Retro Review: Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

Haaaaaahahahahahaha. Haha. Oh. Hang on. I need- I need to catch my breath.


Haha. Hoo. Boy.

What the hell.

So, yeah, Amityville 4, um, happened. In 1989. Which was a good year for me personally. I was seven, and I guess that’d put me in second grade, which was approximately the time I really developed my love for video games. Because, see, Nintendo Power had started not long before that, and they did this crazy thing where they actually gave you a free game when you subscribed! And it was Dragon Warrior! I know, right? The first one’s always  free. That’s how they get you. But man, Dragon Warrior! What a game that was! I could talk about Dragon Warrior all day!

Because- because- because what the hell, Amityville?!

Alright, fine, the movie. So, I don’t even know–there’s a bunch of priests, right, and they decide to exorcise ye olde Amityville Horror house, because demons. And somehow the house is there, despite how Amitvyille 3 ended. Whatever. They do their thing, only they’re defeated by the demon, which has taken up residence in a-

You know what?

Do you watch Family Guy? Have you seen this one?

A lamp monster. The butt of a random joke in an old episode of Family Guy, a show that is literally nothing but random gags strung together between clips of a fat man farting and speaking in a terrible fake Boston accent.

Only that’s not all it is.

No, Amityville 4’s villain is a freaking lamp. The demon goes into the lamp because I have no idea why it did that and then the lamp gets bought by a nice old lady at a yard sale held by the house’s owners (I think, I don’t even know anymore) and then she sends it as a gag gift to her nice old lady sister who lives across the country in California, which is where the entire remaining 9/10ths of the movie takes place. 

Abashed the Devil stood, and WAS A @&%! LAMP.

Abashed, the Devil stood, and WAS A @&%! LAMP.

I actually watched this the day after I watched Amityville 3, but I put off reviewing it all this time because why. It’s not even– it’s not even like a real movie. It’s like a long Pier One commercial warning consumers about what will happen if they don’t keep up with the latest trends in non-demonic home furnishings.

The thing is, it’s not that bad. It’s better-written than the previous installment, and the casting is better (except for the teenage son with the ridiculous pompadour thing… what’s his deal?).

This is actually not the monster. I know, right?

This is actually not the monster. I know, right?

It’s just–it’s just not anything. It’s not a horror movie. It’s more like a bonus feature buried on an Are you Afraid of the Dark? DVD, something never intended for mainstream release and added as an afterthought. Yeah, there’s an evil presence, which is arbitrarily stuck (most of the time) inside a lamp for some reason, and which now exerts its demonic influence primarily over other household appliances (the italics are so you can hear my raging irony with your eyes). So one guy loses a hand to a possessed garbage disposal, and another guy gets–I dunno, covered in black goo? What actually happens to that guy, by the way? The plumber shows up to fix a pipe, right, and he goes down into a crawlspace and the pipe bursts and the hand the other guy lost (which is mysteriously intact) falls out on him, followed by a bunch of black goo, and then that’s just it. Do they ever come back to him, or are we to assume that he’s just hanging out in the basement, lying in a puddle of goo for some reason?

But none of it is ever on the same continent as scary. It’s more of an after-school special–and was, in fact, a made-for-TV film, another bizarre decision for an established, if flagging, horror franchise. I can’t even offer any kind of meaningful summary, because it would just be a pointless “This happened, and then this happened” kind of list (which is basically what the movie itself is). And I like you guys. But as you can imagine, there’s a demon(ic lamp) and it does bad things and eventually the idiot protagonists figure it out and they save the day only not really because sequels.

Honest to god, this is the last frame of the film. Brilliant.

Honest to god, this is the last frame of the film. Brilliant.

The only thing I can say for it is that, unlike the previous film, Amityville 4 manages some unintentional hilarity. I mean, how could anyone have ever thought that an evil lamp would be anything but laughable? I think it must have been some kind of weak inside joke. If anybody has the skinny on why this film is what it is, I’d love to hear about it.

Amityville 4 is what happens when a producer’s kid stays up too late on a Saturday night and watches a midnight matinee of actual horror movies, so Daddy decides to make a movie with the same name except unfathomably more stupid and less threatening so he can show little Billy that there’s actually nothing to be afraid of. Except, you know, the lamp in the corner. Ooooo. (That’s the noise scary lamps make. Ooooo.)


4 thoughts on “Retro Review: Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

    • Aw, thanks. Impotent rage is pretty hilarious, definitely.

      I feel like we should round up our fellow horror-y bloggers and actually watch a crappy horror film together. The posts that would come out of that would be epic.

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