George Lee Lutz of Las Vegas passed away May 8 at 59. The former owner of the Amityville Horror had been living in Las Vegas, where he'd been involved in charity work with the homeless. All this is according to the house's official website, which is closed in mourning. Lutz's account of what he went through begat several films -- if you count the 2005 remake as a film. Among the sequels was one in 3-D, and directed by the late Richard Fleischer. And The Simpsons had a crack at the story in 1997. J. C. Macek, the self-described World's Greatest Critic, makes an argument that the real horror of the sitch was a Mr. Blandings Builds His Nightmare House
deal, in which the home's owners had to run for it 28 days after paying $80.000 for a $200,000 house. It was a murder-house discount; the place was a steal, after previous tenant Ronald DeFeo killed 6 members of his family and then claimed to the jury that God told him to do it. Even a serious newspaper account of what the Lutzes saw during their three week stay involves possessed automobile windshield wipers, attacks of flies, visitations by the red-eyed, talking Jodie the Pig, cruficixes that "turned upside down and gave off a sour smell," and other  random unpleasantnessess. Puts my own neighborhood in persepective.

The BBC has done a study of the potential of the Amityville Horror as hoax. Despite being a possible hellmouth, the neighborhood of 112 Ocean Ave is living large; the houses start at about $600,000 today, according to Lutz claimed he only made $300,000 off the rights of his story, and tried to sue MGM when the newest version depicted him trying to mutilate his loved ones.  Lutz's ex-wife died simultaneously with the production of the most recent Amityville opus. The house is still occupied, reportedly by a family untroubled by anything worse than gawkers. My question: How does Amityville measure up compared to its rivals, The House on Haunted Hill, Henry James' The Haunting of Hell House, Richard Matheson's The Legend of Hell House and Hill House?
categories Cinematical