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Film / Amityville II: The Possession

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Amityville II: The Possession is a 1982 supernatural horror film directed by Damiano Damiani, based on the novel Murder in Amityville by parapsychologist Hans Holzer. It is a loose prequel to The Amityville Horror (1979) which tells the events that led to the mass murder of the Montelli family (loosely based on the DeFeo family), and the attempts to contain the evil in their house right afterwards.

The Possession has examples of:

  • Abusive Dad: Anthony Montelli is quick to use violence on his children and his wife even before moving to the house.
  • Asshole Victim: Anthony and Dolores, who Took a Level in Jerkass by blaming Patricia for the Montelli family's latest misfortunes through her and Sonny's Brother–Sister Incest and slapping her in reaction upon confronting her.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Anthony, an utterly monstrous husband and father, had been abusing his family for quite some time before the events of this film, however, he is upstaged by the demonic forces that possessed Sonny.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Possibly even moreso than the real life De Feo's, the Montelli family was immensely f-ed up even before they move in.
  • Body Horror: At the climax when the demon possessing sonny tries breaking out of his skin. Thanks to some practical 1982 special effects and makeup, Sonny's skin starts peeling off, green guts and blood are shown to reveal a grotesque demon moaning inside him all along.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Sonny Montelli (based on Ronald Defeo, Jr.) is influenced by the evil in the house to seduce and have sex with his sister... who is totally on board with it, to judge by her later remarks.
  • Censored Child Death: As demanded by the true story. Notably, however, the two youngest family members are killed offscreen, unlike their parents.
  • Child Hater: Anthony seems to be this as he quickly blames and then abuses the kids for the house's hauntings rather than the demons.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Than the first film and the other installments that follows, given the family who moves in is one Big, Screwed-Up Family who all gets slaughtered with the parents ending up as Asshole Victims for being Abusive Parents, the disturbing, slightly unsubtle theme of Brother–Sister Incest and the film's Downer Ending where the priest who exorcises Sonny becomes a new victim of Demonic Possession. Also the film is not as campy and cheesy as the later films.
    • The visual style of the film is also darker, as the first film focused mostly on brighter scenes that gave a sense of an eerie Crapsaccharine World-ish atmosphere and Daylight Horror akin to 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, while the second film in contrast has cooler lighting and mostly a gray look to reflect on the second installment's straight Crapsack World setting complete with its grim and dreadful nature and somewhat gothic feel. The two films' composer Lalo Schifrin's scoring also differentiate themselves from one another that despite the reuse of themes from the first movie, the second film's music arrangement was more grim, chilling and slightly somber with more prominent "Psycho" Strings in comparison to the first film's equally eerie, but a little more upbeat with less prominent "Psycho" Strings, Oscar-nominated music score.
  • Dawson Casting: Jack Magner was 27 when he was playing the role of the elder sibling who should be around 20-23 to match his real-life counterpart's age.
  • Dead Star Walking: Academy Award-nominee Burt Young ends up an Asshole Victim in this movie.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Due to Burt Young being given second billing and his reputation as an Academy Award-nominated actor as well as some ads such as the SyFy channel's early previews for the television run of the film featuring prominent shots of Young or's page profile of the film giving Young top billing that only worsens the confusion, some people at first before going to see the film thought Burt Young was going to have a major role as a Deuteragonist to investigate the hauntings at his family's home, instead Young's role was nothing pivotal and was a Hate Sink role of an Abusive Parent and an Asshole Victim.
  • Doomed by Canon: Most of the Montellis will die so that the first film will happen.
  • Evil Phone: Father Adamsky gets calls from beyond the grave.
  • Fanservice: About a third through the film, Sonny sports a halfway unbuttoned shirt showing off his chest. During the scene when he's being chased through the house by an unseen force when the camera goes upside down, it's noticeable that he buttoned his shirt back up, but how can he have done so while holding a rifle? It's possible he buttoned it up between shots realizing he was flaunting too much chest...but when it starts chasing him up the stairs, its unbuttoned again to the point where you can see his nipples. Can also count as fan-disservice when the demon starts possessing him turning into a bad Hulk imitation.
  • Fat Bastard: The abusive, boorish and brutish Anthony is a plump piece of junk who torments his own family.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've seen the first movie, or know about the real life murders that inspired the story, you'll know exactly what is going to happen by the end of act two.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see Sonny shooting his brother and sisters.
  • Hate Sink: The director intended to really upset the audience through not just hauntings, so Anthony fulfills this role for being a repugnant Abusive Dad and husband and an Asshole Victim when he gets killed.
  • Hearing Voices: Sonny hears voices through his earphones telling him to kill his family.
  • Holier Than Thou: Dolores, who is an overly religious woman, as she was offended by the demons covering the family crucifix and stoop to a new low by being abusive as her husband by slapping Patricia for committing Brother–Sister Incest and out of blame for the family's haunted house misfortunes. This of course makes her as much of a loathsome Asshole Victim as her husband.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Anthony, who hates religion and is sacrilegious towards the church.
  • Hysterical Woman: Dolores spends the most of the screen time being hysterical, especially when bearing witness to the hauntings.
  • Jerkass: Anthony and later Dolores.
  • Lightning Reveal: Flash of lightning reveals Sonny aiming his gun on his little brother.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: A Rare Male Example when Sonny wears that green shirt halfway unbuttoned showing off his chest.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Father Adamsky says to Father Tom, "It was her that night, trying to reach me," his voice has a bit of this in it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never exactly see what touched Dolores, what covered the crucifix accompanied with disembodied, ungodly moaning or what chased Sonny throughout the house.
  • Numbered Sequels
  • Prequel: Debatable. It was marketed this way at first, but for legal reasons it had to be announced it had no actual connection to the first film, and in fact there are too many contradictions to count between the movies anyway. It's technically an unrelated film that just happens to be inspired by an earlier part of the same true story, use the same filming location and music, and have a "II" in the title for no reason.
  • Present-Day Past: While the real events took place in 1974, the (1982) movie shows a Rocky posternote , a Walkmannote  and cars from the 80s. It's worth noting the year it's supposed to be is never stated in the movie itself, so one could argue it's actually transposing the story to the then-present day.
  • Roman à Clef: While based on the DeFeo family, all names were changed.
    • Mark Montelli may be an exception, as the DeFeos' second youngest son was named Marc. As such, the fictional Mark Montelli may be an Expy of Marc DeFeo and his younger brother, John Matthew.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Sonny ends up killing his parents and siblings.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: With all the supernatural occurrences happening and Anthony being possibly an atheist who's sacrilegious, Anthony instead blames it on his kids for being Enfant Terrible kinds and abuses them for it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Montelli siblings as well as Dolores who fallen victim to the possessed Sonny count.