Works based on the Amityville haunting

  (Redirected from The Amityville Horror (franchise))

The Amityville haunting is a modern folk story based on the true crimes of Ronald DeFeo Jr. On November 13, 1974, DeFeo shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York. He was convicted of second-degree murder in November 1975. In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there. These events served as the historical basis for Jay Anson's 1977 novel The Amityville Horror, which was followed by a number of sequels and was adapted into a film of the same name in 1979. Since then, many films have been produced that draw explicitly, to a greater or lesser extent, from these historical and literary sources. As Amityville is a real town and the stories of DeFeo and the Lutzes are historical, there can be no proprietary relationship to the underlying story elements associated with the Amityville haunting. As a result of this, there has been no restriction on the exploitation of the story by film producers, which is the reason that most of these films share no continuity, were produced by different companies, and tell widely varying stories.

The Amityville Horror
Created byJay Anson (Original book)
Original workThe Amityville Horror (1977)
OwnerVarious
(Public Domain)
Years1977–2021
Print publications
Book(s)The Amityville Horror (1977)
Murder in Amityville (1979)
Part II (1982)
The Final Chapter
Amityville: The Evil Escapes
The Amityville Curse
The Horror Returns
The Nightmare Continues
The Amityville Murders
Films and television
Film(s)List of Films
Short film(s)See Below

The Amityville Horror, released in the summer of 1979, was a major box office success, and went on to become one of the most commercially successful independent films of all time.[1] A series of sequels were released throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s through various distributors; some of the films received theatrical distribution, while others were direct-to-video releases. In 2005, a re-imagining of the first film was released.

Beginning in 2011, there was a resurgence of low-budget direct-to-video independent films based on or loosely inspired by the Amityville events.

In 2017, The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films distributed the first theatrical Amityville film since the 2005 re-imagining. Amityville: The Awakening, which was filmed in 2014, was released theatrically in Ukraine on July 27, 2017, and in the United States on October 28, 2017.[2]

LiteratureEdit

FilmsEdit

Film Release date Type Director Writer Notes
The Amityville Horror July 27, 1979 Theatrical Stuart Rosenberg Sandor Stern
Amityville II: The Possession September 24, 1982 Damiano Damiani Tommy Lee Wallace

Dardano Sacchetti (uncredited)

Mexican-American co-production film.
Amityville 3-D November 18, 1983 Theatrical, 3D Richard Fleischer William Wales aka Amityville III: The Demon, American-Mexican co-production film.
Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes May 12, 1989 TV film Sandor Stern aka Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes or Amityville: The Evil Escapes
The Amityville Curse May 7, 1990 Direct-to-video Tom Berry Michael Krueger, Doug Olson, and Norvell Rose Canadian production film.
Amityville: It's About Time July 16, 1992 Tony Randel Christopher DeFaria and Antonio Toro aka Amityville 1992: It's About Time
Amityville: A New Generation September 29, 1993 John Murlowski
Amityville Dollhouse October 2, 1996 Steve White Joshua Michael Stern
The Amityville Horror April 14, 2005 Theatrical Andrew Douglas Scott Kosar Remake of The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Haunting December 13, 2011 Direct-to-video Geoff Meed
The Amityville Asylum June 3, 2013 Andrew Jones
The Conjuring July 19, 2013 Theatrical James Wan Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes Part of The Conjuring Universe, only mentioned before the film's ending.
Amityville Death House February 24, 2015 Direct-to-video Mark Polonia John Oak Dalton
The Amityville Playhouse April 13, 2015 Limited theatrical release John R. Walker John R. Walker and Steve Hardy aka The Amityville Theater
Amityville: Vanishing Point April 1, 2016 Direct-to-video Dylan Greenberg Dylan Greenberg Selena Mars and Jurgen Azazel Munster
The Conjuring 2 June 7, 2016 Theatrical James Wan Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes, James Wan, and David Leslie Johnson Part of The Conjuring Universe. The Amityville haunting is depicted in the prologue, while the rest of the film deals with the Enfield case.
The Amityville Legacy June 7, 2016 Direct-to-video Dustin Ferguson and Michael Johnson Re-released as Amityville Toybox in 2020.
The Amityville Terror August 2, 2016 Michael Angelo
Amityville: No Escape August 5, 2016 Henrique Couto
Amityville: Evil Never Dies June 2017 Dustin Ferguson Sequel to The Amityville Legacy, re-released as Amityville Clownhouse in 2020.
Amityville Exorcism January 3, 2017 Mark Polonia Billy D'Amato
Against the Night September 15, 2017 Limited theatrical release Brian Cavallaro aka Amityville Prison
Amityville: The Awakening October 28, 2017 Theatrical Franck Khalfoun
Amityville: Mt. Misery Road May 31, 2018 Limited theatrical release Chuck Morrongiello and Karolina Morrongiello Chuck Morrongiello
The Amityville Murders October 9, 2018 Daniel Farrands Remake of Amityville II (1982)
Amityville Island March 17, 2020 Direct-to-video Mark Polonia John Oak Dalton
Amityville Vibrator June 6th, 2020 Nathan Rumler
Witches of Amityville Academy October 2, 2020 Limited theatrical release Rebecca Matthews Tom Jolliffe aka Amityville Witches
The Amityville Harvest October 8, 2020 Direct-to-video Thomas J. Churchill
An Amityville Poltergeist May 18, 2021 Direct-to-video Calvin Morie McCarthy John Ashley Hall, Calvin Morie McCarthy (screenplay)
The Amityville Moon October 5, 2021 Direct-to-video Thomas J. Churchill Thomas J. Churchill

OverviewEdit

The first film to be inspired by the story of the Amityville haunting, The Amityville Horror (1979) chronicles the events of Jay Anson's novel, in which the Lutz family finds their new home in Amityville, New York, to be haunted; the house had been the site of a mass murder by Ronald DeFeo Jr. in 1974. The following film, Amityville II: The Possession, is a prequel based on the book Murder in Amityville by Hans Holzer, and depicts the purported supernatural events in the home that led DeFeo to murder his family. The third installment, Amityville 3-D, is set after the events of the first film, and was released in 3D.[3]

In 1989, the fourth installment, Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes, was released as a made-for-television film, and documents hauntings stemming from a floor lamp that was in the home at the time of the DeFeo murders. The Amityville Curse, released in 1990, follows a group of teenagers who spend the night in a former rectory in Amityville where a priest committed suicide; this installment was set in an entirely different house.[4] Amityville: It's About Time, released in 1992, focuses on a haunted clock that a family from Los Angeles, California takes into their home from an estate sale in New York.[3] The seventh film in the series, Amityville: A New Generation, also utilizes a haunted object as a plot device. This time, a man purchases a mirror possessed by the spirit of his father, who, like DeFeo, also murdered his family in the Amityville house with a shotgun.[3] Amityville Dollhouse (1996) follows a family haunted by spirits unleashed from a doll house replica of the Amityville home.

In 2005, a remake of the 1979 original film was released theatrically. In 2017’s Amityville: The Awakening, which received a limited theatrical release, a family with an ill son moves into the home and find themselves tormented by ghosts who seek to possess the son's body.

Further films would follow, each released direct-to-video or with limited theatrical releases: The Amityville Haunting (2011; a found footage film that presents supposed home movies that corroborate the family's haunting); The Amityville Asylum (2013, set in a haunted Amityville psychiatric hospital); Amityville Death House (2015, featured yet another explanation for the hauntings); Amityville Playhouse (2016, focuses on a haunted theater in Amityville); Amityville: Vanishing Point (2016, focused on a haunted boarding house in Amityville); The Amityville Legacy (2016, features a haunted toy monkey from the original house), The Amityville Terror (2016, a family moves to Amityville and are tormented both by an evil spirit and the townsfolk who want to keep them trapped there); Amityville: No Escape (2016, college students encounter evil in the forest around Amityville); and Amityville Exorcism (2017, evil spirits possess the daughter of a family that moves to Amityville).

Continuity between filmsEdit

None of the films are direct sequels to each other, and parts I, II, and IV are the only installments based on books from the Amityville book series and that share a continuity.[a] Amityville II is a prequel to the original 1979 film, which tells the story of the DeFeo family's mass murder (though they are named the Montelli family in the film). Amityville 3-D is a sequel to the first film and is based on the accounts of paranormal investigator Stephen Kaplan (renamed John Baxter for the film), who was trying to prove that the Lutz family's story was a hoax. Due to legal disputes with the actual Lutz family, the events of the first film could not be directly referenced. This included the Lutz family themselves, who are never referenced by name. The film also erroneously refers to the massacre in Amityville II as the "DeFeo murders", despite the family having been renamed Montelli.

Of the later films, Amityville: The Awakening (2017) is explicitly a different continuity from all previous films, which are portrayed as existing in-universe: the characters watch and discuss the 1979 film The Amityville Horror, and a character brings DVDs of the sequels and remake to the protagonist's house.

The Amityville Murders (2018) serves as a loose prequel to the 1979 film and a retelling of the original DeFeo murders.

ReleaseEdit

Producers and distributorsEdit

The films have at various times been owned by several different production and distribution companies internationally and in the United States. American International Pictures produced and released the original film, before Orion Pictures bought the rights to the film, as well as II and 3-D. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) now owns films one through 3-D, and released them in a DVD box set in 2005. While 4 was a TV film broadcast on NBC, it has been released multiple times by independent distribution companies in recent years (one of which was Vidmark, who also released Curse; Vidmark is now owned by Lionsgate). Multicom Entertainment Group owns distribution rights to Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes, It's About Time, A New Generation and Dollhouse.

Box officeEdit

Film Release date Budget Total Gross Ref.
The Amityville Horror July 27, 1979 $4,700,000 $86,432,000 [5][6]
Amityville II: The Possession September 24, 1982 $5,000,000 $12,534,817 [7]
Amityville 3-D November 18, 1983 $6,000,000 $6,333,135 [8]
The Amityville Horror April 14, 2005 $19,000,000 $108,047,131 [9]
Amityville: The Awakening October 28, 2017 N/A $7,236,992 [10]
The Amityville Murders February 8, 2019 N/A

Critical receptionEdit

Film Rating
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Amityville Horror (1979) 27%[11] 32
Amityville II: The Possession 11%[12] N/A
Amityville 3-D 5%[13] N/A
Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes N/A N/A
The Amityville Curse 17%[14] N/A
Amityville: It's About Time 13%[15] N/A
Amityville: A New Generation N/A N/A
Amityville: Dollhouse N/A N/A
The Amityville Horror (2005) 23%[16] 33[17]
Amityville: The Awakening 30%[18] 42[19]
The Amityville Murders 7%[20] 35[21]

DocumentaryEdit

  • My Amityville Horror, a 2012 documentary focusing on Daniel Lutz's (who was a child at the time) side of the story regarding the events.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The Amityville Horror (1979) is based on the 1977 Jay Anson novel, while Amityville II: The Possession is based on Murder in Amityville by Hans Holzer. Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes is also based on a novel by John G. Jones.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Miller, John M. "The Amityville Horror". Turner Classic Movies. In the Know. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  2. ^ Aronson, Alex. "'Amityville: The Awakening' Sees More Delays; The Internet Freaks Out". Movie Pilot. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Young, R.G., ed. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film: Ali Baba to Zombies. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-557-83269-6.
  4. ^ "Canuxploitation Review: The Amityville Curse". Canuxploitation. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  5. ^ Arkoff & Turbo 1992, p. 228.
  6. ^ Smith 2009, p. 13.
  7. ^ "Amityville II: The Possession". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Amityville 3-D". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Amityville Horror (2005)". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "Amityville: The Awakening". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "The Amityville Horror (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  12. ^ "Amityville II: The Possession (1982)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "Amityville 3-D (1983)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  14. ^ "The Amityville Curse (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "Amityville 1992: It's About Time (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  16. ^ "The Amityville Horror (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Amityville Horror". Metacritic. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "Amityville: The Awakening (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  19. ^ "Amityville: The Awakening". Metacritic. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Amityville Murders (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "The Amityville Murders". Metacritic. Retrieved August 21, 2018.

Works citedEdit

  • Arkoff, Samuel Z.; Turbo, Richard (1992). Flying Through Hollywood By the Seat of My Pants. Birch Lane Press. ISBN 978-1-559-72107-3.
  • Smith, Gary A. (2009). The American International Pictures Video Guide. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-43309-4.