Stuart Rosenberg’s ‘The Amityville Horror’ (1979) Celebrates 45th Anniversary

My family never had any traditions, but we had bonding time in front of the TV. The Amityville Horror was my mom’s favorite, so it was the one thing we agreed on. Was it right to have parents let their kids watch these movies? The short answer is absolutely. It did me no harm at all. That’s what growing up fast does to you. Reality scared me more than a scary movie; it still does.

James Brolin as George Lutz

Based on the novel The Amityville Horror, A True Story, by Jay Anson (1977), The Amityville Horror started as a legend that could mess with your mind and make you turn on all the lights in the house. While there are about 20 Amityville movies, The Amityville Horror hit many nerves. The movie made you feel awkward and scared. I loved being afraid, though, so it worked out for me.


In 1974 Ronald DeFeo jr. murdered his family, claiming that a voice told him to, and the voice, was the house itself, Leaving a chill in the small New York town of Amityville. Ronald was charged with the mass murder. The henious acts fro, the house get more dangerous to everyone who steps in or out. Especially religious types telling you its OK to drink the  “blood of Christ”

Flash forward to 1979. With no one buying the house, maybe knowing its secrets. soon we meet George (James Brolin, West World, 1973) his wife Kathy (Margot Kidder, Superman 1978) who had found their dream home within these walls, it was in their choice without knowing these walls contained something evil. After only a few nights in the home, strange things start happening to the entire family. What started as minor paranormal episodes, turns into danger.

George changes within the first few days of moving in and could feel the evil presence inside of him. As his internal clock always woke him at the same time, 3:15 AM. As George spirals downward, only tending to jobs that require physical activity to try and avoid the change. The stages of posesion just like Ronald DeFeo before he commited mass murder.

The house becomes angry. It chases people away that may be able to help the family, making servants of the lord run away sick. Will they survive the nightmare they are  with? Is there anyone that could help them? According to the house, its a no for both situations.

The Amityville Horror will remain in the legends of horror, unlike all the 1000 sequels that have taken a comical side. It was something terrifying at the time. It dealt with issues in the church regarding the paranormal and possession. They will laugh you out of the church. However, there is solid proof, and it was brushed off angrily. It almost wants to make you punch someone but behave. We have heard the stories over a hundred times in different forms.

In The End

The aura of the perfect lighting at the ideal moment makes the scenery come to life. It wasn’t so scary because you didn’t see the monster; you knew it was real and dangerous. The entire cast gave it their all, and it became iconic. The Amityville Horror has reigned in the “haunted house genre.” Even people who don’t watch horror still know this movie. Everything came to such a disturbing feeling, back before jump scares, when you didn’t see it coming.

I think the entire horror genre in today’s world relies on those jump scares to keep things exciting for them. Some people want to get scared of the experience, so we ride roller coasters and strive for cheap thrills. The Amityville Horror is just as suspenseful. What you can’t see terrifies us; this film relied on that filming style. This movie stands the test of time and still scares everyone the first time seeing it’s tradition.


About Craig Lucas

I hail from rural PA where there isn't much to do except fixate on something. Horror was, and still is my fixation. I have 35 years of horror movies under my belt I love the horror community and it loves me. I also have a rad web show with my friends from all over the country called Dadmented Geek Den.

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