Steve White, 1996
Starring: Robin Thomas, Star Andreeff, Allen Cutler, Lenore Kasdorf
This eighth Amityville Horror sequel is the final film in the series, not counting the 2005 remake and its sequels. What possessed anyone to make eight of these is beyond me and yet, here we are. Amityville Dollhouse is neither the best nor worst of the series, but is surely one of the most pointless and rehashes elements found in the earlier sequels.
Bill and Claire move into a house that Bill built himself. Their new family is made up of Bill’s son, Todd, and Claire’s children, Jessica and Jimmy. Along the way, Bill finds a doll house that happens to be identical to the Amityville Horror house at 112 Ocean Avenue and brings it home for Jessica. Soon after the doll house arrives, a number of strange things happen around the house.
When Jessica accepts the doll house at her birthday, they learn that strange dolls are hidden inside. While visiting the house, Todd’s girlfriend Dana has her head spontaneously set on fire, a voodoo doll makes furniture and other things fly around the house, Jimmy’s father appears as a murderous, fairy tale-telling zombie, a pet mouse becomes giant and ferocious, the family car almost kills Bill in the garage, and so on. Bill and Claire contact their friend Tobias, a biker with occult expertise who sometimes hunts demons, with the hope that he can save the day.
While Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes had a possessed lamp, the sixth film, Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, had a demonic clock, and the seventh Amityville: A New Generation concerned a spooky mirror, this film focuses on a possessed dollhouse. I guess they were really running out of ideas with this one, but the inclusion of the biker occultist was pretty delightful. Fortunately no more nauseous priests or nuns were recycled, though just about every scene includes something from an earlier Amityville Horror film. Where the earlier films had swarms of flies, this one upgraded to what I think are supposed to be evil, mummified hornets. A fly gets stuck in someone’s ear and there’s also a surprise tarantula, which emerges from a piñata for no apparent reason.
The incest subplot from Amityville II is also resurrected, as Claire develops a sudden, unwholesome passion for her stepson. A number of minor elements from the earlier films return, such as maniacal household appliances, possessed headphones, and a giant mouse with glowing red eyes, to replace the red-eyed demon pig from the first film.
As with most of the sequels, the real problem here is that it's simply boring. There are some unintentionally funny scenes and a few are downright entertaining, but too much of the screen time is absolutely dull. This is producer Steve White’s sole directorial credit, but he worked as a producer on several of the Amityville sequels as well as The Devil’s Advocate. Using one of the series’ producers to fill the director’s role is often laziness of the highest order, but I can’t say I’m surprised that they were scrapping the bottom of the barrel by this eighth film.
The actors are mostly unknown. Star Robin Thomas’s most famous roles were on Who’s The Boss and Murphy Brown. Starr Andreeff, who played his wife Claire, was also a television actor with her biggest role on General Hospital. And so on. The acting is average at best, but certainly not as bad as some of the drivel in the third, fourth, or fifth Amityville films.
I can’t recommend Amityville Dollhouse, but if you were wild about the other sequels for some reason, I’m sure you’ll find something to like about this one. You can find it on a cheap DVD. Personally, I’m just glad that it’s over and I don’t have to review any other Amityville Horror films ever again.