Seeing as it’s one of the most famous paranormal cases in American history, it’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone visiting this fine website that isn’t well aware of the Amityville haunting. The supposedly true – although widely challenged – tale was first translated to film in 1979’s The Amityville Horror, a generally well-regarded fright flick starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder. However, it’s doubtful that anyone at the time expected Amityville to ultimately spawn a franchise with a whopping 9 official films, and nearly as many unofficial spin-offs of the mythology by indie studios.
Unfortunately, the majority of these Amityville Horror follow-ups have been pretty awful. Amityville II: The Possession and Amityville 1992: It’s About Time have their fans – as does the 2005 remake starring Ryan Reynolds – but the vast majority of the Amityville series could arguably have been best left unmade. The latest to take a crack at the Amityville nut is the team of Dimension Films and Blumhouse Productions, producers of the upcoming 10th (official) film Amityville: The Awakening.
Seemingly unconnected to the story of the prior films, Amityville: The Awakening places a new family inside the infamous house where Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his family while purportedly under demonic influence. Thankfully, some notable talent is present both in front of and behind the camera, with Maniac (2012) director Franck Khalfoun helming The Awakening. On the cast side, some notable names include Bella Thorne (Scream: The TV Series), Cameron Monaghan (Gotham), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Morgan), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time), and legendary character actor Kurtwood Smith (Robocop, That 70’s Show).
The main cause for fans to be concerned about the potential quality of Amityville: The Awakening is that it has already been delayed multiple times. Originally set for release in early 2015, the film was subsequently bumped to spring 2016, then to early 2017. Now, The Awakening has been bumped back yet again, with a new planned release date of June 30th, 2017. For the sake of theatrical horror, here’s hoping these delays aren’t necessarily a sign that the final product will be terrible. It would be nice to have more decent Amityville entries.