Film: The Amityville Horror

The house as it really looks back in The Seventies.


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:
  • Amityville II: The Possession (1982)
  • Amityville 3-D (1983)
  • Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)
  • The Amityville Curse (1990)
  • Amityville: It's About Time (1992)
  • Amityville: A New Generation (1993)
  • Amityville Dollhouse (1996)
  • The Amityville Horror (2005; remake)
  • The Amityville Haunting (2012; by The Asylum)
  • The Amityville Asylum (2013)
  • Amityville (2015)

This movie series contains examples of:

  • 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).
  • Based on a Great Big Lie:...maybe. But the DeFeo murders really happened though.
  • Consummate Liar: If you believe the whole story is a lie, then the Lutzes are this trope. They took a polygraph, and passed (though it must be noted that polygraphs are less reliable than people think).
  • Flies Equals Evil: A recurring theme throughout the books and movies, especially the first movie, Amityville 3-D, and the remake.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Upper windows in the house are portrayed this way.
  • Haunted Headquarters
  • Haunted House
  • Infant Immortality: Averted and played straight numerous times.
  • Lovecraft Country: Although it's Set in Long Island, New York.
  • Negative Continuity: The films. Due to legal issuesnote , 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 , and completely re-imagines the De Feo murders as something vaguely similar but quite different to suit its own storynote .
    • 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.
  • Numbered Sequels
  • Premiseville
  • Supernatural-Proof Father
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: DeFeo's lawyer claimed it was a hoax. The films and books are very different from what the Lutz family claimed happened as well.

The Novel

The Movie
  • Adult Fear - There are various examples of this:
    • 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.
  • Arc Number - Bad things happen at 3:15 AM.
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Inverted. George feels cold everywhere, except in the evil basement of doom.
  • Get Out:
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Pig!Jodie, complete with Psycho Strings.
  • Hell Gate:
    "Find the well... it's the passage... to hell! COVER IT!"
  • Nightmare Fetishist - George's business partner's wife appears to be sexually excited by the bad vibes emanating from the house.
  • The Stoic - Father Bolen invokes this pretty hard. That or he's half 2x4, on his mother's side.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare - George develops one of these. Or maybe he's just squinting to keep the splinters out of his eyes
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to that police officer that staked out the Lutz house, tried to talk to Delaney, then disappeared into thin air? What about the drunk with a six pack of beer that shows up at Kathy's door, then disappears a moment later without explanation? What happened to the 1,500 dollars from the wedding that disappeared? And what would a house do with 1,500 dollars anyway?

Amityville II: The Possession
  • Abusive Dad: Anthony Montelli is quick to use violence on his children and his wife even before moving to the house.
  • Aliens Made Them Do It: See Brother-Sister Incest below.
  • Asshole Victim: Anthony and Dolores, who Took a Level in Jerkass by blaming Patricia for the Montelli family's latest misfortunes through her and Sonny's Brother-Sister Incest and slapping her in reaction upon confronting her.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Montelli family was immensely f-ed up, even before they move in.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Sonny Montelli is influenced by the evil in the house to seduce and have sex with his sister.
  • Child Hater: Anthony seems to be this as he quickly blames and then abuses the kids for the house's hauntings rather then the demons.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the first film and the other installments that follows, given the family who moves in is one Big Screwed-Up Family who all gets slaughtered with the parents ending up as Asshole Victims for being Abusive Parents, the disturbing, slightly unsubtle theme of Brother-Sister Incest and the film's Downer Ending where the priest who exorcises Sonny becomes a new victim of Demonic Possession. Also the film is not as campy and cheesy as the later films.
    • The visual style of the film is also darker, as the first film focused mostly on brighter scenes that gave a sense of an eerie Crapsaccharine World-ish atmosphere and Daylight Horror akin to 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, while the second film in contrast has cooler lighting and mostly a gray look to reflect on the second installment's straight Crapsack World setting complete with its grim and dreadful nature and somewhat gothic feel. The two films' composer Lalo Schifrin's scoring also differentiate themselves from one another that despite the reuse of themes from the first movie, the second film's music arrangement was more grim, chilling and slightly somber with more prominent Psycho Strings in comparison to the first film's equally eerie, but a little more upbeat with less prominent Psycho Strings, Oscar-nominated music score.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Patricia Montelli.
  • Demonic Possession: Sonny Montelli.
  • Evil Phone: Father Adamsky gets calls from beyond the grave.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've seen the first movie, or know about the real life murders that inspired the story, you'll know exactly what is going to happen by the end of act two.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see Sonny shooting his brother and sisters.
  • Hearing Voices: Sonny hears voices through his earphones telling him to kill his family.
  • Holier Than Thou: Dolores, who is an overly religious woman, as she was offended by the demons covering the family crucifix and stoop to a new low by being abusive as her husband by slapping Patricia for committing Brother-Sister Incest and out of blame for the family's haunted house misfortunes. This of course makes her much of a loathsome Asshole Victim as her husband.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted, as demanded by the true story. Notably, however, the two youngest family members are killed offscreen, unlike their parents.
  • Jerkass: Anthony and later Dolores.
  • 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 , a Walkmannote  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 Clef: While based on the DeFeo family, all names were changed.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Sonny ends up killing his parents and siblings.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: With all the supernatural occurrences happening and Anthony being possibly an atheist who's sacrilegious, Anthony instead blames it on his kids for being Enfant Terrible kinds and abuses them for it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Montelli siblings as well as Dolores who fallen victim to the possessed Sonny count.

Amityville 3-D

Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes
  • Body Surf: The Evil can't transmigrate into people very well but it can hop into other inanimate forms, and The Stinger has it leaving the broken lamp and possessing a housecat.
  • Hand in the Hole: The garbage disposal scene.
  • Light Is Not Good: The evil lamp.
  • 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:
    Phelous: So she dies of irony, I mean Tetanus
  • The One with...: This is the best known of the sequels, because it's the one with the EVIL LAMP.

The Amityville Curse
  • In Name Only: It only takes place in Amityville, and is set in a completely different haunted house which has nothing to do with the titular home at all.

Amityville: It's About Time
  • Demonic Possession: Jacob and Lisa.
  • 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.
  • Final Girl: Andrea.
  • "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.
  • I'm Melting: Happens to Lisa's boyfriend, Andy.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Iris, after she avoided getting run over.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Rusty winds up killing his sister, Lisa in self-defense after the house possesses her. He sticks a stereo jack in her mouth, then turns the stereo on and electrocutes her.
    • Andrea arms herself with one of Jacob's measuring tools. And uses it at the end to make sure the clock is destroyed.
  • Infant Immortality: When Rusty is turned into a child, Andrea demands that the clock let him go, and it complies.
  • Missing Mom: Andrea is not Rusty and Lisa's mom, but a friend of Jacob's. Their mother is never mentioned.
  • Odd Friendship: Rusty and Iris.
  • Parental Substitute: Andrea begins acting as one to Rusty and Lisa, eventually going Mama Bear for Rusty's sake when he gets turned into a small child.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Played straight and inverted. Rusty is turned into a child and Andrea is turned into an old woman during the finale, before the rewind.
  • Title by Number: Also known as Amityville 1992.
  • Title Drop: Andrea's explanation for smashing the clock at the end of the movie? "It's about time, that's what!"

Amityville: A New Generation

Amityville Dollhouse

The Remake

The Amityville Haunting

  • Animated Adaptation: There was actually an animated 'documentary' made of the original Amityville Horror movie. They even showed it in public schools.
  • 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.
  • Scare Chord