Original vs. Remake: The Amityville Horror

Welcome to Wednesday’s Blue Light Light Special. Today is Original vs. Remake day. This month’s movie, in case you didn’t notice, is The Amityville Horror. As usual, I’ll cover the 1979 original, and Tiffany A. White will cover the remake this Friday.

The Basics




Some bargains are too good to be true. After getting a great price on a historic home in which a set of gruesome murders occurred, a family is terrorized by a malevolent paranormal force. This movie chronicles the twenty-eight days they lived in the home before fleeing for their lives.

Watch the trailer:


About the Movie and the Book

The Amityville Horror is based on a book by the same name written by Jay Anson and published in 1977. The book is about events that occurred between Decempter 24, 1975 and January 14, 1976 at 112 Ocean Avenue  in Amityville, a neighborhood on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

The murder which caused the house to be offered at such a good bargain is real. Click here to read more about it. Click here to watch a documentary about it on You Tube.

The book was published as non-fiction, which means this is one of those based on a true story films. Right? Maybe not.

In the years between 1979 and now, the veracity of the events in the book has been contested. If you want to read about this aspect of The Amityville Horror, this article at Snopes is as good a place to start as any.

The house used for the film was 18 Brooks Road in Toms River, New Jersey. The house had been remodeled to resemble the house at 112 Ocean Avenue.

James Brolin, the male lead in the film, is said to have decided to do the film after reading Anson’s book and getting a good scare from it. And he is great in the film. Margot Kidder received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress. She did a great job. I’d forgotten how pretty she was.

At the time of its release (July 27, 1979), The Amityville Horror was one of the most successful independent films to date. It earned more than $86 million in America alone. However, the critical reviews were unfavorable. The musical score was nominated for an Academy Award but did not win.

My Thoughts

Is this a Blue Light Special? If you have Dish Network’s On Demand service, it absolutely is. Right now, you can watch the original film free with Dish On Demand’s service.

After that, you gotta get out your wallet. A rental is $2.99 at Amazon or $3.99 for HD at iTunes. Purchase prices are $4.00 for DVD,  $7.00 for Blu-Ray, and $9.99 for digital download from Amazon or from iTunes.

Though I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to watch it, I will say this horror movie was iconic for my generation. There were so many cultural references to it. My favorite was Eddie Murphy’s thoughts on it (from Delirious — foul language warning).

Be sure to visit Tiffany A. White’s Blog on Friday to read her recap of the remake.

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