The Amityville Horror (2005) – “This House is Bad.”

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the classic horror film, The Amityville Horror.

First, let’s take a look at Catie’s summary that applies to both films:

Some bargains are too good to be true.  After getting a great price on a historic home in which a set of gruesome murders occurred, a family is terrorized by a malevolent paranormal force.  This movie chronicles the twenty-eight days they lived in the home before fleeing for their lives.

It may be hard to believe, but I didn’t actually request to cover the remake this month.  To be honest either version was fine by me—I hadn’t seen either one in its entirety.  So, I let Catie choose which one she wanted to review before turning in any requests.  And with her decision to cover the original, I set out on a venture to grab a copy of the remake.

The Amityville Horror claims to be based on a true story, and it is—sort of.

On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., believing to be possessed, heard voices, instructing him to kill everyone in his house at 112 Ocean Avenue.  So he did—his father, mother, and four siblings (sisters, 13 and 18, and brothers, 9 and 12), all while sleeping in their beds.  DeFeo, Jr. is currently serving his prison sentence in New York.

These murders led to the release of the novel of the same name written by Jay Anson in 1977, as well as ten films.

The 2005 adaptation begins one year after the murders when a newly married man (George Lutz, played by Ryan Reynolds), his wife (Kathy Lutz, played by Melissa George from TV’s Alias and Hunted), and her three children move into the DeFeo house.  Despite learning about the multiple murders, the Lutzes decide to take the great deal on the house and begin their new lives together as one big happy family.  After all, “There are no bad houses, just bad people.”

But then strange occurrences begin to take place…  George wakes up every single night at exactly 3:15 a.m., the approximate time DeFeo killed his family; the family dog barks incessantly at something that can’t be seen inside the boat shed; and the young daughter (Chelsea, played by Chloe Grace Moretz from Kick-Ass and Dark Shadows) welcomes an imaginary friend into her life—a girl who lives in the closet.  Not only that, but George begins to feel ill and starts losing his temper with his wife and the children… something that is very unlike his personality.

One thing leads to another, and twenty-eight days later, the family flees for their lives… even if “Houses don’t kill people.  People kill people.”

While I haven’t seen the 1979 film in its entirety, I’ve seen enough to recognize a few similarities… like the priest being surrounded by an infestation of flies as he attempts to bless the house.  Ryan Reynolds even sports longer hair and the full-on beard like James Brolin.  And speaking of James Brolin, that is one man who gets sexier with age… am I right, ladies?

The real-life Mr. Lutz was allegedly not pleased with the 2005 remake.  However, in an interview, Lutz did confirm quite a bit about the details shown in the movie: the Lutzes did have the house blessed by a priest; the house and boat shed did indeed have “cold spots”; the Lutz family did discover a hidden room in the basement; and Mr. Lutz became sick not long after moving in.  In case anyone is interested, here’s Jeff Belanger’s interview with Mr. Lutz via Ghostvillage.com.

But let’s get back to the movie, specifically Ryan Reynolds.

I was looking forward to seeing Mr. Reynolds in this role.  I’ve loved him over the years in the raunchy comedies that launched his career—National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Buying the Cow, Waiting…, and Just Friends.  Throw in the earlier action/adventure movies (Foolproof and Smokin’ Aces) and the romantic comedies (The In-Laws and The Proposal), and one might consider me a full-fledged Ryan Reynolds fan.  Heck, I can’t even count how many times we’ve watched The Change-Up and Safe House in our house… probably more than my guy would like to admit (and I’m sure he’d say I forced him to watch these movies over and over again, but whatever).

However, now that I’ve had the chance to watch him in this horror/psychological thriller, I’m sold.  Not only is he funny, and not only does he have a pretty face (and body, ladies…his body is plain insane in this film), but he can act.

It was rumored that James Van Der Beek turned down this role.  And if that’s the case, I’m glad he did.

Bottom line, the 2005 remake did not disappoint this horror fan at all.

Before I go, I have a little personal history with the house at 112 Ocean Avenue.  Amityville, New York is approximately ten to fifteen miles from a house my godparents lived in when I was a young girl.  On a family visit in the late ‘80s, my parents took me to the DeFeo Murder House.  That’s right; I’ve been there… I only wish I could remember more.  Mostly, I remember the “nice” things from my trip to The Big Apple and Long Island, like visiting The Empire State Building, seeing my first ever homeless person and blue Mohawk, being pulled by a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park, and eating at Tavern on the Green.

However, visiting the real “Amityville Horror” house as a small child explains a lot as to why I love horror and true crime today… thanks, Mom and Dad.  Seriously.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of The Amityville Horror?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  Have you ever visited the scene of a true crime and/or haunted house?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

And if anyone is interested, here is a forum site with FAQs that Mr. Lutz launched prior to his death…

Friday FabOoolousness – August’s MarvelOoous Mashups and Blog Awards

This month, fellow writer & Twitter friend, Angela R. Wallace awarded me with a very fun blogging award – the Blog on Fire Award.

THANK YOU, Angela!  Winning this award for my posts means so very much to me.  I love the color red, and I love to light candles, so why not set the blog ablaze?  Well, I don’t want to burn it, but I’m definitely adding the fun badge to my homepage!

From now on, anytime someone clicks on the Blog on Fire Award icon on my site, they will experience Angela’s fabOoolous blog!  While you’re there, be sure and check out her post, My First Vampire.

The fun thing about this award is that I’m supposed to rattle off seven random things about myself.  But before I do, I want to award this honor to my fellow writing friend and She-Writes member, Jillian Dodd.

Jill is new to the blogging world, and her blog is on fire!  Just a few weeks in, she’s blogging three times a week – check out a few of my favorites.

The Bad Boys of Monday’s MANday Who would you choose?

Freaky Friday’s film Review of The Change Up starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman.  Jill’s review chart is quite fun!

In addition to the fabOoolous blogs by Angela and Jill, be sure to click on these sites featured in the August edition of MarvelOoous Mashups!

PART I: FabOoolous writerly posts

Every writer wants to know how to take their written words to the next level.  Check out Market Your Novel, a guest post by Donna Galanti via Stacy Green’s fabOoolous blog.

In addition to the manuscript and query, writers need a synopsis.  Roni Loren offers five helpful tips to get us through the Not So Dreaded Synopsis.

Every writer wants and needs to hook the reader.  Catie Rhodes helps us Get the Ball Rolling with our inciting incident by offering a few movie references as examples.

Amy Romine shares her realization that the word “writing” and the word “exercise” are interchangeable.  After all, Writing is Exercise for the Brain.

 PART II: Just because they’re fabOoolous

Julie Glover helps decipher a few British terms with American translations in The Queen’s LanguageUse your favorite in a sentence below in the comments section.  Bloody Brilliant.

Who doesn’t like to laugh?  Jess Witkins reminds us of a few television sitcoms that Make us Snicker.  That reminds me – I must queue up Freaks and Geeks on Netflix….

 

What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you see the world ‘Rebel’?  That’s what I thought – James Dean.  Catie Rhodes remembers the young talent gone too soon, and explores The Curse of Little Bastard.

 

Hobbits – are they primitive, futuristic, or Tolkein’s creation?  Gene Lempp researches the mythology of Hobbits and Pygmy Elephants.

Once Upon a Time….  Sonia G. Medeiros revisits the fairy tales that captured our imaginations as children.  Watch for her new blog series!  What’s your favorite fairy tale?

What were the best and worst movies of 2009?  Lyn Midnight reveals in the Secrets of ZeldaWhat didn’t make the list?

Manon Eileen feels that drug criminality is the most interesting field of criminology, and she recommends these 10 Drug Movies for our entertainment pleasure.   What film would you add?

And, now seven random things about me.  Enjoy!

1 – I name my cars.  My first car was a 1993 Red Thunderbird named Scarlett from my mother’s favorite movie, Gone With the Wind.  Today, I drive the car that most females in Texas drive – my Black Beauty, a 2003 Yukon.  She’s really a dark shade of grey that sparkles like the Texas Tech football helmets when the sun shines on her.  What, you don’t name your car?

 

2 – I’m naturally blonde, technically strawberry blonde.  Most of the online universe is fooled by my recently darkened hair courtesy of my profile pictures.

3 – I’m overly competitive.  In school, I had to be the first one done with the tests AND I’d be upset if I didn’t score a perfect 100% on each one.  Because of this, I actually gave myself a stomach ulcer from self-imposed stress at eight years old.   Okay, maybe I didn’t give myself an ulcer, but I coincidentally was diagnosed by the pediatrician as having an ulcer around the very same time I realized that I wanted to be perfect.  It took me a while to realize that perfect isn’t possible – we all just have to be our very best.

 

4 – I love monkeys.  My favorites are the See No, Hear No, Speak No Evil Monkeys.  Ironically, one of my favorite episodes of Charmed is when a spirit steals a sense from each of the sisters using evil monkey magic – Phoebe loses her hearing; Paige loses her voice; and, Piper loses her vision.

 

5 – If I’m ever brave enough to get a tattoo, it will be of the triqueta – also known to fellow Charmed fans as the symbol on the Book of Shadows.  Where?  The inside of my left wrist so that my watch can cover it up when necessary.

Or, maybe I’ll get an Ankh Cross?  I can’t decide, and it doesn’t help that I’m absolutely terrified of the pain from the constant sticking of the tattoo needle.  Maybe I’ll just stick to my Henna tattoos?  They are painless, and they wash off after two weeks, another bonus.

6 – I quit the game of basketball after one hellacious week at Lady Raider Basketball camp.  The camp came as my first trip back to the court after dislocating my knee cap (I had to wear an awful pink knee brace for what felt like forever), but the final straw was when another girl elbowed me in the mouth and my upper lip got stuck underneath my braces.  The head trainer at Texas Tech University had to pull my lip out.  Isn’t basketball a non-contact sport?

Isn’t the knee brace awesome?

7 – I hate to get dirty, especially my hands and fingernails.  Even as a child, I’d cry and run to the nearest adult and beg them to help me wash my hands.  I’m quite certain that I bawled my eyes out when my parents pushed my hand into my first birthday cake.  I don’t remember, but that’s what they tell me.

Knowing that I didn’t like to get dirty, my cousin used to throw dirt on me just to watch me squirm.  Don’t worry; I got her back….plus some!  Love you, Ali!  Perhaps my parents should have seen this as one of the early stages of OCD.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m Monkish, right?  Man, I really miss Monk.

 

Who are a few of your favorite fabOoolous bloggers? What’s a random fact about you that you’d like to share?  Do you have any tattoos, if so what and where? What’s your favorite fairy tale, and do you like any of the recent cinematic releases? Do you agree with Lyn’s best and worst movie list of 2009?  What drug film should Manon watch that she didn’t list on her blog?  I’d love to hear from you!  Happy Friday FabOolousness everyone! 

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