As Melinda mentioned on Monday, I’m in the process of moving. And I’m not just moving–I’m moving into a house that we bought. We own it. It’s ours. We could tear down all the walls and build a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe out of ice cream in the sunroom, and no one could say boo about it.
Thus far, Cindy’s been nothing but the sunny, adorable self we fell in love with on our first visit. She’s even given us gifts like original blueprints (architect: Hymen Rosenthal) and a hand-painted mural. But given that I am me and she is she and we are all together, I can’t help but wonder if she’s going to say something really awful some day, and send our entire family screaming into the street with horror.
Despite “Amityville Horror”‘s maybe-true, maybe-isn’t infamy , and that it’s the worst homeowner nightmare pretty much ever, this post isn’t about the original movie. It’s about the sequel, “Amityville Horror 2: The Possession,” which came out in 1982, and stars Jack Magner as the Evil Son, who you may recognize as Young Serviceman in “Firestarter.” I don’t specifically remember that character, but I’ll bet he was very evil before little Charlie incinerated his ass.
On a late night in 1984, on the white sectional of the Stowinsky’s family room–one wall of which was decorated with an autumnal mill mural–Jenny, Jamie, Samantha (my sister) and I settled in for another night of satellite and videos. (Jenny and Jamie’s parents not only had a dish, but they also owned a video store and didn’t care what we watched, as long as it wasn’t out of the back room. How’s that for a friend score?) Among those videos is one you’ll be seeing this Friday, which is forever associated with “Amityville Horror 2” in my head.
We all knew the story of the original movie, but had never seen it (i.e., I didn’t know there was a demonic pig with my name in it), so what else would we watch? Turns out “Amityville Horror 2: The Possession” is about the original family that lived in the house, which was the only true part of the whole Amityville saga: On November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr., shot and killed his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters. (Creepily, that was my dad’s birthday, and probably the night I was conceived.) “Amityville Horror 2” suggests that the house itself–built on an Indian burial ground, of course–pulled an Overlook on the kid and made him do it.
Possession aside, there’s a scene in the movie where a young man shoots his entire family, especially taking his time with his sister, for whom he had an unnatural attraction. Then there’s a thing with a priest and a swelling head and an exploding body, but that’s pretty aside the point from there’s a scene in the movie where a young man shoots his entire family.
Jamie and I slept in Jenny’s room that night, on the floor (Samantha and Jenny shared her double bed). Nightmares plagued me; I don’t remember any one specifically, except I’m guessing they mostly involved my entire family getting shot by someone. At around 4:30 AM–I was crying at that point–Samantha woke up and asked what was wrong. I said I couldn’t sleep. And she invited me to get into bed with her.
I crawled up into the bed, still crying, and in a single greatest act of big sisterly heroism since the Great Booboo-Kissing of 1980, she shushed me, pulled Jenny’s blanket over me, remarking that it looked just like Grandma’s pink blanket, and spooned me until I fell asleep. Thusly, a night that began in familial terror ended with one of the best examples of sisterly caring I ever experienced, and even in my worst moments with Samantha–and we had some doozies–I think of snuggling under that pink blanket with her, thoughts of psychotic sons and exploding priests shushed away, Brownie the hamster cheerfully jogging away in his wheel.
And that’s what a slumber party’s all about, folks.
P.S. Samantha and I watched our way through nearly every horror movie in Video 99, some of them several times (“The Omen” for when we wanted a really good scare) but avoided “The Possession” like one would avoid, say, a possession. Finally, my sophomore year in college, we agreed than ten years was long enough, and watched it again. It was utterly unscary in its terribleness. The same night, we rented “Audrey Rose,” and let me tell you: if you’re in the mood for movies about possession and dead kids, that’s the one to pick.