The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson

Okay, so here’s the thing.  I’ve seen both versions of The Amityville Horror movie twice, and yet…up until a few days ago (when I watched them both again) I couldn’t remember a thing about either of them.  So obviously, this isn’t a story that has connected with me.  And yet, I’m still intrigued by it, and recently I decided to read a horror book from which a horror movie was later made.  So I decided to read this one!

The Amityville Horror is the story of the Lutz family, who were the first people to buy a house after a brutal family murder took place there.  The family moved in, not caring about the tragedy that had occurred in the house.  However, 28 days after moving in, the family fled the home, claiming that a variety of supernatural events made them fear for their safety.

The thing that makes this story so interesting that, well, it’s true.  Or at least its supposed to be.  The story itself is authored by Jay Anson, but the copyright for the work actually lists Anson along with George and Kathy Lutz, the homeowners.  These people really moved into this house, and they really fled 28 days later.  Whether they actually experienced supernatural events or not remains to be truly confirmed, but such things always are shrouded in mystery.

Honestly, I didn’t really care too much about this story.  I think I was really interested in the story of the DeFeo family, which was the family murdered in the house (by a family member himself).  The Amityville Horror, however, is not about the DeFeo’s…it is about the Lutz’s.  This story reads like an account of events, which essentially is what it is.  Jay Anson took the testimonies of these people, and put them into a book.  However, I think this would be a much more interesting story if it were to be re-written as an actual story, instead of a statement of events.  There is a lot that happens in this tale, but it’s not very frightening when it’s just sort of said (with an exceedingly intense amount of exclamation marks!)

Anyways, even though I wasn’t too excited by this book, it struck me that this would be the perfect transition book for a teen or tween looking to read adult horror.  The exclamation marks and style of writing reminded me so much of the Fear Street books that it was actually kind of funny.  The writing is not too complex in this story, but there are enough spooky happenings to keep readers interested, and the similar writing style might be perfect for someone who likes to read books like the Fear Street novels.  It also has the added creepiness of being supposedly a true story, which I think is crucial to this tale as a whole, and which I definitely think could appeal to tween and teen readers, too!

2 Responses so far.

  1. T. Drecker says:
    I read this when I was about thirteen. I found it super-creey then -especially since it's 'true'. I can't say I remember much about it anymore, just the part about the red basement.
    Guess I don't have to make an effort to read it again.
  2. Mere Joyce says:
    I think the red basement was definitely the creepiest part…I would have loved to learn more about that, actually! Especially since it apparently smelled like blood?

    I'm happy you said it was creepy at thirteen. I can totally see myself having read this at thirteen and just loving it! I'm sad that I didn't like it more than I did, I think…but it did prompt me to research the actual incidents more, which was quite interesting!

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