Even if you haven’t seen the original or the remade version of The Amityville Horror, you’ve likely heard of them. That’s because the events that those movies are based on are actual accounts of the family that lived in that house. It’s the most famous haunted house in the US. The Fantastic Fest documentary My Amityville Horror digs deeper than the accounts and testimony of the mother and father that lived in the house and instead concentrate on their son Daniel Lutz, whose experiences in that house are still felt to this day.
Writer/director Eric Walter pieces together what really happened to Daniel and why the Amityville house became a national sensation in talking directly to Daniel, sitting in on a therapy session with him and an analyst, and even going back to talk to the family friends and journalists that heard accounts and reported on the story. Daniel has struggled psychologically and personally since his story went public, but it wasn’t just because of the mysteries of the house. We find that his relationship with his stepfather also played a big part as well as the way he was treated by his mother and the schools he attended.
The best part of this documentary is that you don’t have to have seen the original or the remake of The Amityville Horror to appreciate it. It might be best if you’ve never seen either film because it eliminates any prejudice going in. Obviously Hollywood embellished on the details (no one ever said anything about the walls bleeding) and the movie wasn’t based on Daniel’s experience but rather what his parents said happen.
My Amityville Horror (the title requested by Daniel that accurately describes his experiences) isn’t meant to scare the audience, but some of the revelations are downright creepy. Among them: Daniel’s father may have been someone who researched and practiced the dark arts, in one of the pictures that was taken of the house after the family moved, a little boy is clearly visible despite no one being present in the house besides the photographer. We also find out that Daniel was abused by priests at a Catholic boarding school who tried to perform an exorcism on him. Lutz was thrown into boarding school when his parents went on a promotional tour for the film.
The movie is captivating because the main character, Daniel, is genuine and forthright with everything that he remembers happening to him. He’s so sure that he can remember everything with crystal clear accuracy that he’s incredibly insulted and even angry when questioned about his authenticity.
The surprising things that you learn about the house, the family, and the strange occurrences that are corroborated by outside research and witnesses are what keep the movie entertaining and keep the audience engaged. If you can come up with a question worth answering, writer/director Eric Walter has an answer for you and it’s likely one that will get you even more interested in the story, making you want more details.
Pay to see this movie. And, if you believe in the paranormal, prepare for confirmation because there are details in this movie that, despite the efforts of the many experts and witnesses, have no logical explanation.