To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I will be highlighting some of my favorite undersung female characters in horror films each day this month. These posts will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies mentioned do yourself a solid and check them out before reading all the way through.
Today I’m celebrating Andrea Livingston from 1992’s Amityville 1992: It’s About Time aka the sixth Amityville sequel to date. When I set out on the Horrorathon for M.A.S.K., I chose the Amityville franchise in part because of how funny I found this movie’s title. This was before I knew one of the sequels was literally about a possessed floor lamp that gets defeated by being thrown out a window.
But I digress.
Andrea is one of the true treasures I experienced by watching the Amityville films. She is a refreshingly modern “final woman” of sorts who not only defeats the evil, but sleeps with two men over the course of the film. In a lesser horror film, Andrea would be toast the minute she slept with her boyfriend under her on-again/off-again ex-boyfriend’s roof. In a not-lesser horror film like Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, she is the hero, and is treated as such.
When we meet Andrea, it’s hard to figure out what exactly her relationship is to the central family of the film. It turns out she’s single father Jacob’s ex-girlfriend who he tasked with watching his two teenage children while he was on a work trip.
Jacob and Andrea are bad news together, but this doesn’t stop her from sleeping with him again, and agreeing to stay with him after he is brutally attacked by a dog for plot purposes to get her to agree to stay with him.
Staying with him involves navigating a hot/cold relationship she has with his teenagers, who are resentful of her for dating their father after their mother passed away. Over the course of the film, Andrea acts like a authoritative but loving mother figure to Jacob’s teenagers despite his son Rusty pulling ‘tude like this with her.
As mentioned earlier, she has a second love interest in the movie. Her current love interest Doctor Leonard comes over to wine and dine her while she is stressed over Jacob’s increasingly erratic behavior thanks to him being possessed. They sleep together, and once again I have to commend Andrea and the writers of the movie. I’m not sure I can think of any horror film beyond something like It Follows where the lead female character sleeps with multiple men over the course of the film and isn’t punished specifically because of it.
But we haven’t even gotten to the supernatural horror element of this movie. This Amityville sequel follows yet another possessed object that travels from the infamous Amityville house to a modern subdivision in California. In this case it’s an antique clock with the ability to manipulate time, possess people, rapidly age or de-age people, AND cause Final Destination-like death sequences.
Yet somehow Andrea defeats it. Or does she?
She does…but the clock resets the movie back to the beginning of the film when Jacob first comes home with the evil clock. So Andrea does what she needs to do to stop the cycle.
Defeating the loop of the clock is a metaphor for defeating her self-destructive on-again/off-again relationship with Jacob. Rather than staying the night as he originally convinces her to at the beginning of the film, she storms out the house as if Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” was playing in the background…but like the opposite of the song in the sense that she is the one leaving his house. But she’s still empowered…you get what I’m saying!
When Jacob asks her in confusion and frustration “what’s this all about?” Andrea drops a truth bomb in the form of the movie’s subtitle as her response before leaving Jacob for good.
The best thing about Andrea is that the film isn’t afraid to make her flawed, but doesn’t make her having a sex life a part of those flaws. Her main flaws are her inability to see past Rusty’s tough exterior to his genuine goodness, and her difficulty in getting away from Jacob. The ending is incredibly rewarding because in most other films, Andrea would end up with Jacob. He is the “cocky jerk” you are supposed to roll your eyes at but be unable to resist anyway. But Andrea does show growth, and breaks away from Jacob despite her obvious fondness for his children Rusty and Lisa.
By the end of the film, she has shown more emotional maturity and growth than is afforded to most horror protagonists. And I’ll never get over her dropping that “it’s ABOUT time, that’s what!” line.
Hats off to you Andrea for being a refreshing surprise in a delightfully surprising franchise sequel.
And if you want to read even more about evil clocks and Andrea: Is It Worth It? Amityville 1992: It’s About Time.