Based on the best-selling book by Jay Anson, which purported to tell the true story of the Lutz family and their terrifying experiences in the dream house they abandoned less than a month after moving in, this slow-moving horror picture is one of the best-remembered shockers of the 1970s. Recently married George and Kathy Lutz (James Brolin and Margot Kidder) can't believe their luck when they buy a spacious waterfront home in Amityville, Long Island, for far less than market price. The catch: The house is under priced because one year earlier, a young man named Ronnie "Butch" DeFeo slaughtered his parents and four siblings, methodically shooting them in their beds; he claimed voices told him to do it. From the day they move in with their three children from Kathy's previous marriage, Amy (Natasha Ryan), Matt (K.C. Martel) and Greg (Meeno Peluce), the Lutzes are haunted by a vague but chilling feeling that something isn't right. Amy begins talking to an imaginary friend named Jodie, and George, who complains of bone-chilling cold that no one else notices, becomes increasingly short-tempered and menacing. Red eyes stare in through high windows, a cloud of flies swarms the sewing room, blackish goop runs down the walls and oozes up from the toilet and the family discovers a sinister red room in the basement. Not one but four priests attempt to exorcise whatever lurks in the house, and a spectral voice orders them to "Get Out" (which inspired one of fledgling comedian Eddie Murphy's best-known riffs, which involves stupid white people who ignore supernatural warnings). Executive produced by B-movie veteran Samuel Z. Arkoff and indifferently directed by TV-trained Stuart Rosenberg, the film's reputation exceeds its achievements, and the "true story" angle has been vigorously disputed. That did not, however, stop the film spawning seven sequels (including one in 3-D) and a 2005 remake. Lalo Schifrin's score received an Oscar nomination.
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- Released: 1979
- Rating: R
- Review: Based on the best-selling book by Jay Anson, which purported to tell the true story of the Lutz family and their terrifying experiences in the dream house they abandoned less than a month after moving in, this slow-moving horror picture is one of the best-… (more)