January 18, 2021 Amityville Horror House (Documentary Review)
Arguably one of the most prolific haunted house tales in American history, the Amityville Horror House hit discovery+, Discovery’s new subscription service, on January 4, 2021. A special premiering as part of Discovery’s new “Shock Doc” series, which journey’s back to the most infamous horror cases The USA has ever known – bringing a fresh look at the true and terrifying tales of paranormal encounters.
Looking back, The Amityville Horror film that shattered box-office records when it hit theaters in 1979, made the house famous with its horrific recounting of the events that took place in Amityville, New York. It left viewers terrified being one of the first real-life paranormal stories ever told on screen, which sparked world-wide interest in the haunted house genre for years to come. However, despite how obviously frightening the film is, it does not compare to the gristly murders that took place at 112 Ocean Avenue on the night of November 13, 1974. Ronald “Ronnie” DeFeo Jr, shot and killed his entire family as they slept, leaving behind the bloody evidence of his crimes. When confronted with why he killed his family, Defeo spouted a wild tale of how the devil made him do it.
Defeo’s seemingly nonsensical explanation of dark forces being the cause of his actions did not prepare us for what was the come when the Lutz family moved into the home a year later. The family moved into the home after purchasing it at a drastically reduced price on account of the murders that had taken place there. The house was also fully furnished, with the Defeo’s belongings still intact – including the beds they were murdered in. Their All-American dream turned into a ghoulish nightmare that caused the family to flee the house 28 days after moving in.
Directed by Tom Jennings (Diana: In Her Own Words 2017, The Real Right Stuff 2020), this new documentary recounts many of the events that took place during their stay. Their stories of the paranormal activity caught the attention of every paranormal investigator across the nation, including renowned duo, Ed and Lorraine Warren, most recently known for their work that inspired The Conjuring franchise.
Some of the events the Lutz family said took place include strange smells and cold spots, walls oozing green slime and black sludge in the toilets, infestations of flies, and more. The energy from the house was said to repel and frighten the priest that came to bless the house, claiming to hear a voice that screamed “get out!” The Lutz’s daughter was said to be haunted by a demonic pig-like creature named “Jodie” that became a sort of playmate for her, attempting to infiltrate the family.
Of course, the Lutz’s stories were just that to some – stories. That said, the documentary also discusses the skepticism that George and Kathy Lutz were met with. Many claimed the family’s talk of paranormal instances were falsified for financial gain and notoriety. They even went as far as to give George and Kathy a lie detector test to prove their innocent, which they passed. This still did very little to clear their name of course, as many still have their doubts to this day.
Furthermore, the documentary also sheds light on just how infamous the house and its gruesome history has become. People have come from all over just for a glimpse of the house, and the house was also put back onto the market, although many changes had to take place. One of the most notable changes being to the house’s eye-like windows which gave the house it’s sinister image.
Whether or not the events that took place in the house were real or faked, the intrigue around the Amityville Horror House still remains today. Whether you are fans of the original story or are just now getting into the lore, this new discovery+ documentary sheds new light on the dark events that took place. For those reasons, Cryptic Rock give Shock Docs: Amityville Horror House 4 out of 5 stars.