The Amityville Horror is the now infamous 1979 fright pic based on the so-called true events which occurred in 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville New York in 1974. It follows George and Kathy Lutz (James Brolin and Margot Kidder), a young couple who move into a bargain basement house that’s just too good to turn down. However, the downside is that the previous occupants were violently murdered there. Things go bump in the night and it’s not long before Brolin gets his chopper out to terrorise his family.
Directed by Cool Hand Luke helmer Stuart Rosenberg and produced by schlock-merchant Samuel Z. Arkoff, Amityville might not be quite as good as fellow ’70s horrors like The Exorcist or The Omen but it’s a fun haunted house film. Brolin (looking like a grizzled Christian Bale) and Kidder sell the hokum (just about) and Rod Steiger and Murray Hamilton add a touch of class in supporting roles as clergy men looking into the weirdness. Rosenberg’s film is filled with plenty of jump scares and master composer Lalo Schifrin’s score adds a great deal of tension to the film.
The Amityville Horror is as silly as it is tense (dependant on your fear of red-eyed pigs) and it has many of the genre’s well-worn tropes from screeching cats and walls oozing blood to keep fans happy. Fun old-school cares.
This Second Sight blu-ray release of The Amityville Horror comes jam-packed with bonus material. You get detailed interviews with Brolin, Kidder, writer Sandor Stern, composer Lalo Schifrin and grown-up child actor Meeno Peluce. There’s also an introduction and commentary with the eccentric Dr. Hans Holzer, a PhD. in parapsychology (and author of Murder in Amityville). However, the most impressive special feature is My Amityville Horror, a feature-length documentary with the real Daniel Lutz (read a full review of that here). That film puts the tale in a whole other perspective.