Cannonball Read V: The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
Wow, was this book bad. Look, I like horror. I picked up a copy of Tommyknockers when I was 12 and LOVED it. But The Amityville Horror attempted to straddle a line between “scary because it’s true” and “not true enough to have ANY sources” and failed on both counts. It basically reads like someone retelling a story they heard from a friend of a friend. Lots of exclamation points (seriously-the exclamation points became distracting) and not a lot of content.
I assume everyone’s probably seen the movie, but The Amityville Horror is “based on the true story” of the Lutz family. The newly married George and Kathy Lutz get a sweet deal on a house after the previous owners and their children were murdered by their son Ronald DeFeo in their sleep. Shortly after the Lutzes move in, crazy stuff starts to happen. 28 days of ghostly shenanigans, and they flee!
I had a couple of major issues with this book. The writing was dull (even! with! exclamation! points!). The main characters annoyed the hell out of me and I began to cheer for the demons. I think the biggest problem though, was that these were supposed to be real problems happening to real people. And I just couldn’t buy it. I feel like Anson should have either provided actual proof of these events (but of course he can’t, because according to pretty much all sources, not to mention common sense, he made it all up in conjunction with DeFeo’s lawyer) or gone all the way and made up some actual scary shit.
I finished this book a week ago, and I’ve been trying to think up a review that isn’t so much ranting and raving, but I’m still just annoyed. I’m annoyed that Anson marketed this nonsense as “true”. I’m annoyed that the only scary part was me worrying about the dog. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to be converted to the realm of demons-are-real, but I expected to be at least creeped out. The (first) movie scared the hell out of me. The book made me want to reread The Exorcist for some real thrills.
(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)
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