‘Amityville Horror’ still terrifies audiences

By Erin Tobin

By Erin Tobin

In the haunted house genre, one white Colonial from Long Island still looms over most of the modern day competition.

In the 1979 horror classic “Amityville Horror,” it was this house that provided many of the scares, not a generic madman who wields some sharp implement and has a delusional plot in mind. This lack of a physical villain didn’t keep any of those annoying back of the neck hairs from standing up.The horrific past of that white house on 112 Ocean in Amityville is very true. It is the site of the infamous DeFeo family murders, where one son killed off his entire family and then later said “voices” told him to do it.

If that story seems less than plausible, don’t worry. “Amityville Horror” isn’t about the Defeos, it’s about the Lutzs. The Lutzs (played by James Brolin and Margot Kidder) move into the ominous abode knowing fully about the murders that happened there one year ago. They stay 28 days. These facts are truth; it is what happened in those 28 days that’s in question.

The movie turns into a rollercoaster of horror once the Lutzs move in. There are some flat parts but plenty of sudden drops and turns. There are the classic upside down crucifixes and nauseated clergymen.

Gasp and cringe moments are abound but there only about two or three scenes of actual gore, which makes the movie actually horrific and not just sickening. Brolin does an amazing job with the character of George Lutz and his steady decline to homicidal madness. The numerous scenes of Brolin sitting in front of the fire are not boring at all.

A good horror movie is nothing without a soundtrack, and “Amityville Horror” has this down pat with original music from Lalo Schifrin that includes eerie woodwinds and that haunting children singing that never seems to sit right with anyone. This music isn’t as commercial as “Psycho” but it does its job perfectly.

For those who decide on Oct. 30 to pick on some movie for a Halloween party, “Amityville Horror” and its less amazing sequels may be available and will always provide true scares.