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THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg
A curse — or is it a ghost — is determined to make sure no-one ever lives in the now-infamous house in Amityville, New York, ever again.
Something is present. Always there... lurking... you can feel it. Maybe the worst thing about it is that it's unknown. What's making all these things happen? The floating furniture... the swarms of flies... the blood oozing from the walls and the stairs. Who or what is spying through the windows — or am I starting to lose my mind too? Mr. Lutz has taken a liking to an axe, and Missy has made an evil invisible friend. Too late have the Lutzes realized they my have bought more than just a house in the county. This house has a mind of its own. And it's a disturbed mind.
A gruesome murder in the small town of Amityville has left a house in the country abandoned and for sale — dirt cheap, or course. Some say you get what you pay for. In this case it's too true — and the Lutz family has just paid for a nightmare. The previous owners were a family, gunned down in their own home. The killer was the son.
The Lutzes move into the house, hoping for a new life in the country. George and Kathy Lutz are played by James Brolin and Margot Kidder. Soon after they move in, creepy things start to happen. Fearful and suspicious, they call a priest, hoping he can rid the house of its evil presence.
All hell breaks loose when Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) trys to bless the house and pray for the evil to leave. He finds himself locked in a room, he loses his sight, grows ill, is even attacked by clouds of flies. Fleeing the house he seeks safety in his office but the malevolent forces purshue him; he burns his hand severely attempting to call the Lutz family and warn them to leave the house.
The murders were said to have taken place at 3:15 a.m. and now George wakes up every night at exactly that time. His features change eerily. He begins to take on a disturbingly strong resemblance to the killer. The babysitter locks herself in the cupboard while Missy watches without helping her, distracted (or aided) by the bizarre apparition of a pig, Jody, with glowing red eyes. Blood drips from the walls and George falls into a pit of goo in the basement. Will the Lutzes be able to escape the demonic and supernatural forces that have taken over?
The music is haunting and hits all the right spooky notes. As for the special effects, I guess you have to cut it some slacks seeing as it was made in the 70s, but even allowing for that I think the filmmakers could have done better. In spite of that there are some really good scares — this is definitely a movie I would recommend for horror fans.
James Brolin... plays George Lutz... a great husband when the family first moves in, before starting his demonic change, not just in appearance but in character. Brolin plays his role effectively.
Margot Kidder... plays Kathy Lutz... the happily married bride. Very convincing, especially as things start falling apart.
Rod Steiger... plays Father Delaney... the great actor really pulls you in. You can really feel yourself praying with him as he tries to banish the evil from the house.
In 1980 The Amityville Horror was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music — Original Score.
The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror nominated The Amityville Horror for Best Actress and Best Horror Film Saturn Awards.
Lalo Schifrin was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score — Motion Picture.