The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

In tribute to Margot Kidder, we review one of her more well-known horror flicks. We both remembered this as being fairly boring, and at least one of us hasn’t revised that assessment. Regardless, it was a huge hit and a widely influential haunted house movie.

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The Amityville Horror (1979)

Episode 126, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig:  And I’m Craig. 

Todd:  This week, we decided we would pay tribute To another one of our recently departed, Margot Kidder, died a couple weeks ago. She is known for many films, Most specifically, I think, for the early Superman films with Christopher Reeve. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. She’s she’s the only Lois Lane that matters. She is Lois Lane to me. 

Todd:  She really is. Right? Oh my gosh. And she was in all of them, even the really crappy Superman 4. 

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. 

Todd:  And she was also Black Christmas, you which would be, probably the movie we would have chosen to do had we not already done that film. 

Craig:  Definitely. Definitely. 

Todd:  So, instead, we went through what I think is I don’t know. She might have done another horror movie or two. I know she did an episode of Tales from the Crypt. Whatever other horror movie she’s done is is unknown to us. Right? We we know The Amityville Horror from 1979. That’s what we’re gonna do today. Yeah. And we’ve already done The Amityville Horror Part 2, which was a highly entertaining movie for all kinds 

Craig:  of reasons. 

Todd:  Yeah. And I think even when we did that show, we remarked about how dull and boring this movie was as we remembered it. But it had been, I think, for both of us, admittedly, quite a while since we’d seen it. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. A really long time. And I was Saying that, to my partner yesterday that that’s that’s what I remembered about this movie, that it was kind of boring. But I think that when I had seen it, I had been a kid. You know? I I I don’t remember. Like, maybe high school, maybe college. I don’t remember. That’s what I remember is thinking that it was kinda boring.   And I have to say that Going back and watching it again, I really think that I appreciated it more, this time around. It it really didn’t strike me, as boring this time. I actually kinda liked it. And, you know, we’ll get into all that, whatever. But, Margot Kidder, like you said, Lois Lane. I mean, that’s that’s what I know her from, and Right. I loved those, you know, those Superman movies when I was a kid. You know? Superhero movies are blockbuster movies.   You know? It seems like that’s Kind of all we get anymore. Like, we Or it’s like 

Todd:  they’re the only American movies we seem to get in China. 

Craig:  Yeah. And I and I’m not surprised. And, you know, I get it. I I’m not a huge fan of those movies, but I I get The draw of them because when I was a kid, those Christopher Reeves Superman movies, I loved those movies. I absolutely loved them. And, Margo Kidder, in those movies, I always just really, really liked her because She was a little bit atypical. You know? I I will say that in this movie, in the Amityville Horror, she’s beautiful. She’s a beautiful woman, But that’s that’s not how I thought of her as Lois Lane.   You know? When I when I thought of her as Lois Lane, Yeah. She’s she’s pretty, but that’s not what it was about with her. You know? She was, you know, kind of a a A tough broad in those movies. You know? A a very strong independent woman, and I just thought she was so cool, in those movies. And and a and a great companion for Christopher Reeve who was so all American and Handsome and nice and, you know, like, he he was just kind of the epitome of this all American guy, and then he had this romantic counterpart who kinda gave him hell sometimes, and, I don’t know. I just really liked her. And and so I’m I’m sad that she’s gone. I know that she struggled in her life.   She was bipolar, And and she went through some struggles with that. I think sometime in the nineties, she was really struggling with her mental health and at one point ended up, homeless. And, you know, of course, when the media found out about that, you know, they really sensationalized it, you know, kind of the fall of this, famous American actress, but she, you know, she dealt with her stuff and came back around, and, She continued working, you know, up up until now, up until, her death, and and I think that she’s still you know, she had filmed projects haven’t even come out yet. So we’ll still see a little bit more of her, and I I’m glad because she was a good actress. You mentioned Black Christmas. I really like Black Christmas, but I think the biggest part of why I like it is her. She was hilarious in that movie. Again, playing a tough no nonsense kinda gal.   I suggested that we do something to pay tribute to her, and and here we are. 

Todd:  You know, it’s funny when you talk about how she comes across. I always get her and, like, Karen Allen mixed with. You know? Because they both have a similar, Well, actually, they both look alike. I feel like they come sisters, but but they both kind of come across that way, or maybe I’m just such a fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark. You know, that like you said, pretty, but still tough, no nonsense broads, and also have that what do you call it? Like, a little bit of a smoker’s voice. Mhmm. Just a little gravelly, You know, down there, which is really can be pretty sexy. Yeah.   And I think that does her suits her well for this movie because she really comes across as a real person. You know? And I think that’s one thing that I can say this film has going for it. I think all of the people in this movie, at least as family, The the the stars are, of course, Margo Kidder plays the mother, Kathy Lutz, and George Lutz is played by James Brolin, who is Very night. Very nice looking man. 

Craig:  Oh my god. He’s so hot. And especially in this movie, he’s So hot. Like, 

Todd:  I have to I have to confess it was a little distracting. I don’t know. I think his, I think his son is even better looking personally. 

Craig:  Oh, you but they they look a lot alike. I mean, there’s it’s Yeah. Man, if if they did a remake of this movie, Josh Brolin could easily take over his dad’s role even though He’s probably older now than his dad was when he played, this role, but, oh, boy. Gosh. He he shouldn’t have got me started going On James Rowland because I swear I mean, he’s a good looking guy now. He’s married to well, I think they’re married. They’re a couple, Barbara Streisand. Yeah.   I mean, this is him in his prime, and he is just I’ll let it go, but he’s a very good looking man. 

Todd:  Even even buried under mountains of of seventies hair. Right. Seriously. And this is no joke. When I think of seventies, the look, this is it. Yes. This is the it’s the picture of him on the photograph on the cover of the VHS tape for this movie that I go back to every single time. Big bushy hair, huge beard, and mustache.   Just so great. So, anyway, this movie, I don’t know. I don’t think I feel as Warmly to it as you do, though, Craig, I I felt it was a bit boring. Not that stuff doesn’t happen. It’s just that Not enough happens in a short enough amount of time. 

Craig:  Yeah. I that that’s fair. I I I do think it’s a little bit too long. You know? It’s An hour and 57 minutes. I I think that they could have cut it down to an hour 30, and it probably would have been a little bit tighter, and that’s fine. I I guess that maybe I don’t know. The 1st time around that I watched it, I don’t think that I really knew anything about it. And this time around, Since we did Amityville 2, you know, back then when we did it, I did some research, light, you know, Wikipedia research into, the story and the idea that supposedly these movies, At least 1 and 2.   You know? There’s, like, I don’t know, 6 or 7 other sequels after this that, you know, just go wherever they wanna go. But, supposedly, these these first 2 movies were based on actual events. And, actually, part 2 is really a prequel to part 1 because it deals with the DeFeo murders that happened before the events of this movie in which the oldest DeFeo’s son, killed his parents and, I think, 3 or 4 of his siblings in this house, the Amityville house. And this movie takes place after that. The this is the family that moved in. I think it was 13 months. I think that the the house Was on the market for 13 months. Nobody wanted to touch it because of the terrible events that happened there.   But this new family, George Lutz and Kathy Lutz, who had, just recently married. She had 3 kids, from a previous marriage. They each had their own homes, but they wanted to, You know, live together as a family. So, they looked at this house, and it was Priced well because it hadn’t sold for over a year. What do you think? 

Clip:  I love it. Honey, $80,000? Might as well be $800,000. 

Craig:  And I’m like, are you kidding me? That house. 

Todd:  It’s on Long Island. It’s got a boat house there. There’s another little house attached. It’s right on the light. It’s gorgeous, and it’s huge. Oh, yeah. It’s huge. Colonial. 

Craig:  And I get it. You know? This is 1979. That was the year I was born. I understand that the housing market has changed, but I’m like For 

Todd:  My god. 

Craig:  I paid that much for my house, and I live 

Todd:  in this little tiny old house. I’d live in the murder house for $80. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. Totally. You know? And that’s kinda what they say too. 

Clip:  I just wish the All those people that have died here. I mean, dude, a   guy kills his whole family. Don’t they bother you? 

Craig:  Well, sure, but houses don’t have memories. 

Todd:  I really like the fact, actually, that they made a deal out of that. Like, You know, it’s it’s a little atypical. Well, of course, because this is based on a true story. Of course, they’re just following the story. But it’s a little atypical for a horror movie for the people who moved into the house know that they were buying a house the people were murdered in. You know? Right. That has a history. And that’s that’s a little refreshing.   And it’s cool that they call that out in the movie itself, or they don’t even try to manipulate, you know, the truth to to make it seem like, oh, the realtor hit it, you know, or, well, we’ll buy it anyway, anything like that. They go in there. They know The story behind it. You know, I think that the real story behind this is even more interesting than the movie itself. And Sure. You know, just to briefly cap it off, I think pretty much history has come to decide that all of this was a big hoax. Yeah. That the original owners of the house, the the real George and Kathy Lutz, were in financial trouble, and and that’s something actually that they deal with in the movie in a slightly different way.   But, anyway, that they were in financial trouble and probably had some motivation, to make a big deal out of the house. At first, they called some press conference, And, and this was at the behest, it seems to be, of the attorney for the for the DeFeo Kid. So if you kinda go through the whole thing, and you should check it out online. I’m not gonna rehash the whole thing here. But at the end of the day, it seems like the attorney who wasn’t Successful at getting to fail off for the murders, nonetheless, liked the publicity he was getting from it and maybe even wanted to be able to Reopen the case because his original argument was that, a claim of insanity, which the jury didn’t buy. I mean, they said, yeah. Maybe he was kind of insane, but but but he didn’t, know, that doesn’t absolve him of responsibility. But it seems like he and the Lutzes may have cooked up this story of of a haunting in the house since they bought it and hearing voices and things to just stir the pot a little bit and maybe be able to open things back up, to a retrial or something or maybe just for publicity.   Anyway, a book was written. The Lutz’ were really kind of cagey at first about what was true and what was not. Even over time, they kinda changed their stories, or they would they would be alternately really interested in talking about it and then kinda not talking about it. I think at one point, the Warrens apparently investigated this house too early on, and, you know, it’s kinda one of their deals. And we know that they were, known to stretch the truth considerably. The whole thing just is was a bit of a cash grab and a money thing. And even the lawyer later, I guess, Tried to sue the writer of this book claiming that, he was supposed to be more involved in the production of the movie or the production of the book than he was, And, therefore, he felt he was kinda cut out. And he kinda comes out then and says, but it was all a big hoax anyway.   He’s trying to throw cold water on it. So, anyway, you can enjoy the movie Even knowing all that as a as a work of fiction, as a haunted house movie, which is what it is. You know, knowing all that whether it’s true or not, doesn’t matter to me. Right? It’s a movie. 

Craig:  Sure. 

Todd:  And in fact, usually, I I look at all that crap with a grain of salt anyway, and and you and I have talked before about how so many of these based on a true story movies. Sometimes that’s just slapped on something completely fictional, you know, just to make it seem more interesting. In this case, it almost feels like they would have been more successful, in my opinion, Actually, going off the rails. You know? Because because the true story of what happens in this house to me isn’t all that interesting. Like, they’ve really got a stretch, from what these guys claimed. Because, ultimately, what what they claimed happened was just random things like the house Right. The walls would bleed. There was slime coming out of the keyholes, and And I heard voices Yeah.   Soft face in the window, and then everybody kinda leaves. You know? Right. So I feel like the movie is is caught in a bad spot here where they’re trying to stay somewhat true to the source material and not veer Too far from it, but still they’re trying to make it dramatically interesting. And in the end, I feel like maybe they stuck a little too close to the source material, because that’s all they really have to go with for, like, an hour and a half. Yeah. 

Craig:  I I know what you mean, because I was just reading, You know, I was reading about, like, the plot details of the novel itself, and and it it seems like the the movie really tried to hit as many of those plot points as they could even when things would happen, and then they would just kind of go unexplained. You know? And I guess that’s The the way, you know, if if houses were really haunted, you know, that would be the way that things go. Like, Something weird happens. We have no explanation for it. Move on. But but in a movie, you know, where you’re looking for kinda, like, Plot consistency. You know, just a series of random events does does not a plot make. Yeah. 

Todd:  And and and you’re kinda I mean and there’s no antagonist really. I mean, you could argue that the house is the antagonist, but there’s nothing Cohesive or coherent about like you said, there’s, like, no motive, ultimately for this evil. We don’t really get a strong, Clear explanation. It it ends up kind of being the closest thing we get is the old ancient Indian like, almost literally the old ancient Indian burial ground Right. You know, explanation, which which is fine, but even Exorcist 2 I mean, even Poltergeist 2 gave us a character. Yeah. You know? 

Craig:  Right. Well and and James Brolin and Margo Kidder met the Lutzes and and, you know, spoke with them. And, apparently, James Brolin Kind of became friends with, George Lutz, but both James Brolin and Margo saying that they think that the story is bullshit. 

Todd:  Like, they don’t believe it. 

Craig:  And in fact, you know, ironically, since we’re doing this as a tribute to Margo Kidder, she didn’t like this movie. Yep. Sorry, Margo. We only had so much to go with. 

Todd:  We already did Black Christmas. Really sorry. 

Craig:  But, but, yeah, I mean, it’s it’s it’s certainly questionable. But like you said, you know, it’s a movie, and I don’t know. I I thought that it had good things going for it. I I thought that, you know, it was It was well acted. I thought that both, Kidder and Brolin did a really good job in their roles. But Like you said, there’s really no, antagonist or motivation. And at one point in the movie, James Brolin as George Lutz Shouts, you know, to the house, what do you want from us? And it would have kind of been nice to get an answer to that question. You know? We don’t.   We don’t get an answer to it. Dig up 

Todd:  the bodies in the basement and bury us properly or something like that. You know? 

Craig:  But no. And, again, I mean, if if we were going with the fact that this were real, You know, why does a haunted house have to have motivation? You know? It’s just disgruntled spirits or whatever causing trouble for the sake of causing trouble. But When it comes to a movie plot, that potentially can get kinda tedious. And I understand why you may Have not so fond feelings. That’s fine. 

Todd:  It’s okay. I just I just thought 

Craig:  it was okay. And it was, You know, it’s very reminiscent of other movies of the time. It’s reminiscent of The Exorcist. It’s reminiscent of The Omen. You know, it fits categorically really well in with those other movies of the late seventies, early eighties. And and I don’t think that it’s it’s bad. I mean, I think that it’s competently made. I think that it’s well Acted.   Maybe the source material isn’t that great. I don’t know, but it’s not a bad movie. 

Todd:  It had everything it needed to fit in with all those movies. It has a a priest come in then, you know, that gets into whatever. It has, like, some slight possession aspect going. It has the, satanic elements that, you know, come and go and crosses upside down, and there’s a religious aspect. Like, there was just a fervor at this time, in, you know, at this this decade, you know, the seventies, Where not only was were these movies coming out like The Exorcist and this, but even in the news, there were accusations of witchcraft and Satanism going on at daycares, it all turned out to be you know, there were people were were hypnotizing kids trying to bring out memories, and they were coming up with fantastical stories of seeing babies eaten, you know, by by little miss Tillywigger, you know, their their their teacher or whatever. You know? It’s just and People really got the trouble for it. You know? I mean, people people it was it was kinda lousy, but I think it’s this atmosphere also that probably Encourage the source material. I mean, surely, this would be one of the reasons why they these guys would come out with an incredible story about their house.   Like, they could clearly cash in. It’s kinda going on all around, and people would seem to be buying buying it, you know, to a certain extent. So it’s like art imitating life, imitating art. Know? It’s it’s all very reflective of the time. 

Craig:  Well yeah. And, I mean, this was a time this was the time before you youngins out there won’t even understand this, but before, we all had a video camera in our pocket every hour of the day. You know? So a lot of the time, All we had to go on was testimony. And if if the testimony is vivid and and Believable enough. You know? Yeah. Okay. 

Todd:  And I mean, science wasn’t as sophisticated. I mean, it’s hard to believe that, you know, we grew up through that Time, but when you really if you really go back and think of all the sensors and things that we have now, and you go back and you look at what what we as kids were growing up reading about and fantasizing about, it’s like, Oh, how do you investigate whether there’s really a ghost in here? You know, tape a thread across the doorway. Right. You know? Like like, Put a temperature sensor in the room and see if the if it gets colder inexplicably. You know? Right. Hook up a a camera, Like, with a flash to the door so that when the door opens and nobody’s there, it can flash and maybe catch a ghost, you know, if you develop the film 2 weeks later. You know? That’s just even video cameras were were really primitive and early at this time, at least for consumers. You know? So Mhmm.   Yeah. It’s just it was a different time, and and I guess we were a lot more gullible. You know? We we we had to trust. We I don’t know. We all kinda felt like, oh, Maybe there is something to this, you know, we were a little more willing to believe. 

Craig:  Well and a a little more gullible, I think, is fair, but I think also We were a little bit less skeptical about everything. Oh, yeah. And now in the advent of having, You know, video evidence of everything and all of these, you know, technological advances, we are very, very skeptical. Video where it’s not real. You know? Like, show me or I don’t believe it. And we were a little bit less like that in the Seventies and and eighties. We took people at their word a little bit more freely. And and My nostalgia kicking in says, oh, man.   What a nicer time that was. You know? But but at the say At the same time, people were feeding us bullshit, and we were just eating it up. And that’s true. But, you know, it was kind of fun to indulge in some of that Silly stuff, but whatever. Just a different time. I Yeah. If if we don’t start talking about the plot of this movie at some point, we’re never gonna get to it. 

Todd:  I don’t think it’s gonna take us long. 

Craig:  I don’t either because it’s it’s very it it’s it’s so simple. It’s such A basic haunted house story. You know? These these people, this nice young family move into this house, 2 Young, attractive, newlyweds with their brood of in this movie, it’s 3 children, 2 boys, and a girl, Move into this nice house, and like you said, it’s it’s big. Of course, we we can’t not mention, you know, the big iconic windows that look like eyes that, you know, make the house kind of look like a face. And and the way that they light the windows, the windows are always, like, Amber or red, so they look like these kind of glowing eyes on his face. 

Todd:  And just like we said about the sequel, it Seems like every other shot or every scene is punctuated by an exterior shot of the house Yeah. On those windows. At one point, it’s like a negative. It’s like a reddish negative. Like Yeah. They’re really stretching to keep these shots different. 

Craig:  Yeah. Oh, it was funny. And there’s also a point at the end of the movie where the windows bust out, and then subsequently in the movie, they continue to show the windows not busted out at 

Todd:  Oh, did you know that? That’s right. I noticed that. It’s so funny. It’s you know, I actually went for years Thinking that this was, like, one of these movie myths that the actual house didn’t look like this, but I found out it really did. 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  And they Reading online, I found out that they for the exterior shots, the town of Amityville and the owners of the house would not allow them to shoot there. So they actually used a similar house somewhere else, but they had to create, like, a 2nd story facade 

Clip:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  To to make the house Looked that way, and I thought that was interesting. Apparently, over the years, the owners of the at some point, the owners of the house got so sick and tired of people coming by to look at it that they changed those those top windows to be rectangular. Mhmm. 

Craig:  Which is a little you know, I get it. If people were constantly dropping by my house to, you know, peep or whatever, that would get in get on my nerves too. But apparently, the, you know, the this house where all this happens still stands, and people live there. You know? Like, I can’t imagine. I I I can’t imagine why somebody would buy that house unless you were down with it. You know? Like Yeah. Like, I would buy that and I would embrace, you know, like, come on over. Check out my cool windows. 

Todd:  Dude, I’d sell I’d sell tickets, man. Would you get me? I take so much money from that thing. Yeah. It it’s funny. I think it was the very next owners of the house after the Lutzs were so pissed off that the Lutzs were making all this money and, like, getting all this publicity that they came right out and said absolutely nothing weird happened that’s happened 

Craig:  to us 

Todd:  in this house, and they even sued them at some point for some reason. 

Craig:  It’s crazy. So, I mean, again, typical haunted house stuff, they move in and weird stuff starts happening, right away. The toilets Back up. The a window falls on a kid’s hand. They have trouble you know, sometimes the windows open easily. Sometimes they can’t get them open. Flies appear in, rooms in mass, when they shouldn’t be there, and there’s no explanation for it. Anybody who has any sort of significant religious affiliation who comes into the house is immediately Stricken.   Like 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  One of the first scenes is a priest comes in. Like, he’s been invited by, Kathy to come and bless the house, which we talked about in the last episode. Is that a normal thing to do? Well, yeah. I mean, some Catholics do that. It’s not like It’s a requirement. Like, you buy a house, and you’re required to have the priest come over, but some people might do it. He gets Trapped in, this room, and the flies swarm him. And he feels sick, and he hears a voice that tells him to get out, and And so he leaves.   At some point, Kathy’s aunt, who is a nun, comes over, and she’s immediately stricken with, like, illness and Has to get out of there right away. 

Todd:  It’s so convenient. We get these, like, overtly religious figures in the house from point to point. And it’s funny, you know, if you just think about it, the implication that nobody can be as religious as a priest or a nun. Right. You know? Like, I mean, Kathy’s hung a crucifix in the house. I mean, you’d think she’d feel a little ill for doing that. You know? She prays a few times. There’s a point in later in the movie where they all go through from room to room, and they try 

Craig:  to bless the house themselves. And I read that In real life, neither of the Lutz’s was devoutly religious. Like, he was an he was a nonpracticing methodist. She was a nonpracticing Catholic. It’s not like these were religiously devout people, but it makes it seem especially in the movie, it makes it seem like Kathy was, you know Yeah. Very, very intent on having this house blessed because she keeps trying to get in touch with this priest who they didn’t even know that he showed up. Like, they were playing outside and, like, on the boat when the priest showed up. She didn’t even know that he’d even been there.   And then, Again, like we said, I the movie’s too long. They could have cut cut out that entire subplot with the priest, and it would have made Absolutely no difference Yeah. To the whole movie. And I feel like if they had cut out that subplot, it would have cut it down by 20 minutes, and it would have been far more serviceable. 

Todd:  It would have improved the movie too because it was a little ridiculous. I mean, from the beginning, the priest who just barges into their empty house, decides he’s just gonna start blessing it. And then when he leaves, you know, he’s sick, and then he’s kind of out for a while. And she he tries to call her, but every time he tries to call, the phone is staticky, and it doesn’t It doesn’t work. It just keeps coming back to this priest every now and then over the course of the next 3 weeks, and you’re thinking and and the priest is freaking out. And at one point, he gets together with the other priests, and we have that obligatory scene. In all these movies from this era where the priest is trying to convince his superiors that he needs to go in and perform some kind of criticism. And they say that he’s crazy.   Father Nunzio and I have seen our share of phenomena, and never once Did any of them turn out to be Satanist? 

Craig:  We think you should take a vacation. 

Todd:  And, yeah, and that’s kind of the end of that, but he’s so keen on getting back to them, and she’s so keen on getting him there That they sure just let it go for an awful long while. 

Craig:  And then it never happens. Like, they It’s not dissimilar from the 2nd movie, which we’ve already reviewed, in which a priest gets involved. But in in that movie, You know, the priest actually kind of takes active measures, and and is, you know, kind of Prominent to the plot. But in this, no. Like, she keeps trying to call him. He keeps trying to call her, And he just the priest keeps deteriorating to the point where he ends up a blind invalid by the end, but he But he never gets in touch with Kathy, and he never he he doesn’t do anything. And you were talking about obligatory scenes. There was another obligatory scene with the priest where he’s in the church and he’s praying to Jesus and, Like, the the the statues start crumbling, and he’s freaking out.   And I’ve it it was so reminiscent To me of The Omen or Oh, yeah. The Exorcist or something like that. And it’s not even necessarily that these were bad scenes. You know? Like, they were fine On an individual level, it’s just they were really unnecessary. 

Todd:  Yeah. And, again, it well, not only just derivative, but then, Okay. If it’s if you’re gonna be derivative, have a point to it. And like you said, there is no point. And then furthermore, it’s it so muddies the waters. Like, okay. Well, Is this spirit in the house able to leave the house? It seems to be able to make his car crash when it’s on the way to the house. So apparently, the spirit will follows the overtly religious people around. 

Craig:  Mhmm. Other weird things that happen, the the daughter, Amy, the young daughter, gets a Invisible friend. An invisible friend named Jody. And, again, this is all pulled from the novel. This is the story the Lutz is told. You know, she gets this invisible friend. And, Of course, at first, the parents don’t think anything of it because, you know, kids. They they make stuff up.   They have imaginations, whatever. But, You know, eventually, it becomes more ominous. And, apparently, the Lutz’s in their testimony Said that this invisible friend was some sort of demon, and it looked like a pig. And there’s even one point, In the movie where James Brolin is outside, George, I should call him by his character name. He’s outside, and, he he’s looking in, And he sees in the window this kind of pig demon thing. And it’s a cool image, but if you don’t know the back Story. Like, if you haven’t read the book, which I hadn’t, it’s it’s just kind of confusing. Like Yeah.   What is this coming Right. Where’s this coming from? We’ve never seen this before, and and we we see it literally for a split second. And and that’s Kind of I guess my biggest criticism of the movie is that is just that at times, it gets a little confusing. And one of the other things that I felt was a little bit puzzling was that almost immediately, Like, not immediately, but almost immediately, George starts acting weird 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  Like, from the from the time they get into the movie. Like, We’re we’re led to believe from the way that the characters are introduced that this is a great guy. You know? He’s this great, hardworking, independent, Good looking guy who Margo Kidder has recently married, and they’re so determined to make their marriage work. And, You know, she says to him at the one sexy time 

Clip:  I want us to work. I wanna be the best. I don’t want you to have any regret. 

Craig:  I love you, Cathy. And it really seems like he’s a good guy, and he’s good with her kids. He’s nice to her kids, and the kids love him. But then there’s From the time they get in the house, there’s almost an immediate shift where he starts getting irritable and and grouchy, and he can’t sleep, and he starts snapping at the kids, and eventually he starts snapping at her. And and I will say in fairness that They react to it in a realistic way. Like, they’re shocked and and surprised. Like, the little girl at one point says, George yelled at me. Like, She’s she’s really surprised.   And and it’s good acting on his part. He does a good job of showing his torment, But it happens so quickly for me that it was a little unsettling. And the other unsettling thing to me is that this movie takes place over, what, 2 weeks. Right? Uh-huh. And he never changes his clothes. That’s true. He wears he wears the same gross sweatshirt through the whole movie. That’s what I’m saying.   And it just keeps getting grosser and grosser. Like, I can only imagine that James Rowland showed up on set every day and put on that Same nasty sweatshirt that they never laundered, and I no wonder they were smelling funky things in the house. Look at that sweatshirt. 


That’s hilarious. I did I didn’t even notice that, but you were totally right. You’re totally right. There are there are couple things about this movie that just flat out puzzled me. There’s a scene earlier on. They’re they’re doing this thing where he keeps waking up. It seems to be 3: 15 AM when he wakes up, and that’s supposedly the time in which the murders happened 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  Before, and so that’s significant. One of the first times that he wakes up, I think it’s after sexy time, he puts his pants on, And then he goes to a room. It’s I guess he just got this this sense that something was wrong. And I thought that he went to the girls’ room to check on her. Maybe it was one of the boys’ rooms, or was it an empty room? 

Craig:  I I think it was the girls’ room. 

Todd:  Yeah. I thought the 

Craig:  girls’ room was connected to their room by a bathroom. 

Todd:  Yes. So he goes in there, and isn’t the girl gone? Yeah. Okay. So he goes in there. The girl is gone, And the window is open. And there’s a thing about this window. Like, he specifically closed it and locked it when he put her to bed. Right.   So he goes in there, and the window’s open. And so he’s like, okay. She’s not here. That’s weird. And he looks outside, and he sees the boathouse. There’s like a a light on in the boathouse. There’s some light coming out. And so He puts on a jacket, goes and gets the dog to investigate.   He goes there, finds nothing, comes back inside, Sits down in a chair and lights a cigarette. And then we see the boathouse through the window, and it’s like, oh, we like, we’re staring at the wind. This is actually a well framed shot. We’re staring at the window waiting for something happened at the boathouse, and we get a cat scare. 

Craig:  Yeah. Which is really stupid. It’s hilarious. I was watch I I hope my boss isn’t listening, but I was watching this at school with my earbuds in, and that cat scare was, like, the loudest thing ever in the world. And it it it if they were going for a jump scare, they got it because I jumped because that cat Screamed in my ear. Yeah. 

Todd:  I know. But, like, when did he stop looking for his daughter? Right. I didn’t understand that at all. I thought maybe that was a mistake at editing. Like, something got cut out at some point. And then the second thing that was really kinda bizarre is where you think you’re getting some buildup. You think you’re getting some explanation. He has a coworker.   Do do we ever figure out what his job is? 

Clip:  Do you 

Todd:  know what his job is? 

Craig:  I think it said that he, because I I wondered because it I like, he had a job, but he never does it. Like, you never see him going to work or doing work or or or whatever. 

Todd:  He does a lot of woodcutting. 

Craig:  Yeah. He does a lot of chopping wood, angry wood chopping. Again, 

Todd:  hot, 

Craig:  but, You know, scary too. Okay. So who are those guys that go out and look through those, like, little telescopes and and, like, mark off the land? 

Todd:  Oh, surveyors? 

Craig:  That I think that’s what he is. Oh. I think it said that on his van. I kept trying because they had this big work van that they drive around. I’m I’m pretty I think they were surveyors. 

Todd:  I swear to you, every single time that Van came on the screen, I was looking to see what it said. It was like I could see George Oh. Yes. Like, nothing else. And it was so maddening. Like, in some scenes, it’s, like, half covered in shadow because it’s nighttime. And I’m like, Are they deliberately obscuring this to me? Is this a twist later? Am I supposed to not know what this guy does? But, anyway, he obviously co owns this business with somebody else. And this guy comes into play at some point.   He and his, I guess, wife or girlfriend, come up to the house, and her name is, Carolyn. And his name, I Thank you. 

Clip:  Jeff? 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Todd:  Uh-huh. At first, I thought it was Art Garfunkel for a split second. I was like, oh, Art Garfunkel’s in this? Oh, so they come to the house, and immediately, Carolyn is stricken with this bad sense, you know, again, staring up at those 2 windows. George is, like, ominously sharpening the ax. And if if I had encountered I don’t care how good a friend he is. Acting like he was acting with this ax To me and in front of me, I would have split and called somebody. 

Craig:  Yeah. I’ll come back later. 

Todd:  I’m like, really? Anyway, he has this conversation with him. 

Clip:  Nobody’s seen you for days. You haven’t even been in to sign the payroll checks. I did a smoke favor and brought them along. Here. Some caterer has been screaming that you wrote him a personal check that bounced. 

Craig:  I should’ve covered that. 

Clip:  And some guy from the IRS has been calling. 

Craig:  Well, you having a good news? 

Todd:  I think it’s only been 2 weeks Since they’ve moved into the house. Like, really, their business is falling apart after, like, a week and a half vacation? Didn’t make a lot of sense. Anyway, he ends up coming back later because he decides to meet George at a bar. And this is later in the film when George is getting into his investigative mode. He he gets on his motorcycle, which we had never previously seen, right, an hour and a half into the movie when you’re thinking it’s almost done. And he goes to the library, and he steals a book. 

Craig:  Why? Why do people steal books from libraries? They let you take them. That’s the whole point of a Yeah. It’s free. 

Todd:  And you can return it. You don’t have to steal it. I didn’t get that either. Anyway, he steals his book on the occult or it’s like the history of the of the the town or something. And he ends up meeting him in this bar, and then He and Carolyn and Jeff are sitting in a backroom of this bar discussing this, and Carolyn is all I think this explains it. This was built on a site of previous witchcraft or something. It it’s, you know, satanic worship or something used to happen on that ground. And then, of course, Jeff is like, oh, that’s a bunch of crap.   I think there’s a rational explanation for this. And George is like, so what what do you think I should do? And he says, I think you need to go home and sleep and go out with your wife, and then we’ll talk about it rationally. I’m like, that’s kinda what you’re doing now, isn’t it? Anyway, they end up going back to the house, and Carolyn gets these again, Carolyn is this person who is getting all these clear visions and this is psychic Right. 

Craig:  Like, she’s some kind of clairvoyant or something. 

Todd:  Yeah. And she’s like, it’s in the basement. It’s in the basement. They were doing or they hid them in the basement or whatever. I I didn’t quite catch what the backstory was supposed to be here. 

Craig:  Apparently, it was some guy, John Ketchum, Was run out of Salem, for devil worship, and he built his house on this land and, supposedly, All kinds of sacrifice and devil worship and all that kind of stuff there while he was there. But when they go back to the house, As you had mentioned, they Jeff and Carolyn had been there before, and she wouldn’t even go in the house because it gave bad vibes. But now that she kind of knows the history, she’s in intrigued. And so she does go in there, and she’s drawn to the basement. She’s like, She has a feeling. Whatever it is, it’s the the energy is radiating from the basement. And so they go so they go down there, And the dog, which, god, ever anybody who listens to this, anybody who knows me knows I love dogs. This this this dog has been, like, Worrying at the basement for the whole movie. 

Todd:  The whole movie. Digging at a particular wall. Right. 

Craig:  And they go down there, and that poor dog is still worrying at this wall, like, whining and scratching. And, Jeff even like, he pulls the dog away, and the dog’s paws are all bloodied from having, you know, been scratching at this wall. And, Carolyn’s like, this is it. This is where it is. It’s behind this wall. And so she picks up like a pickaxe, you know, because Who doesn’t have a pickaxe in their basement? 

Todd:  Laying by the steps, of 

Craig:  course. And and she starts, like, hammering at the wall. And George comes down, and he’s like, what are you doing to my house? And she’s like, it’s behind the wall. And he’s like, oh, Yeah. 

Clip:  There 

Craig:  is something here. So he takes the pickaxe, and he starts, you know, hacking away. And they they pull the wall down, And I wanted this to be a really cool reveal. Like, I wanted it to be some like, I wanted there to be, like, Skeletons in there or, like Yeah. You know, like, a big pentagram with eternal candles that were burning or something. 

Todd:  Because it was glowing. Right. 

Craig:  It is glowing. But, again, you know, there this is based on testimony, and what the Lutz’s said was they found this room, and and really the only remarkable thing about this room was that it was painted all red. And that’s what you see when he finally gets in there. But he he looks in there with this look of horror on his face. 

Todd:  That lingers for A good 10 seconds on screen. 

Craig:  Yeah. And and then we get to see in there, and it’s just a red room, but then there’s, like, this apparition of a face, which I thought was just James Brolin because they have been they the several people have remarked Throughout the course of this movie that he looks just like the DeFeo kid who killed his family. And so I just thought, you know, like, they’re just showing James Brolin again or whatever. Apparently, they wanted somebody who looked a lot like him, so they glued a beard on his brother and used that as the apparition. I don’t know why. They coulda just used him. And I I also don’t understand. What is the suggestion there? If you move into this house, you’re gonna start to look just Like the killer who lived, like or or is it that if you look like him, you’re gonna be drawn to this? Like Yeah. 

Todd:  It doesn’t make any sense. 

Craig:  Now You’re right. It’s silly. 

Todd:  Well and what makes it even sillier then is then we get so everybody apparently sees this apparition. Yeah. Everybody sees it. They’re like, All 4 of them are lined up there, and then it closes in on the look of terror on Carolyn, our psychic woman’s face. 

Craig:  Is The passage to hell 

Todd:  to the gateway to hell. And then cut to a scene of the priest, and then cut back to him chopping wood again. 

Clip:  It’s like, what? Are you kidding me? 

Todd:  Right. 

Clip:  I thought that this was the thing. Yeah. Okay. You know? It’s you buried it on an ancient Indian burial ground. Damn you. You know? I mean, I I thought, okay. 

Todd:  They they could literally found the gateway to hell is at the basement of this house. I mean, it’s ridiculous, but I thought, okay. Well, that explains it. And now we’re gonna get the good stuff. And, no, it’s just one more thing that happens. 

Craig:  Well and and you throw out that ancient Indian burial ground Like, it’s oh, that trope. Well, I mean, they literally use that too. Like, not all not only Did this satanic guy come and build his house on this place? But, also, it was a place where the Indians Used to keep all of their insane people. And Yeah. Like, 

Todd:  At one point, Carol, this is 

Craig:  before they’ve even broken the wall. At one point, she’s like, people are buried here. Like and then and then after that, I feel like it’s both before and after. At some point, the wife, Kathy, is Like, let’s just get out of here. Let’s go. And the the James Brolin George is like, No. You wanted a house. This is our house.   Deal with it. 

Todd:  Which Which is so true to marriage if there ever 

Craig:  Well, they spent $80,000 on it. Like, I’m gonna continue to harp on that because it’s so funny to me now that I mean, that house would probably be $3,000,000 now. But not only that, but there was also a scene where, A random scene where her brother was getting married, and they were in the house, and, like, he was super, super concerned about Counting out the cash for the caterer. And he counts it all out, and then he puts it in his pocket. But then when he puts his jacket on, it’s gone, and it disappears. And George has to cover the cost. And then so they’re like, oh, you know, it must have fallen out. It’s gotta be around here somewhere.   And so when they come back, he George is looking for it, and he he can’t find it. And he flips out and, like, goes into a rage. Like, where is it? So, you know, they’ve got financial issues, and I’m making I’m making light of it. But it’s True. I mean, you can’t just buy a house and then just be like, oh, never mind. I don’t like it. 

Todd:  But you can leave For a while. 

Craig:  You can’t leave or you can put it back on the market for Pete’s sake. Some other Yeah. Schmuck will buy it for 80,000. Maybe give them a good deal. Let them deal with the ghosts and demons or whatever it is. You’re gonna 

Todd:  have to take us out here because at this point, I kinda stopped paying attention. I was like, alright. It I guess I guess he just kinda flips. Right? 

Craig:  Yeah. It all it it just you know, throughout the course of the movie, we’ve been given these time stamps that tell us how many days they’ve been there. And, of course, things just get Progressively worse as they’re there. She tries to go see the priest, and she, again, she can’t see him because he’s Det or blind and catatonic at this point. But so then she goes to the library, and she looks at microfiche. And she reads, you know, the story of the murders, and she sees a picture of the murderer, and it looks just like her husband, which freaks her out. She’s also had dreams. She and he, George and, Kathy, have both had dreams about him Killing everybody with an ax. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  And and so she’s freaked out, and she goes back. And this part was a little confusing to me too because, obviously, he’s just lost it. Like, while she’s racing back, we see him again, you know, like, with his axe, And then he’s, like, nailing the window shut, like, obviously, with malicious intent. And she gets back, And then he comes in with the ax, and he’s looking for Amy, which I’m not sure why he’s so intent on killing the little girl first, but, And he’s got the ax. And the kids are hiding in the bathroom, and he’s, like, chopping down the bathroom door, but then she it’s She attacks him. Kathy attacks him from behind, and he throws her off. And he raises the ax to hit her. And, like, He sees her as, like, this super old woman, and the makeup effects are just okay.   Like, she doesn’t I mean, it just looks like makeup. But, but, you know, she says something to him that makes him realize that her. And then he drops the ax, and he’s like, oh, I’m sorry. I would never hurt you. Okay. Which you know, like, it was just an odd thing. Like, he’s seemingly possessed or mad in one moment, and then it doesn’t take much Just snap him out of it, and then he’s okay for the rest of the movie. 

Todd:  Yeah. What was the thing about her being an old woman? Who was he supposed to be seeing there? 

Craig:  That was just As I read something else that came from the book that at some point, For whatever reason, that’s how he saw her. I don’t know. It’s kinda stupid. Anyway, So they grab the kids. Of course, you know, it’s dark and storming, and they grab the kids and they run outs they try to run outside. The door slams. They can’t get the door open for a while, but eventually do. They run out to the van.   They get in the van. They can’t find the keys immediately, but eventually, they do find them. I don’t know where they found them. 

Todd:  Then he’s not gonna drive, And she cajoles him to drive. 

Craig:  Right. And and then the kid in the background was like, I want Harry, who’s the dog. And, again, I love dogs, but seriously, if you’re in a house that’s about to kill you, like, maybe maybe send somebody back For the 

Todd:  dog leader? Get that real estate agent to go back. 

Craig:  Yeah. So so he he drives the van, like, down the block, but then he gets out And he runs back, and, Kathy’s like, no. But he runs back, and he, you know, he he gets in the house, and he’s Calling for the dog, and the dog’s in the basement, of course. And 

Todd:  because the dog’s always in the basement. Right. I guess pawing at 

Clip:  the wall that’s not there anymore. Right. 

Todd:  Just barking at 

Craig:  the get the hell mouth. Meanwhile meanwhile, the the hell mouth opens. Like, I I think the hell mouth opened while they were still in there. Like, Nothing comes out of it, but I guess since it’s open, it’s very hell y. Hellish. And so he goes to try to walk into the basement, and he falls through the stairs, and he falls into, like, this pool of blood. And I thought that he would come out doused in this Blood all demonic or manic or something. But, no, he just comes out.   And, like, at first, the the dog kind of attacks him, but he talks nice to the dog, 

Todd:  and then the dog helps him out. It helps 

Craig:  pull him out of the pool blood. And then so he grabs the dog, and he wraps it up in a blanket, and he runs outside, and he runs back to the van, and they drive away. And and that’s the end. And then there’s a Scrawl, on on the screen that says, George and Kathy Lutz never reclaimed their home or their personal belongings. Today, they live in state. And that’s that’s the end. And I understand that they were basing this movie On a, quote, unquote, true story. So, sure, sticking with the events as they were reported, great.   But when we see these kinds of based on a true story movies today, I guess even more so today, they Take more liberty with them where at least you get a few kills or something. Like, everybody just makes it out of this unscathed, except for the priest who you don’t care 

Todd:  about anyway. And what has happened? Nothing. At least for the 1st hour and a half in the movie, it’s it’s I I I just wrote down a list. We went through most of it, but it’s, freaked out religious people, a bunch of flies, some gross water, Strange smells, people getting sick, and erectile dysfunction. Right? I mean, it’s the most benign it’s not even poltergeist level of scary. You know? Well these braces have come alive and tried to take their face off. You know, trees aren’t trying to rip. You know? Nobody’s really ever been in any peril Yeah.   At the very end here where, you know, this this quick and over very quickly possession, happens. 

Craig:  Well and and to be fair, that last scene, you know, the walls start bleeding. The ground is shaking. The hell mouth is opening. Like, there’s Stuff going on, but it’s not all that exciting. Nobody is nobody is in, you know, No. Like, mortal danger. At least it doesn’t appear so. But whatever.   You know, like, honest to god, watch I will say that the 1st time I watched it, I thought it was boring, and I really had no interest in watching it again. And really the only reason that I did watch it again was for this, for you know? Because Margo Kidder died, and that’s really sad, and I don’t wanna trivialize That I mean, she was a she seemed like a cool lady. She was a good actress. I really appreciated her and liked her, and so I do want to pay tribute to her. And even she didn’t particularly like this movie. I thought she was great in it. I thought that She was super cute. In fact, I thought that she was too cute.   I thought that they played her up as kind of this sexy girl. She didn’t look Like, she could have had 12 year old kids. You know? Like, she looked like she was, like, 21. I have no idea how old she was in this movie. But she looked great. The acting was good. James Brolin was hot. His acting was good.   The cinematography, you know, was was perfectly serviceable. 

Todd:  Times, the editing was pretty brilliant, especially at the beginning when the, real estate agent’s showing them the house, and then just suddenly cutting in, visions of the of the murders. That was kind of jolting and really put me a little bit on ease at the beginning of the movie before I started kind of veering off into boredom. 

Craig:  Yeah. I get it. I mean, I don’t know that I would ever need to watch it again, but I’m glad that I did watch it for the 2nd time because I appreciated it a little more. And this movie was hugely successful. Like, they I they didn’t anticipate. They didn’t think that it was gonna be all that successful. In fact, it was planned as a made for TV movie until some producer stepped in and said, no. We’ll, you know, we’ll throw some money at it.   We’ll release it in theaters. James Brolin his role at well below his normal fee, but it would it Stipulated that he would take in 10% of the gross. And so he ended up making, like, $17,000,000 on this movie, because it did so well. And so it, Obviously, it resonated with people. You know? Maybe the whole based on a true story thing drew people in. The novel was successful too. So, you know, maybe it was people who had read the novel and had talked about the novel who came to see it. It did really well, you know, for whatever reason, and it it spawned.   They’re still making Amityville movies. Like, they’re not even they’re not even really even connected to the original story anymore, But they’re still making them. I think 1 just came out last year, and they’re crap. I watched 1 recently. I watched Amityville. It’s about time, which is about, like, a haunted block. 

Todd:  Oh, no. I was gonna I thought you’re gonna tell me time travel was involved. 

Craig:  No. It was about a haunted clock that takes over. It was horrible. They’re they’re crap, but, I mean, obviously, you know, it it did well. It it’s it’s become a franchise. Who knows, why? But Kudos. You know? And and I I have no and even, you know, the the conjuring has tied it in, At least a little bit. At least setting up, the possibility that they might tackle it in their universe at some point.   So for whatever reason, it has established itself in pop pop culture, and, You know, it is what it is. It’s it I don’t love it. I don’t hate it. It’s a decent movie. Margo Kidder and James Brolin are really good in it, And they’re both very attractive people and fun to watch on screen. So if you haven’t seen it, I would say, you know, give it a shot. It I like it. 

Todd:  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I loved it or liked it, but I I think I concur with you. It’s not a bad movie. It’s not a bad movie by a a long shot, but it’s just to me, there are just so many other group better haunted house movies out there Despite this being such a huge hit and so iconic with great acting in it and, and like we said, some real inspiration at times as far as cinematography goes, I just for me, I just fault the story that it it just goes nowhere. And, like I said early, you know, to kinda bookend my earlier statements, I feel like maybe they just stuck a little too closely to that source material. And you’re right. I don’t think we do that so much anymore today. You know? Probably because we’re more skeptical. Right? 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Todd:  We we don’t we don’t buy into that crap anymore, and so we we don’t expect to see something real on the screen. We’re more accepting of that, whereas probably, the audience of the day was, was a little more taken by it and probably had lots of Interesting conversations after the movie about what did you think about this? What did you think about that? Right. So, yeah. Maybe maybe looking back at it, it’s a it’s a worse movie than it would is than it was, you know, when it was released amidst the hype of the book and everything else. 

Clip:  Right. 

Todd:  Alright. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend. You can find us on Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, anywhere Your favorite podcasts are. You can also find us on Facebook where we have a page. You can like us there, talk about this movie. You know, check out our earlier episodes as well. We have a huge backlog 2 guys dot red forty or on Itunes.   And, we do review Amityville 2, which we enjoyed so much more than this movie. It was a it was a fun flick. Check out that episode as well if you’re interested in this franchise. Until next time. I’m Todd. 

Craig:  And I’m Craig. 

Todd:  With 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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