- Alternative Character Interpretation: Jodie. If we assume that she is not responsible for everything that occurs in the film, then she comes off as almost Ambiguously Evil, as she happily plays with Amy, and does things (locking the babysitter in the closet, shutting a window on Matt's hand hard enough to hurt but not hard enough to do any serious damage, and expressing a distaste for George) that appear to be for Amy's benefit (the babysitter had gotten stern with Amy, Matt was teasing her, and George had yelled at her). Her only truly menacing action is when she tells Amy that she wants to play with her forever, which understandably unnerves Kathy.
- Awesome Music: Lalo Schifrin's iconic theme for the film (rearranged and reused in the second film as well) was nominated for an Oscar.
- Critic-Proof: Despite generally negative reviews, it was the second-biggest hit at the domestic box office in 1979, behind only Kramer vs. Kramer.
- Ham and Cheese: Rod Steiger's performance as Father Delaney is decidedly unsubtle. On the other hand, he's one of the movie's more enjoyable characters.
- Newer Than They Think: This movie started the whole "houses built on Indian burial grounds will be haunted" thing.
- Special Effect Failure: Whether the reveal of Jodie's true form - as a huge, demonic pig with glowing red eyes - is genuinely terrifying, or silly and underwhelming (as it's clearly a normal pig with its eyes colored) is down to the individual viewer.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Sergeant Gianfriddo would seem to be an important character at first (he's even introduced before either the Lutzes or Father Delaney), but he winds up doing nothing except chomp on a cigar and act vaguely curious about what's going on at the house. After a failed attempt to contact Father Delaney about the case, he disappears altogether.
- The Woobie: Poor Father Delaney. He's practically a punching bag for the malevolent spirits in the house, and by the end of the film has lost his faith, gone blind, and been rendered practically comatose with no end to his suffering in sight.
YMMV / The Amityville Horror (1979)