Currently, there are eight Nightmare on Elm Street films, eleven Friday the 13th movies, and one movie shared between the two series. Thanks to recent reboots, the Child’s Playfranchise is now seven movies long and The Puppet Master franchise is 14 entries long. Halloween’s up to 13 movies, The Conjuring universe has seven films, and Saw will be up to nine whenever Spiral: From the Book of Saw finally comes out.
But all of those venerable franchises pale in comparison to The Amityville Horror’s 23 (and counting!) entries.
In a way, that huge number makes sense. At its core, 1979’s The Amityville Horror is a solid haunted house narrative with a “true story” hook. Based on Jay Anson’s 1974 novel, The Amityville Horror describes the travails of the Lutz family, who experienced paranormal activity shortly after moving into 112 Ocean Avenue on Long Island, where ghostly forces drove one of the previous residents to murder his entire family.
The first set of sequels brought new families into 112 Ocean Avenue or re-enacted the first murder, before destroying the house and distributing cursed objects to other locales. Later entries have only a passing connection to the original house, seemingly slapping the Amityville title onto largely unrelated stories to get some brand recognition. Badly acted found-footage movies about haunted apartments and movie theaters became just as much a part of the Amityville story as the original Long Island house.
Some might complain that all these entries dilute the brand, but here’s the thing: the Amityville movies were never very good. Last year, I watched and reviewed them all for this article, and found the large majority to be bad to mediocre (including the 1979 original).
However, one entry stood out above the rest. Released directly to DVD with an unwieldy title, Amityville 1992: It’s About Time might sound like a forerunner to the lazy cash-grabs that will come to mark the series. But director Tony Randel and writers Christopher DeFaria and Antonio Toro have in fact crafted the perfect Amityville film, one that outdoes its peers by every metric and deserves a place in the horror canon.