I came across a copy of John G. Jones's The Amityville Horror II in a bookstore the other day and I got excited in that bug-eyed, hand-clapping simpleton way I have. Somehow this book had escaped my notice for decades despite the fact that I consider myself to be an AmityManiac! Well, to clarify, I'm an AmityManiac who still hasn't seen all of the films, and who didn't know that there were so many goddamn books beyond the "classics" by Jay Anson and Hans Holzer. It's just that The Amityville Horror is as much a part of my formative years as Star Wars and comic books and Donna Summer records and KISS records that I can't help but get my simpleton on whenever 112 Ocean Avenue comes up.
112 Ocean Avenue. What other addresses do people actually know like that, beyond their own and grandma's? 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, maybe. I am just saying.
So, this book. I start flipping through it, giving it a read here and there, and I was shocked- shocked, I tell you- at how it read like fiction. I'm not talking about how "it reads like fiction" is used to compliment history books to reassure the masses that History Can Be Fun and Not Dry! (I made that slogan up, but if you run a history club or whatever you can use it.) (Oh, and a great example of a history book that "reads like fiction" is Erik Larson's Devil in the White City, great book, highly recommend, love you)...I mean that The Amityville Horror II reads like straight-up fiction, as if John G. Jones bent over and pulled the narrative right out of his ass.
I felt...confused. Was this book a work of fiction, further adding to the Amityville mythos? You know, like Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes and the possessed floor lamp (aka the greatest thing to ever grace a screen)? I took to the best source of information: Amazon reviews. There, I was reassured by a helpful reader. Let his (or her; "whytewolf" is a pretty gender-neutral screenname, I suppose) words ease your doubts as well:
WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND IS HOW SOME REVIEWS I HAVE READ,PEOPLE PUT THIS BOOK DOWN AND DEPLICTS THE WRONG INFORMATION ON ITS STORY. HERE IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT! IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT THE LUTZES HAUNTED ATTACKS. YES THERE IS ENOUGH HERE TO PLEASE YOU. BUT MORE ABOUT THE AFTERMATH TO THE STORY OF THEY'RE UNBILIEVABLE 28 DAYS IN 112 OCEAN AVE. THIS BOOK COVERS WHY GEORGE SOLD THE FAMILY BUISNES,HOW THE ATTACKS CONTINUED,WHY THEY MOVED AROUND SO MUCH,ALL THE HOWS AND WHYS CONCERNING THE BOOK BEING WRITTEN.HOW THEY FELT ABOUT THE NEGATIVE PRESS SURROUNDING THEM,THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THEM TRYING TO ENSURE PEOPLE THE STORY IS TRUE! SO IT ABOUT HOW THEY HAVE HANDLED EVRYTHING AFTER THEY FLED 112 OCEAN AVE. TO CLEARIFY THEY'RE STORY BETTER! WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO DETERMIN IF THE STORY IS TRUE OR NOT, WE WE WERE NOT THERE. BESIDE IT DOES MAKE A GREAT HORROR STORY ANYHOW!HERE IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT! indeed.
I know in my heart of hearts that all the Amityville hoo-ha is a crock of shit. I know this, but I choose to ignore this. Total case of willful ignorance. Does that make me a crazy person? I care not! For you see, the seeds of love were sown early and they were sown deep. And that sounded way dirtier than I intended.
Look, here's the thing. Anytime I have a rational thought regarding The Amityville Horror, such as "everything George and Kathy Lutz put forth as evidence of supernatural goings-on has been debunked or greatly obfuscated", I counter it with something like "But George and Kathy Lutz were so good-looking! In the movie! Good-looking people never lie!"
|EVIDENCE IT'S ALL TRUE: look how beautiful George and Kathy Lutz are when they are portrayed by beautiful people James Brolin and Margot Kidder!|
And just like that, easy, breezy, I choose to believe in The Amityville Horror because it's not simply a cinematic juggernaut (holy crapping crap, ten movies), it's become a part of American folklore, dammit. I choose to believe that the Lutzes weren't simply trying to cash-in on the tragedy that occurred in the house before they moved in. I choose to believe that it wasn't all a fabrication because if crazy wall-bleeding shit can happen at 112 Ocean Avenue, it can happen anywhere. Maybe your house has a red room in the basement. You just need to look harder.
Look in your heart.
(Clutching a copy of The Amityville Horror II, Final Girl is carried aloft by a billion teeming houseflies. You bellow "Get out!" after her, but it's too late. She's already gone.)
(Just kidding. I didn't buy the book, it's total crap.)
(But Amityville 5ever though.)