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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: October 25th, 2022 Movie Release Year: 1979

The Amityville Horror - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Although the scare factor has heavily waned over the decades, the original The Amityville Horror is nonetheless enjoyed today more for its nostalgia and for reliving some amusing childhood memories. Courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome, the cult horror classic haunts our Ultra HD home theaters with a shockingly beautiful, near-reference 4K HDR10 video, an excellent pair of DTS-HD MA tracks and a great mix of legacy and new supplements. Overall, the UHD package makes a Recommended addition to the 4K cult horror library.

George Lutz, his wife Kathy, and their three children have just moved into a beautiful, and improbably cheap, Victorian mansion nestled in the sleepy coastal town of Amityville, Long Island. However, their dream home is concealing a horrific past and soon each member of the Lutz family is plagued with increasingly strange and violent visions and impulses. Fearing for their sanity, they consult with Father Delaney who realizes a dark supernatural presence has consumed the home and is attempting to propel the Lutz family into becoming its latest victims of unspeakable acts of violence...

One of the most acclaimed and terrifying horror films of the 1970s, director Stuart Rosenberg's (Cool Hand Luke) The Amityville Horror (TM) features powerhouse performances from James Brolin (Westworld), genre film icon Margot Kidder (Superman, Black Christmas), Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night), and cult star Don Stroud (Django Unchained). With a chilling screenplay by Sandor Stern, based on Jay Anson's best selling novel, and an unnerving score by Lalo Schifrin (Mission: Impossible), Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present the UHD debut of The Amityville Horror, stunningly restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative and featuring a comprehensive selection of new and archival interviews.

directed by: Stuart Rosenberg
starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton, John Larch
1979 / 118 min / 1.85:1 / English 5.1 Surround

Additional info:

  • 4K Ultra HD / Region A Blu-ray Set
  • 4K UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
  • Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative
  • Presented for the first time on home video in its original unaltered theatrical surround mix with an optional stereo mix
  • "My Amityville Diaries" - a brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with screenwriter Sandor Stern, actor Meeno Peluce, actor Don Stroud, actor Marc Vahanian and actress Amy Wright
  • "For God's Sake, Get Out!" - an archival making-of documentary featuring interviews with actor James Brolin and actress Margot Kidder
  • "Brolin Thunder" - an interview with actor James Brolin from 2017
  • "Child's Play" - an interview with actor Meeno Peluce from 2017
  • "Amityville Scribe" - an interview with screenwriter Sandor Stern from 2017
  • "The Devil in the Music" - an interview with composer Lalo Schifrin from 2017
  • "Haunted Melodies: A Journey Inside the Music That Makes Horror Come Alive" - an interview with composer Lalo Schifrin from 2013
  • Commentary track by Dr. Hans Holzer, PhD in Parapsychology (Author of ‘Murder in Amityville’)
  • Video introduction by Dr. Hans Holzer
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Still gallery, TV Spot, Radio Spots
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

 

Purchase Original Edition From Vinegar Syndrome.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free (UHD Only)
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10
Length:
118
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Special Features:
Blu-ray Copy
Release Date:
October 25th, 2022

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

It's funny how some movies you grew up remembering as really scary are actually not nearly as terrifying when you're an adult. After decades of watching hundreds more horror features with a fanboy passion since then, it probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the clout and effectiveness of The Amityville Horror has waned significantly. It endures largely from nostalgia and the belief that it's based on true events, despite having been proven a money-making hoax. Granted, the movie does bring memories of cowering under the sheets when the rocking chair moves by itself and yelling for George Lutz (James Brolin) to not return for the dog, but the once-great supernatural spookfest is ultimately quaint and dull, generating more feelings of gloomy melancholy than genuine scares.

Over the years and after many repeat viewings, the Amityville house is pretty much horror-less, especially with director Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke) relying on swarms of flies, wind, and reaction shots to create a spine-chilling atmosphere. Admittedly, there remain a couple of moments of weird apprehension, like Amy's (Natasha Ryan) imaginary friend Jodie or Kathy's (Margot Kidder) growing fear of her husband's rage, but it still fails at capturing the imagination. Part of what now makes the production more of a somber and somewhat disheartening melodrama comes at the heels of watching My Amityville Horror with the real-life, middle-aged Daniel Lutz. It's an eye-opening documentary that reveals the real horrors within the family, outside the demonic spirits nonsense and focused on the personal trauma of abuse and psychological damage of unwanted notoriety on a child.

2022 Ultra HD 

2013 Blu-ray

The only remaining strength of the plot, based on the best-selling book by Jay Anson, is witnessing George's spiral into uncontrollable anger and madness while struggling under the weight of monetary issues. Brolin delivers a convincingly frightening performance as a man slowly ripping apart at the seams. Then there's the haunting, almost iconic music of Lalo Schifrin, which succeeds at generating goosebumps better than the movie. At its worst and silliest, the house possesses an unusual animosity towards the Catholic faith, afflicting Father Delany (a forgettable Rod Steiger) in particular to the point of making him appear delusional. Someone should have asked which denomination the house preferred before moving in or inviting representatives from the wrong church. 

We've covered 1979's The Amityville Horror for previously - check out our past reviews:

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome, The Amityville Horror haunts 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc package with a limited-edition slipcover. A Region-Free, triple-layered UHD100 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region A locked, BD50 copy containing a healthy selection of special features. Both discs are housed inside the standard black, eco-elite keepcase with reversible insert artwork and a sturdy cardboard slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a static screen of the house with the usual menu options along the bottom and music playing in the background.

You can also order this title directly from Vinegar Syndrome 

Video Review

Ranking:

The horrors of the past infest our Ultra HD home with an outstandingly gorgeous, near-reference HEVC H.265 encode, kicking the disappointing Blu-ray from over ten years ago to the curb. Struck from a brand-new restoration and remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives, the native 4K transfer showcases distinct, sharp lines in the interior of the house, the well-defined stitching in the costumes and clean details in the surrounding foliage. Every piece of furniture and object decorating the background is plain to make out for a majority of the runtime. A few slightly softer moments do creep up from time to time, but that's to be expected in a movie of this vintage and are the result of the photographic techniques employed at that time. Overlooking that, the video is awash in a very thin layer of natural grain, giving the 1.85:1 image a lovely filmic quality.

The HDR10 presentation also comes with improved contrast and brightness balance, boasting cleaner, more brilliant whites and richer midnight blacks throughout. Shadow details are excellent with impressive visibility during the darkest, poorly-lit moments, and specular highlights are crisp and radiant with a tight, narrow glow from the hottest spots, supplying a lifelike sparkle from the sunlight against the water while still revealing the finer details. Most impressive still is the more full-bodied, animated array of colors, especially the sumptuous primaries energizing the surrounding foliage with life and vitality. Secondary hues are equally attractive, bathing much of the interior in warm yellows, homely marigolds, lively oranges and a slew of browns and sepias to really bring that gaudy 70s aesthetic to life.  

All in all, the cult horror classic has never looked better and as beautifully rejuvenated as it does on Vinegar Syndrome's UHD edition. (HDR10 Video Rating: 92/100)

Audio Review

Ranking:

2022 Ultra HD 

2013 Blu-ray

Like the video, the movie haunts home theaters with an improved pair of DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, giving fans the option to enjoy either an excellent 5.1 surround sound or a good 2.0 mono track. Surprisingly, the upmix version is the better of the two, exhibiting a cleaner and better-defined mid-range while imaging remains front and center with distinct clarity throughout, even during the loudest segments in the movie's climactic finish. For the most part, the rears are relatively quiet but occasionally employed for a few, select ambient effects, which are well-done and quite effective, such as the "Get out!" voice that suddenly spooks Father Delaney echoing all around the room. The low-end is arguably wanting in some sequences, but considering the movie's age and original recording, the bass is nonetheless adequate for what it is, providing some audible weight to the thunder. All the while, dialogue is very well-prioritized and intelligible from start to finish, making this new lossless mix a noteworthy step up from its predecessor. (Audio Rating: 80/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

For this UHD edition, Vinegar Syndrome culls together the legacy supplements along with a nice selection of new bonuses, all of which are contained on the accompanying Blu-ray disc.

  • Audio Commentary with parapsychology and author Dr. Hans Holzer
  • NEW My Amityville Diaries (HD, 21 min) is a recently produced short documentary on the production's history featuring cast & crew interviews, BTS footage and various film clips.
  • NEW Brolin Thunder (HD, 16 min) is an interview with actor James Brolin
  • NEW Child's Play (HD, 17 min) is an interview with actor Meeno Peluce
  • NEW Amityville Scribe (HD, 16 min) is an interview with screenwriter Sandor Stern
  • NEW The Devil in the Music (HD, 14 min) is a 2017 interview with composer Lalo Schifrin
  • For God's Sake, Get Out! (1080i/60, 22 min) is an archival making-of-doc.
  • Haunted Melodies (HD, 10 min) is a 2013 interview with composer Lalo Schifrin
  • Video Introduction (HD, 1 min) by Dr. Hans Holzer
  • Trailers (HD) features the original theatrical preview, one TV ad and seven radio spots
  • Still Gallery (HD) 

2022 Ultra HD 

2013 Blu-ray

The original The Amityville Horror has sadly not-aged well over the decades, enjoyed today more for its nostalgia and for reliving some amusing childhood memories. Frankly, the movie is terribly lacking in genuine scares and a creepy atmosphere while also failing to tell a decently engaging story. After forty years, the horror is pretty disappointing but the nostalgia remains. Courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome, the cult horror classic haunts our Ultra HD home theaters with a shockingly beautiful, near-reference 4K HDR10 presentation and an excellent pair of DTS-HD MA soundtracks, offering fans a notable and worthwhile upgrade from its Blu-ray counterparts. With a great mix of legacy and new supplements, the overall UHD package makes a recommended addition to the 4K cult horror library.

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.