A Horror Quickie With Lisa Marie: The Amityville Curse (dir. by Tom Berry)

Before I left for my vacation, I watched several of the free horror movies that are available on Fearnet and, to a large extent, I got what I paid for.  That said, seeing as how it is October and how this Horror Month here at the Shattered Lens, I committed myself to reviewing each film that I watched via Fearnet, regardless of how thoroughly awful any particular film might turn out to be.

And that brings us to The Amityville Curse, a Canadian film from 1990 that was made to capitalize on the whole Amityville Horror scam.

In the Amityville Curse, a group of 6 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 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 people.

Which is pretty much what happens here.

I have to admit that I feel sorry for Kim Coates whenever I see him in a movie like this.  Kim Coates (who is currently a member of the cast of Sons of Anarchy) is a talented character actor and, when given the chance, he has proven that he can play likable and sympathetic characters.  But, he’s got these slightly off-center 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 except that I doubt this already obscure film will ever again see the light of day.

Except maybe on Fearnet.

October Music Series: Tuatha de Danann – The Dance of the Little Ones

“Tuatha Dé Danann” refers to mythological pre-Christian inhabitants of Ireland, and contestedly translates as “peoples of the goddess Danu”. If an entirely appropriate name for an Irish folk metal band, what makes Tuatha de Danann especially odd is that they hail from Varginha, Brazil. The band can, moreover, claim to be one of the earliest-formed acts to perform folk metal, dating back to 1995 (though they quite recently broke up.)

Tuatha de Danann are fundamentally power metal–the definitive metal genre of Central and Southern America (I was in Costa Rica when Iron Maiden played there in 2009 and you’d have thought it was a national holiday). I’ve never been a big power metal enthusiast, so I never had much of a desire to explore Tuatha de Danann’s albums further, but the opening track to Tingaralatingadun, released in 2001, does a delightful (and historically, exceptionally early) job of flawlessly merging power and folk metal in a manner somewhat similar to Elvenking during their finer years. It is a bit more earthy than Elvenking, much to its advantage, and the effect of the constant guitar solo doodling, whistle, and generally airy production creates a lighthearted, mischievous vibe that I would describe as more fantasy than folk–or at least, it invokes a more fairytale superstition of early morning magic. Follow these guys into a cave and you might find a few hundred years have passed on your way back out.

The biggest selling point for me in this song is the tone of the whistle. I cannot sufficiently emphasize my love for whistles. There is no instrument I enjoy more, either to listen to or to play (banjos get a close second, though I’d be kidding myself if I claimed I could play one). “The Dance of the Little Ones” is especially successful in generating a sort of ‘through the fog’ whistle tone which I’ve heard employed by such diverse musicians as Belarusian folk band Stary Olsa (Стары Ольса) and Japanese video game composer Miki Higashino, and which I desperately wish I knew how to reproduce.