The Film: My Amityville Horror (2012)

The Principles: Directed and Edited by Eric Walter. Featuring Daniel Lutz, Laura DiDio and Lorraine Warren. 

The Premise: After the success of The Amityville Horror novel and films, George and Kathy Lutz (the mother and father of the terrified family) basically spent the rest of their lives cashing in on the story. Daniel was a child when the Lutz’s lived on Ocean Avenue and now, 40 years later, he’s ready to tell his version of the tale.

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Is it Good? It’s a very well made documentary which doesn’t really tell a definitive version of the tale as much as add more white noise to the story of what really went on in that house. I know that most documentaries try and just be a fly on the wall, but the lack of a point of view here leaves the film feeling rudderless and without purpose other than introducing us to the endlessly fascinating Daniel Lutz.

Daniel Lutz believes every word he’s saying in this, without a doubt. Never once did I get the feeling that he’s trying to pull a con or make a quick buck off of America’s fascination with ghost stories and haunted houses. The documentary is structured in three parts: one with Daniel being interviewed by the director, one with him being interviewed by a therapist and one with him meeting a paranormal investigator he knew as a child. The therapist tries to get him to look inward with little to no success, while the director only riles Daniel up and puts him on the defensive. Once the paranormal investigator takes him to meet Lorraine Warren (now on everybody’s radar after the success of The Conjuring), Daniel truly seems at peace and much more relaxed than at any other point in the film. He hasn’t seen Lorraine since she and Ed Warren investigated the house decades ago, but she’s a calming influence on him. Warren comes across as lucid and interesting, but also a little judgmental when it comes to people and their relationship to organized religion. Everything Lorraine says to Daniel he believes instantly and eats up with a spoon because he seems so desperate to be believed that to connect to people who were with him during the Amityville days is a life line he desperately needs.

That’s the point My Amityville Horror. Not to be a horror/documentary, but to show the psychological scars that stay with us after horrible shit happens to us in childhood. Daniel believes without a shadow of a doubt that he saw George Lutz levitate a wrench across his garage while friends were watching. He believes that even after he left the Amityville house, he was possessed by a spirit and that the Catholic church performed numerous exorcisms on him while in their care. He tells the filmmakers that he went to the doctor and told them about the levitation and that he was a ward of a Catholic abbey for a year, but they never dig into what he says to find out if there’s any witnesses to his statements. If more time had been put into the film it could have been a definitive piece on The Amityville house, but the filmmakers seem content to just follow Daniel around and listen to his stories. Don’t get me wrong, the stories are great, but that’s all they are, stories told by a lonely man who hasn’t been believed since he was a child. I’m not saying that he’s lying or that he’s telling the truth because at this point in his life, they very well might be the same thing.

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Random Anecdotes: Loraine Warren keeps roosters in cages inside her house. Loud, constantly crowing roosters.

She also claims to have a cross built from wood taken off of the cross Jesus was crucified on.

Is It Worth A Look: Absolutely. Whether you think people who believe in the paranormal are delusional or not, the film is a fascinating look at a man who has been carrying around baggage for 40 years that he’ll never be able to set down.

Cinematic Soulmates:  Crumb, The Amityville Horror, Bending Steel, The Conjuring and Tideland.