Horror Films Based on True Stories: Amityville Horror

Ronald DeFeo Jr. was 23 years old when he took the life of his parents and four siblings in a house located at 122 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. The date was November 30, 1974. His family’s house remained vacant for 13 months until the Lutzs (George and Kathy) bought the house so that they could raise their children. In this article, you will learn some of the real details and the movie trivia that followed.

The Real Details

However, it took less than a month before the family fled the residence. They believed that the house was possessed with supernatural forces and they had come in contact with malevolent spirits. Jay Anson then wrote a book based on the details of the home and its former occupants. It was titled ‘A True Story’ and it became a best seller , so much so that a movie and several other adaptations followed.

The DeFeo killings really did take place. Scanning the public record shows that DeFeo is still in jail for his crimes , incarcerated at Green Haven Correctional Facility in New York. The Lutz family did abruptly leave the same home. However, researchers who believe the author took certain liberties to extending the truth have questioned the information provided in the book.

Today, the house still exists in Amityville even though extensive renovation has taken place on the premises. The street address has also been changed to avoid the onslaught of sightseers that wish to pay a visit to the infamous house.

The Movie Facts

There were two movies based on the Amityville Horror. The first was released in 1979, while the second debuted in 2005. The Amityville Horror (1979) featured James Brolin and Margot Kidder (of Superman fame) in the roles of the Lutz parents. Brolin even befriended George Lutz and his children. However, he admitted that he was highly disbelieving of their story. Kidder also went on record for being skeptical of the legitimacy of the Amityville events.

Other facts concerning the 1979 movie include:

·    Due to the cruelty of his character, James Brolin claimed that he didn’t land a movie role for two years after he finished filming the Amityville Horror.

·    The real house in Amityville received a lot of unwanted attention from the book and film that the owners at the time actually replaced the ‘evil eyes’ windows with average-looking windows in the shape of rectangles.

·    It only took seven weeks to shoot the movie.

In 2005, another Amityville movie was produced, which starred Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George as the Lutzes. They used the tagline ‘based on a true story’ to market the film and was reported to have strayed even further from the truth. It seemed more gruesome than previous adaptations of the Lutz encounters. A couple of facts concerning the movie include:

·    Ryan Reynolds was outfitted with special contact lenses in many scenes to give his eyes the appearance of darkness with a slight white ring around them.

·    Just before shooting took place, the body of a fisherman who had been murdered washed up on the bank of the river , close to the main house used for filming.

·    Interestingly, the Amityville Horror was the last movie that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) released as an independent company.