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Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Amityville Horror (2013) Review

As a kid I adored the Amityville Horror. The film that I saw at a young age floored and terrified me. Still does. Margot Kidder is still hot. Brolin is still pure evil. When something tells me to get out, I get out. Since the day I opened up the book detailing the events in Amityville, NY in a house that was truly no different from any other in fourth grade to today I still ask myself if it really happened. What evil lurks behind the heart of a house? Of a man? Can evil and supernatural power that turned toilet water black, filled a house with flies and made one man go through cords of wood trying to stay warm really exist? Today I'll say no. I'll say that I have been in "haunted" everything from houses to sanitariums to insane asylums and I've not seen a shred of evidence that the devil is out to get anyone. The heebie jeebies... our own imagination... the human mind is out to get every one of us. Fight or flight gives way to the need for an exorcism on human or house. My Amityville from IFC  has affirmed that for me.

Synopsis from IFC:

For the first time in 35 years, Daniel Lutz recounts his version of the infamous Amityville haunting that terrified his family in 1975. George and Kathy Lutz's story went on to inspire a best-selling novel and the subsequent films have continued to fascinate audiences today. This documentary reveals the horror behind growing up as part of a world famous haunting and while Daniel's facts may be other's fiction, the psychological scars he carries are indisputable.


Daniel Lutz never struck me as a real life individual. He was always just a character in a story much the same way Regan might be a character in the Exorcist. Lutz even alludes to this phenomenon in the documentary; that fans would constantly approach him from the perspective of a character and less a human being. So what happens when you start listening to the real man instead of the character? The character and the real man have a story. Very different stories even if we don't get the character's story outright in the film/book. The effect is that the magic is ruined. The veil has fallen. The Amityville Horror as a fictional work could nearly be destroyed for some fans if not for the power of denial and suspension of disbelief. Once you start listening to Daniel Lutz speak about what "actually" happened in that quiet little house in Amityville you might as well be watching a goddamn Lifetime movie about a haunted house. 

It's a well crafted documentary with clear motive that is revealed through interviews with Lutz and some of the other players in the Amityville saga though mostly Lutz and with little supporting evidence for the supernatural hypothesis. If you're a horror fan who loves the movie the Amityville Horror, you realize quite fast that this is not a horror movie, this is not an episode of Ghost Hunters Suburban New York edition. This is a real man's story. It's a story of pain and suffering and confusion and childhood trauma and pretty much all the shit that I watch movies to escape on a regular basis. There's a reason I don't watch the news. There's a reason I stay away from 60 minutes and True Hollywood stories. While its intent is fairly clear and you can get from point a to b quite easily that doesn't change the fact that you're watching a rather depressing movie. It's not feel good. You won't feel like the revolution was televised when it's all over.

Fans of real life dramatic stories and biographies will find this intriguing. Perhaps even a few Amityville Heads might find Lutz's story as a jumping off point for further investigation. This is a movie for people who want the whole story, not just the supernatural story; remember that the story of the Lutz family is also a "real" story. It really happened or at least something happened and what that something is caused some serious pain to more than one individual and children. 

If that's your thing then you should check out this movie. If you want the fantasy. The ghost story. This is not for you.

My Amityville Horror is available on VOD now everywhere. Check for it in your area HERE.  

-Dr. TERROR

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