I have only witnessed a few things in this life that have actually caused me to change how I live. Jaws 2 really made me second guess the wisdom of going back in the water again but I live on the coast. I even watched another episode of the Kardashians after Kris Humphries did Kim so wrong. I’ve even had someone get shot next to me and still will go back to the Riverside Perkins for pancakes. But the Amityville Horror changed my life.
Who doesn’t know this story? The Lutz’s are a young, blended family who move into a house in Long Island that has some “history.” See, 13 months before the Lutz’s move in, the family before them was brutally murdered by a family member while they slept. Adults, kids, everybody shot. In spite of the obvious RED ASS FLAGS, the Lutz’s move in and experience a series of phenomena that let them know there are some issues with the crib. I don’t know about you, but shit like blood coming out the faucets, my kids having imaginary friends who are really dead kids who used to live in the house, a constant sickness, an infestation of flies in the winter—these things would make me question the quality of my real estate investment.
For three months, these people endured all kinds of supernatural events. Their kids were buggin, the dog was trippin, somebody called the house a “Gateway to Hell.” And these people dealt with it. They laughed off blood coming out the plumbing—would you ignore BLOOD coming out the faucet? They ignored that something woke up George Lutz everyday at 3:15am. And when they tried to perform a blessing on the house, the House said “Will you stop?” The HOUSE said it. And they still stayed.
Until one day they finally decided enough was enough and then the House said, “Too bad, dummy, now you have to stay.” So they finally break down walls and bust out windows and get every human being out the house and as they are pulling out of the driveway, a child says, “Wait! What about Scruffy or Rex or Tuffy or whatever the hell the dog’s name is?” So they stop and GO BACK FOR THE DOG.
Now if you have read this much of the post, it is obvious it affected me, right? This flick terrified me. Honestly. And that terror was only intensified by the fact that it’s true! That shit is true! You can get in a car and drive by the House (that is a trip that I will never, ever take). You can watch interviews with the real family, the real priest, neighbors, whatever. Once I found that out, I resolved to not only never see the house, I don’t care if I ever see Long Island. Fuck that. I’m good.
See, I don’t just remember the movie, I remember where I was sitting when I saw that life-sized ass doll open her eyes and start rocking on her own. I remember the brown velour shirt with the blue stripe I had on my back (shut up—I was fly in 1979) when the House told the priest to “Get Out!” And I remember the yellow flannel Battlestar Galactica pajamas I had on when the Lutz’s finally gained the common sense to LEAVE THE FUCKING HOUSE!
But more than that, I remember how I felt. I was and remain terrified of that house. Not scared. Not frightened. Terrified. Because it’s based on a true story, because it’s real, I can’t separate what I saw on screen from that real live edifice. And I don’t want to. It is the only thing I have ever brought from the screen or a book (with the exception of the of the superflu from The Stand—man, this cat coughed next to me while I was reading it…)
As inspiration for this post, my wife offered to put the movie on for me. After I spit up my drink, I politely demurred: “That’s a big NFW, good buddy.” Just thinking about it might have me sleeping with the lights on this week.
So, I’m gonna try and shake it off. Tomorrow is Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. GADGET!!!