The Amityville house

by Matthew D. Wittmer
Last updated June 2016

Ever since I was in the third grade, I have created replications of the house on Ocean Avenue made so famous by “The Amityville Horror” book and movie. The movie hooked my interest in the house in third grade, but my real fascination has always been in the actual house the movie was based on, and the murders committed there.

The house gained notoriety in 1974 when an entire family was shot to death inside the house as they slept. Ronald DeFeo, the eldest son of the family was later tried and convicted for committing the murders. Another family then moved into the house (so they claim) and left shortly thereafter to consult horror fiction writer Jay Anson who captured their recollections (supposedly) in which they claim they experienced paranormal activity in the house during their short stay. The book became a best seller spawning the 1979 movie with James Brolin that became a classic in American horror cinema, largely due to how it composed shots of the house (another house in New Jersey was used in the movie) accompanied by piano music and a chorus of children singing a tune that came to be associated with an ominous and evil haunting. The actual house on Ocean Avenue has had some changes over the years but it largely remains the same, structurally speaking, to this day though the address number has been changed. The house used in the movie is in New Jersey and has been moved and changed significantly to deter onlookers.

Anson, Jay. The Amityville Horror. New York: Prentice Hall. 1977. Print.

Holzer, Hanz. Murder in Amityville. New York: Belmont Tower Books. 1979. Print.

Sullivan, Gerard, and Harvey Aronson. High Hopes: The Amityville Murders. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. 1981. Print.