I’m on a constant search for the next great horror flick, so I’ll watch a trailer for pretty much anything horror related. Since the story of the Amityville haunting had fascinated me as a kid, I was quick to view the trailer for My Amityville Horror. This particular re-telling of the fantastical tale of the Lutz family comes from Daniel Lutz, who lived through everything the first time, as a ten-year-old boy .
What happened in the Amityville house is still debated. Some believe that the Lutzes experienced what it was like to live in a house that was demonically possessed. Others believe that the Lutz family made it all up in an effort to cash in on the Exorcist phenomenon taking over popular culture at the time. Either way, living at that infamous house on Long Island, shaped the rest of Daniel Lutz’s existence.
I went into this documentary thinking it would be a simple re-telling of the famed haunting with new evidence and details revealed. Basically, I thought I was going to get something along the lines of an extended episode of Ghost Hunters; like a Halloween special or something. Initially, it looked like that would be exactly what I’d be getting and I was fine with that. I love a spooky story and it doesn’t take much to scare the piss out of me.
Luckily, this documentary morphed into something much more than a quick scare from an old story. The Amityville effect instead took center stage. That is, the effect these events (real or fictional) had on Daniel Lutz’s mental and emotional state. While most believe the Amityville haunting to have been a hoax, orchestrated to gain fame and make a buck or two, others hold firm to the belief that something extraordinary once lurked inside that house.
Interviews with skeptics and believers alike reveal that there were things, which transpired at the Amityville home, that were beyond explanation. Lutz’s damaging relationship with his stepfather, George Lutz, is carefully revealed. The impact of the haunting, fictional or actual, tore Daniel’s life into bits. What he managed to piece back together wasn’t pretty and he is still deeply affected by the chaos his parents willingly put him through.
The power of suggestion is the underlying theme of this documentary. Seeing the effects of the resulting trauma from the Amityville experience in this man’s every strained expression is intense. It’s clear his focused anger is distorting and limiting. Daniel’s story is interesting to say the least. It’s almost disturbing to see the degree to which Lutz was traumatized. This documentary puts a new spin on an old haunting and reality checks the audience with a biting look into a very angry man’s perspective on life after the Amityville horror that was his childhood.
I actually liked this more than I thought I would. I was just looking for a good time and I got substance instead; it’s so nice when that happens. Give it a go if you’re into documentaries, you’ll likely be surprised at how much you will have learned by the film’s end.
My Amityville Horror (2012) – C+
C+ = This is a pretty good time and you should give it a whirl. You never know, you might enjoy it more than you think going in. It has its pitfalls, but overall worth the effort.