The 1979 film, The Amityville Horror is the now infamous fright pic which was based on the so-called true events which occurred in 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville New York in 1974. The true events are up for debate – but that never stopped Hollywood from spinning a good yarn.
The film 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. The film really connected with audiences at the tim – it was a massive hit grossing over $86.4 million at the US box office alone.