There have been an embarrassing number of movies using the fair hamlet of Amityville to get a few views online from unsuspecting horror fans. On the surface Tom Berry’s 1990 direct-to-video entry in the franchise might seem like one of them, perhaps even the first. The house on the poster is certainly not the house we know and love, not even if you squint.
The Amityville Curse is based on the 1981 novel by parapsychologist Hans Holzer. His previous novel, The Amityville Murders, documented the DeFeo murders and subsequent trial of Ronnie Jr. as well as Holzer’s own investigation into the haunting. He claims that Ethel Myers, trance-medium and shawl enthusiast, made contact with the angry Indian spirit that haunts the property. This vengeful chief and the curse he placed on the land is the basis for the story that unfolds. I reread the book, which comes in at just under 200 pages after watching the movie so I could compare them. I’ll post that review later.
It seems strange to admit that I am obsessed with a particular crime, especially one so senseless and brutal. I realize now that I am not alone in this. Since podcasts became a thing in the early 2000s it seems like the main thing anyone listens to is true crime related. (#AdnanDidIt) The stories are compelling with twists and turns and I’ve spent countless hours in the car listening to stories of murder and mayhem. Give S-Town a listen if you have time. It’s a real gem and I really did not see the turn coming.
Despite all the alleged ghosts that roam the halls of 112 Ocean Avenue for a lot of people the real horror in Amityville occurred a year before the Lutzs moved in when the DeFeo family was executed in their sleep on November 13, 1974 by the eldest son Ronald. The haunting the Lutzs described on the talk show circuit made for interesting television but the story of the crime that set all of these events in motion is far more fascinating. If Ronnie hadn’t done what he did we wouldn’t even be talking about the town of Amityville at all, aside from the occasional mention in travel brochures.