The Amityville Curse (1989) poster

The Amityville Curse (1989)


Canada. 1989.


Director – Tom Berry, Screenplay – Michael Krueger & Norvell Rose, Adaptation – Krueger, Rose & Doug Olson, Based on the Novel The Amityville Curse by Hans Holzer, Producer – Franco Battista, Photography – Rodney Gibbons, Music – Milam Kymlicka, Mechanical Effects Supervisor – John Walsh, Makeup Effects – Patrick Shearn, Production Design – Richard Tassè. Production Company – Allegro Films.


Dawna Wightman (Debbie), Kim Coates (Frank), David Stein (Marvin), Cassandra Gava (Abigail), Antony Dean Rubes (Bill), Helen Hughes (Mrs Moriarty), Jan Rubes (Priest), Norris Dominique (Detective)


A couple find the Amityville house going cheap and buy it, unaware of its past. They move in with a group of friends to renovate it, but soon face hauntings and premonitions. They discover that the supernatural happenings are connected to the murder of a neighbourhood priest many years before and come to realise that the murderer is one of their group.

The original The Amityville Horror (1977) began as a claim by the Lutz family that they had spent twenty-eight days in a real-life haunted house. The book managed to capture world attention and was made into a film The Amityville Horror (1979), before being exposed as a hoax.

This news of the hoax failed to deter a series of sequels from turning the Amityville series into yet another horror franchise – although appropriately by the time that this was made, the series has long passed making any pretensions as to any of it having actually happened. Unlike other franchises such as the Howling or Witchcraft films, Amityville is not a title that has been copyrighted – rather difficult to do considering that Amityville is a real town – so all the Amityville titles subsequent to the third film have been made by different companies hoping for a slice of the action.

Dawna Wightman menaced by the figure lurking in the house in The Amityville Curse (1989)
Dawna Wightman menaced by the figure lurking in the house

The Amityville Curse is not even an American film but is a Canadian film posing as being set in the US. It is certainly the dreariest of all the Amityville titles. The film has potentially more plot than any of the other Amityville films – there being a good idea of combining the haunting with a whodunnit. However, the film looks cheap – the photography is drab. The effects shabbily unconvincing – cheap facial appliances and would-be spooky effects like a face seemingly pushing through a wall in the cellar that looks just like a face pushing against rubber. As a haunted house film, it is completely lacking in atmosphere. The revelation of the identity of the killer is obvious from the outset.

The other Amityville films are:– The Amityville Horror (1979), Amityville II: The Possession (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1989), Amityville 1992: It’s About Time (1992), Amityville: A New Generation (1993), Amityville: Dollhouse (1996), The Amityville Haunting (2011), The Amityville Asylum (2013), Amityville Death House (2015), Amityville Playhouse (2015), The Amityville Legacy (2016), Amityville: No Escape (2016), Amityville Terror (2016), Amityville: Vanishing Point (2016), Amityville Exorcism (2017), Amityville: The Awakening (2017), The Amityville Murders (2018), Mt. Misery Road/Amityville: Mt. Misery Road (2018), The Dawn (2019), The Amityville Harvest (2020), Amityville Island (2020), Amityville Vibrator (2020), Witches of Amityville Academy (2020), Amityville Cult (2021), Amityville Hex (2021), Amityville in the Hood (2021), The Amityville Moon (2021), Amityville Scarecrow (2021), The Amityville Exorcist (2022), Amityville in Space (2022), Amityville Karen (2022) and Amityville Thanksgiving (2022). The Amityville Horror (2005) was a remake of the original. There have been several documentaries Amityville 2000/The Amityville Horror: 25 Years Later (2000), The Real Amityville Horror (2005) and Amityville: The Final Testament (2010), which tried to examine what happened in the house, while the parapsychological investigation into the house is also featured in The Conjuring 2 (2016).

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