Amityville 1992: It’s About Time

(Tony Randel, USA, 1992)


In an era of hyper-inflated budgets and ever more amazing technical processes for the production of special effects in cinema, it does well to remind oneself of the often wonderfully poetic thrills that B movies old and new have achieved with only the slenderest of means.

The hands of a clock spin frantically, and a character is suddenly radically younger or older; through a doorway, a child sees a normal lounge room fleetingly replaced by another, more sinister chamber.

All this and more appears in Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, directed with no small amount of flair by Tony Randel (Hellbound: Hellraiser II [1988]). The plot mixes conventions from horror movies both classic and contemporary.

An old clock unleashes evil spirits into a new-fangled California home, where interpersonal malaise runs high. While the father (Stephen Macht) rots with a festering wound and slowly turns into a devil, his daughter (Shawn Weatherly) transforms from a shy, bubble-gum chewing teenager into a vicious vamp, prompting this immortal remark from her brother (Damon Martin): "Teen lust, it’s really disgusting."

Around this crazy family mill the usual suspects: sneering neighbours, clairvoyant aunts, ineffectual cops. A special new twist is added to the typical Amityville formula: the clock holds not just any old demon, but the eternal spirit of a great historical monster, Gilles de Rais.

An engaging combination of florid, baroque horror and colourful teen comedy, Amityville 1992 is one for exploitation cinema connoisseurs.

MORE Amityville: The Amityville Horror (2005)

© Adrian Martin February 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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