My Amityville Horror Review
Over the years, the story of what happened to the Lutz family over twenty-eight days in 1975/1976 has taken on a life all its own.
Countless films, books, websites and television programs have been devoted to either getting to the bottom of the haunting and the infamous DeFeo murders that preceded it, or using inspiration from the case to inspire fiction.
Numerous debates and conspiracy theories have surfaced about the case on everything from how all six murder victims were found shot, most of them face down in their beds, to the credibility of the infamous Amityville ‘ghost boy’ photo.
One thing that has never been fully explored is the experiences of the three children who were there for those twenty-eight days inside the dutch colonial house at 108 Ocean Ave.
Danny, who was ten years old at the time of the haunting, Christopher who was seven, and Missy who was then five years old were all reported to have had multiple paranormal experiences in the residence, with Missy even making friends with a shape shifting entity known only as ‘Jodie’.
The silence by the three children has finally ended as Danny has allowed himself to be interviewed for the recently released documentary film My Amityville Horror.
The film was made with a lot of input from producer Eric Walter, who was already well known in Amity circles due to his invaluable Amityville Horror resource website The Amityville Files.
My Amityville Horror focuses on Danny Lutz and his difficulty in dealing with both the events that he witnessed in the ‘Horror House’ in his childhood as well as his problems with his stepfather George Lutz.
The film does an excellent job of making sure all the angles are covered, something I really admire in any paranormal non-fiction, be it on paper or on the big screen.
For example, after Danny tells us about how George seemingly had mastered the art of levitation, a psychologist appears to explain that it is possible that Danny has become confused about events that took place almost forty years ago and even if this is not exactly what occurred he may not know the difference between fact and fiction.
It is a refreshing change from most paranormal documentaries, as they usually go for shock value and editing the video to make it more creepy and atmospheric.
This is miles above the two other most recent Amityville related non-fiction derived programs, namely 2010 ‘s Amityville: The Final Testament, which was a horrible exploitation documentary using DeFeo as a victim instead of a murderer which he most certainly is. In that show, claims are made that a certain segment is filmed in the horror house on Ocean Ave itself when this is not the case.
Recently released as well were the first two parts of the Shattered Hopes trilogy, which went through many delays and strange events during its years in production. This included the possible discovery of a gun in the water just behind the house and the documentary maker’s obsession with including anyone remotely involved with the Amityville Truth Board in lawsuits, including this author when the film maker thought was ghost writing a book with one of his online enemies.
Various claims have also been made about certain aspects of those films as well, stating that the film maker is making extraordinary claims about the way the DeFeo murders were carried out, including suggesting a second shooter at the house that fateful night.
My Amityville Horror seems to buck this trend and lend itself to the truth at the heart of the matters discussed onscreen, even at the risk of the truth being more boring then the legend.
As for Danny’s claims themselves, they further the idea that something went on in that house of a paranormal origin, although perhaps not what we saw in the Amity films.
Danny’s main claim in the film, that George had been interested in the paranormal both during the haunting and before it even occurred is a claim also echoed in recent times by his brother Christopher.
George Lutz claimed not to have any interest in the occult during and before the haunting besides his and Kathy’s practice of transcendental meditation.
George Lutz even made this claim during a live chat on the ABC News website in 2002 when asked if they were skeptics before moving to Amityville:
“I don’t think we would have bought the house if we weren’t.”
What is very clear from the film is Danny’s feelings about his stepfather George, who he paints as a violent, abusive control freak.
Although there is no way to tell (Danny’s reaction to Eric Walter’s query about Danny taking a lie detector test to prove his claims shows that that kind of proof will not be coming anytime soon) how truthful Danny might be, he seems very effected by the events that took place in Amityville.
However, like many accounts related to the Amityville Horror, it is hard to tell what is the truth and what has been confused by telling stories over and over again that are now close to being four decades in the past.
The documentary also contains appearances by a small group of people who were present for two of the only proper investigations of the house’s interior.
Names such as Laura Didio and Lorraine Warren may be familiar to some readers here and if they are if was definitely Amityville that helped make them so well known.
These investigations are big moments in Amityville lore so the inclusion of others who knew Danny and his parents back when this was actually going on is a welcome and invaluable addition to the film.
In short, regardless of whether you believe in the Lutz’s claims that the Amityville house was haunted or not, My Amityville Horror is a great film anyone interested in the case should watch.