Friday, October 16, 2015

Top 10 Underrated Horror Films: The Evil and Amityville 2

Today's picks turned out to be an inadvertent Andrew Prine double feature. If that's good or bad, I'll leave that up to you.

8 - The Evil (1978)

This is one of those movies that I would see the trailer for on multiple trailer compilations, and it looked gloriously cheesy. When I finally got to see this film, it certainly didn't disappoint in the cheese department, but it was also highly entertaining.
Richard Crenna, his wife Joanna Pettet, his buddy Andrew Prine, and a few others come to this old building to turn it into a new clinic. Unfortunately, the house is a bit of a bastard, and before you know it, it's lighting up humans like cigarettes, giving its own shock therapy, and at one point even attempting ghost rape. 

Crenna does a great job of playing the doubting lead, while his more believing wife Pettet knows some bad shit's going down. The atmosphere is suitably creepy, and the kills, while not imaginative, are certainly startling.

One thing I noticed was that the girl played by Cassie Yates is killed by having her throat ripped out by her own German Shepherd. Now I can't say for sure, but it's very similar to the scene in Suspiria when the blind guy gets his throat ripped out in the middle of an city square. I wonder which film Fulci decided to see to get the same death by guide dog scene in the Beyond.

If you can overlook the ridiculous ending with Victor Buono, you'll enjoy this slice of 70's horror cheese. The full movie is on Youtube under House of Evil, but here's a nice trailer to get you started.

7 - Amityville 2 (1982)

Wow. Whereas the first film was to put bluntly, dull as a documentary about teaspoon collecting, this one just says "fuck it, let's creep the hell out of everyone". How did they do that? One Jack Magner.

Magner, playing Sonny Montelli (a thinly disguised version of Ronald DeFeo Jr), reaches a level of pure creepiness that hadn't been seen since Tom Basham in the Psychopath (1973). The way he leers after his sister (played by the lovely Diane Franklin) even made MY skin crawl. 

The story is a awesome mixture of the DeFeo murders retold, mixed in with some blatant Exorcist touches. This wildly dysfunctional family moves into the perfect house. By perfect I mean the best possible place in Long Island to be possessed by your Walkman. Burt Young is the abusive dickhead father, and there ain't no Rocky to save his ass here.

Father Adamsky (James Olson) senses something terribly wrong with the house, but fuck's time to go hang out with Andrew Prine for the weekend. He comes back from the trip to find the whole family dead, and a distraught Sonny saying he doesn't remember.

You've got demon possession, you got incest, and you have one of the most unsettling and realistic looking scenes when Sonny kills his family. Seriously, I dare any of you to watch that particular scene and not be like "whoa".

This one is also on the Youtubes, but you don't have to take my word for it (Reading Rainbow music plays).

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