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The Amityville Horror: A True Story

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  89,407 Ratings  ·  1,767 Reviews
In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their dream home, the same home where Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters just one year ealier.
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published 1979 by Bantam (first published August 1st 1977)
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Patwell James Technically there are only two film adaptations of this book; Stuart Rosenberg's 1979 'The Amityville Horror' and Andrew Douglas' 2005 remake of the…moreTechnically there are only two film adaptations of this book; Stuart Rosenberg's 1979 'The Amityville Horror' and Andrew Douglas' 2005 remake of the same name. Both are highly embellished, but the 1979 version is considerably closer to the book (the 2005 film only really resembles it in concept).

There are many more films based on the idea of this particular house being haunted, however. In addition to the two official adaptations, there are numerous unofficial sequels and spinoffs:

Damiano Damiani's 'Amityville II: The Possession' - 1982, based on the book 'Murder in Amityville' by Hans Holzer

Richard Fleischer's 'Amityville 3-D' - 1983, an original screenplay

Sandor Stern's 'Amityville: The Evil Escapes' - 1989, credited as an adaptation of the John G. Jones short story collection of the same name but in reality an original story similar in concept to the book's

Tom Berry's 'The Amityville Curse' - 1989, based on the book of the same name by Hans Holzer; the book was set in "the" house but the movie is set in a different haunted house in Amityville

Tony Randel's 'Amityville 1992: It's About Time' - 1992, another original screenplay in the vein of the stories from 'The Evil Escapes'

John Murlowski's 'Amityville: A New Generation' - 1993, same as above but without crediting the book

Steve White's 'Amityville Dollhouse' - 1996, an original screenplay

Geoff Meed's 'The Amityville Haunting' - 2011, an original screenplay

Andrew Jones' 'The Amityville Asylum' - 2013, an original screenplay

Mark Polonia's 'Amityville Death House' - 2015, an original screenplay that just uses the name of the town

John R. Walker's 'The Amityville Playhouse' (AKA 'The Amityville Theater') - 2015, an original screenplay

And finally, Franck Khalfoun's 'Amityville: The Awakening' which is yet to be released; an original screenplay, it was filmed in 2014 but delayed multiple times for reshoots and re-edits, and is currently scheduled for release on January 6, 2017.(less)

Community Reviews

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Sep 19, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Oct 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let's pause for a minute and laugh out loud at the fact that this stupid book was in the nonfiction section of my library.




OK, I think that's good. Wait....



That's not why it gets one lousy star anyway. It gets one star because I think it was written by a twelve year old. The writing was so bad that it distracted me from the absolutely ridiculous story. There was just no life in the story at all. I mean, the gho
Justin Tate
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. More than I should have, probably. A brilliant way to write a novel (yes, let's just admit this is a novel). The matter-of-fact, journalistic tone used to describe horrific events expertly aided the 'realism' façade, and it made for great storytelling. Toward the end the pacing went off and turned into kitchen sink horror (just throw everything out there!) but it still worked. The ending 'Afterward' was genius and is likely why this classic endures and continues to inspire a whole subg ...more

The Amityville Horror is a book whose reviews are all over the place. On my friends list I have ratings from 1 to 5 stars all across the board. I wasn't sure where I would fall in relation to my GR buddies.

I listened to this one on audio as it was one of the 3 books that appealed to me and was available through OverDrive. It was a quick listen and I really enjoyed the narration.

I watched the movie in my teens and there have been so many of them made I really don’t know which one I watched or h
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
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
Coos Burton
Terminé este libro anoche durante una buena tormenta, y hacía bastante que no experimentaba algo tan intenso con una historia. Puedo contar con una sola mano todos los libros que alguna vez me causaron escalofríos, y me sobran tres dedos. Literalmente, "It" de Stephen King fue el que más miedo me dio, y actualmente sumo a la lista "The Amityville Horror".

Tiene una lectura super ágil por el hecho de que narra puntualmente las situaciones, sin demasiado decorado, la forma en la que sucedieron, de
Robin Hill
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-horror
5 stars.

I don’t even know where to begin. I fear this may be a long, chaotic mess of thoughts, so please bear with me, or skim, or totally ignore.

I’ve always been fascinated with the occult. The Exorcist (both the book and the movie, RIP Mr. Blatty) scared the hell out of me, pardon the pun. It still does. Every. Single. Time. And I love being scared. I love horror movies, haunted houses, Ouija boards (even though my husband forbids them), and Halloween. I love Halloween so much it’s my wedding
Nathaniel Brehmer
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 11, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
About 15 years ago I picked up a copy of this book and had to put it down indefinitely. It was slowly creeping me out, and when I got to the part where George Lutz sees a creepy pig behind his daughter in her bedroom window in the middle of the night I said "nope". However, I kept the book, because I knew one day I would finish it. Yesterday was that day, and I really wish I hadn't bothered.

I was in my twenties the first time I tried to read this, and although I was reading a lot of horror, for
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fbr-2012
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
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La verdad que muy bueno.
Tiene escenas tremendas, en las que sentís que te vas a volver loco. Te mata de la ansiedad y de los nervios.
Yo soy una escéptica por naturaleza, pero aún así logró impresionarme, alterarme y me hizo pensar en que yo simplemente perdería la cabeza ante un fenómeno así. Horrible.

Edito: leyendo los reviews, ¿soy la única que cree que si no dejaron la casa al instante no fue por empecinamiento o estupidez, sino porque 'algo' a nivel inconsciente no se los permitía? Especialm
✰☽♥✰  Unsolved Mystery ✰♥☾✰

Ahh, I'll stick with the movie. It's better and scarier. =)

(The original! Not that dreadful remake.)

Martin Rondina
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
En Aquí vive el horror apenas pasemos las primeras paginas, nos encontraremos con la aclaración de que la siguiente historia que vamos a leer es una historia que sucedió realmente y que la información de los hechos fue recolectada de los mismos protagonistas que han padecido el terror que sucedió en la casa de Amityville. Nos aclara que la familia DeFeo y la familia Lutz existen y que ellos mismos han narrado estos hechos para que luego sean publicados en este libro que tenemos aquí.

En esta hist
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars, but rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.
The facts are these:

On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue, situated in a suburban neighborhood in 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, claimi
Melissa Chung
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 52-challenge
Well....I can finally say I've read Amityville Horror. 4 stars because it was entertaining and it is supposedly a true story. I took a star off because it wasn't scary.

If you are unfamiliar with the Amityville Horror, this story is about the Lutz family. On December 18, 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into a very large colonial house at 112 Ocean Ave. Long Island. They lived there for 28 days before they fled.

Backstory, this is said to be a true story. As in, these people are real. They actual
Rebecca McNutt
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was definitely horrific, though kind of cheesy at some parts. What I enjoyed much more than the horror itself was the vibrant imagery, and the way that this Kodak moment family's subtle trip towards insanity is described. Definitely worth reading if you're a fan of all the nostalgia of 2oth century horror such as Audrey Rose, Magic or The Shining.
Sarah Sammis
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Brandon Burrup
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
The Amityville Horror is said to be a work of non-fiction as it is the story of the Lutz family and the 28 days they spent in what was supposed to be their dream home. The house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York already had a bad name when the DeFeo family was murdered there by the oldest son, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr. in 1974. In his defense he claimed to have heard voices telling him to kill his family but he was instead diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and sentenced to ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I have never seen so much disdain and anger directed towards a BOOK as I do in some of these reviews for The Amityville Horror. If you in no way, shape or form believe in this event or the supernatural, why did you read this book? And I love how people that have never set foot in the house claim to KNOW it's all made up. I mean, knowing things you've never seen would mean that you have the very supernatural type powers you so vehemently claim aren't real. I'm not saying all the things in this bo ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En diciembre de 1975, el matrimonio Lutz y sus tres hijos se mudaron al 112 de Ocean Avenue, en Amityville, casa en la que hacia pocos meses se había cometido un atroz crimen: Ronald De Feo asesinó una noche a los seis miembros de su familia con un rifle. Pero esto a los Lutz no les importó en absoluto, ya que no eran supersticiosos. Permanecieron exactamente veintiocho días en su nueva casa. Desde el primer día empezaron a sucederles cosas inexplicables y cada vez más terroríficas, hasta que, v ...more
Paulo Ratz
Eta historinha tensa que me deixou com medo hein? Eu moro sozinho, gente.

Eu já tinha assistido o filme e já sabia por alto como que era, confesso que muitas coisas eu não lembrava, mas a experiência de LER é mais assustadora. Além disso, quando falam que a história realmente aconteceu me deixa um pouco mais desesperado...

Apesar de todo o desespero, eu tive uma dificuldade com a escrita. Acho que o Jay rebuscava muioto numas partes e depois escrevia de uma forma tão coloquial que me incomodava.
Srta Books
No estuvo mal, me gustó leer lo que ocurrió en esa casa y conocer un poco más a fondo los detalles. 3.5/5
Listened to in audio format.

The Amityville Horror is a true story about the Lutz family. In November 1975 a man called Ronald DeFeo shot and killed his Mum, Dad and Siblings at their home in Amityville, Long Island. A year later George and Kathy Lutz brought the property at a bargain price. George, Kathy and their 3 children lived in the house for 28 days before leaving the house claiming it was haunted.

There has been a lot of debate about the Amityville Horror over the years. I believe in ghost
Initial thoughts: The creepy factor here was decent. Review to come.


Actual rating: 3 I-Wanted-To-Be-Terrified stars. No spoilers.

Meh photo: meh face tumblr_lfik0ilaID1qank10.gif

Meh. The creepiness was here. It had potential to be scary. But the execution failed to make it so to me. I've seen the movie, the original. It's one of my favorite horror movies. I love it. It scares me. Every. Single. Time. I know what's going to happen. Hell, I can probably quote at least half the movie. And it still scares me. I thought the book would too
Jason P
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Long-ago read. Never really came away convinced that it was "A True Story".
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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
More about Jay Anson

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