Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
THE REAL STORY: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
THE REAL STORY: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. Smithsonian Network. 2009. Producer/director: Virginia Quinn.
This episode of the non-fiction series The Real Story looks at the facts behind "The Amityville Horror," which was a best-selling book supposedly based on a true story that later became a box office hit on the screen; there were remakes and sequels as well. Although it takes its time getting to this conclusion by first looking at the claims and the people who believe them, The Real Story pretty much makes it clear that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. For instance, the infamous "red room" was merely a toy closet. Investigators tried to exorcise the house but discovered no sinister influences, although an eerie little boy allegedly showed up in a photograph which could have been faked. Among those interviewed are "investigative reporter" Laura Didio [it is never revealed which paper or supermarket tabloid she may have written for], and a childhood friend of the family whose members were tragically slaughtered in the house and who, unlike Didio, has significant and intelligent things to say. It is theorized that the Lutz family, who moved into the house after the massacre and claimed the house was haunted, may have mistaken explainable events for supernatural phenomena -- or maybe they were just lying.
Verdict: Pulls the lid off a hoax that fooled the dumb and the gullible. ***.