Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Amityville Horror (1979)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Director Stuart Rosenberg's was based on Jay Anson's 1977 fabricated book-account of the allegedly-true story of the Lutz family, who in 1975 purchased a Dutch Colonial home on Long Island in Amityville, marked with a sign reading: "High Hopes" - the film's 'haunted-house' premise was similar to Spielberg's later film Poltergeist (1982) and Kubrick's The Shining (1980), and many others; there were three official’ sequels – Amityville II: The Possession (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983) and Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1989), plus a remake: The Amityville Horror (2005); the film's tagline was: "FOR GOD'S SAKE, GET OUT!":

  • the source of a home's supernatural forces (and sounds of shotgun blasts inside) was explained by an opening title-card: "November 13, 1974, Amityville, Long Island. A mother, father and four of their children murdered… No apparent motive"; on November 13, 1974, troubled 23 year-old eldest son Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr. took his shotgun at 3:15 am and mass-murdered and slaughtered his entire family at their Amityville home, including his parents and four siblings (two brothers and two sisters aged 9-18); the murders were reviewed by Sgt. Gionfriddo (Val Avery) at the crime scene
  • one year later, an interested house-seeking couple was touring the same home - presented as a series of inserts intercut with the massacre; the home to be purchased in Amityville, NY had a prominent Dutch gambrel (barn-shaped) roof design (with two quarter-circular windows serving as eyes on the 3rd floor) - seen in the title credits; a newly-married family couple viewed the three-story Amityville home (at 112 Ocean Ave.): George Lutz (James Brolin) and his pig-tailed Catholic wife Kathy Lutz (Margot Kidder), with her three children (from a prior marriage): Greg (K. C. Martel), Matt (Meeno Peluce), and Amy (Natasha Ryan) were about to be the new occupants
  • the real estate agent Mrs. Townsend (Elsa Raven) boasted: "There's nothing like it on the market. Not at this price"; although Kathy was nervous about the price and the home's grisly history ("A guy kills his whole family"), George was unperturbed: "Houses don't have memories"; they finally decided to purchase the affordable, waterfront house for $80,000, under-priced from its $120,000 value, and moved in about one month later
George Lutz and Kathy Lutz (James Brolin and Margot Kidder)
  • a purifying house-blessing (or exorcism) sequence was conducted by family priest Father Frank Delaney (Rod Steiger) alone in an upstairs bedroom (while the unaware Lutz family were outside at the nearby water's edge and then on a motorboat); he heard unexplained children laughing - manifesting that the home might be haunted; Father Delaney experienced a locked window, a door slamming by itself, buzzing flies gathering at the window - and then covering his face; as he experienced nausea and stomach sickness, the door slowly opened and he heard a disembodied voice that threatened: "GET OUT!" - he fled from the home while throwing up
  • later that evening, Father Delaney attempted to speak to Kathy by phone at the home on a disrupted, static-filled phone line when she couldn't hear him and he became speechless; he also suffered stigmata-like blisters and lacerations on the palm of the hand that was holding the phone
  • [Note: It appeared that the home's inexplicable and disturbing paranormal events were a repeat of the Seven Deadly Plagues (from the Biblical Book of Exodus, including water turned into blood, frogs, lice, gnats, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness for three days and killing of first-born sons).]
  • the young daughter Amy disturbed the married couple (Kathy revealing herself topless) in a love-making scene, when she entered their bedroom and cried: "I wanna go home"; Kathy returned Amy to her room, closed the window and didn't notice that the rocking chair was swaying on its own; during the sleepless night at 3:15 am, insomniac George discovered the windows in Amy's bedroom wide open and her doll sitting in a rocking chair (not in the bed); he was inexplicaby drawn to check on the boathouse; he also experienced a jump-scare when a black cat screeched at him
  • throughout the film, George (increasingly looking like a bearded lumberjack) felt compelled to sharpen his axe and to continually split logs outdoors to keep the fireplace stoked in order to reduce the home's perceived chilliness
  • later that afternoon, Kathy's Aunt Helena (Irene Dailey), a former nun (with her full conventional nun outfit), visited and arrived as a black substance bubbled up in the toilets when flushed; she had barely arrived before the chandelier began to vibrate; she immediately developed a cold sweat and felt unwell; she ran from the house, drove off and began to vomit out of her car door
Black Sludge in the Toilets
Aunt Helena's Sickened Reaction to the House's Paranormal Presence
  • the following night, Kathy herself suffered nightmares of the murders that occurred in the home; she awakened at 3:15 am, screaming: "SHE WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD!"
  • the next day, while Father Bolen (Don Stroud) was driving Father Delaney in his car to the Lutz home, they experienced a car wreck (the brake and steering systems mysteriously locked and malfunctioned, and the hood opened, obscuring vision), and both suffered minor injuries
  • $1,500 dollars in cash (intended to pay caterers for an arranged post-marriage party for Kathy's brother Jimmy (Marc Vahanian)) strangely vanished from Jimmy's coat pocket; while most of the family was at the wedding, Amy's babysitter Jackie (Amy Wright) became trapped and hysterical in a dark closet without a lock and couldn't get out; she yelled to Amy for help ("Amy! Amy open the door. Amy? For Christ's sake, open the door!"), but there was no response; later Amy claimed: "Jody wouldn't let me" - and then added: "Jody doesn't like George"
  • later, while teasing Amy with a toy spider (dropped onto her from a fishing pole), Greg suffered serious injury when a wooden-framed window unexpectedly slammed down and crushed his hand (accompanied by shrieking, Psycho-like violin strings); that stormy night at 3:15 am, George found flies swarming around the jammed open window in Amy's room; he went to investigate why the front and basement doors burst open to the outside on their own, and when he returned to Amy's room, the flies had disappeared and the window moved easily - no longer jammed
  • at the local Witches Brew bar where George met with his business partner Jeff (Michael Sacks), the bartender remarked that George's appearance was similar to the mass-murderer ("You look just like that kid. You know, he was sittin' right in that seat where you are when he was arrested"); Jeff complained that George, whose behavior and look had became increasingly hostile and noticeably strange and obsessed, was neglecting his responsibilities at their land surveying business - bills weren't being paid and customers were complaining; Jeff yelled at him: "I knew this would happen! I told you you were taking on too much....You marry a dame with three kids. You buy a big house with mortgages up to your ass. You change your religion and you forget about business - great!" - George punched him
  • in the house, Kathy heard Amy singing "Jesus Loves Me" in her room; Kathy was told that Amy had an imaginary friend-playmate named Jody, who told her about the boy who used to live in her room ("He got hurt and he died"); when she later checked on her daughter, Amy claimed that Jody was scared and had left through the window; Mrs. Lutz saw two large glowing red, swine-like eyes looking through her daughter Amy's upper window (also accompanied by shrieking, Psycho-like violin strings); later, she insisted to George: "What I saw was not a cat!"
  • library book research by George with Jeff and his hippie girlfriend Carolyn (Helen Shaver) revealed that John Ketcham, an accused and ostracized witch during the Salem Witch Trials, had built a house on the same plot of land as the Lutz house; she described how the house was built atop some "special ground" as she used the words: "Devil Worship, Death, Sacrifice"
  • the group returned to the house, where the psychically-sensitive Carolyn recalled her earlier fears and her current feelings to Jeff: "Are those vibes ever strong. It really pulls on you. I gotta see the basement. That's where it's coming from"; the two stealthily entered the basement, as Carolyn described the house site as a Native American tribal burial ground (known as Shinnecock), used to abandon mentally-ill clansmen as a gravesite (similar to Poltergeist (1982)): "There was a tribe of Indians called the Shinnecocks, and they used this land as a sort of exposure pen. They put all the crazy people here and left them here to die"
  • Harry, the family's black labrador dog, who incessantly whined at a basement wall, marked a suspicious spot where the burial ground might be located; Carolyn (and then George) used a pick-axe to break through the outer brick wall and fully uncover a secret room (with red walls) in the basement; George saw his face's ghostly reflection in the reddish room; Carolyn exclaimed: "They come and go through here" - she thought it was a portal for demons to enter the mortal world; then, as Carolyn became possessed and opened her mouth wider and wide and then declared: "Find the well. It's the Passage to HELL!" (as a medium, she channeled or took on the voice of Father Delaney); she then commanded - with her ears covered - that the portal be covered back up: "COVER IT!"
Breaking Through the Basement Room Wall
George Saw His Ghostly Reflection On Red Wall
Carolyn: "They come and go through here"
Carolyn: "It's the Passage to HELL!" (in Father Delaney's voice)
  • George and Kathy found the wall-hanging crucifix in the house turned upside down; it was removed and then they walked through the house - using it for an exorcism, while chanting: "Peace to this house and all who enter here. Forgive our sins and save us from all illness. Grant this through Jesus Christ, our Lord...", until the crucifix dropped from George's hands and caused welts on Kathy's face
  • the next day in a scene at the church's altar, Father Delaney passionately prayed that the Amityville evil would end: "Give them health of mind and body, that they may do Your will with perfect love"; after the face of a mounted statue above him began to crumble and sent clay splinters showering on him, he continued praying to a diabolical God (after losing his faith), urging the evil forces to take over: "Oh, Lord, I beg thee, give them strength in the name of our Lord Jesus!" - he suffered a mental breakdown from falling debris during the mass (as he cried out: "Ohhhhhhhhh, LORRRRRRRRD, Ohhhh JESUS CHRIST!!!!") - and described how he had become blinded; a few days later, he was viewed sitting catatonic, silent and unresponsive on a bench in an outdoor park
Father Delaney's Passionate Prayer
Statue Crumbling - Falling Debris
  • that night at 3:15 a.m., George was again awakened; he was inexplicably drawn downstairs, where he warned the demons to depart: ("What do you want from us? Goddammit, this is my house"); Kathy experienced a nightmarish hallucination of George murdering Amy in her bed with an axe, and then attacking her
  • the next night, Kathy was awakened and found the disheveled and insane George with blood-shot red eyes, sleeping in front of the fireplace and yelling out: "I'm coming apart! Oh, mother of God, I'm coming apart!"; as she asked about his condition, she noticed puncture wounds on his ankles: "It looks like teeth marks"; he fed the fire while ignoring her (she urged them to pack up and leave), and then he angrily confronted her: "I'm not going anywhere. You're the one that wanted a house. This is it, so just shut up!"; when she called him a "bastard," he smacked her hard across the face
  • Kathy conducted further research about the original Amityville murders at the county records office through microfilm newspaper records; she found a picture of mass murderer/killer Ronald DeFeo who had a striking resemblance to George !
Kathy's Shock
Mass Murderer Ronald DeFeo Resembled George
  • in the film's conclusion set on a stormy and rainy night, George went insane and grabbed an axe in the boathouse (similar to Jack Torrance's rampage in The Shining (1980)); as he approached the house, he saw the red-eyed "pig" in the window; then, as he climbed the stairs to the third floor to search for the family, bloody "ooze" flowed from nail holes in the stairway's walls and steps; Kathy protected the children in the bathroom as George threatened to attack them through the broken-down door and swung his axe at her, but missed - before he snapped out of his delusionary state
  • during the fierce lightning storm, the house began to crumble as the basement erupted and lightning struck the house; although the family escaped (down the bloody-slippery stairway), clambored into the van and began to drive away, Amy begged George to return and save their dog Harry; Kathy was reluctant ("George! No! No!"), but George parked and ran back to the house anyway (as Amy smiled), where he fell into a basement pit - filled with thick black sludge; he was saved when Harry pulled him out of the sludge pit, and then, although they were trapped in the locked house (when the front door slammed shut), they escaped through a broken window
George Falling Into Basement Pit of Black Sludge
- Saved by Harry
  • the home and the Lutz' possessions were abandoned after about 21 days (subtitles marked the 10th day, the 12th day and so on), as the Lutz family drove away from the cursed home in the anti-climactic ending, never to return; the final title card announced: "George and Kathleen Lutz and their family never reclaimed their house or their personal belongings. Today they live in another state."
  • at the conclusion of the end credits came the disclaimer: "This motion picture is based on the book The Amityville Horror. Certain characters and events have been changed to heighten dramatic effect."

Amityville House - Shaped Like a Round Face with Eyes

Flies Assaulting Father Delaney During House Blessing - He Heard "GET OUT!"

Stigmata-Like Burns on Delaney's Palm

Interrupted While Love-Making

Amy's Rocking Chair Swaying On Its Own

Ominous Time: 3:15 am

Bearded George Fanatically Splitting Wood with Axe

Amy's Teenaged Babysitter Jackie Trapped in Closet

Slammed Hand in Window Frame

Kathy's Discovery of Amy's Imaginary Friend Jody (Seen With Glowing Red Eyes)

Upside-Down Crucifix

Kathy's Nightmare of George Murdering Amy With an Axe

Kathy's Nightmare: Her Own Head Split Open with the Axe

George: "I'm coming apart! Oh, mother of God, I'm coming apart!"

George's Insanity and Anger - He Yelled at Kathy and Slapped Her

Father Delaney - Catatonic and Unresponsive

George's Hallucination of a Red-Eyed Pig in Upstairs House Window

George Threatening Family With An Axe
Blood Oozing From the Walls and Stairs

George Coming to His Senses - To Stop Threatening Kathy


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