The Amityville Horror (1979)
"For God's Sake, Get Out!"
The Amityville Horror (1979) - Newlyweds move into a house where a murder was committed,
and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.
"The Amityville Horror" (Released July 1979) is based on the true story
of George Lee Lutz (James Brolin, of "Marcus Welby, MD") and Kathy Lutz
(Margot Kidder, fresh from the success of "Superman") who bought a
charming Dutch Colonial home in Amityville, on the coast of Long Island
NY, in 1975.
A sign in front of the house gives its name as "High
The film is based on the book of the same title, by Jay
Anson, published in 1977. (Anson did not work extensively with the
couple, but worked from hours of taped conversations between George and
Kathy, which they had turned over to him.)
The home features the
Dutch gambrel (barn-shaped) roof design, and a pair of quarter-circle
windows, on the end, on the 3rd floor, up near the roof. These are
illuminated to look like the home's eyes. Filmmakers modified a house in
New Jersey to look like the actual home in Amityville, and it is
It is a documented fact that a troubled young
man, 28, had shot his entire family to death in the house, on
11/13/1974, including father, mother, two brothers and two sisters.
Thus, in the film, the history of the house allows the Lutz's, in the
fall of 1975, to make an offer of $80,000 on the home, which, we are
told, is easily worth $120,000.
Despite full disclosure of the
home's past, by the realtor, the couple proceeds with the purchase, and
moves in. George appears not to be strong of faith, but Kathy is at
least a nominal Catholic.
The couple turns to Father Delaney to bless
the home. Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) encounters troubles in trying to
bless the home, including a room full of flies, out of season, violent
stomach sickness, and later, blisters on his palm when trying to make
even a phone contact with Kathy at the home.
Amityville Horror (1979) Documentary
A behind the scenes footage of the making of the Amityville Horror.
In his further
efforts to confront the evil, he suffers a car wreck from brake and
steering malfunction, a lack of support by his superiors in the diocese
as he describes the occult things he's seen, and ultimately, blindness
and a mental breakdown.
It is most moving when he, at the altar
of the church, is praying, "Give them strength of mind and body, that
they may do Your will," and a high-mounted statue begins to crumble and
drop dust down in the chancel area.
Refusing to run, he continues the
prayer at a scream, "Oh, Lord, give them strength of mind and body, that
they may do Your will!" weeping at the seeming triumph of evil over
After this, we are shown Father Delaney, sitting in an outdoor
garden area, in a totally unresponsive state. Presubably, his mind is
George begins to be more sullen and angry over perceived
cold in the house, and obsesses with splitting logs and keeping the
fireplace stoked. One of the two boys suffers a crushed hand when a sash
window falls on it, and the little girl has an imaginary friend, Jody,
who seems to be of a malevolent nature.
Mom, Kathy, catches a glimpse of
two red, swine-like eyes, outside the daughter's 2nd story window. The
family dog, Harry, a black labrador, obsesses over a secret room in the
The Real Amityville Horror
Is the story of America's most famous haunted house real horror, or a common hoax?
George's land surveying business begins to suffer with
his lack of attendance, and his partner is concerned.
partner's wife, very sensitive to the paranormal, is at once both
revulsed and intrigued by the things she feels when at the house. "Boy
are these vibes ever strong!" she says at one point.
witness a black, bubbling substance coming up in the toilets, an "ooze"
coming down from nail holes in the walls, a babysitter being trapped in a
closet despite its not having a locking doorknob, the disappearance of
$1,500.00 cash, and Kathy's Aunt, a nun, running from the house and
Kathy observes George's persistant waking at 3:15 am, feeling
he must go check on the boathouse, and other unsettling incidents. Kathy
has nightmares in which she is given details about the killings of the
home's prior family.
Their research at the library and at the
county records office suggest that the house is built atop a tribal
burial ground, and that a known devil worshiper named Ketcham had once
lived on the land. Finally, the paranormal events drive the
family to flee the house one night, in the pouring rain, no longer even
worried about their posessions.
The final titles tell us that, "Today
the Lutz's live in another state."