Toronto After Dark, Day 6: My Amityville Horror
In December of 1975, the Lutz family moved into a house at 112 Ocean Avenue, in Amityville, New York. 28 days later they fled the house, never to return, the result of supposed paranormal phenomena that has been endlessly documented and debated, and has been the source of inspiration for an equally endless number of books and films.
My Amityville Horror provides a quick primer on mysteries surrounding the house, such as the mass murder that occurred before the family arrived, but is primarily focused on Daniel Lutz, eight years old at the time of the events. Now a grown man who has struggled with being “the Amityville guy” his entire life, the film itself is a collection of interviews conducted with and about Daniel.
Through his conversations with interviewers, psychologists, and family friends the film paints a picture of a troubled child, now an adult, deeply traumatized from his past. He is angry, possibly unbalanced, and harbours a burning hatred of his step-father, George Lutz. A great deal of time in the film is spent demonizing this man, lingering over his possible connections to the occult, and the role he may have played. The remainder of the time is spent discussing what happened, delving into individual incidents during the 28 days, as he remembers them.
For those looking for new insights into Amityville itself, the film doesn’t shed a lot of new light on the subject. The spotlight here is firmly on Daniel Lutz, which, for most of the running time, makes for a fascinating subject. His utter conviction in recounting the past seems almost beyond question, but are they the distorted memories of a delusional child, or could these things have possibly happened? That is really the central point of discussion here, and My Amityville Horror expends equal effort on both sides of the argument, presenting forth both skeptics and parapsychologists alike.
While it may outstay its welcome a bit by the end, stretching out a bit thin on the available material, My Amityville Horror is a surprisingly engaging documentary that’s not really about the Amityville House at all. 3 out of 5 stars.