Amityville 3-D – also known as Amityville III: The Demon – is a 1983 American horror film directed by Richard Fleischer (10 Rillington Place; See No Evil; The Boston Strangler) from a screenplay by David Ambrose [as William Wales].
It was the last to be released theatrically until the 2005 remake because it was a flop at the box office, taking only $6.3 million against a $6 million cost.
It was one of a spate of 3-D films released in the early 1980s. As with Friday the 13th Part III and Jaws 3-D, this film was shot using the ArriVision 3-D process – coordinated, for this film, by cinematographer Tibor Sands.
Due to a lawsuit between the Lutz family and producer Dino De Laurentiis over the storyline, Amityville 3-D was not referred to as a sequel. However, the film does make reference to the original story. The character of John Baxter is loosely based on Stephen Kaplan who at the time was trying to prove the Lutzes’ story was a hoax.
After he exposes a pair of con artists with his partner Melanie (Candy Clark) in the infamous 112 Ocean Avenue house in Amityville journalist John Baxter (Tony Roberts) is persuaded to purchase the house by real estate agent Clifford Sanders (John Harkins).
While preparing the house for John, Clifford investigates footsteps in the attic. He is locked in the room, where a swarm of flies attack and kill him. John believes Clifford died of a stroke, even after Melanie shows him some photos she took of the real estate agent before his death which depict him as a rotting corpse.
While John is at work, he nearly dies in a malfunctioning elevator. Simultaneously, Melanie experiences bizarre occurrences in John’s house. She is found later, cowering and hysterical against the wall.
Later, while looking over blowups of the photos of Clifford, Melanie discovers a demonic-looking face in the pictures. When she attempts to show the photos to John, she is killed in a horrific car accident. Melanie’s death is ruled accidental by everyone.
While John is away one day his daughter Susan (Lori Loughlin) and her friend Lisa (Meg Ryan) and two boyfriends use a Ouija board in the attic. The game tells them Susan is in danger…
“Amityville 3-D is a fun and cheesy little scarefest that isn’t particularly frightening but does provide for one or two jumps, some surprising plot turns and a couple of nasty effects, all while trying it’s damnedest to poke you in the eye with a variety of objects at every opportunity. In general you get some pretty decent performances in this one…” Matt Joseph, DVD Active
“Both the house and its special effects are pathetic by Poltergeist standards; sensitive viewers will probably find the pink frisbee hurled in their faces (courtesy of 3-D) a far more disturbing phenomenon than a swarm of bluebottles and the odd spot of green ectoplasm.” Anne Billson, Time Out (London)
“The story itself, involving the daughter being swallowed up by the forces which apparently live in a well in the basement of the house, moves along at a snail’s pace enlivened from time to time by some nice special effects and 3-D images … The film would have worked better played for laughs.” Variety, 31-12-82
” …Amityville 3-D—one-dimensional in every way but its hokey visuals—is too poorly written, awkwardly staged, and pathologically stupid to register as campy fun. But at least it confirms that, if you’re a resident of the Devil’s earthbound vacation home, you can expect paranormal harassment even when riding in faraway office building elevators.” Nick Schager, Slant magazine
“Whereas Amityville II morphed into an awful imitation of The Exorcist, this morphs into a wretched rip-off of Poltergeist, as a group of paranormal investigators snoop around the house and eventually find a creature who looks like a distant cousin of Dogma‘s excremental demon.” Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
“Amityville 3-D is sort of like if John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness was in 3-D and had all the good parts removed. It sort of has that same vibe – a huge team comes into a building setting up various gadgets to test for paranormal activity, eventually locating a portal. But it’s all just so uninteresting.” Chris Coffel, Bloody Disgusting
“It knows it’s a haunted house film. It lacks the European flourishes and eccentricities of its predecessor and the doom-drenched urgency of the original. It’s simply a series of creepy set pieces that are designed to jump at the viewer and the entire screeching evil-entity littered opus is grounded by rock-solid work by a no-nonsense cast.” Chris Alexander, ComingSoon.net
The Amityville Horror
– New interview – Haunted Melodies with Composer Lalo Schifrin
– “For God’s Sake, Get Out!” Documentary with actors James Brolin and Margot Kidder
– Audio Commentary by Dr. Hans Holzer, PH.D. in Parapsychology (author of Murder in Amityville)
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– TV Spot
– Radio Spots
Amityville II: The Possession
– The Possession of Damiani – Interview with Director Damiano Damiani
– Adapting Amityville – New Interview with Screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace
– Family Matters – New Interview with Actress Diane Franklin
– A Mother’s Burden – New Interview with Actress Rutanya Alda
– Father Tom’s Memories – New Interview with Actor Andrew Prine
– New Interview with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer (Growing up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir)
– New Audio Commentary with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– 2D and Blu-ray 3D presentation of the film for the first time!
– A Chilly Reception – New Interview with Actress Candy Clark
– Original Theatrical Trailer
Cast and characters:
- Tony Roberts as John Baxter
- Tess Harper as Nancy Baxter
- Robert Joy as Eliot West
- Candy Clark as Melanie
- Lori Loughlin as Susan Baxter
- Meg Ryan as Lisa
- Neill Barry as Jeff
John Baxter: ‘I guess this is supposed to be, uh, the gateway to Hell.”
Susan Baxter: “Do you know you could have sex with a ghost?”