Amityville Horror House Review: Old Ghost Story Gets an Enthusiastic Retelling – Den of Geek

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Demons exist, devils are among us. We hear this from Ed and Lorraine Warrens’ reports and throughout their entire caseload. Forget the fact the 23-year-old mentally unstable murderer changed his story several times, even implicating the Mafia, before he came up with the voices-in-his-head story. Or that many heroin addicts find God in prison when they get a good first fix from the crucifix. The possession story begins with the priest’s interpretation of a man on the stand.

The paranormal investigator Jeff Belanger admits he’s scared of seductive demons. He goes into these hauntings with the fear of being charmed by the most interesting man in the room. The House has that effect on the Lutzes, who buy it with hardly a thought in the world about how they might exploit it. They just liked the price, and admired old school workmanship like hand-carved bannisters, and intricate doorways. They really matched the bed frames their previous tenants were shot on, which came with the house.

The fly infestation has puzzled viewers and investigators since the first probes were done on the Amityville House, but this documentary inadvertently explains the phenomena to me. The priest and the mother both encounter dozens of flies in the sewing room, a room where one of the murders happened. A room which retained all the original furniture. We learn that the police reported the entire house was swarming with flies when they first investigated in the aftermath of the killings. The documentary had already pointed out that DeFeo went to work after committing the murders. The flies had time to congregate where the corpses were decaying in that time. They probably laid eggs in the sewing room. Of course, it’s more fun to believe the lord of the flies is at work, though, because the documentary special jumps immediately on demonic infestation.

The documentary presumes the evil which resides in the house caused the parental abuse which predates the murders. It isn’t a family dynamic to these investigators. It is proof of a demonic presence. The Lutz family gets off with a warning, at least when it comes to accusations they played the drama up for quick cash. The documentary also includes video footage and audio interviews, on the original cassettes, with Lutz family, as well as DeFeo Jr, and Ed and Lorraine Warren. The special also features Jason Hawes from the paranormal investigative series, Ghost Hunters.

The gore factor is pretty high. We get crime photos of bloodstained sheets, and other tawdry bits to keep true crime aficionados happy, and enough dire Catholic Church warnings to titillate fans of The Conjuring series. The Amityville Horror House doesn’t give any definitive answers, but it doesn’t skimp on creepy conjecture. Stylistically, this could have been made soon after the original crimes and hauntings began. It eagerly carries the vibe of the time, and happily gives up the ghosts for god-fearing demon-worshippers of all generations. 

The Amityville Horror House streams Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 on discovery+.

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