Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton
“For God’s sake, get out!”
The Lutz family have found a big and very cheap house out on Amityville, Long Island. The family of five quickly settles in and since the wife of the family, Kathy, is a Catholic, they get Father Delaney to come over and bless the house. While doing his round in the house, he starts to feel very sick. When he enters one of the rooms on the upper floor, he finds it covered with flies and suddenly hears a voice telling him to get out of the house!
George, the husband in the family, also starts get sick and also aggressive and it is making him neglect his job. One of the daughters starts to talk to an imaginary friend, their dog gets obsessed with one of the rooms in the house and Kathy starts to go crazy over everything that is happening at their new house. They start to find out the history of the house and finds out that everything is not as it should be in The Amityville House.
The Amityville Horror had such an evil title in Sweden that gets translated into The House That God Forgot, in Norway we didn’t want to be much worse and the title The Demons of Amityville aren’t too shabby either. This movie is based on a novel by Jan Anson and the story was supposed to be based on a true story, something that has at least partly been debunked later on.
The movie goes for a very slow build up without any flashy and cheap scares along the way. It works great and I think it does well in creating a genuine creepy and scary atmosphere during the entire 120 minutes. It takes unexpected turns and keeps you interesting and is a good example of a horror movie that can work even if it is longer than the average 90 minutes. It was directed by Stuart Rosenberg when he was nearly 60 years old and his experience shows in that it is done very old school, even for the time it was made in. This is his only horror effort if you look past a few episodes on the Twilight Zone show, but it seems like he knew how the genre worked and I think he did a great job on this.
James Brolin is great as George Lutz. He balances the madness of the character correctly and his sweaty, hairy looks just adds greatly to the character. The rest of the actors also do a great job, even including the little kids of the family. If I’m gonna be very negative I could complain about Rod Steiger as Father Delaney, who isn’t great in every scene but is still better than most of the performances we get in genre movies.
The look of the house is almost an actor in itself. The haunting “eyes” of the house really makes it unforgettable and the image of the house is something that will stick with you forever. The inside decor is also really great and helps create a good atmosphere for the movie.
The Amityville Horror is a classic horror movie that spawned, and is still spawning, a bunch of sequels that are mostly mediocre at best. I think this is one of the best haunted house movies of all time, regardless if it’s based on true activities or not and find it to be a little underrated in the horror community. Recommended.