11 May 2006

Lutz Runs Out In Vegas

George Lutz, likely the most famous (former) resident of Amityville, New York, died yesterday at the age of 59. And despite his association with one of the last century's most enduring (alleged) supernatural ordeals--alas, his passing was due to something all-too-earthbound: heart disease. In 1975, the former land surveyor moved into a three-story Long Island home on 13 Ocean Avenue with his wife and three children, about one year after Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his family there. According to Lutz' best-selling account, "The Amityville Horror" (written with Jay Anson), the family fled after 28 days when spirits attacked and all hell literally broke loose. C'mon, you've seen the 1979 movie: Jodie the phantom pig, screaming Helen Shaver, oozing walls, flies, James Brolin's home perm, Rod Steiger's histrionics--why did they stay so long?

(Annoying autobiographical pause: I'll never forget that during my university years, I spent several hours late one night watching Dr. Gene Scott read from Anson's book...)

Lutz stuck to his remarkable tale until his last days--even though DeFeo's defense lawyer admitted to the press that he and Lutz dreamed up the whole thing over several bottles of wine (Lutz once confessed in an interview that the story was "mostly" true...). When a second adaptation of his book was released last year, Lutz was miffed that he wasn't asked to participate and was reportedly planning his own screen followup.

(Oh, one other thing: I knew a gal who worked at my home town movie theatre that said people would call the box office asking when "For God's Sake, Get Out!" was playing, since the tag line was displayed larger on the poster than the actual title)

You can pay your respects to Mr. Lutz at the official "Amityville Horror" website--which may or may not change your mind as to the story's validity-- here.