Friday, August 9, 2013
My Amityville Horror (2012) : Of Hauntings And Anger Management...
The fact of the matter is, I wouldn't have moved into that house if you gave it to me. As beautiful as it was (and still is), six people were murdered in their sleep in that house. Do I really have to explain my reservations about living in a house where such a horrific act (SIX horrific acts) took place? As entertaining as it may be to tour the house now, and I would love to do so - hell, I might even stay overnight and participate in a seance, let's just go for broke here - I WOULD NOT OR COULD NOT EVER MOVE INTO THAT HOUSE. It's just too tainted. Not that I think the ghosts of the DeFeo family would prowl around and make my life a miserable mess, it's more like I don't think I could sleep at night knowing someone died violently right in the same room. And in the room beside me. And the room above me. That kind of thing would bother me more than a six figure mortgage.
The Amityville Horror is a highly entertaining read, no doubt. I am a raging fan of haunted house stories, it's one of my favorite sub-genres of horror, and as a pre-teen and going forward, I read a whole slew of those kind of books. I don't remember thinking much about the Amityville book being a true story while I was reading it, it was more of an after-effect for me. Thank heavens there was no internet back then or I may have never joined the volleyball team or played in the band.
I also remember getting the book High Hopes: The Amityville Murders (1982) and devouring it like some kind of lunatic, though. That book tells the story of Amityville murderer Ronald DeFeo, detailing the crimes and subsequent prosecution of said killer. It is most certainly the book that jump-started my love of true crime (because I hadn't read In Cold Blood yet, folks) and got me interested in the details of the Defeo murders.
As I got older and read the book a few more times, and then saw the movie, I had to question how legitimate the Lutz's story was. As much as I wanted to believe in demons, ghosts, and the like, it was pretty hard to imagine bleeding walls and priests that couldn't even bear to go inside the house. Eventually the book was revealed to have been a hoax and though I had a tinge of disappointment, it really didn't surprise me. I just chalked it up to decent fiction and moved on.
First off, I have to say that Daniel Lutz is a truly messed up individual. He seems very much a product of abuse and publicity. The degree of anger that this man holds inside is incomprehensible. Even though his mother Kathy and his step-father George are deceased, it's obvious he harbors an inherent contempt of them, in particular George. He details how he and his step-father never got along, even going as far as saying he hated him and was happy he was dead.
Regardless of how he feels about his parents, it's plain to see after listening to Daniel discuss the events in question, that he wholeheartedly believes he experienced an overabundance of wild supernatural events within the house. He even claims to have been possessed himself.
Just the look of Lutz, like a hardened criminal if I'm being honest, can evoke many emotions - not many of them good. He gives off such a despondent vibe throughout most of the film, and seems so positively sure of his memories of the past, it's actually pretty depressing. Perhaps this is the filmmaker's intention, to have us - the audience - feel badly for Daniel Lutz. When the man isn't angry, he's gloomy and obviously unhappy. He has two children of his own now, and I really can't imagine what he must be like in day-to-day life. I'd love to think his kids don't see this side of him - or that it was put on for this production - but that's kind of hard to fathom.
He almost lost me there. I nearly turned the DVD off. Unfortunately Daniel just does not come across as very convincing, probably because of his hostile attitude. The poor guy is trying so hard to legitimize the story of the Amityville haunting, and instead I think he made me feel more bewildered.
Daniel Lutz does not consider himself "The Amityville Guy", he says he goes about his daily life without thinking about it 24/7. But it's a certainty that the juggernaut that is the Amityville "haunting" has affected every pore of this sad "survivor". I only hope getting these feelings out in the open has given him some kind of liberation from the misery and anger locked deep inside.