FEARNET Movie Review: 'My Amityville Horror'



There's been a lot of complete fiction published about what went on in the Amityville house made famous in the book and movie of the the 1970s, but here's what we know for sure: in 1974, a young man killed his entire family in their Long Island home, and then a year later a family by the name of Lutz moved into the house. By all reports, the Lutz family vacated their new home in less than a month.
Forget haunted houses, glowing red eyes, and creepy voices that grumble "get out." That's all fiction. The facts that are tied, very loosely, to The Amityville Horror are shocking, sobering, and tragic -- so it only makes sense that someone would eventually want to produce a documentary about the actual truth behind one of America's most "beloved" haunted houses. Unfortunately the new documentary entitled My Amityville Horror provides only one small fragment of the Lutz story, and while its subject is compelling enough to serve as part of a larger picture, the frustrated and unhappy story of Daniel Lutz ... simply isn't all that fascinating.
Adopted son of George Lutz, the man who made the initial claim that the Amityville house was haunted, Daniel has lots of stories to tell about creaking doors, bumps in the night, telekinesis, and levitation -- but perhaps his most important claims are those of basic child abuse. The late George Lutz (he passed away in 2006) was clearly a rotten father and probably a sneaky con artist as well, but by the time Daniel's story goes from a basic recollection of his childhood (or perhaps his memories of the first Amityville Horror movie) to his more elaborate claims of parental witchcraft, most viewers will have tuned out.
To be fair, writer/director Eric Walter clearly had bigger plans for his "truth behind Amityville" documentary, but (as a closing card informs us) Daniel's two siblings (and fellow "haunted house" survivors) refused to be interviewed for the film. Fortunately we are privy to some fascinating archival film footage that shows various journalists, skeptics, and mediums as they wander through the infamous abode, and some of those folks are on hand to share some retrospective thoughts on all the devilish nonsense that went down during the Amityville circus of the the late '70s. Aside from these (too few) diversions, My Amityville Horror is mostly Daniel Lutz, ranting, raving and reminiscing -- and while the man's story is certainly worthy of attention and sympathy, a little bit of the man's anecdotes go a very long way.
Kudos to Mr. Walter for producing an Amityville film that's more interested in truth than fiction, and there's certainly enough here to warrant a look from anyone with an interest in the Amityville legends, but by focusing almost exclusively on only one of the involved parties, the movie struggles to help us find the bigger picture.