On April 15, 2005, a remake of the haunted house
horror film, The Amityville Horror, was released in theaters.
While the movie was promoted as a true story, the film did
more to sensationalize the events rather than document them.
So what was the purpose of remaking The Amityville
Horror? Melissa George, who played the role of Kathy Lutz in
the movie, claimed in an interview with Yahoo! News that this
movie was not a remake of the original 1979 version, which
starred Margot Kidder and James Brolin, but was based on the
actual events depicted in Jay Anson’s book. For those
who have read the book, George’s claim was misleading.
In fact, the events in this film were extreme exaggerations
and very few of which were based on any of the actual phenomena
reported by the Lutz family. Even the house has a new look.
The small town of Amityville is located on the south shore of
Long Island in New York. The Amityville Horror tells the story
of two families, the DeFeos and the Lutzes. The DeFeos met a
tragic end in November 1974 at the hands of their oldest son
Ronny, who claimed that a ghostly entity within the house forced
him to kill his family. The movie focuses more on the Lutz family
and their experiences in the DeFeo house one year after the murders.
The Lutzes moved into the house in December 1975. During their
28-day stay, they experienced fly infestations despite colder
than normal temperatures, disembodied voices, strange fluctuations
in temperature, mysterious sounds, the smell of stale perfume,
and recurring black stains on bathroom fixtures, none of which
were emphasized in the new version of the film. Two more disturbing
events convinced the Lutz’s that something was seriously
wrong with their new home. The discovery of a secret room in
the basement, which scared the family dog, as well as the ghostly
appearance of their daughter’s imaginary friend, sent the
family to seek aid from their church.
When all attempts to rid the house of its supernatural presence
failed, the Lutz family fled for their lives...and as a result,
their experience spawned a series of books and low-budget films.
The Lutz’s claims didn’t go unchallenged. Throughout
the years, their story has been the subject of media debate.
While some experts in the field of parapsychology claimed to
have validated the Amityville haunting, there are those who believe
the Lutzes made up their story to profit off the DeFeo tragedy.
To celebrate the release of this new version of The Amityville
Horror, MGM Studios released a DVD box set of the first three
movies in the series. The set also comes with a bonus documentary
DVD that better details the reported events than the new movie.
The documentary also offers expert commentary from those who
investigated the actual haunting.
Whether or not people believe in the events publicized in The
Amityville Horror, one thing remains certain, it has become the
most popular haunted house story in America.