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The Amityville Horror

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  58,967 ratings  ·  997 reviews

The shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining...


In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property - complete with boathouse and swimming pool - and th
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Hardcover, Large Print, 378 pages
Published June 1st 1979 by G.K. Hall (first published August 1st 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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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
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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
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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
Dick Baldwin
Jul 28, 2008 Dick Baldwin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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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
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colleen the contrarian  ± (... 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
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Sumit Singla
Bah, what did I just finish? A piece of utterly poor writing, publicised as a 'true' account to gain eyeballs, this story had potential but was systematically destroyed by Jay Anson.

Of course, since the story does not fit into my (nonexistent) religious or spiritual beliefs, it is probably easier for me to be dismissive of this ridiculous tale. (However, there have been horror novels about similar subjects that have creeped me out.) The book blurb thinks otherwise, but this book is nowhere close
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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
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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
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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
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Shaun
Some reviewers say this book sucks because obviously it never happened. They astutely point out that it was all a hoax (you know, a money making scheme), and they seem somewhat miffed by the gullibility of the average reader. Really? Demons/spirits who appear in the form of a talking pig?

I say, you're right...but who cares. The Amityville Horror was and remains one of the spookiest movies I've even seen, and the movie carefully followed the book. I even got a few chills while reading it (real or
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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
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Laura Elisabeth
Read this book years ago and enjoyed it, however this time round I guess it just didn't seem as creepy. I wasn't overly keen on how the book was written either. 3 Stars, Im afraid.
Ashley
More like a 3.5. George and Kathy Lutz move into a new house, and you know what comes next! It has all those beloved haunted house tropes lke moving objects, disembodied voices, a ghostly hand on your arm, secret rooms, and creepy pig demons! This style of horror is very effective and had me looking over my shoulder afraid of the boogeyman during the final act.

Not a perfect five because there was plenty of build up and only a brief resolution. It was still an exciting ending, but after everythin
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Lara
Haha, this is pretty ridiculous so far. I can't tell if it's bad writing, or just the 70s. Or both.

Okay, yeah. After finishing it I have the same question. The dialogue is pretty terrible at times, and everybody just seems so...dumb! I'm not saying that 100% of this was made up, but... Well, okay, maybe I am.
Bryce
Based on the Lutz family’s experience with their new house in Long Island, which may have been haunted or demonically possessed or the whole story could have been a totally scam.

I, personally, am going with a total scam, perpetrated by a family with a lot of money problems looking to find a way to gain notoriety and cash.
But protagonists being big ol’ liars, doesn’t necessarily make this a bad book. But the fact that this book is terribly written does.

This book reads like it’s a book report wri
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Celeste
No sé quienes estaban más locos, los fantasmas endemoniados de la casa ó los dueños que insistían en quedarse hasta lo ultimo.
Recomendación: Para que la sugestión sea completa y efectiva, leerlo de noche cuando todos duerman y esperar ... ya verás XD.
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
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Carolyn
Oh my, this was such a piece of garbage. Never mind how incredulous the story is....The writing was terrible, it felt more like a very rough draft for a movie script. The author spent NO time trying to be accurate regarding Long Island geography (i.e., the fastest route from Amityville to Astoria was the Sunrise Hwy?? Seriously???) and logistics (the "city of Amityville" plowed the streets, but Amityville is a village in the town of Babylon). The author couldn't even keep the address straight, a ...more
Jeff Bottrell
Very silly and illogical, without much of an ending. The writers throw everything but the kitchen sink at the poor Lutz family - it winds up being a mish-mash of several popular stories, including The Shining, The Exorcist, and every haunted house story ever written. I was around eight when the film version came out, which was perfect for giving the movie and story a supreme place in my too-keen imagination. I'm a sucker for stories of demonic habitation, so regardless of how bad the writing is ...more
Eric

A glaring hoax written to make money.
Auntie J
Audible Daily Deal 10/29/14 Price:$2.95
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
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More about Jay Anson...
666 The Amityville Horror.

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