The Amityville horror house is arguably the most famous haunted home in the United States. The Ocean Avenue site has inspired countless books and a dozen films, with the latest, Amityville: The Awakening, slated to hit theaters early next year. However, are the stories about the house true or nothing more than an elaborate hoax turned legend?
The case of the Amityville haunting is one of the most famous in the United States, yet also one of the most disputed. Now, a new documentary offers a fresh look at the familiar tale by sharing the personal experience of Danny Lutz, the 10-year-old boy who lived at the home during the infamous haunting.
The Amityville Horror Case
In 1974, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr., 23, shot and killed his parents and four siblings in their home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, N.Y. The Lutz family – George and Kathy and children Danny, Chris, and Missy – moved into the house 13 months later. What followed was 28 days of unimaginable horror, or so the stories go. In later interviews, George and Kathy suggested the entity that tortured their family may have also caused the DeFeo slayings.
According to Jay Anson’s best-selling book, The Amityville Horror (1977), terrifying events at the home included doors slamming open and closed, slime oozing from walls, cloven hoof prints in the snow, physical assaults from unseen entities, and hordes of flies, among other things. When a priest came to bless the home, a demonic voice told him to get out. Several members of the family also spotted a menacing, pig-like being with sharp teeth and glowing red eyes.
Doubts About the Amityville Haunting
The Amityville case also inspired a film, The Amityville Horror, released in 1979. As the story grew, so did the number of critics who found numerous holes in the Lutz’s story, or at least in Anson’s retelling. The same year the film came out, Butch DeFeo’s defense lawyer, William Weber, said the haunting was a hoax he’d helped the Lutzs devise. For their part, the Lutz couple stuck to their story, and both passed a lie detector test. Families who lived in the home after the Lutz family have reported no trouble whatsoever.
My Amityville Horror
George and Kathy died in the early 2000s, and the three Lutz children have been reluctant to share their story. Until now. My Amityville Horror is the story of the infamous haunting from Danny Lutz’s point of view and how the supernatural events continue to haunt him to this day.
My Amityville Horror made the rounds at a few film festivals and is now available via Amazon.com (click link on left to access). Whether you believe the Amityville story or not, the documentary offers a fascinating look at what it’s like to be part of an infamous haunting and how this experience can profoundly change a person’s life.
Here’s an interesting interview with director Eric Walter in which he discusses working with the volatile Danny, if he thinks the Amityville claims are true, and what drew him to the Amityville case.