The Amityville Horror
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The Amityville Horror

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  48,801 ratings  ·  838 reviews
The Lutzes moved into their dream home on December 18th, 1975. Four weeks later, they fled in terror. The home was the scene of a mass murder a year before, and the Lutzes claimed paranormal phenomena caused them to fear for their lives and forced them to abandon the home. Touted as a true story.
Mass Market Paperback, 201 pages
Published 1978 by Bantam Books (first published August 1st 1977)
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Jennifer
Oct 24, 2008 Jennifer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: No one.
OK, folks, for the last time, here's the real story.

1. On 13 November 1974, a murder occurred in the home known as "High Hopes," located at what was then 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York. The victims of the crime were the DeFeo family: Ronald Sr., Louise, and four of their five children; Dawn, Allison, Mark and John.

2. Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr., eldest son of the DeFeo family, burst into a local bar in town that night around 6:30PM, asking for help.

3. Butch DeFeo was later tried for and...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
"Do you think it's haunted?"
"No way, I don't believe in ghosts.”


It seems the reading world is clearly divided about this book.
The common question obviously being: is this actually true? I would like to add another question to the equation: does it actually matter?

To some extent, it does. The extent to which this novel will scare you correlates directly to (a)whether you believe the events depicted here are true and (b) your religious orientation. Personally, I’m still reserving judgement on jus...more
Becky
This "true" story is about as scary as a Ke$ha/Charlie Sheen lovechild. It's terrifying... but it's not the baby's fault. It was created out of a union of glitter-vomit and Tiger Blood. Mama SLutz is an attention whore just in it for the money and notoriety, and Daddy is a talentless hack who just spouts random words emphatically and claims they make sense. It's like it was written by a 12 year old with ADD and then edited by someone who speaks English as a 2nd language... and started taking the...more
Chris
This book is actually for a group challenge in April, but since I've sworn off re-reads for 2012, I decided to knock it out early.

I first read this back when the movie came out. The first movie. So I was pretty young, maybe 11 or 12. I remember liking it pretty well.

Unfortunately, on this re-read I suspected the author might also have been 11 or 12 when he wrote it. The story is excellent and very creepy. Whether a true story or a hoax, it's very compelling. The flaw in the story telling almost...more
Dick Baldwin
Jul 28, 2008 Dick Baldwin rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who like a good laugh
Shelves: frauds
A family, who I shall call the Lootz family (for the sake of their privacy), moves into a house in Amityville, Long Island, where the terrible murders of the previous owners took place. Some twenty-eight days later the Lutz – er, Lootz, family flees in terror. Horrific things happened there. Blood dripped from walls; people floated about in mid air over their beds, there were flies everywhere. Worst of all, a marching band paraded through their living room at three a.m. All these horrors were or...more
Marvin
This is bad in so many ways. First, it is fiction masquerading as fact. The story of this hoax is out there enough so I don't have to repeat it but the evidence should convince all but the most ardent true believer that this "true story", with the exception of the original DeFeo murder, was totally fabricated. Second, it is really terrible fiction. I am convinced that Mr. Anson had some kind of encyclopedia on hauntings and as he flipped through it he said, "Swarm of flies? I'll put that on page...more
Sarah Sammis
The 1970s seems to have been the decade for the horror genre, especially ones focusing on demonic possessions. Mix horror genre with true crime and you'll end up in a gray area that includes The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. The book reads like a novel and the Wikipedia entry calls it a novel but the Library of Congress categorizes it as non-fiction, specifically demonology (case-studies) and parapsychology (New York) and it's call number is BF1517.U6 A57.

So what are facts? In December 1975 t...more
Nathaniel Brehmer
Ignore the overshadowing debate about whether or not it actually happened, and you're left with one of the most finely crafted haunted house stories ever written. The narrative is so solid, so matter-of-fact, that one cannot argue with it. This is how it happened, the book says, and what happened was horrifying. The feel is perfect, the book carries an ominous feeling from the first to the last page, much like the house on Ocean Avenue itself. Forget any of the cash-in novels or films, this is a...more
c.o.lleen ± (... never stop fighting) ±
I don't know if it's because I've seen both movie versions of the story, and have read a bunch of "fact of fiction" type stuff - including the various evidences that it was a hoax - or if it was the horrible docu-drama style writing (which is, apparently, a product of its time and not just a marker of bad writing) - or a combination of all of the above, but, damn, this book is boring.

I'm giving it a 1-star on the goodreads' scale for "didn't like it" as opposed to "worthless piece of crap" - tho...more
Jason P
This book was hands down AMAZING!!

The Amityville Horror is not something annnnnyone would ever want to go through. EVER!
For those believers out there you will definitely agree, if you go into a house and 'things' start to occur, strange things - GET OUT!

I think Eddie Murphy said it best in his stand-up film Delirious:

"In the Amityville horror the ghost told them to get out of the house. White people stayed in there. Now that's a hint and a half for your ass. A ghost say get the fuck out, I would...more
Brandon Burrup
I read this a couple years ago during the summer. It only took a day or two. It wasn't so much scary as morbidly fascinating as I read it. However, after reading it, I simply could not get certain images out of my head. A white entity coming down the stairs, red eyes staring at me through a window in the dark, etc. I am forever scarred by that second image. I simply can not deal with open blinds at night. The other image... well, that summer was a hot one and my room downstairs doesn't get hit w...more
Mo Tipton
Wow, what an awful book. I'm not even sure what possessed me to read it (godawful pun intended), but it's a sorely regretted decision, let me tell you. The writing is atrocious, and I lost count of how many chapters ended with an exclamation point. Perhaps the fact that I already knew that nothing in the story has been substantiated beyond the DeFeo family murders had something to do with my cynical attitude, but the paranormal occurrences were so ridiculously over the top that it was difficult...more
Aric Cushing
Great book for the spookiness, but many will find the writing lacking in detail. But still, a fast, and fun read which horror readers should put on their shelf. For a sense of nostalgia, this book is great.
Kirk
It's been a while since I read this, close to five years. I had just moved into a new house, and the description of the locale in the text reminded me of my new home. I read this under the premise that it was based on a true story. I was not familiar with the challenges to this claim. And I'm glad I read it in the context I did. It made the book a bit more chilling.

That being said, there are some books that I know aren't great, for one reason or another. But I read them at the right time, a tim...more
Dan C.
I read this book probably a hundred and fifty times when I was a kid (only a slight exaggeration). The first time was when I was 10. I was so creeped out by it I couldn't sleep that night. Over the years, as the hoax behind the horror has been revealed, it has lost some of its punch, but still, it was one of the first ghost stories/haunted house stories I ever read. From a nostalgia perspective, it still gets points for that.

However, this is truly a horribly written book. The overuse of exclamat...more
Kascha
The story is not true of course. I read this book very young, and although it claimed to be true on the cover that sort of went in one ear and out the other while I was having the bejesus scared out of me by the story.

I literally became so frightened at one point that I threw the book in the trash without finishing it, only to be terrified even further when it was back on the table the next morning. It never occurred to me that a family member could have taken it out thinking it was in there by...more
Arturo Macias
Was anyone else disturbed by the absolute horror the narrative presented... I'm talking about the LACK OF DESCRIPTION.
Where was the build up of suspense?
Where was the mystery?
What state of mind was the editor when he allowed this elementary story telling was released?

Don't get me wrong, the premise to the story is perfect:
* the apparition of Jodie, the demonic-pig
* the flies
* the upside down crucifix
* George's resemblance to Ronald DeFeo Jr.

...but would've easily been contempt with someone givin...more
Sarah
I actually started this book back in late 2012 and lost interested about a third of the way in. Restarted it again in 2013 and lost interest again. The only reason I managed to finish it this time was through sheer determination and the horror books challenge I signed up for because there are other books on my list I would rather spend my time with.

It's not that it's badly written. Don't assume that I am saying that. My problem was that I was unable to suspend my disbelief to take it as a straig...more
Eric

A glaring hoax written to make money.
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cynthia
While this book is marketed as a true story, there are many doubts to it's authenticity. There are many that truly believe these events took place and others who claim the Lutzes manufactured the story of the Amityville house for monetary gain. When I started this story, I put it's truthfulness at the back of my mind and simply read the story as if it were pure fiction.

As a fiction work, I really enjoyed this book. The back story of the house is creepy enough with the DeFeo murders. Then you ha...more
Alisha
So, I just finished this book, this "non-fiction" book. The whole "true story" thing has to be the biggest bull I've ever heard of. Even if you read this book as fiction, it's just full of plot holes. This book is also nowhere near scary.

Firstly, Anson glosses over the DeFeos' story, which to me is the most interesting aspect of the book. Anson also has a supreme love for exclamation points. He used more exclamation points than were necessary. It's almost like he's telling the readers "read thi...more
Jason
There seems to be three camps concerning this book (and the actual event). They are (1) those who say it's all fake, BS, just to make money, etc., (2) those who take everything that Anson writes to be unquestioningly true and without error, and (3) those, like me, who maybe believe parts of the story with some skepticism and perhaps some belief. Here's why I'm part of the third group:

As far as what I've read (and this doesn't include people posting things on blogs without even anecdotal credibil...more
Yasiru (Don't register a new account at all- grievances concerning censorship are now censored!)
One of the first (and very few) horror titles I ever read, having around a decade ago found an old box full of abandoned paperbacks with gaudy covers (romance novels and the like) and out of boredom settled on this as the least offensive (sometimes a cover can tell you a little of what you're in for). I haven't since gone back to the novel and I'm not familiar with the genre as it is today enough to compare it with other such books, but there were quite a few genuine frights in store if memory s...more
Fizzgig76
The Lutzes have gotten a steal on 112 Ocean Avenue in the New York city of Amityville. The large Long Island home sits on the water and is more than enough room for Kathy, George, and their three children. The catch is that the house has a bit of a history. A little over a year before, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had killed his entire family in the home then claimed demonic voices told him to commit them. The Lutzes entered the home as non-believers, but left only twenty-eight days later…terrified for the...more
Miranda Rae
"The Amityville Horror," by Jay Anson was one of the scariest books I have ever read. I absolutely loved it. Of course, now I can't sleep at night, but I would definitely say it was worth it.
The Lutz family moved into 112 Ocean Avenue thinking that it was their dream home. They had heard the stories of the DeFeo family getting murdered by their oldest son, Ronald, but paid no heed to them. There were so many weird things happening once they moved in. There was a ghost pig named Jodie, green slim...more
Kristen
I know this book has been around for decades, and was written at the request of the Lutz family who hired Mr. Anson to turn their story into a book. Most people by now have seen the movie(s) and are familiar with the fact that the Amityville horror story has been debunked.

But, I thought, what the heck? It's probably a good read since it inspired such a long series of movies and even a remake (what hasn't?). I have to say that I didn't particularly care for this book. It's not that the story was...more
Elizabeth
Jan 19, 2013 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: believers!
Shelves: 2012
Scary October continues...

This book is written in such a simplistic straight-forward style, it almost feels like it was written for an audience of precocious third graders or maybe just those who love the tabloids. It’s hard to tell, especially when the text is littered with exclamation points. The subject is no laughing matter in the spooks department.

It’s 1975 and there are plenty of beard references and nods to political incorrectness that would not pass in this day in age, that’s part of the...more
Patwell James
Although perhaps overly embellished, this book is a fairly accurate account of the events the Lutz family claimed to have experienced at their home in Long Island.

As to the validity of the story itself, it cannot be proven true or false. What I have noticed, however, is the blatant disregard for facts that most of the hoax theories utilize. Many are in direct contradiction with police evidence, court records, and common sense. None of them agree with each other, despite the fact each one claims...more
Shelley
Everyone has seen the movie, including me, though it was many years ago, and I've read the book too (when I was a teenager) and do recall being spooked. It's time to read it again and see what I think of it from an adult point of view.
Well I've completed the book and don't know what to think, hoax or not, it's not really my decision. I've done some investigating online to see what it would look like today - it's gorgeous and could easily be missed for some other gorgeous home since they've made...more
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106463
Jay Anson (November 4, 1921 – March 12, 1980) was an American author whose most famous work was The Amityville Horror. After the runaway success of that novel, he wrote 666, which also dealt with a haunted house. He died in 1980.

His work, The Amityville Horror, was sold as "a true story", and it was based on the reported experiences of George Lutz and Kathleen Lutz at 112 Ocean Avenue in December...more
More about Jay Anson...
666

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