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

Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)
by Christ Wright, MoreHorror.com

With all this new talk of a film based on the book “Amityville The Evil Escapes” I thought to myself “Why not write a review of the sequel that was already based on it?” I don’t know the full plot details of this new sequel from an independent production company but that movie already exists its called “Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes” from 1989!

This is the first and only of the many "Amityville" sequels that was strictly made for TV for NBC. It is also the first movie that was not theatrical and it deviated from the mythos of the original trilogy. What makes this movie more interesting is Sandor Stern who wrote the original movie is guy behind this sequel. This movie is not as bad as other reviewers have penned it out to be. I actually rather enjoy this movie. It is also somewhat difficult to find. The original was released on VHS by Vidmark.

Based off the novel with the same name, we see priests exorcising the demon out of the Amityville house. This demon is not destroyed but puts itself inside one of the objects inside of the house. Unfortunately, it is inside an old fashioned lamp, which is sold to a woman at a yard sale. At this point, some critics would be mad that the movie does not take place in the Amityville house.

To be serious, how many repetitive movies can you possibly have following the same plot devices in one single house? The lamp is sold to a very active older woman (Helen played by Peggy McCay), who in turn, cuts herself on the lamp after she buys it. That cut is one of the worst mistakes of her life as her health declines and she passes away fairly quickly. Unbeknownst at that time, she gives the lamp to her sister out in California as a gift

The sister is Alice receives the lamp as well as some family members who moved in to the house with her. The reason for this move is that Nancy’s husband had died and she is worried about the younger daughter. Everything starts going to hell fast to the house and the family once the demon inside the lamp infects everything around it. From her seeing her dead husband, to the animals going insane, to appliances gone wild, to death takes place in the house.

The creepiest aspects are the younger sibling Jessica who develops a fatherly obsession with the lamp as she sees her father inside of it. The other two older children Brian and Amanda are increasingly becoming freaked out by Jessica’s behavioral changes as well.

The lamp exploits the hidden issues within Alice and her daughter Nancy and her kids. The relationship with the young girl Jessica and the lamp intensifies to the point of her being in a near catatonic state of mind. The actress does a superb job making her part seem possessed by the lamp. With all this going on, Father Kibbler who helped in getting the demon out of the Amityville house is on a hunt to find out the location of the demon and anything associated with it. Father Kibbler takes it upon himself to rescue the family.

With the family unity falling apart at the seams, the demon inside the lamp tries to destroy the entire family but ultimately fails after Father Kibbler and the family coming together band together to destroy the lamp. The movie simply ends as we see a cat with shiny yellow eyes walking along the coastal sands. This movie has a horrible 3.5 on IMDB. I do not give this movie that rating. I rank it pretty high on the Amityville totem poll.

The worst for me is “Amityville Curse”. The music is well done and it’s a pretty good story for something made for TV.

Why don’t they make great things like this in the horror genre for TV now? The acting is pretty solid for the most part. The lamp idea may sound silly but I thought it was pretty well done. It keeps the sub theme of family destruction in tact but with an entirely different story based one of the many Amityville books.

I give the movie a 4.5 out of 5 stars for a pretty good entry in to this long franchise.

Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

Directed By: Sandor Stern

Written By: Sandor Stern

Jane Wyatt (Alice), Patty Duke (Nancy), Zoe Trilling (Amanda), Aron Eisenberg (Brian), Brandy Gold (Jessica), Fredric Lehne (Father Kibbler), Norman Lloyd (Father Manfred)


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