The concept of basing horror films on so-called true events has grown to become something of a trend over the years. Though not a new method for increasing the terror of a film (both The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were promoted in this manner), the concept frequently results in huge box office revenue – as has been the case with The Conjuring franchise and a variety of other films like Annabelle, The Possession and Wolf Creek.
Though the actual “true events” that a film is based on often play a very minor role in the fictionalized plot created around them, sometimes those events merit the claim. The Amityville Horror, for example, took its plot directly from a series of tragic events that unfolded at a real Long Island, New York home in 1975 to the Lutz family. The family’s stay in the house where Ronald Defeo Jr killed his entire family has since spawned 17 films (with an 18th on the way this January) as well as nine different books.
The Wrap is now reporting that the very house on which the films and books are based has now been sold. Originally bought in 2010 for $950,000 (the original asking price was $1.15 million), the seller put the house back on the market last June, asking for $850,000. Apparently for someone, the appeal of the 5,000 square foot Dutch Colonial home with its five-bedroom, three and a half bathrooms and boathouse outweighs its horrific past. The new owner has not been publicly named.
After murdering all six members of his family while most of them slept on a November night in 1974, Ronald Defeo Jr was arrested and sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life in prison. It was the Lutz family who bought the house a mere 13 months after the murders had been committed and upon whom The Amityville Horror is based. After moving into the house, the family began to experience a series of disturbing incidences including terrifying visions, unknown voices, damage to the home’s locks, windows and doors and even a strange, green slime protruding from the walls. Twenty-eight days after moving into the house, the Lutz family moved out, never to return.
Much has been said about the Amityville house over the years, with its history being linked to Satanist John Ketcham having once lived there as well as the home being located on a former Native American burial ground. To date, no evidence proves Ketcham ever lived at the home and local Shinnecock leaders have rejected the claim that the land was used as a burial site. In fact, many of the claims that the Lutz family made about the home have been called into question over the years. The only thing about the Lutz’s story that has proven true is that their time at the home has been quite lucrative for them ever since.
The Amityville house has had a steady stream of inhabitants since the terrible events of 1974, but no owner has remained in the home for more than ten years before selling. Hopefully these latest homeowners will find everything to their liking, but as far as homes with a dark history go, this is certainly one of the more infamous ones out there.
Amityville: The Awakening opens in U.S. theaters on January 6th, 2017.