The Amityville Horror

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In 1979, this movie was released as an adaptation of the book of the same name. The story is about a couple who move in to their newly bought dream house with their young family. But it is not long before they begin to experience supernatural phenomena. The father’s temperament begins to change and one of the children has an imaginary friend who is actually not so imaginary, accompanied by strange noises and smells, including unexplained swarms of flies. It isn’t long before the mother is forced to call in a priest to bless the house. But the priest himself is attacked and afflicted by the supernatural entity in the house.

I was very young when I watched this movie on TV (don’t judge, horror movie night was family time in my house and we all loved it and grew up just fine) and it didn’t really scare me that much, although the second movie freaked me out. I think of it almost every time I use earphones. It did inspire me to read the book when I was a little older, but I can’t say that had much affect on me either.

112 Ocean Avenue: The Real Amityville House

The book and movie were based on the alleged experiences of George and Kathy Lutz, who bought a house on Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York in 1975. They spent just 28 days in the house before fleeing in the middle of the night leaving behind everything they owned. Before they bought the house, it had remained empty for over a year after the gruesome deaths of its previous inhabitants, the DeFeo family (more about them on the next page).

All the claims by the Lutzes have been refuted at some point and independent research has shown there to be a large number of inaccuracies in their written account. Many consider them to be the perpetrators of an elaborate hoax for financial gain. This was not helped by the fact that Jay Anson, the author of the book, let slip that he, George and Kathy came up with the story over a couple of bottles of wine. Even a judge, during a legal case the Lutzes brought against various people stated that he found the book to be largely fiction. However, having said all that, both George and Kathy Lutz took polygraph tests and they passed, so at the very least, they believed what they were saying.

The actual house has had its number and is no longer 112, but it and the town still have many visitors each year, and the locals, understandably, are not happy of the notoriety it has garnered. It has had several residents since the Lutzes moved out and none of them have reported any paranormal activity. Lorraine Warren claims that this is because the house was cleansed/had an exorcism, but there’s no evidence of this, especially as reporters were in the house for 6hrs with the psychics. I have my own issues with the case files and so called investigations of the Warrens. They make for good stories but whether they are the truth or not is another thing altogether.

Daniel Lutz: The Amityville Kid

Kathy Lutz died in 2004 and George Lutz passed a couple of years after her, so they are no longer here to tell us whether they did just make up the whole thing. But Kathy’s children are still here and in 2012 Daniel Lutz, who was 10 years old when the events occurred, spoke about his experiences in the Amityville house and the effect they had on him in a documentary called My Amityville Horror. I watched this again last night because I wanted it fresh in my mind when I wrote about it; it is definitely a must see for anyone who is even slightly interested in the events that occurred in the Amityville house. In many ways it is even more dramatic than any of the Amityville movies, but be warned, there is no evidence or information that will clear up what actually happened back in 1975 with the Lutzes.

All this documentary shows is a conversation with Daniel Lutz, a child from that time and the man that he has become living under the shadow of that story. You’ll see reviews criticising the documentary because they didn’t like Daniel or because they feel the documentary does not give any conclusive answers, but that is not the point at all. The documentary film maker has shown you Daniel, given you his accounts of growing up in the Lutz household along with interviews with parapsychologists, psychologists, the famous Lorraine Warren, reporters and other people who were involved with the Amityville story back in the 70s. Daniel has very strong feelings about George Lutz and provides insight into the dynamics of his family. I also find it very telling that his siblings declined the invitation to take part in the documentary.

In my opinion, I don’t think we can take seriously anything Daniel says about the supernatural events in that house. The documentary reminds us that there was a very real family behind the Amityville horror, and life in that family does not sound very easy. I think due to his clearly incompetent parents, the extremely difficult relationship he had with his stepfather George Lutz, the media attention and religious influences, Daniel has invented a lot of his memories. I’m not saying he has done so intentionally as suggestion and reinforcement from those around him and the movie series must play a huge part in these so-called memories. I found it shocking at one part when he says he was left with a religious order for a year while his parents went off to promote the book/movie and they exorcised him repeatedly. He lived a disturbing childhood and has grown up to be a very disturbed and confused man.

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