THE HOAX IN AMITYVILLE: PART 5
One thing you're probably wondering right now is: "The Amityville Horror was 25 years ago. Why worry about it now?"
The fact is, through this hoax, the field of parapsychology has been scarred forever. It has hurt the credibility of researchers and people who really are experiencing psychic phenomena. Not only that, The Amityville Horror--A True Story is often seen in libraries in the parapsychology section. So far, I've seen it in the parapsychology sections of two public libraries and a university library. People doing their own research into the field may read the book thinking that it's an accurate account of supernatural phenomena when it's actually a collaboration of just about every cliche of the supernatural known to man. It's especially harmful when the person doing their own research is experiencing the supernatural in their own home.
Our education system has also been hurt by this incident. Back when I was in the sixth grade, our reading teacher told us that any book that is non-fiction or has "A True Story" on the cover actually happened. At the time, I was reading The Amityville Horror--A True Story.
And the entertainment industry is being plagued by Amityville as well.
After the original novel, seven other books were written about the "possessed house" and "the evil".
The first was The Amityville Horror II, where the "ghosts" follow the family to California and terrorize them there. I've found a copy of the book and have read it, but the story of the Lutzes' stay in the Amityville house has once again changed. All six of the DeFeos were shot in the head this time. On the last night in the house, Harry (the dog) is in the boathouse (not the hallway). George was held down on the bed by a wind where before he just didn't have the strength to move. He wakes up and sees the kids run into the room (they didn't shake him awake). George sees a shadowy figure in the door (it was on the third floor landing before and was a hooded figure). He runs around the rooms getting clothes (he didn't before). George runs past the figure again on the stairs and the front door slams shut behind him. They get in the van, and then George runs to the boathouse to get the dog. The van won't start (it did before). George has to push some button under the hood to start it. They leave and get out on the road out of town when the van goes berserk (accelerator goes down all the way, brakes and steering go out, headlights and wipers go out, etc.). The van begins to be crushed by the demon. They get to Kathy's mother's house and know that it has followed them. Before, they didn't know it had followed them until George and Kathy found themselves levitating and saw the slime coming up the stairs at them. And originally, nothing had happened on the drive to her mother's house according to the first book. Something like that would have definitely been remembered.
Amityville: The Final Chapter (sounds like a Friday the 13th movie) was released shortly after. According to this book, the "evil" followed the family around the world.
Many people often ask why Jay Anson wasn't involved with these books. The reason was that he died just after the first movie was released. John G. Jones was the author of the two sequels.
Author Hans Holzer also got into the Amityville bandwagon with two novels. The first was Murder in Amityville and was about how Ronald DeFeo was "possessed" and the house built on an ancient indian burial ground. He also wrote The Amityville Curse, a completely made up story about how the house was formerly a rectory, one of the priests was killed, and then the house became "possessed".
John G. Jones got back into the picture in 1988 with Amityville: The Evil Escapes. In this book, the items that the Lutzes had sold at their sale were "possessed" by the spirits in the house. You'd have to be crazy to believe that any of the tales in this book were real. However, the book seems to be having a personality conflict between non-fiction and fiction. The binding reads "Tudor Non-Fiction", and the cover reads "The terrifying true story continues!" However, on the copyright page, it says, "This is a work of fiction. The characters, names, incidents, places, and dialogue are products of the author's imagination, and are not to be construed as real."
Jones then wrote Amityville: The Horror Returns a year later. This has to be one of the most far-fetched horror stories I've ever heard of. The family is once again terrorized in their home in California. The highlight of this book is when the family's ranch-style home mutates into their former house in Amityville. Once again, it claims to be a true story as the binding reads "Tudor Bestselling Non-Fiction."
In 1991, author Robin Karl joined in with Amityville: The Nightmare Continues. The binding reads "Leisure Nonfiction." The book claims that the house was abandoned after the family left, nobody's lived there since, and anybody who comes in contact with the place or anything from it is consequently cursed.
Eight movies have been made with the Amityville title.
The first, of course, was The Amityville Horror released in 1979. It was loosely based on the book that the Lutzes had originally published. A house in Tom's River, New Jersey was used for the filming. The producers claimed that the production team was too scared to work in the real house. The real reason was that the town of Amityville refused to let them use the house due to the circus that was being created. People involved with the movie even claimed to be cursed by the house. Actor James Brolin (George in the movie) claims that he got stuck in an elevator for 30 minutes and also tripped over an electric cord and sprained his ankle. He blamed the supernatural. The family living in the real house at the time sued the production company since shots of the real house were used in some of the film's trailers.
The second movie, Amityville II: The Possession, was released in 1982 and was based on the book Murder in Amityville by Hans Holzer. Depending on what source you believe, this movie was either a prequel to the original Amityville movie or a sequel. If it is a prequel and is telling the story of the DeFeo family's tragedy, they did a pretty lousy job of telling the story because in the movie each member of the family is chased around the house and gunned down (not shot in their sleep like in the real murders and in The Amityville Horror).
Amityville 3-D, the third movie in the series, was released in 1983 and involved a completely made up story. The house has been rented to an elderly couple who were using it to "contact" deceased relatives for people. Two reporters expose the couple's hoax, and the one reporter, a divorced husband, buys the house and moves in. However, people associated with the house soon suffer bizarre accidents and deaths, and, after a scientific team investigates the house and the lead investigator is pulled into the "gateway to Hell" by the demon, the reporter, his former wife, and most of the investigative team escape, just before the house self-destructs. This seemed to be the end of the Amityville movies.
But it wasn't.
In 1989, a TV-movie was released entitled Amityville: The Evil Escapes. It was based on John G. Jones' book and involved a possessed lamp being sold at the yard sale at the infamous house and being shipped to a new home in California. A rated-R version of the movie was released on video and entitled Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes.
The Amityville Curse was released on video in 1990 and was based on the book by Hans Holzer. In this movie, the producers went for a really spooky effect by using an old brick mansion that doesn't resemble the house in Amityville and looks more like the old abandoned home that just about every town seems to have.
The year 1992 brought, you guessed it, Amityville 1992: It's About Time. This tale claims that the neighborhood that the infamous house was in has been leveled by a development company, and the head of the company buys an antique clock that used to be in the house and takes it home to his family. Of course, once the clock is put on the mantle, all hell breaks loose.
In 1993, a seventh Amityville movie was released on video. Amityville: A New Generation involved a possessed mirror from the house that caused people to go berserk and kill. Not only was the story of the murders in 1974 changed again, but the entire town of Amityville has now moved to upstate New York!
An eighth movie was released in 1996 called Amityville Dollhouse. It involves a possessed dollhouse that somebody just happens to find in a toolshed at their house. It also just happens to look like the original Amityville house. I especially like how TV Guide calls it "the eighth installment in this tired series".
Rumors are circulating that a ninth Amityville movie is in the works. I just hope it isn't made. If it is, I hope it would be about how the whole story came about.
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