Spirits Captured On Film
I often take a lot of flack for citing this as a quality haunted house movie, as iconic as it is, but most people think it’s a piece of shit. But I’ll also be the first to point out that this legendary ghost story about the Long Island house with a demonic presence is a total fabrication. Jay Anson’s book, allegedly nonfiction, was written during a very hot time for the paranormal. The 1970’s was rife with ghost stories, ancient astronauts and ESP. Universities had real paranormal investigation teams, the government sunk billions into paranormal programs to keep pace with The Soviet Union, so people were primed for ghost stories. The DiFeo murder house, however, was not haunted as told by George and Kathy Lutz. It was abandoned because George’s buiness and mental health had deteriorated. But I digress. The ’79 Amityville Horror is absolutely packed with chilling scenes that often come across as a series of vignettes scattered through a movie of pieces and parts. Some work, some don’t but it rarely works as a whole. Plus that house is a seriously creepy design.
Like The Amityville Horror, The Entity is based on an actual haunting case. A single mother reports being abused and raped repeatedly by an unseen force in her home. Her children are tossed around violently, as well. She enlists the help of a University paranormal team to document and assist in ridding the home of the spirit. The Entity is absolutely chilling in parts and paces itself very well, but the third act takes this turn for th absurd that is amazing in its insanity. It takes huge leaps of faith and logic in how the plot is resolved but it’s one of those pictures where the studio most likely thought that a downbeat ending would kill it at the box office and the script has giant demonic spirits being frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Director, Michael Winner has street cred. He’s a working director with an impressive resume. How do you follow up the kick ass Charles Bronson vigilante vehicle, Death Wish? Why, with a creepy as hell haunted house movie about a woman living in an apartment building that is also the gate to hell. Cristina Raines plays an overworked fashion model that moves into an apartment building occupied by some seriously twisted people. Burgess Meredith plays her ultra creepy neighbor and John Carradine is unspeaking, unmoving blind priest who is the titular Sentinel. This is a downright frightening movie that has all the right moves. It’s all about atmosphere and freakish behavior rather a parade of shocking visuals. It builds slowly and releases the tension at just the right time for maximum creeps. It is still, to this day, one of the spookiest movies I’ve ever seen, one of the rarest executions of a proper horror movie.