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The Amityville Horror

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  111,331 ratings  ·  2,881 reviews
28 Days of Terror in a House Possessed by Evil Spirits

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 earlier.

the psychic phenomena that followed created the most terrifying experience the Lutz family had ever encountered, forcing them to flee the house in 28 days,
Mass Market Paperback, 315 pages
Published 1978 by Bantam Books (first published September 13th 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 s…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)
Victoria Yes and no. The DeFeo family was murdered by Butch DeFeo within that house. The Lutz family did move there. However, it was a hoax between the Lutz fa…moreYes and no. The DeFeo family was murdered by Butch DeFeo within that house. The Lutz family did move there. However, it was a hoax between the Lutz family and Butch DeFeo's lawyer to make more hype and to create waves that this book were based on. The author decided to fly with it and add some things too. Not a single thing that the book said happened in that house while the Lutz family lived there, really did happen at all. It was a good way to get publicity for sure. Both the author and the Lutz family have admitted to their stories being made up.(less)

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Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
if you're going to bother with this story, do yourself a favor and save some time by just watching the movie ...more
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
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
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
I confess, I am SO glad to be done with this book. I had to take it in just a couple chapters at a time, it just felt so overwhelmingly dark. The fact that the demons (whatever they were) didn't just throw things around the house to creep the family out, they actually affected the family members' individual personalities and seemed to truly bring out the worst in their humanity. This aspect, to me, was the most disturbing.

Though I never plan to read this book again and will promptly be donating
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will start this review at the end . . . or, what I did after the end.

I knew some about The Amityville Horror from pop culture. I don’t think I have ever seen the movie all the way through, but I have seen parts of it. I am familiar with the house with windows like Jack O’ Lantern eyes. I knew it was a tale of possession and haunting. A story of terrors beyond imagination – terrors that only usually exist in the imagination of horror writers and filmmakers. But this really happened!

Or . . . did
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
This was a re-read for me. I read it back in the late 70's when it first came out, and even then I didn't think it was that great.
Now, I was compelled to finish, but if it weren't for Ray Porter's narration I might not have.

This isn't great writing, but the story is interesting as hell. All these years later I'm still wondering how much of this actually happened.

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
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
Karl Marberger
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, classics
Even if the events of this book are disputed, it is still a scary and interesting ghost story.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am not a huge fan of horror, but this book comes to mind as one of the most terrifying (at least for me). I distinctly remember reading this as a teen and not being able to put it down until I had finished it at 3:00 in the morning. Part of this was being unable to sleep if it was still on my mind.
Robin Hill
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, method-bought
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
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
Cameron Chaney
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, horror, series, 2019
Now that I have seen The Amityville Horror film (1979), watched numerous documentaries on the house, and read the book, I can safely say that the best "adaptation" of the Amityville story will always be My Amityville Horror (2013). This is a documentary following one of the Lutz children - now an adult - and shows what the he remembers from his time at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, NY. What we get is not exactly what one would expect from a documentary about the Amityville house. Instead, it is a ...more
Apr 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
Dick Baldwin
Jul 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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
Mark Villareal
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
First, separate any comparisons to the movie. The book is gripping and terrifying. As a person of faith I know evil exist, and the author brings that evil forward that will keep you up at night unable to sleep, but also unable to put the book down.
Brett C
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Overall I liked this story. The plot follows the gradual demonic terror and the trauma the family experiences along the way. The church makes reluctant attempts to get involved and protect the family from the infestation, oppression, and obsession of terrorizing the house. The story is written to reflect realism. The writing style is sort of written to reflect the way a journalist would write. I know this came before the movie and in comparison, it is pretty consistent and has the famous "Get OU ...more
{ U n s o l v e d M y s t e r y }

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

(The original! Not that dreadful remake.)

Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
This was an account of what was experienced by the Lutz family who lived for a month in an alleged haunted house.
It was okay and I was initially spooked but quite honestly it became overly repetiitive and I lost interest.
If this had been fictional...ahem...or shall I say not in a non-fiction style (dry and conventional) then I might have engaged with this more.
All the elements for a great story were there but the style of it drained all the horror and intrigue.
The writing style didn't really wor
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
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
Sarah Sammis
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
The Celtic Rebel (Richard)
Whether this book is fiction or non-fiction didn't matter much to me when I first read this book in my teens, and it still doesn't today. I have read the book a couple of times since then and enjoyed it the same. I read and forget all the controversy surrounding it.

I read the book in 1978 and before the film came out. It was the first time I couldn't wait to see the movie after it came out. There were 3 of us friends who read the book at the same time, and couldn't wait until opening night in ou
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was actually quite boring to me!
It started off really well, with a great eerie and dark feel to it. But sadly towards the middle/end it turned into the ridiculous and laughable.
I'm still happy I read this novel, since the movie adaptation is a great Halloween classic...But I definitely prefer the movie in this case!!!
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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 began as a copy boy on the New York Evening Journal in 1937 and later worked in advertising and publicity. With more than 500 documentary scripts for television to his credit, he was as

Articles featuring this book

For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
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