Jay Anson (Book), Sandor Stern (Screenplay)
James Brolin as George Lutz
Margot Kidder as Kathy Lutz
Rod Steiger as Father Delaney
From my youth I have always loved a good ghost story. It is the eerie feeling you get when hearing about a threat that is intangible. Add the possibility that the story is true and you have a real nail biter on your hands.
The Amityville Horror starts with George (James Brolin) and Kathy (Margot Kidder) Lutz, newlyweds in search of a house where they can raise there family. Lucky for them, there is a large, beautiful house that sets right on the shore in Amityville, New York. Even better, this house is available at an impossibly cheapprice. Of course they purchase the house and move in.
Why is the house so cheap? It seems that a year earlier a young man named Ronald DeFeo brutally murders his entire family while they slept for a reason that detectives cannot discover.
It doesn’t take too long before things start getting really weird. As Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) is blessing the home, he begins to feel that there is an evil that is hanging around. The house commanding him to “GET OUT” probably helped solidify his assumption.
George Lutz begins to get very irritable and for some reason cannot get rid of a chill that haunts (I know, bad pun) him even though he begins to huddle around the fireplace constantly. Many things happen that should be a wake up call for the Lutz’s including, but not limited to, a room full of flies, a pig with glowing eyes, demonic voices there and here, visitors that ring at the door and then disappear. Finally the Lutz’s have had enough and leave every belonging that they have and run from the house in the middle of the night.
I have read Jay Anson’s book, The Amityville Horror, and I have a hard time believingthe validity of the story being factual. Though I am not here to debate whether the story is fact or hoax I will say that I have really only one problem with it. It would not have taken me any where near a month to get the idea to leave. I mean really. If the flies didn’t get me, the first time I saw the pigs eyes glow you wouldn’t have even seen my shadow lingering around.
The Amityville Horror is a great haunted house movie. Sandor Stern (screenwriter) did a good job at putting Jay Anson’s story to script and Stuart Rosenberg (director) follows up well in putting it on film. The score sets the perfect eerie tone that sets the atmosphere early and keeps the viewer on the edge throughout the movie.
When you go out to purchase The Amityville Horror on DVD, look for the re-mastered widescreen version. The transfer is excellent and the movie has never looked this good.
The Amityville Horror has reached classic status not only among the “ghost story” freaks but among most horror freaks that I have had the pleasure of coming in contact with – and I believe it has earned that status. Even though the film is a little dated, The Amityville Horror stills succeeds in what the film makers set out to accomplish. It still gives you that creepy, eerie feeling that every good ghost story should create.