THE AMITYVILLE CURSE (1989) Reviews and overview



‘A return to the most dangerous house in the world’

The Amityville Curse is a 1989 Canadian-American horror film directed by Tom Berry (director of Blind Fear and producer of Scanners II and Screamers) from a screenplay by Michael Krueger (Mindkiller; Night Vision; Lone Wolf), Doug Olson and Norvell Rose. It was edited and produced by Franco Battista for Allegro Films.

It is the fifth instalment in the Amityville series and was released on video in May 1990.


The film was loosely based around Hans Holzer‘s 1981 book The Amityville Curse. Even though the setting of the film is supposed to be in Amityville, it is not 112 Ocean Avenue, the setting for the previous Amityville films. The house used here is a different house. A brief reference is made to the DeFeo murders and to the town’s supernatural history.

The movie stars Kim Coates (Red Blooded American Girl; Dracula: The Series; Innocent Blood), Cassandra Gava (The Black Room) and Jan Rubes (Dead of Winter; Blood Relations; The Kiss) and David Stein.

Marvin and Debbie buy an old house and begin to renovate it with the help of three friends: Frank, Bill and Abigail. However, they are unaware that the former housekeeper, Mrs Moriarty, and priest were murdered there twelve years earlier when the house was a rectory…

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A group of six friends spend the night in a haunted house and things work out as you might expect. You’d be justified in assuming that the haunted house in question is the same house from the Amityville Horror but you’d be wrong. Instead, they’re staying in a different house that just happens to also be in Amityville and which just happens to be haunted as well. (One lesson to be learned from this mess of a movie: when it comes to haunted house stories, it’s often best to keep things simple.)

Apparently, decades earlier, a priest was murdered in the house while taking confession and the local community has scorned the house ever since. However, at the start of the film, a fat, balding guy and his boring wife buy the house and their friends come down to help with the remodel. Unfortunately, one of those friends is played by Kim Coates and, as everyone knows, the minute Kim Coates shows up in a horror movie, he’s going to end up getting possessed and killing a lot of people. Which is pretty much what happens here.

Kim Coates is a talented character actor and, when given the chance, he has proven that he can play likeable and sympathetic characters. However, he’s got these slightly off-centre eyes and a nervous, jumpy manner about him. As a result, whenever he shows up in a movie, he always seems to be killing people. Whenever I see a talented actor like Kim Coates in a movie like The Amityville Curse, I clench my little hand into a fist and I shake it at the unkind Gods of typecasting.

As for The Amityville Curse, well, what can I really say about it? This is a truly terrible movie, one of the worst that I’ve ever seen. It’s a horror movie without a single scare. It’s the type of movie that I would warn everyone to stay away from.

Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens

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Other reviews:

Long scenes of conversations and very little action make this film much too boring to warrant any sort of recommendation. Despite the film’s pretensions towards suspense and mystery, it fails to offer any red herrings, all but giving away the identity of the murderer in the first fifteen minutes.” Canuxploitation!

“Most of the scares are by the book, and even when they try doing something new it doesn’t work – I’m sure “a dog menacing them only to be scared off by a crucifix” sounds eerie on paper, but in a poorly directed, blandly acted, late 80s Canadian horror movie, it doesn’t quite hit that mark.” Horror Movie a Day

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“This is definitely one of the weakest of the series (not that any of them are particularly good that is), which in my view was very reminiscent of The Changeling (I also noticed one or two similarities with “Demons 3: The Ogre”) and to be honest this could have been made as a standalone horror film, as it really seems to owe nothing to any of the previous films…” Realm of Horror

“A thin story, predictable surprises and lifeless, or at least not very horror-oriented direction sadly overwhelm the game cast, and after this entry, the Amityville franchise crept back to its original home south of the border…” Caelum Vatnsdal, They Came from Within



Cast and characters:

Kim Coates as Frank
Dawna Wightman as Debbie
Helen Hughens as Mrs Moriarty
David Stein as Marvin
Anthony Dean Rubes as Bill
Cassandra Gava as Abigail
Jan Rubes as Priest
Scott Yaphe as Thin Boy
Mark Camacho as Krabel


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