemate myself with that set -- on one hand, it would be awesome to have all the films in one place in high def because of the primarily poor transfers in the From Crystal Lake to Manhattan DVD set...on the other, I already own Freddy vs. Jason and the remake of Friday the 13th separately and would have no need for them in this collection (of course, I can sell them, but...). I wish Paramount/Warner would offer something like Paramount did with the Star Treks when they first came out on Blu -- that is, a separate set just for fans of the original Paramount franchise (Friday the 13th-Jason Takes Manhattan) without the "New Line acquired" titles...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Some small edits made to original post; thank you.
 

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Hey JJJ!

No problem; you GOTTA check out at least the original Amityville Horror (and NOT the awful remake with Ryan Reynolds; that was a complete travesty and utter fabrication of the real events that plagued two families and an entire town); the second film in the franchise is very much like The Exorcist and even contains a near copy of the end exorcism sequence at its climax...but it has always been a creepy favorite of mine...
Wow, thanks for the run down Osage. You know your movies and the back stories.. I will have to check the original movie out that is for sure. Thanks once again! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow, thanks for the run down Osage. You know your movies and the back stories.. I will have to check the original movie out that is for sure. Thanks once again! :)
Hey, no problem, my friend -- thanks for the kind words! If I do ever end up pickin' these up, I will definitely do a review for you guys...:T
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Some edits and photographic additions made to elements of the thread; thank you.
 

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Thanks for the heads up Osage! I have a 2 sider DVD House of Wax with Vincent Price on one side and Mystery of the Wax Museum with Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray on the other filmed in 2 color Technicolor process. Both are long time standing favorites around here during spooky season. I don't currently have any Halloween in any other format than Criterion LaserDisc and will be getting the Blu-Ray upon initial release. I am always on the lookout for the 1999 DVD at the Mega Media Exchange.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the heads up Osage! I have a 2 sider DVD House of Wax with Vincent Price on one side and Mystery of the Wax Museum with Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray on the other filmed in 2 color Technicolor process. Both are long time standing favorites around here during spooky season. I don't currently have any Halloween in any other format than Criterion LaserDisc and will be getting the Blu-Ray upon initial release. I am always on the lookout for the 1999 DVD at the Mega Media Exchange.
Hey Eric,

Thanks for your input in the thread; indeed, I too have that double-sided House of Wax DVD that you mentioned with the original Mystery at the Wax Museum on the flip side (many people don't know the Vincent Price film was actually a remake, which makes the Paris Hilton remake a remake of a remake :coocoo:) and for its age, the transfer really isn't that bad. The Technicolor applications are semi-effective with some washed-out elements from time to time, but again that's to be expected. The 3D to 2D conversion process in some of the sequences were also off-putting, but there's nothing that can be done about that; I think it was a wise decision for Warner to re-release this classic in a 3D Blu-ray variant so fans could take advantage of their 3D players and displays (though I'm personally not a 3D fan).

As for Carpenter's legendary tale, this 35th Anniversary Edition looks to finally be the real thing in high definition -- the first Anchor Bay/Starz! release on Blu was an average effort AT BEST and really didn't give this title the love it deserves. From all accounts, Dean Cundey will be back in the editing chair to supervise this new high definition transfer of Halloween so the color timing will be as accurate as possible especially compared to the variants that have been released since that 1999 THX DVD. Speaking of which, yeah, that's definitely the version to have on standard DVD. I own it, and aside from plain packaging (the case merely sports Michael's mask and nothing more) it really does appear to have the correct "feel" Cundey and Carpenter were going for in certain sequences such as when Curtis is walking with the pumpkin or walking with her friends home from school...it FEELS like the fall season on that DVD in those scenes, and the subsequent DVD launches and Anchor Bay's own first Blu-ray release totally lost that with incorrect color timing elements.

As for the sound, I never really had a problem with the THX DVD's reworked Dolby Digital 5.1 mix which I always felt was encompassing enough for the material and a big step up over the original mono elements and prior home video format releases. The only complaint I had about Halloween's Dolby Digital track was an ultimate lack of "heft" and "volume"...the mix needs a GREAT deal of volume goosing to get immersive or to get dialogue to an acceptable level. On the first Anchor Bay/Starz! Blu-ray release, this Dolby mix was accompanied by an uncompressed PCM track in 5.1 that sounded no different to me; hopefully, the newly reworked 7.1 mix on the 35th Anniversary Blu-ray will up the ante a bit.

Wish I had another copy of the '99 THX DVD to send ya...:huh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be getting these titles. I love all of the original Amytiville films but the one that really stands out and I love was Amityville 2 the Possession maybe because I used to watch it over and over as a kid on cable.
Hey asere,

Sorry for not responding to this; indeed, for me too, Amityville II is my favorite because I just grew up on it as a kid, always fascinated with the "Sonny Montelli possession" story and the gory special effects especially towards the end when Father Adamsky (James Olson) performs the "makeshift exorcism" on the possessed teen. If you look closely during the sequence -- if you recall -- when Sonny's (Jack Magner) face is ripping apart before the demon exposes itself, you will see the plastic airline tubing behind his head where the special effects team placed the prosthetics that controlled the "bladder effects" for this scene...it was an error that wasn't edited out but in previous VHS and cable variants, this scene is so dark and riddled with compression artifacts the mistake wasn't noticed. :unbelievable:

I also remember always catching Amityville: The Demon aka Amityville 3-D on cable channels when I was a kid, even back when cable systems had those "punch button rows" on the corded box for channel selection...remember THOSE? :unbelievable: :unbelievable: :gulp:
 

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Hey asere,

Sorry for not responding to this; indeed, for me too, Amityville II is my favorite because I just grew up on it as a kid, always fascinated with the "Sonny Montelli possession" story and the gory special effects especially towards the end when Father Adamsky (James Olson) performs the "makeshift exorcism" on the possessed teen. If you look closely during the sequence -- if you recall -- when Sonny's (Jack Magner) face is ripping apart before the demon exposes itself, you will see the plastic airline tubing behind his head where the special effects team placed the prosthetics that controlled the "bladder effects" for this scene...it was an error that wasn't edited out but in previous VHS and cable variants, this scene is so dark and riddled with compression artifacts the mistake wasn't noticed. :unbelievable:

I also remember always catching Amityville: The Demon aka Amityville 3-D on cable channels when I was a kid, even back when cable systems had those "punch button rows" on the corded box for channel selection...remember THOSE? :unbelievable: :unbelievable: :gulp:
Not a problem. I don't remember the tubing when I watched it on cable. Is it on the dvd version? Also you made me think of the movie The Beast Within. Have you seen it? A classic I think.
 
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