Depending on who you ask, the Amityville Horror is either the world’s most famous haunting or most famous hoax. If you’re unfamiliar with the story (maybe you’ve spent the last few decades collecting lichen from the Siberian tundra), you can get the background here.
My Amityville Horror manages a fresh take on the flies, foul smells, bouncing beds and demonic pigs. It is a documentary featuring Daniel Lutz, the oldest of the Lutz children. Daniel is George’s stepson. He blames George for conjuring up the haunting (according to Daniel George was well-versed in occult magic), and by association, his life. Daniel swears every bit of the Amityville story is true. Anyone who questions him is immediately confronted with a barrage of f-bombs and thinly-veiled threats of physical violence.
Daniel Lutz is a thoroughly unpleasant person. He is volatile. In most shots he looks as if he’s struggling so hard to hold back rage his face might split down the middle. When the director asks if he’d take a polygraph Daniel advises him not to “pull this shit” and that he’ll “have words” with him “after.”
The documentary is itself a kind of horror story, but it’s got nothing to do with ghosts or demons – least of all demonic pigs. Once upon a time there was a boy who hated his stepfather. The stepfather created a media circus to sell books and make money. The stepfather was emotionally and physically abusive. He hammered the story into the boy so consistently and forcefully that eventually the boy started to believe it himself.
It didn’t help matters the ghost-busting community was ready to swallow the story hook, line and sinker. This My Amityville Horror demonstrates through a pathetic reunion between Daniel and demonologist Lorraine Warren.
Lorraine raises twin roosters in her kitchen. Her prized possessions include a sliver of the True Cross and a strand of Padre Pio‘s hair. She held the latter for protection during her Amityville investigation. According to Lorraine the Padre’s spirit actually appeared to her in the Amityville house. She never explains why, or whether the Padre actually did anything to cleanse the house – maybe his hair is like a supernatural panic button. Under different circumstances I would have laughed out loud. But then came a shot of teary-eyed Daniel Lutz, hanging on every word, craving validation, and I realized Warren is every bit as responsible for the man’s slow psychological implosion.
I suspect deep down inside Lutz knows the joke has been on him the last thirty years. That’s probably why he’s so angry. That he’s never gotten past it is the most legitimate horror to come out of Amityville.