The Amityville Horror is one of those timeless horror classics that if you saw it when it was first released in 1979, you still remember the nightmares.
I know I do.
I thought I was all grown up at nine years old and ready for my first foray into the world of horror movies. I was wrong. I actually didn’t make it through to the end my first time watching it. It took me another six months before I got the nerve to watch it again. And it was during the day.
The Amityville Horror is about a large house on the coast of Long Island where newly weds George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into the house that they hope will be their dream house but it ends up in terror. The most terrifying aspect of this movie is that it is based upon actual events that happened to the Lutz family while living in the house.
To a young kid… that’s the stuff nightmares are made of. I was always a little leery of entering houses I didn’t know, especially very large, very old homes. Which would be just about every house where I live.
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 knowing all this happened in the home, George (played by James Brolin) and Kathy (Margot Kidder) agree to still move in. Once there a priest comes and tries to bless the house only to be told in no uncertain terms to “Get out!” Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) encounters several 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. 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.
And that’s just what happened to the priest.
The family went through a lot more.
In a horror movie, you want to be scared. But, I think, more importantly than that you want to see that the people in the movie are scared. I am truly impressed with both Brolin and Kidder in this film. Throughout the course of events that happen within the Amityville House they never really looked like they were acting. It looked like they were actually living it out before our eyes.
Add the realistic portrayal by the actors and the fact that the house is real, and the events based upon true happenings, you have one scary movie that can make you jump and squirm.
What about the remake?
In 2005 a remake of The Amityville Horror was released starring Ryan Reynolds as George and Melissa George as Kathy. I feel that the producers wanted to just bring a new edgier, updated version of the movie to a new generation, but it just didn’t deliver the quality of “scare” that the original did. It was ok, I just didn’t think it was as powerful as the first.
The Amityville Horror Is Definitely A Must Own DVD
DVD libraries are usually the domain of the one who owns it. And within that library are movies that are special to the person for a variety of reasons. However, there are those movies that are just “must-have”. The Amityville Horror (original 1979 version) is one of those movies.
If you like to be scared, this one will do it.
Here’s a look at the original trailer for the movie back in 1979.
Also, here’s a short little news clip about the house and events.