The Amityville Horror is a 1979 horror film based on a novel by Jay Ansen. It chronicles the (supposedly true) events that befell the Lutz family, who moved into 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York only to move out 28 days later, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena there.They discover that the house was the scene of a multiple murder, when the previous owner, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr., had shot and killed six members of his family on November 13, 1974. During their stay in the house, the Lutzes start to experience various phenomena that tell them that whatever malevolent force drove DeFeo to such violence might still be there...It was followed by a series of sequels and a remake:
Artifacts of Doom: Following the third movie, the house is no longer actually featured as the main setting. Rather, its evil is passed on through certain objects that wind up in new homes, turning them in ersatz Amityvilles. These objects include a clock, a mirror and most ridiculously, a lamp (See Amityville 4 for the last one).
Negative Continuity: The films. Due to legal issuesnote The real-life Lutz family technically owned the sequel rights to the first movie, as a condition of letting it be made, none of them are technically allowed to be "real" sequels to the first movie. The filmmakers seem to have run with this and decided not to let any of the sequels have anything to do with each other, either.
Amityville II: The Possession is based on the real-life DeFeo murders, which happened before the events depicted in the first film, but the family is renamed, the movie appears to take place in the 1980s, the layout of the house is different, and the murders happen quite differently than they did in the flashbacks shown in the original.
Amityville 3-D includes an explicit disclaimer in the credits stating that it's not a sequel to either of the previous films. The house is slightly different again, especially the basement, and it refers to the DeFeos by their real name instead of the one used in the previous movie.
Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes opens with a scene set in the infamous house, despite the fact that it blew up at the end of Amityville 3-D. Its layout is totally different than in any previous movie.
The Amityville Curse is set in a different haunted house entirely that just happens to also be in Amityville.
Amityville 1992: It's About Time refers to the iconic house being demolished, as opposed to blowing itself up.
Amityville: A New Generation decides that Amityville is now in upstate New Yorknote It's on Long Island, which all the other films get right, and completely re-imagines the De Feo murders as something vaguely similar but quite different to suit its own storynote One could possibly argue it's supposed to be a different event, but this still counts as it logically should have been mentioned in a previous film.
Amityville Dollhouse does not even include a single utterance of the word "Amityville," just a dollhouse that looks like the house from the first three films (for no apparent reason).
New House New Problems: As noted in the description. Interestingly, the next owners after the Lutz reported absolutely no such problems with the house.
A lot of the drama and even some of the horror in the movie centers around money problems: Kathy's brother loses $1500 in cash, George bounces a check and his business seems to be in trouble. Finally there's the very real concern that the house, aside from being evil, is an $80,000 investment that's going From Bad to Worse.
The children are being terrorized by the house as much as the adults, and there's a growing possibility that George will hurt them himself.
Then there's that most fearsome and adult of adult fears: in one scene, George can't get it up.
The Alleged Car - Father DeLaney's car flies to pieces when he's on the way to visit the cursed house, almost killing him and Father Bolen.
Arbitrary Skepticism - For men who have devoted their lives to God, the priests in this movie have an awfully hard time accepting the existence of Satan.
Ax-Crazy - George is implied to become this over the course of the movie and he develops an overwhelming fondness for chopping firewood.
Bloody Horror: A specific part of the wall in the Amityville House's basement starts dripping blood at night, and forming, a stream leading George to it. It's revealed later on that the basement used to have a morgue, and that people were also tortured there.
Cat Scare: George Lutz, lost in thought, is playing with one his cigarettes when suddenly a cat pops up in his window and scares the hell out of him.
Hearing Voices: Sonny hears voices through his earphones telling him to kill his family.
Infant Immortality: Averted, as demanded by the true story. Notably, however, the two youngest family members are killed offscreen, unlike their parents.
Lightning Reveal: Flash of lightning reveals Sonny aiming his gun on his little brother.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Father Adamsky says to Father Tom, "It was her that night, trying to reach me," his voice has a bit of this in it.
Prequel: Debatable. It was marketed this way at first, but for legal reasons it had to be announced it had no actual connection to the first film, and in fact there are too many contradictions to count between the movies anyway. It's technically an unrelated film that just happens to be inspired by an earlier part of the same true story, use the same filming location and music, and have a "II" in the title for no reason.
Present Day Past: While the real events took place in 1974, the (1982) movie shows a Rocky posternote Rocky was released in 1976, a Walkmannote prototype built in 1978, available in the US in 1980 and cars from the 80s. It's worth noting the year it's supposed to be is never stated in the movie itself, so one could argue it's actually transposing the story to the then-present day.
Roman à Clef: While based on the DeFeo family, all names were changed.
Major Injury Underreaction: Helen, the woman who buys the lamp, cuts her finger on it and starts to develop tetanus to the point where her pointer finger is swollen and discolored. She doesn't immediately go to the hospital, but runs it under water. What happens to her? As Phelous puts in his review:
Everybody Lives: The cursed clock brought from the original house causes a Reset Button Ending to avoid getting destroyed in an explosion, only to be smashed by Final Girl Andrea, who retained her memories of everything the clock caused, before it can do it again. It's also implied that Rusty and Iris actually remember everything as well, except for Jacob and Lisa, which could be attributed to their possession.
"Groundhog Day" Loop: It's implied this was the case before Andrea remembered everything at the end. When the film begins, Andrea has one of Jacob's measuring tools, which she claimed she had "For protection." She later tried to use the same tool to destroy the clock, and when it reset everything, she still had it. Only the potential loop is finally stopped because Andrea managed to destroy the clock this time.
Heroic Sacrifice: Andrea tries to cause an explosion thanks to a leaking gas pipe, which would kill her and destroy the clock. But the clock ends up rewinding time back to when the movie began, so Andrea survives.
Indian Burial Ground: According to the the crazy psychic lady, the Indians dumped their crazy people on this land to die and that the bodies are still there, effectively making it an Indian Burial Ground, even though they didn't bury the bodies.
Also a bit of a subversion in that the white guys aren't getting punished for being 'disprespectful' so much as for being dumb enough to build a house right atop Angry Demon Central.
Room Full of Crazy: The hidden room under the house is different between films, but unpleasant and crazy anyhow.