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Lutz House

Saga Amityville
Movie The Amityville Horror Stuart Rosenberg (1979)
Widely regarded as one of the most influential horror films in American cinema, The Amityville Horror is based on Jay Anson's book, The Amityville Horror: A True Story. Its theme music is signed by the great Lalo Schifrin, the creator of the music for Mission: Impossible.
112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville
112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville - Photo credit: Candace Carrillo on Flickr

“- A guy kills his whole family? Doesn’t that bother you?

– Sure, but… houses don’t have memories.”

Kathy Lutz (Margot Kidder) to her husband George Lutz (James Brolin)

Engraved in the pantheon of horror films alongside The Exorcist, The Omen and Night of the Living Dead, Amityville is a classic. A film that caused many sleepless nights, whose genesis is surrounded by several other stories that are also rather disturbing and directly linked to a terrifying house.

The Amityville massacre case shook America in the 1970s. Yet the fact that the house at 112 Ocean Avenue was the scene of a bloodbath did not deter the tenants. And it is precisely the story of two of them, the Lutz couple, that Hollywood wanted to adapt into a film even before the killing itself. A story at the center of a book published by Jay Anson in 1977, two years after the Lutzes moved to the address.

In his novel, Jay Anson tells, according to several collected testimonies, how the house of Amityville gradually perverted the spirit of George Lutz in order to force him to kill his family too. A chilling tale, tinged with the supernatural, widely acclaimed in bookstores, that Samuel Z. Arkoff has bought to bring it to the screen.

James Brolin was then contacted to play the lead role. To convince him, the producer asks him to read Anson’s novel. The actor devours it and agrees. For the role of Kathy Lutz, the production has set its sights on Margot Kidder, whose performance in Richard Donner’s Superman the year before is still in everyone’s mind. Stuart Rosenberg, whose Cool Hand Luke has gone down in history, is directing.

Soon, the production made all the arrangements to shoot in the real Lutz house, in the quiet little town of Amityville. Nevertheless, the town is adamant that the murders and ghost stories have already had enough of an impact on the community’s image without authorizing a film based on the story. Stuart Rosenberg and his cast thus retreat to Toms River, also in New Jersey, where a private residence is cleverly made up to look exactly like the real house. The upper windows in particular have been preserved unchanged, as well as the characteristic shape of the roof.

While the team is working hard to produce solid thrills to compete with recent productions such as The Exorcist, there are rumours of paranormal phenomena occurring during filming. The most cynical observers cannot help but notice similarities between these testimonies and those collected during the filming of The Exorcist. However, it would seem that spirits, good or bad, have decided to put in their two cents. Of course, such rumours serve the purpose ofAmityville and when it is released in theatres, the audience is there. Since then, many sequels have been produced and the infamous house is still standing today, and still subject to a certain fascination.

11

The Amityville sagahas eleven films, including remakes.

Scene in front of the amityville house
Scene in front of the amityville house – Photo credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Scene in front of the amityville house
Scene in front of the amityville house – Photo credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer

112 Ocean Ave

This impressive building, located at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, is one of the most famous haunted houses in the United States. It was the scene of one of the most terrifying events of the 1970s.

It was on the night of November 12-13, 1974, that Ronald DeFeo killed all the members of his family in their sleep, responding, according to his own words, to a direct order from the Devil himself. Later, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the house at 112 Ocean Ave with its strange, eye-like windows.

The Lutzes reported paranormal occurrences, and in doing so, they built a reputation for a house that was definitely not like any other. Over the years, many visitors have flocked there, to the point of encouraging Google to blur the place on Google Street. In March 2017, the house sold for $605,000.

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Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]

Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.

Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.

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By Gilles Rolland

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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