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Annette Kellerman From Fantastic Fest 2012: MY AMITYVILLE HORROR!!

 

Who has not seen an Amityville Horror film or has no knowledge of the haunting 
that occurred in the 70's in the sleepy titular Long Island community?  For 
those of you who somehow missed this chapter in legendary American hauntings, 
the original Amityville Horror and subsequent films are based on the alledged 
paranormal events experienced by the Lutz family for 28 days in their newly 
purchased home in 1975.  What followed the incident is almost more mind-boggling 
as the quiet and reserved Lutz family found themselves thrust in the limelight 
and immortalized on the big screen.  Over the years, patriarch George Lutz's 
embrace of the publicity called into question the validity of the family's 
spooky claims.  Until his death, George was the spokesperson for the family and 
submitted himself to public scrutiny- even successfully submitting to a lie 
detector test in order to defend the haunting that gained him so much notoriety. 
 
With a fresh twist on the legend, MY AMITYVILLE HORROR finally gives a voice to 
one of the children who lived through the tumultuous 28 days in the afflicted 
house.  Daniel was the oldest of the three Lutz children, and was likely the 
most acutely aware of the shift that had recently occurred in his family.  His 
mom remarried, George adopted him and his siblings, and he moved with his family 
to his new, infamous address.  The house was actually already notorious, having 
been the scene of a gruesome mass murder of the DeFeo family a few years 
earlier, yet Lutz bought the home at a cut rate and made it their home anyway.   
 
MY AMITYVILLE HORROR is basically a character study of Daniel Lutz and how those 
fateful 28 days have affected the rest of his life.  In a stroke of genius, 
director and Amityville buff Eric Walter reunites Daniel with some of the 
journalists and supernatural experts who originally investigated the case back 
in the day.  As Lutz painstakingly retells the terror he experienced as a child, 
the "experts" also corroborate and/or refute the claims.  While some offer the 
alleged questionable motives of George Lutz as a catalyst for antagonizing the 
dark energy of the home, other specialists point to the power of suggestion in 
an impressionable child to explain away the paranormal events.  Regardless of 
all the speculation, the heart of the film revolves around Daniel Lutz, his 
assertion of what he experienced, and the overall hatred he has always harbored 
for his step father. 
 
The film is beautifully captured in a cinematic style not always seen in 
documentary film making.  Beautiful sweeping shots of newspaper clippings and
eery photos of the home help illustrate audio interviews with Lutz.  Other segments
feature him rehashing the events interview style, other times with a psychologist,
and also in reunions with investigators from his childhood.  
 
The film gets a bit repetitive at some points, covering some of the same 
territory more than necessary.  While I understand the film maker's respect for 
his subject's emotional investment in telling his side of the painful story, one 
look at Lutz's pained expression while regaling his tale is more than enough to 
convey his angst without reiterating again and again.  That being said, it sure 
is interesting to hear another first hand recollection of America's most famous 
haunting.  It may sound callous, but I would've enjoyed more about the scary 
stuff and much less about the emotional fall out. 
 
I really dug MY AMITYVILLE HORROR not only because of my morbid curiosity
of the legendary story, but also because of the insightful observations of the 
aftermath of such an event on one of the youngest victims and how that has 
informed his life thereafter.  It really is such a compelling film on many 
levels and I hope everyone gets a chance to check it out. 
 
 
Annette Kellerman 
 
Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 26, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST

    cool

    by CB Chap

    cool

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 8:38 a.m. CST

    might have to check that out

    by murray_hamilton

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 8:40 a.m. CST

    eerie..... eery?

    by CB Chap

    is that an Americanisation of a word?

  • By that i mean the real life events make for more intriguing and better drama then the paranormal bullshit that George Luzt bullshit'd the world about.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 8:57 a.m. CST

    debunked

    by JamesT

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 9:53 a.m. CST

    I really liked the Ryan Reynold remake version.

    by Quake II

    Normally I hate remakes but the new Amityville Horror was truly creepy, regardless of how accurate it was. Having just rewatched the 70's version last week, it reinforced how much better the remake was. Better acting, cinematography, effects etc.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Both Amityville movies sucked ass

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    The 70's version is hopelessly dated and cheesy (the "eyes outside of the window" scene that was hyped up as the scariest thing ever looked like they stuck two Lite Bright pegs into a board) and the remake is wearyingly sadistic and blunt-witted, like all of the Michael Bay remakes of 70's/80's horror movies.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Why does every review need a quirky cool graphic?

    by Disgruntled_Chinaman

    So quirky, so cool!!!! So wacky!!!!! Tee-Hee! Just give us the review!

  • God forbid a movie should go subtle about the demonic possession of a character (even the frigging original movie, flawed that it is, played it ambiguous, for fuck's sake!). No, you have to make it blunt, give the possessed fella bloodshot eyes so that the retards in the audience can understand. Michael Bay can go suck a big one.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 12:20 p.m. CST

    So much missing from this review

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    I'm afraid that the reviewer missed the whole point of what makes this so disturbing. Capone, who reviewed this a few days ago, touched on it briefly but only briefly. The Amityville house was not haunted. This is not up for debate, this is not an argument, and I am not a troll trying to get people going. It simply did not happen. Someone on the talkback of Capone's review linked the Scopes page dealing with the debunking of this con job. What is listed in that link is just a small percentage of the overwhelming factual evidence tat has come to light proving this case to be a figment of George Lutz' imagination, seeded by DeFeo's lawyer, and knocked out of the parkby Jay Anson, who wrote the original book. Now, we know that the whole thing was a con. So now we have this documentary in which this guy, who was just a little boy when all of this went down, is seemingly a really, really fucked up adult. The other two children refused to be a part of this documentary, make of that what you will. But the oldest boy is fucking traumatized. So these two asshole filmmakers basically exploit the living fuck out of him to make this documentary which extends the legend, even though we all know, or anyone who even takes a brief glance at the facts knows, is al bullshit. Lutz abused this little boy, he was a mean abusive drunk who bought a house he couldnt afford and came up, with help, with this story. So now this abused boy, who, possibly by power of suggestion is is terrorized, then told to lie to the world. He's been called a liar his entire life, and he is visibly traumatized by the whole affair. So who's the real loser here. Who's the one who is really hurt by this whole thing? A little boy; a child. And now, all these years later, he is propped up and told to go through it all again. And of course, there are all the paranormal experts who are more than happy to tell him what he "saw" and "heard" when he was a highly suggestive boy was real. When the Lutz family left the house, the reportedly exposed this poor kid to multiple exorcisms to rid him of the demonic possesion that they both knew they had completely fabricated. Fuck all of these people, they all make me fucking sick!

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 12:36 p.m. CST

    @M dancetothebeatofthelivingdead, very well said, very well said.

    by albert comin

    Yours is rightful indignation.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 3:22 p.m. CST

    The DeFeo murders DID happen and that story is an afterthought.

    by Quake II

    I always wondered why no one made a movie about the DeFeo murders that took place in the Amityville house. Regardless of the Amityville "hoax" (although just as every incident that took place during the Lutz ownership has been debunked, it's also been verified), the DeFeo son claiming possession and murdering his entire family with a hunting rifle with not a single neighbor hearing gunshots is pretty odd.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    quake ii

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    DeFeo has since publicly recanted the hole "possession" and "the voices made me do it," excuse and owned up to the murders as being his own doing and responsibility. The possession defense was conjured up by his lawyer who along with George Lutz came up with it for his own reasons, those being an insanity plea. DeFeo now states with just as much openness that the whole thing was made up as he had when he was telling the original story. Mostr people haven't heard this because no one wants to tell that story; it's not sexy. And the many people who "verified" the haunting/possesion/poltergeist, were all people who something to gain from it. Those being parapsychologists, "ghostbusters", paranormal incestigators. That's the funniest thing about it, imagine George Lutz and DeFeo's reactuions when the story wnt public and all of these "experts" were going in the house and coming out with their "official reports" stating just how true the story was and just how haunted the house was. The two guys who made it all up, along with Jay Anson had to be lughing their asses off. Even the priest, the real priest, not Rod Steiger, who was supposed to have gone ito the house to bless it when he was come upon by a swarm of flies of biblical proportions, told by a demonic voice to "GET OUT!!!", and who subsequently went blind and developed burns and blisters on his hands, came out and publicly stated that nothing abnormal whatsoever happened to him when he went into the house, and nothing abnormal happened to him afterward. They actually had the audacity to use a real priests name in their lie, and apparently forgot to ask him if he would go alond with the farce. Perhaps Lutz never imagined the story would grow so huge and never thought the lie would get back to the priest but it is one of many oopses the Lutz family didn't plan ahead for, such as stating that the demonic face they saw in the window left cloven hhofprints in the snow when a quick check of the weather report for those 28 days iong Island clearly states that there was no snowfall in that duration, and also stating in the book that the police were called to the house numerous times; however, the Amityville police say that there wasn't one call made from the house or the Lutz family to the police during their stay.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 11:04 p.m. CST

    incestigators

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    HA HA HA!. The lack of an edit feature on this archaic website actually gave birth to the incestigators. Anyway quake ii, I want to belive that this story is true just as much as every other genre fan out there. The movies sucked but the original book is scary as fuck and I wish shit like that really happened just to raise the fear factor. Alas, it just aint so.

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Jesus

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    For some reason, even though I can't go back and edit, I always reread my posts after I put em up. This one, however, is so bad that it resembles one of Harry's term papers.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 3:30 a.m. CST

    @Mr quake ii, obviously you never saw Amityville 2, haven't you?

    by albert comin

    Though i have to say, i envy you. I wish i could unsee that shit. The whole movie is a character assassination of people who were innocents while tries to whitewash the actions of a psychopathic murderer. Completly repreensible movie!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST

    @Mr dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    by albert comin

    I'm not sure if i wanted shit like malevolent ghosts and demonic possesstion to exist in the real world. It's because i'm a fan of horror that i wish that to not be so. It's great the ghosts and demonic possessions are the stuff of fiction and not reality. We already have too many horrors in this world to have some to make this world a living hell, literally. Other then that, your posts are brillant. They are great read, thank you. And i love the "incestigators".

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Amityville 2 is suprerior to the orginal in every way

    by sonnyfern

    The scene where Sonny (no relation) goes on his rampage, is still one of the most frightening horror movie scenes ever put on film.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Amityville 2 is suprerior to the orginal in every way

    by sonnyfern

    The scene where Sonny (no relation) goes on his rampage, is still one of the most frightening horror movie scenes ever put on film.