Friday, April 15, 2005


The Amityville Horror, that is.

Yes, the eagerly-awaited (hah!) remake of 1979’s movie about a haunted house on Long Island has opened. Oy.

The reviews are trickling in, and what I’ve seen so far isn’t very encouraging. But that’s OK - I have no plans to see this stupid Crap-Fest anyway.

I have a problem with Hollywood doing remakes of perfectly good movies - remakes that are invariably inferior. Can anyone say “King Kong”? (OK, I’m curious about Peter Jackson’s upcoming version, but I don’t expect it to be superior to the 1932 original. Different, maybe.)

How ’bout “Rollerball”? Now, there’s a movie that was screaming to be remade, innit? The 1974 original was not great science fiction, but not a bad little movie. Oddly prescient in some ways, too. The Naming Rights Mania of the last decade has resulted in a lot of sports venue names that would be perfectly at home in the World o’ Rollerball. But did we need a new one - with Chris Klein, yet?

Yep - when Hollywood remakes good movies, it’s bad enough. But when Hollywood remakes crappy movies, look out.

I’ll let y’all in on a little secret.

It’s all bullshit.

Yes, the Amityville Horror is based - very loosely - on a true story. The Lutz family did move into that house, a house whose previous owners, the DeFeos, had been murdered by their deranged son Ron. And the Lutzes subsequently moved out in a big hurry...and then had their “story” written up in a book by a Newsday reporter. But the Lutzes were marginally capable of affording that house, and my mother contended at the time that they had scraped up just enough money to buy it with the prior intention of concocting a “haunting” story...then got out after a reasonable amount of time living there. Of course, they eventually ended up making some fine coin from their adventure.

Mom was pretty familiar with the story, and with the house itself. We lived one town over from Amityville - just about two miles from the Infamous Dwelling as the crow flies. And she was friendly with the people who bought the house from the Lutzes. She used to spend a lot of time playing bridge in that house. It’s no surprise that she had a different perspective on the story.

Too bad she’s no longer around to tell us her take on the old Horror House. Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

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