My Amityville Horror evoked a memory I had not thought of in some time. It's not something I think about much at all, to be honest. But when I do, I see it from full-grown eyes as opposed to the boy who was still afraid of monsters. This memory came to me as I experienced the stories that Daniel Lutz told of his time living at 112 Ocean Avenue when he was a boy. The Amityville Horror house.
You see, when Danny was eight he went through something horrific. A set of circumstances anyone familiar with the films will recognize shaped both how Danny perceived his formative years and who he is today. Isn't this the same for all of us? Memory is a fickle thing. Sometimes we remember things differently from the way they actually happened. Documentaries, however, do not. A good documentary presents the facts and allows the viewer to form their own opinion from the objective details on screen. My Amityville Horror succeeds at being an objective showcase of the events surrounding the Amityville house in a way I haven't seen in a documentary since before Michael Moore started making his docu-dramas. It succeeds at presenting facts from interviews with Danny Lutz, the child from the Lutz family that lived in the Amityville home for 28 days; it gathers information from interviews with those involved in investigating the phenomena once the Lutz's moved out; and it does so in ways that are intriguing and at times humourous.
What I took away was a feeling. That memory from my own childhood dredged up because Danny's own experiences with his step-father, George Lutz, echoed a life I lived. I remember how my mother put up with abuse from a man she saw when I was young, a man who hurt her. My siblings and I did not know this was happening until it was over, my sister having been home one fateful night when this asshole decided it was a good idea to put my mom's head through a door. Well you know what? My sister did the greatest thing; she called the cops. Even after this horrible person was removed from our home I got this feeling of cold emanating from my mother's room anytime I looked into it. Doubly so at night. It was not something my mom should have had to experience, nor should any person. My perception of her room was altered by the news of what happened. It's sad that Danny had to experience something similar. It's sad that anyone has to experience such things. Lucky for Danny, he's still around to tell his story. To continue his healing process. His siblings still haven't talked publicly about what they believe happened. Danny though, Danny had the courage to try and let it all out. The filmmakers were able to capture a lot in this documentary very well. How you take the facts and what you think is an experience that you may find worth the time.
MY AMITYVILLE HORROR was featured at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival on October 23, 2012.