Film Review: Amityville Emanuelle (dir by Louis DeStafano)

Amityville Emanuelle is the latest film about the dumbass Amityville Haunting.

In order to watch any of the many films about the supposed haunted house in Amityville, New York, you need to be aware of two real-life events.

In 1974, a 23 year-old junkie named Ronald DeFeo, Jr. gunned down his entire family in their Amityville home.  DeFeo first claimed that unknown gunmen had killed his family while he was out.  He then changed his story and said that he killed his family but he did it because he knew they were plotting to kill him.  He then suggested that the whole thing was a mafia hit.  He then moved on to claiming that his sister was the one who actually killed everyone.  And, finally, he claimed that he had been possessed by demonic spirits.

One year later, the Lutz family moved into the Amityville House.  After a month, the Lutzes left the house and George Lutz claimed that the house was haunted and that the family had been forced to flee for their lives.  Thanks to a book and a few movies based on that book, the Lutzes made some money and eventually ended up suing a lot of other people in order to make even more money.  Subsequent owners of the house have never reported anything strange happening while living in the house, other than strangers stopping by to view the supposedly haunted structure.

So, we can either believe that Ronald DeFeo was a junkie who killed his own estranged family or we can accept that the Devil took one look at Ronald DeFeo shooting up heroin and decided, “I’m tired of possessing the innocent and the naïve.  I’m going to possess someone who is already so screwed up that no one will even notice that he’s been possessed.  That’ll show ’em!”

And we can either believe that a bunch of demons chased George and Kathryn Lutz from their home or we can believe that the Lutzes looked at the success of books and films like The Exorcist and The Omen and they decided that they might as well cash in as well.

Amityville Emanuelle accepts, from the start, the everything was due to the paranormal, which is fine.  It’s a movie and Occam’s razor goes out the window when it comes to the movies.  George Lutz’s daughter, Laura (Dawn Church), moves into a new house and is soon visited by a strange woman who claims that she is delivering some of George’s belongings.  Laura discovers that George owned an urn that was full of Ronald DeFeo’s ashes.  Apparently, George and DeFeo had a psychic connection and George, who is insinuated to have been some sort of an occultist, knew that DeFeo was going to murder his family before he even did it.

(Wow, those are some pretty mean things to say about the late George Lutz, who was a real person and not really around to defend himself.  Then again, George Lutz would be totally forgotten today if not for the fact that he made up a bunch of stuff about a haunted house so really, Lutz being portrayed as an occultist feels like karma.)

Laura soon finds herself acting in strange ways, picking up random men at bars and then barely noticing when they’re subsequently killed by someone who looks just like Ronald DeFeo.

Meanwhile, Ronald DeFeo’s son, Gordon (Shane Ryan-Reid, himself a director of transgressive films), makes the mistake of using a Ouija Board with his friends and he’s soon having visions of his father killing people.

(Now, I know that some of you are now saying, “Where does Emanuelle fit in with this?” because, after all, the symbol of sexual freedom and experimentation is namechecked in the film’s title.  Well, Emanuelle really doesn’t fit into it, unless you include the scene where Laura goes to a bar and picks up two men.  But those watching this film because they’re expecting it to be some sort of soft-core haunted house flick are going to be disappointed.)

Amityville Emanuelle is a low-budget and rather dumb film but it is at least partially redeemed by the fact that it doesn’t appear to be taking itself seriously at all and there’s no attempt to convince the viewer that they’re somehow watching anything that could be based on fact.  There’s not much in the way of suspense and both the gore and the sex are rather tame but there is a medium (played by Saint Heart) whose generally annoyed attitude is occasionally fun to watch.  The Amityville Haunting has always been a particularly stupid story and the cynicism of the majority of people who continue to try to sell it as being fact has always been more than a bit icky so, at this point, Amityville Emanuelle is kind of what the legend deserves.

2 responses to “Film Review: Amityville Emanuelle (dir by Louis DeStafano)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 5/22/23 — 5/28/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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