IMDb > The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror
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The Amityville Horror (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.2/10   23,549 votes »
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Up 21% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Sandor Stern (screenplay)
Jay Anson (book)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Amityville Horror on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 July 1979 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Houses Don't Have Memories See more »
Plot:
Newlyweds move into a house where a murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Yeah, it has problems, but I still love it See more (279 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Brolin ... George Lutz

Margot Kidder ... Kathy Lutz

Rod Steiger ... Father Delaney

Don Stroud ... Father Bolen

Murray Hamilton ... Father Ryan
John Larch ... Father Nuncio
Natasha Ryan ... Amy
K.C. Martel ... Greg
Meeno Peluce ... Matt
Michael Sacks ... Jeff

Helen Shaver ... Carolyn

Amy Wright ... Jackie

Val Avery ... Sgt. Gionfriddo
Irene Dailey ... Aunt Helena
Marc Vahanian ... Jimmy
Elsa Raven ... Mrs. Townsend
Ellen Saland ... Bride

Eddie Barth ... Agucci
Hank Garrett ... Bartender

James Tolkan ... Coroner
Carmine Foresta ... Cop at the House

Peter Maloney ... Newspaper Clerk
Charlie Welch ... Carpenter
J.R. Miller ... Boy
Patty Burtt ... Girl
Michael Hawkins ... New York State Trooper

Richard Hughes ... 2nd New York State Trooper
James Dukas ... Neighbor (as Jim Dukas)
Baxter Harris ... Cop #2 at the House
Michael Stearns ... Policeman
Jack Krupnick ... Dead Father

Directed by
Stuart Rosenberg 
 
Writing credits
Sandor Stern (screenplay)

Jay Anson (book)

George Lutz  story (uncredited)
Kathy Lutz  story (uncredited)

Produced by
Samuel Z. Arkoff .... executive producer
Elliot Geisinger .... producer
Ronald Saland .... producer
 
Original Music by
Lalo Schifrin 
 
Cinematography by
Fred J. Koenekamp (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Brown  (as Robert Brown Jr.)
 
Casting by
Jane Feinberg 
Mike Fenton 
Judy Taylor 
 
Art Direction by
Kim Swados 
 
Set Decoration by
Robert R. Benton  (as Robert Benton)
 
Makeup Department
Stephen Abrums .... makeup artist
Christine Lee .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Salvatore Billitteri .... post-production supervisor
Jere Henshaw .... executive in charge of production
Russell Saunders .... unit production manager (as Russ Saunders)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Benjamin Rosenberg .... second assistant director
Edward E. Vaughan .... first assistant director (as Ed Vaughan)
 
Art Department
Donald B. Nunley .... property master (as Donald Nunley)
Bob Skemp .... greensman
 
Sound Department
Stephen Hunter Flick .... sound effects editor
Robert W. Glass Jr. .... sound re-recording mixer (as Robert W. Glass)
Maury Harris .... sound mixer
Bill Henderson .... sound re-recording engineer
Christopher Ramsey .... boom operator (as Chris Ramsey)
Richard Tyler .... sound re-recording mixer
John Wilkinson .... sound re-recording mixer (as John K. Wilkinson)
 
Special Effects by
Dell Rheaume .... special effects (as Delwyn Rheaume)
 
Visual Effects by
William Cruse .... visual effects
Allen Blaisdell .... visual effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Bruce Paul Barbour .... stunt driver
Brian Bruderlin .... stunt double
Roger Creed .... stunt coordinator
Conrad E. Palmisano .... stunt driver
Rick Seaman .... stunt driver (as Richard D. Seaman)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mike Benson .... camera operator (as Michael Benson)
Edward Morey III .... camera assistant
John Murray .... key grip (as Johnny Murray)
Gene Stout .... gaffer (as Eugene Stout)
Hal Trussell .... electrician
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Cynthia Bales .... wardrobe: women
Richard Butz .... wardrobe: men
 
Editorial Department
Bill Berry .... negative cutter
Dee D'Orazio .... additional editing (as Etter 'Dee' D'Orazio)
Stanley Frazen .... associate editor
Dennis Galling .... assistant editor
Barbara Gandolfo-Frady .... apprentice editor (as Barbara Gandolfo)
 
Music Department
Kenneth Hall .... music editor (as Ken Hall)
Aaron Rochin .... scoring mixer
John Graves .... music preparation (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Johnny Dias .... transportation
 
Other crew
Susan Anker .... production secretary
Samuel Z. Arkoff .... presenter
Thomas Bermingham .... religious supervisor (as Reverend Thomas Bermingham)
Gary Gillingham .... production controller
Connie Greenwood .... unit controller
Karl Lewis Miller .... animal trainer
Mary Ann Newfield .... script supervisor
Barbara Pieters .... production coordinator
Steve Warner .... location auditor
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
117 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:18 | Australia:M | Canada:14A | Canada:PG (Canadian Home Video rating) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Chile:18 | Finland:K-18 | France:-12 | Iceland:16 | Italy:VM18 (original rating) | Italy:VM14 (re-rating) | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:18 | Peru:18 | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:12 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | UK:X (original rating) | USA:R (No. 25653) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Jay Anson who wrote the book "The Amityville Horror" actually wrote out a screenplay for this film only for the producers to turn it down. Eventually they found Sandor Stern and liked his take on it so he was hired for the job.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: When Father Bolen leaves the detective to go to his car, there is a crew member in a checked shirt trying to either hide behind the bush or to get out of the shot.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Cop at the House:Jesus Christ, it gets worse all the time.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Deathrow Gameshow (1987)See more »
Soundtrack:
Blue MoonSee more »

FAQ

Is "The Amityville Horror" a true story?
Whose face appears on the wall when George chops the hole into the red room?
What was the red room?
See more »
68 out of 85 people found the following review useful.
Yeah, it has problems, but I still love it, 7 April 2005
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

George (James Brolin) and Kathleen Lutz (Margot Kidder) buy a "dream house" in Amityville, New York for a "dream price". Unfortunately, the price was low because just a year before, the house was the location of the Ronald DeFeo Jr. murders--he killed his entire family while they were sleeping. As a priest, Father Delaney (Rod Steiger), blesses the home, he realizes with horror that something evil is lingering there. The dream house is turning into a nightmare.

Sometimes our affection for or aversion to an artwork that we've been exposed to a number of times over the years is inextricably enmeshed with our historical, emotional experiences, whether we admit this or not. For example, I strongly dislike soap operas, or indeed any dramas that resemble soap operas. This is probably due to the fact that for years my only exposure to soap operas was when I was home sick from school as a kid. These were the days before cable television and home video. In the middle of a weekday afternoon, you either watched soap operas or you didn't watch television. Subconsciously, I associate soap operas with a feeling of illness.

Likewise, Jay Anson's Amityville Horror novel appeared when I was still a teen. I loved it. I can still remember reading it in one long sitting--something I rarely did--in the family car as we drove from Florida to Ohio to visit relatives. I was excited when the film appeared, and liked it a lot at the time.

So although I can see many faults with Amityville Horror now, I still have a deep affection for it that triggers my brain to go into an apologetic mode and defend the film. I just can't bring myself to give it lower than an 8 out of 10, and even that seems low to me. But I can easily see how audiences lacking a history with the film might dislike it. It is relatively slow, uneventful and meandering--with a modern perspective, the pacing and "subtlety" are reminiscent of some recent Asian horror. At the same time, maybe paradoxically, scenery chewing has only rarely had a greater ally.

Just a couple days ago MGM released newly remastered widescreen versions of Amityville 1, 2 and 3. I haven't seen the film look this good since seeing it in the theater in 1979, and it probably didn't even look this good then. The first thing that struck me was how incredible much of the cinematography is. Director Stuart Rosenberg had an amazing knack for finding intriguing angles for shots and imbuing them with beautiful colors.

Unlike recent trends, Rosenberg's colors are not narrowed down to a single scheme. For example, in some shots, such as some of the interiors of the famed Amityville house, we get fabulous combinations of pale greens and yellows. In others, such as many exterior shots near the house, we get intense combinations of fall foliage colors. There are also a number of beautiful shots of the famed "eye window" exterior of the house in differently tinted "negative" colors.

Rosenberg evidences a great eye for placing his cast in the frame and shooting scenes to create depth and symbolism via objects that partially block or surround the frame. He also has a knack for creating winding, receding patterns of objects that enhance depth through perspective. My affection for this aspect of the film has little nostalgic attachment, as I didn't pay attention to such things as a kid (I didn't start noticing them more until I started painting, far into my adult years), and the positive aspects of the cinematography were hardly discernible on the previous, ridiculously bad pan & scan VHS release.

Of course, most people aren't watching a film like this for the aesthetics of the visual composition. This is one of the most famous haunted house films, after all. The horror is handled somewhat awkwardly, occasionally absurdly, but it still works well enough for me, as understated as it is (I'm not referring to the acting, just the horror "objects"). Aspects such as the ubiquitous flies reminded me of similar motifs, such as water, in Hideo Nakata's horror films (such as Ringu, 1998 and Dark Water, 2002). The beginning of the film, showing the Defeo murders, still has a lot of shock value, despite its relative post-Tarantino tameness. Most of the horror elements are more portentous, but they're regular and interesting enough to hold your attention, as long as you don't mind subtlety.

Subtlety, however, was the furthest thing from the cast's minds. Brolin, Kidder and especially Steiger shout their lines more often than they speak them. "Overacting" is not in their vocabularies. Kidder comments on an accompanying documentary that the horror genre walks a fine line between intensity and camp. That may or may not be true in general, but in Amityville Horror, camp is frequently broached. For me, it has a certain charm. I'm a fan of camp and "so bad it's good"; Amityville's performances often attain both.

The commentary on the new DVD is amusing given the 1970s publicity that the book and film depicted a true haunting and the subsequent, thorough debunking by persons such as Stephen Kaplan. Hans Holzer, a parapsychologist who has been involved with the story since the early days, and the author of a book upon which Amityville II was based, provides the commentary. He presents himself as an academic, but he obviously seems to have little concern for "objectivity" or skepticism. He not only still talks about the story as true, he invents supernatural excuses for the DeFeo murders and then some, barely mentioning detractors such as Kaplan.

If you haven't seen the film yet, you should base your viewing decision on whether you have a taste for deliberately paced horror as well as a tolerance for extremely over-the-top performances. The film is historically important in the genre, as well.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (279 total) »

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Father Bolen panjin79
'Redrum' - 'Red Room'? Grayseph
My Amityville Horror (2012) Grayseph
This movie sucks so bad kurtlodernot
Something about the Jody scene that does not make sense JAlexa9898
Wierd neighbor sandilandry
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