Book review: Amityville Horror will suck you in
Amityville Horror came out in 1977, two years after the Lutz family moved into their new home and 28 days later fled in horror. The book which would eventually become a movie has puzzled the nation for decades. Many people believing the book that claimed to be a “true story”, was really all a hoax, while others trying to defend the Lutz and prove the story’s validity.
In 1975, Kathleen Lutz, her three young children, and her new husband, George, moved into a beautiful new home in New York with a price that was too good to be true. What they didn’t know at the time, was the reason for the low price was the mass murder that had happened in the middle of the night only a year before. Ronald “Butch” Defeo killed his parents and four younger siblings in their sleep. This book goes through the incidents that the Lutz family experienced in those short 28 days and explored the Defeo case and the question of how six murders could happen in a suburban home while no one around heard it.
Many have probably already seen the original Amityville Horror movie, but before you go and see the 2005 reboot of the movie starring Ryan Reynolds, make sure to read the book. I happened to see the 2005 reboot before I read the book and there are so many changes that happen to make it good for Hollywood. Even though they are good movies, if you want the real story of what happened in 112 Ocean Ave. you must read the book.
Jay Anson, the author of the book, sat down with the Lutz family and recounted what happened in the house with them, and also sat down with their priest who also had strange occurrences happen to him after blessing the house. He also knew the Defeo family closely. The preface at the beginning and the afterword at the end both give some sources and an explanation for what happened to the family and why it has never happened again.
There are many skeptics of this story that have said that the Lutz did it for the fame and money, when in reality the Lutz didn’t get money from any of this and went into hiding in California. People who defend the family say they put everything they had into that home and just in the middle of the night dropped everything and fled with just the clothes on their backs. George Lutz ended up selling his business in New York so they could cut all ties with the state. The family literally left all of their belongings and never went back. Only recently has one of the Lutz children spoke out about the incident, saying that what he experienced in that house ruined his life.
George and Kathy’s list of unexplainable occurrences as well as the danger in the house and the manifestations continued to build throughout the story, making the reader curious as to what happened next. While I didn’t find this book all that scary, I found it very creepy and it did a good job of making you feel okay with all the strange occurrences that were happening. I don’t recommend reading it in the place you are gonna fall asleep, especially right before you turn the lights off to go to bed. A lot of the psychic phenomena that took place in the house happened in the early hours of the morning. The little noises you hear in your house when it’s completely quiet will freak you out after you read this book, considering some of the occurrences were noises heard in the dead of the night.
If you have ever seen The Conjuring or heard of the couple Ed and Lorraine Warren who are well known Demonologists from that time, you may know that they are professionals. In The Conjuring, the couple lists a lot of the signs and symptoms of the supernatural that resemble the same signs the Lutz family saw in their own home. At the end of the book in the Epilogue, Ed and Lorraine Warren were apart of the group of people that investigated the house. They even quote Lorraine, who is clairvoyant, saying that there is definitely a negative entity in the house. Lastly, in the second Conjuring movie, the opening scene takes place in 112 Ocean Ave. telling of Warren’s involvement in that case.
This book leads me to give it three stars out of five because the writing is not that great but it kept me reading. I never felt like I had to finish this book because I had started it, I wanted to keep reading. It is quite interesting and makes you wonder, did the Lutz family make this up for the money or were they genuinely telling the truth? It also makes you wonder how all this can happen. It doesn’t give much background information on the house other than the Defeo incident and I wish we found out more of the history of that area. But overall I thought it was interesting and truly gripping.