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Monday, October 19, 2015
With the snow flying and nighttime temperatures in the 30s, it was time to call it a season for the drive-in. My wife and I have seen movies at the drive-in during blizzards in the past, but you don’t do those kinds of things when you have to worry about two children two years old and younger. When they get older, I am sure they will beg to go to the drive-in in the colder weather, but we won’t be subjecting them to that while they are still so young.

The lead-up to Halloween means classic horror movie reviews, and this week we have "The Amityville Horror." How good is The Amityville Horror? It is so good that it spawned a franchise of television shows and movie sequels that you have probably never heard of if you are not a horror fan. If you are a horror fan, then you know that the Amityville franchise is one of the most successful movie franchises of all-time.

Let’s skip right past the fact that the actual story of The Amityville Horror is fiction, because that does not seem to take away anything from the effectiveness of the movie. When it comes right down to it, this movie is simply terrifying. Even to this day, I watch this movie with my hand slightly over my eyes just in case I get dust in my eyes or…something. The “Get out!” voice is absolutely ghastly and this is the one movie where James Brolin is actually not annoying.

The reason that the Lutzes took so much heat about the movie being fiction is because the story was going to be used to help Butch DeFeo claim insanity in his murder case. But by the time the book was released, DeFeo’s lawyer was feuding about story rights with the Lutzes and decided to not back the haunted house story. What we are left with is a great horror story about a haunted house that is both original and terrifying. I always felt that it was a shame that the Lutzes could not take credit for creating one of the most terrifying books ever written. But, as I always tell my son, you reap what you sow.

When this movie was first released, I remember there being a massive amount of hype. The book was still in the process of scaring the crap out of everyone and the DeFeo case was also being brought back up in all of its gory glory. I remember the book showing up in my fifth-grade class and a bunch of us taking turns reading different scenes. Only the bravest would dare read the “Get out!” scene, and I am proud to say that I was one of those brave souls. As a kid reading that scene, I can tell you it was one of the scariest things I ever read in my life. As an adult, I can tell you that the book is still terrifying.

I think the big reason why this movie is so good is because it follows the book almost exactly. The movie capitalized on the hype the book created by not trying to rewrite the story or add things that the book did not include. The original movie was true to the book, which is why this movie is a horror classic.

From the glowing red eyes of Jodie staring through the nighttime window to the gasping voice telling the priest to “Get out!” of the house, The Amityville Horror is everything a great horror movie should be. It is terrifying, unpredictable, unnerving and controversial. It is the movie that launched a thousand careers, and the movie that also launched a thousand lawsuits.

If you have never seen The Amityville Horror, then I recommend that you do so the first chance you get. The only thing I recommend is that you keep the lights on, and be prepared to leave the house if it tells you to “Get out!”

+George N Root III is a drive-in fanatic that loves watching a good horror movie. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at Join the conversation on this movie and others at

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