Laurie Laughlin, Katharina Cavalieri, John Baxter discussed on Around the World in 80s Movies
Horror and holds book relates the real life murders that occurred in nineteen. Seventy four involed. Ronald butch defeo he and murdered his parents and his four siblings in their respective beds within the family home and his defense claim was that he was under demonic influence. That caused him to do these. Things as the book relates events. That were a matter of public record prior to the. Let's family experienced that. We came to know in the amityville horror film ways. They determined that. Need not worry about securing any kind of deal with the losses or anyone else in one thousand nine hundred one film producer dino dila renta's he also made it deal with film ways he wanted to do a sequel story. That would contain completely fictional characters who move into the amityville home. Dino commission british novelist and playwright. David ambrose descript this new story then entitled death in amityville dino's tentative choice for the director was the legend of hell house. Director john huff. He was going to take charge. Then he changed his mind to hungarian-born canadian director. George calendar with production start date at least at the time slot for september of nineteen eighty one but production paused the started working with film ways to produce their prequel concept that they were having a hard time getting off the ground. He was gonna do that one. I and that resulted in the one thousand nine hundred eighty two released. I talked about on the previous episode. Amityville to the possession after amityville. Two's release death in. Amityville was quickly announced as the third amityville film with a new release date of august. Nineteen eighty-three but it wasn't going to be called death in amityville because with the new wave of three d genre films filling the theaters in the prior two years dino wanted to ride this wave into his own three d movie and this would allow him to cleverly sidestep this sequel legalities of title while still keeping it a presumptive. Follow up in the mind of the public by calling it amityville. Three d amityville. Three d was fast tracked. Dna was hoping the ride the coattails not only of the three d. craze at the time but also of poltergeist that came out in nineteen eighty. Two this was a film. Dino really wanted to capitalize on. He thought that he had a similar property so he ordered revisions sill plate. You ristic of the pull. The guy's property. David ambrose the screenwriter death amityville. He opted to use a pseudonym for the subsequent script. Revisions william wales. Maybe it was commemorating the birth in one thousand nine hundred eighty two of william the son of the prince and princess of wales charles and diana the poltergeist elements that were introduced into death in amityville. Those included a psychic research. Team was a daughter that was going to need rescuing those nasty looking demon on the other side of this portal to contend with as a peachy rating. Very much like poltergeist. Even though the previous amityville films were r. rated entries this film would mentioned the defeo murders by name although many people who are watching. This don't know that this was not going to be sequel. Presuming his two sequel. We learned in amityville to that. The name of the family that was slaughtered by the eldest boy with a shotgun that was the mentalities in the film. It was changed from the details. The let's family. They're not even referred to at all in this fill except a blanket statement about crazy things that happened to the houses. Prior residents for legal reasons though the film does have the disclaimer. This picture is not a sequel on it script. Changes did delay the beginning of filming for several weeks. Release date eventually moved up from august of nineteen eighty three to four teeth. They were hoping to capitalize at that time on the horror movie interest. Naturally that comes about prior to halloween in the completed script for amityville. Three john baxter. He's recently divorced journalist. Who's working for this. Investigative magazine called. Reveal if you read the novelization or if you read any of the scripts that magazine is called witness but for some reason. Change to reveal for the movie. John baxter's lead. This assignment is to expose this sands scam. That's operating within that infamous abandoned amityville home on long island. New york afterward baxter finds at the house is immensely affordable. It has assorted history of terrible things happening to those who've been inside so we can get it for a song and baxter apparently need to find a new place because he just divorced his wife. This one has fourteen rooms covering three floors pay. Perfect for any newly divorced bachelor to take residence in he into the house. He certain all of these higher calamities where is they were delusions or just straight up hoaxes. The bottomless pit in the basement. Others claim that's a portal to hell. Well that's just an abandoned. Well it has plenty of space for himself as well as his teenage daughter when she comes to visit as well as solitude for writing the great american novel that he's been talking about doing for years others around him soon began to experience strange events and the employer john to leave but he won't. He's convinced the house's reputation is causing mass hysteria among all of his associates unfortunately with his daughter staying with him on occasion john is going to soon discover. That being wrong might just be dead wrong more to the story than that. Not a lot more but you get the drift of what this film is going to be about. I'm sure now. Dino de larent- is selected. Richard fleischer to direct amityville. Three d fleischer had worked with before for barabbas and nineteen sixty one. Mending go and nineteen seventy-five amityville three d. This would be the first of four consecutive films that fleischer directed for dino de la renta's conan the destroyer red sonja and million dollar mystery followed this. Those four that he did for dido they would be the final four films that he did in his career. Fleischer came in with experience. Directing three films already helmed. A movie called arena. They came out. In one thousand nine hundred eighty three back then to three d technology was a little different arena required to cameras to film it re also required to projectors to display in the theaters whereas the air flex technology of amityville. Three d only required one camera to film and one projector to show it. Fleischer harkened back to those days of nineteen fifties chillers. He was going to try here or more classical approach to his haunted house flick in its look and it sounded. It's feel really counter programming to the slasher movie vibe that dominated so much horror in the early nineteen eighties as dino wanted this to go very quickly from production screen. Many of the main actors were signed on without having to do any auditions at all woody allen film regular tony roberts. He got the lead role of john. B-actor some viewers today. You know if you're watching this humane roberts. Uncannily resembles the offspring of w bush. And maybe get smart don adams if they were doing an impression of humphrey bogart or something. Baxter is said to be very loosely. Based though even kaplan who is a parapsychologist who came out against george lutz. He claimed that his amityville horror story was complete fraud. The difference though is that kaplan actually believe in the supernatural whereas baxter in this film absolutely does not robert joy who plays elliot west. He's the head of the psychic research team brought in to investigate. He also skipped auditioning for the film. He had recently appeared in another production. Called ragtime joy took the job because well he needed the money but he also felt that the screenplay did have some clever twists and he looked forward to participating in the end though felt that a lot of that didn't really translate to the screen as he saw it with the results of amityville. Three d especially the last half themed. This really was a rip off of poltergeist. In many ways christine ebersol she was initially cast in the role of john. Baxter's nancy she had already been fitted for wardrobe. They make ups on her all of that in pre production but then during that time she was offered a more role she was going to play. Katharina cavalieri in amadeus now as amadeus was immediately about to shoot ever saw was faced with a very difficult decision because she was broke and amityville paid significantly more than what they were offering for amadeus ultimately she opted for amadeus because she thought it had many more artistic qualities and she believed in never doing anything. Strictly for the money ever saw was immediately replaced by tess. harper harper. Also took the money because she was broke. We're getting a common theme here with a lot of people that appear these guys movies. She needed to pay the rent pretty badly. Now harper had already shot ten mercies which would become a breakthrough performance. But not yet because it hadn't paid her more than scale and it also took fourteen months from the time they finished shooting before it came out. That's two months after getting hired to do amityville viewers today enjoy seeing some of the early work done by those later famous actresses. I mentioned earlier. Laurie laughlin who would be one of the main stars of the very popular late. Nineteen eighty s early nineteen ninety s sitcom on television full house and also soon to be the romcom queen for several years meg ryan for laughlin. She was a regular on the tv. So called the edge of night amityville. Three d represented her first feature film. He or she would be playing john. Baxter's dan susan meg ryan. She was appearing on a different soap opera. As the world turns playing susan's best friend. Lisa fleischer lady claimed in interviews. When meg ryan really took off that he cast ryan the moment. He saw her because she had undeniable star presence. Study saw within her ryan says amityville. Three d really didn't do much for her career but it did do a lot for the entertainment value of her friends. Exteriors were filmed for ten days at the same house as the first feature in tom's river. New jersey other locations. We're not too far off in the town. Although it was not the original long island home purportedly on demonic possessed land. The toms river home used for the three amityville movies was scheduled to be relocated. Shortly after the shoe the infamous quarter moon windows in the front at least they were already replaced because there were too many intruders and really annoying people coming to take pictures and ask questions. Most shots use the rear windows where the river entrance and the back deck were located and those windows had not yet been replaced as the location of the house was going to be going away. They determined that this entry in the amityville series will be the last one using this house which is why at the end of this film. It has basically destroyed now for makeup duties dino courted jeff goodwin here performing makeup for this other three d film at the time called. Rottweiler dogs of hell. That was being filmed in north carolina which was where the dolores was building his new studios at least soon to build them. Goodwin did turn down amityville three d. Because he felt he wasn't yet quite skilled enough to handle the kind of full body creature effects that were called for in this film. He did accept working with dino though the next year when he was asked to cattai and that began an impressive run of work for goodwin doing makeup for deliverance. His films in one thousand nine hundred five nine thousand nine hundred eighty six now in goodwin instead dino did bring back dick smith. Protege john caglayan leon. If that sounds familiar he did the make up for amityville to kagley own crafted Very articulated demon for the finale. More elaborate full bodysuit version of the one that he designed for the main nemesis in amityville to this was designed to display a number facial expressions. Catalin volunteered actually to be the actor inside the suit for the movie because he wanted to know what it was like for the actors that he did make up on what they had to go through ultimately though he was disappointed. A lot of the demon screen time that was shot was greatly reduced in the final cut. You really don't see it on a screen for visual effects. Were done by gary platek. Who used the gig as an excuse to leave industrial light magic and he was going to form a new company in san rafael california called jacks effects. Jd x. known later for their work on the look who's talking movies platek and his team the floating spirit visuals. They did some of the housefly appearances in the film and also some the goings on that we see within the deep well in the basement kind of comes to life ended starts bubbling over and all kinds of crazy things. Start coming out of it. Play tic regionally had been scheduled for just ten effects shots at a modest budget of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars but by the end of the production. They had really upped that to thirty two shots and around. Five hundred. Thousand dollars to simulate severe cold within the house candy clark. Who plays melanie. The photographer and the assistant of john baxter. In this film she had to keep a very small box that had holes in it and it was full of dry is she had to keep it in her mouth so that it looked like condensation. It was emanating for her breath in the cold. A simulated cold blast hitter right square in the face and upper torso that was done with hot wax and glitter. It was very uncomfortable for clark because the wax was starting to harden through successive takes and the glitter felt like sand as it pelted her in the face after the day's shoot clark struggled to get the wax out of her hair. She had to wash it over twenty times for like two and a half hours with all kinds of different cleaning products that she could find around the house hoping that at least one of them was going to get some of this wax out. She says that a tide laundry detergent seem to work. The best for seen where melanie's car erupts into flames. Clark wanted to perform the stunt herself but fleischer insisted on a stunt double because of the risks involved. Clark found watching the stunt double. Do this stunt. It was to see the stunt woman's petroleum jelly coated arm on fire for what seemed to be a very long time. That clark was relieved. She didn't go through with it. Fleischer did want footage of clark though inside the flaming car although she was not as close to the flames as it would appear. When you're watching. This film clark's body was covered with flame retarded except for her hair which you had to be careful of when she started screaming in terror. Her acting was so convincing that the cameraman shooting this he started to grow panicked that she was really in pain. And he wandered. Why fleischer was not yelling. Cut and was so relieved when he found out after it finally cut that she was doing some pretty impressive acting for that sequence a swarm one point six million sterile male flies. They were ordered from the us department of agriculture. Used for the scene where john hopkins. Who is playing the amityville homes real estate agent. He's going to be covered with them. Least covered to death essentially. Initially they hoped that the this volume of flies would result in. Incidentally some landing on the actor by happenstance hearkens wore a second skin like mask it was going to have some dead flies already glued to it while everybody else in. The room was covered with gauze netting or respirator masks to make sure that the flies didn't get in their nostrils or their mouths. It didn't work though the way that they thought they'd hear living flies along with the dead ones to the mask. It's still looked unconvincing. So they dense mirrored hearkens face and body with this pewter smelling female flies sex hormone to try to track these male flies. The flies steel did not do everything that the expected so they crafted now. A dummy head of hearkens the holland it out from the back and they attached a vacuum tube so that they could blow the flies out of his mouth and they play the footage in reverse to make it appear as if the flies were going into his mouth and his nose down his throat. Now one of the animal wrangler film. Man miguel grisha. He had gotten a bit too confident in his ability to handle the venomous cobras. They were gonna use for one particular scene. One of them struck him in the hand. That scene involved the sand scam artists from the beginning. The film harold and emma caswell. They were going to return to the basement to pick up their audio equipment. And that's when one of the microphones was going to be shown is turning into a snake cobra coiling around herald castles leg and it would trip him into the pit of hell the whole in the basement. The cobra though remained clamped on miguel's hand as his partner his brother humberto. He implored him to remove that cobra. Very carefully without breaking either one of its fangs. Probably be fatal. Wouldn't be able to get the medical systems. They need to get both the venom and the thing out. Miguel painfully extricated that cobra and he returned the snake back into its sack while he started sucking out the venom from the wound. He immediately received treatment from the doctor that was on hand and was out for about two days very ill to add. Insult to injury. This scene was not used in the final cut. Unlike some of the crew and their calamities here the cast did reportedly find the production to be quite enjoyable like a working vacation of story. The more adult members of the cast of quickly bonded. They frequently enjoyed going out. They started partying. They started socializing in mexico city together. They became pretty good friends. During this shoot many of the cast retain fond memories of mexico city and of enjoying each other's company. They were fond of the memory but fewer of having this film in their photography though very few of them choose to discuss the film when it comes up in interviews today some remarked film that a lot of the script cleverness the emotion that the song in it did not really translate to the screen. It's much more gimmicky. And derivative poltergeist in the end. Not everything was fun and games. Though for the mexico shoot just before the production began some of the cast and crew. They visited the tail. T khaqan pyramids outside of mexico city. They climbed up the multitudinous steep steps to get to the top of those pyramids. Candy clark as fit as she thought she was. She started experiencing severe cramps in her eyes and her leg started up and she needed assistance in returning back down. She was so sore on the first day of the shoot. He was relieved to find out that they were gonna start to shoot with the sand sequence. Because that's where she was going to be. Seated for nearly the entire sequence dysentery was also common among cast and crew. Some of them would get at several times through the shoot enough to have a doctor always on call. That doctor was very very busy with the people getting sick here. They also experienced a couple of unnerving earthquakes during their time. There howard blakey composed the score. He had worked with dino. Before and flash gordon that gets overlooked because of the queen song flash gordon but he did the more traditional scoring within that film. He works here again. With de la renta with this composition. That is actually really good. It's maybe too good for this kind of vapid film. I really wish it was chosen for much more suspenseful. An interesting film blake does take a very classical approach here. This could have been a score from any number of horror films from the nineteen fifties or sixties. It really is kinda hitchcock in a little bit. Like bernard hermann ask in. Its way when fleischer took a look at the first cut of his film. He was unhappy with it. He felt it was too slack so he started doing some trimming he wanted to tighten is fill up as much as he could chop out actually about twenty five minutes of that i cut however he was told that what he did produce was too short for tv screening so he needed to hold on to that cut because they were gonna show that on tv screenings there was an emotional scene of susan baxter's funeral. She was a main victim in the film. She was also a victim of the editing process. Employed here she was cut out at least toward the end of this film as well as more time with the central demon that was chopped out. He now just pops up for a jump scare and then takes elliott west down with him to the pit of hell before the house seemingly randomly explodes. The post production delays pushed the theatrical release date to november eighteenth nineteen eighty so that took it out of that all important halloween period. A novelization of the film. That actually was done. You would think that a three d. movie wouldn't have a novelization necessarily but it was done and it was called amityville. Three d it was written by gordon. Mcgill and but mystifyingly hit bookstores. Six months after the film was already gone completely from theaters and from the minds of most people the three d. effects here well they were considered pretty shoddy even for its era by movie goers. It was very dark. A lot of people complain about the darkness of the film when it was displayed in theaters. There were plenty of objects that do come at the camera. You see a frisbee see all of these flies. That was a giant lead. Pipe through window. There was a stuffed swordfish. That's one of the more famous kind of absurd things that jump out at you on the screen. Unfortunately the process of the three did degrade the quality of the overall film and it made it a lot blurrier around the edges. Lighting is too distracting. Especially when you watch this in a to d format. There's only so much they can do to make it. look good. Despite the three gimmick the rush to capitalize on the franchise name amityville. Three d fell out of theaters very quickly within three weeks. It only earned about half of the take of its predecessor which was disappointing in and of itself. It only earned six point three million dollars in. Us theaters audiences really. They had grown tired of the three d. process. This point especially since a lot of those three d films were among the worst films of the prior two years this would also be the final wide release three d feature in theaters in early nineteen eighty s and unfortunately unlike the first two films amityville three d is completely divorced from any pretense that what we're witnessing is something that actually happened. At least anecdotally. They're really just is not anything in of itself that's terrifying about housefly attack. Sir elevators runamuck blast of cold air fleischer though blamed the marketing itself for the failure of amityville. Three thought. This should be a bigger hit. He said that it was barely advertised. And what advertisements. They did do made the film look like it was embarrassingly cheap. He felt it was a much better production than that. As far as what. I think well amityville three d. I will say it's not as bad as many other. Nineteen eighty s three films. In fact it's probably of the ones that i've seen at least one of the better efforts to try to do something but it also doesn't really strive to be a truly good film independent of that three the spite e-class your approach here. I think the biggest knock on amityville. Three d is that it is pretty dull comparatively to other horror movies of its era and it's very derivative in comparison. Like i said to poltergeist. It's three the effects were deemed a bust lot of complaints to darcy. Still dark to see when you watch it in two d although it is better but what could be seeing still looks sub-standard at least compared to other films of its era. That didn't have three kind of ruining the filming the staging of the three shots. They really look awkward when you view it in a to format which most people who are watching this today as well as the years. Most people watched it on tv. We're on home video. Very few people see it in the theaters. So it does have an alternate title. As i mentioned of amityville the demon so further causing a lot of confusion among the public as to what the actual name is of this film and how it ties in now. All of these technical problems aside. I think the dialog is also to elementary the motivations of the characters too implausible to make any what we're seeing compelling many aspects of the scares seem totally contrived or outright nonsensical again as with the other films. The house for some reason is not the only thing that is cursed whatever spirits lie within the house also decided along for the ride usually in the form of a fly that appear out in public places to one of the characters buzzing around their face away from the home i think one of the silliest scenes i can think of in this film we see john baxter. He's either soaring. To the top or plummeting to the bottom floor of a building in a wild elevator ride after visiting his literary agents office building and despite nearly dying in that sequence from the elevator runamuck when baxter's photographer colleague from reveal melania's spooked by a blast of cold that she felt within the house. He asks her why this event happened to her but not the him completely forgetting that he nearly was killed in this freak accident just the day before had no discernible explanation could not have been imagined. There were other people that knew. He was trapped in this elevator. That was soaring or plummeting almost to his doom. There's been no shortage of amityville films after this over the years. They're still making them today. In fact amityville three happened to be the last theatrically released effort among all of those like almost two dozen of them. Except for the two thousand five remake of the nineteen seventy nine film. That came out with ryan reynolds which was not worth really going out to sea either so for all intents and purposes amityville 's cachet as a property kind of ended here as far as the releases even though the name amityville still denotes a haunted house for many people that are looking for such fair. And that's why it continues to be used to this day and it's free to use. There is a town called amityville. They don't tie it to the original films. If they don't have rights they can continue calling it that so two stars out of four is what i give amityville three d two stars out of four means that it's lacking something vital that would keep it from being something that i can recommend to most people and that which is lacking here is any kind of effort to make it unique or interesting beyond three gimmick. Watch it in three d format. Maybe you'll get more mileage out of it because it was kind of a novelty film. It was intended to be viewed in such a fashion on. Its own it's stuff you've seen before and seen done better especially if you've watched poltergeist and that's why i can only give amityville three d two stars out of four well unfortunately or maybe fortunately depending on how you feel about this and the amityville horror is not going to die here because coming up next. I'm going to be reviewing amityville horror. The evil escapes sometimes called amityville. Four depending on video released but amityville horror has the novelty eventually tying in somewhat with the original nineteen seventy nine film senator stern who did original screenplay also does the screenplay for this one as well as dante jones who worked with the lutzes to write the amityville horror part to the book that he did that was released in nineteen eighty-two that covers a lot of the material that you're going to see in this film as well as the next film that follows this so returning the film franchise as it were back to that first film somewhat. Anyway this was a made for tv movie that was released in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine so if you have the chance to check out amityville horror the evil escapes. Patty duke and jane wyatt are in that film so some interesting things. Here willoughby better than the diller renta's productions that awaits to be seen this will be. I watch for me so check it out if you can't amityville horror evil escapes for the next episode of around the world eighties movies. If you have your own thoughts on the amityville series or amityville three d specifically right to me. Find my contact information at my website. Webster dot net w. s. t. e. r. dot net leased. My twitter feed my facebook page by instagram. Are all there too if you want to get in touch any of his adequate. But i do think email is the best if you wanna shoot a word to me of how you feel about the show but otherwise until next time. Thank you so much for listening and joining me on.