Author: Jay Anson
First Published: 1977
Page Count: 315
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
No matter what you believe when it comes to real life ghosts, this book is sure to keep you reading until the very last spine tingling page.
*Great story pace *Old fashion horror *Fascinating plot
“And what I have called The Amityville Horror remains one of those dark mysteries that challenges our conventional accounting of what this world contains.” Purported as a true account of the events that transpired during a family’s 28 day stay in the notorious Amityville house on 112 Ocean Avenue, Jay Anson reveals to readers the horrors the Lutz family faced before hastily fleeing from the house where they would never return again. The Amityville house was the setting of the famous DeFeo mass murder that still to this day remains a mysterious case, but could it also be home to a few lost spirits and one malevolent entity?
After watching The Conjuring, I had the urge to pick up a few of these books about paranormal cases the Warren’s were involved in. Before you throw your hands in the air in disgust, just know this is not going to be a soapbox review about theology or the paranormal. When you read this book or really any book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, you need to suspend your beliefs and go along for the ride. Make your assumptions at the end, but until then just read it for pure pleasure or the fact that it’s intriguing. There is a lot of controversy over that fact the Amityville case and those involved in the case may be frauds, but there is a lot of passion on both sides of the fence. Frankly, I don’t care. I wanted to be scared, so I sat there and imagined this all really happened to a family years ago.
The story was fantastic and so much more intriguing then any horror book I’ve ever picked up. The pace of the story moves you fairly quickly through the Lutz’s 28 days in the house but it perfectly builds up suspense and terror. I would have finished it all in one day if this book didn’t turn me into a total wimp when night-time came around; there are just some plain creepy scenes in it that really hail from a time when you didn’t need big showstopper scenes, but carefully crafted elements of suspense to get a good scare. And again, whether you believe this really happened or not, at its core it really is just a great ghost story. You’ve got the whole good vs. evil deal having to do with faith, you’ve got a mysterious mass murder that sets the scene at the house, and a plethora of disturbing entity interactions to leave any horror fan satisfied.
I found nothing wrong with this story, because I just could not rip my eyes from the page until I had read every last word and had learned everything Anson had to say about the Lutz’s time in Amityville. But let’s be real, if you cannot and will not let yourself get caught up in the story and the belief in the possibility of these events occurring then you won’t enjoy this book. It’s so much more fun to sit there fully buying into the story because the effect of the scenes is that much stronger. At the end of it all, I still don’t know what to believe, but I’m fine being on the fence. What happened to them would seem too traumatizing to get over if this is word for word exactly what happened but at the same time there are just some things that can’t be explained away. And therein lies the thrill of The Amityville Horror. Pick this up and decide for yourself…if you dare.
*Film Adaptations: (Starring James Brolin 1979), (Starring James Olson 1982), (Starring Tony Roberts 1983), (Starring Kim Coates 1989), (Starring Robin Thomas Grossman 1996), (Starring Ryan Reynolds 2005), (Starring Luke Barnett 2011), (Starring Sarah Louise Madison 2013)