The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson was the only audiobook that has ever made me laugh this hard. Probably at least once per page, or whatever word amount that is equal to while listening. The reading was so freaking silly that I could barely even concentrate. But I’ll get to that. Amityville is a passable horror story, but gets more attention than it should because it is a “true” story.
Here is how I came to read this non-terrifying tale of terror. As part of the Dewey Reading project, I am reading one book for each number in the Dewey Decimal System. The other night I was in the audiobooks section at work so I just grabbed a number I knew I needed: 133, AKA Occultism and the Supernatural. I wasn’t really interested in crystals, or learning how to summon pixies, so I grabbed something I had some familiarity with, and that fit in with Halloween: The Amityville Horror.
Plot summary of The Amityville Horror
If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a house that is possessed by an evil force. The book begins with the Lutz family moving into their new home. Their dream home. Except! It was previously owned by a family that was murdered by their son while he was possessed. It was a truly heinous crime, but that is the only fact in the book that seems to be accepted without dispute.
After 28 days the Lutz family flee the house in terror. While they were there, they claim that cloven hoofs appeared outside in the snow, a red-eyed pig named “Jody” visited their five year old daughter and told her that he was an angel, doors were ripped from their hinges, houseflies appeared in massive numbers inside one room, despite the winter weather, a toilet turned black, a giant white figure appeared on their stairs during the climax, and an invisible marching band played some bombastic marches at inappropriate times. Oh, and the wife wound up levitating all over her room a couple of times.
A priest comes over to bless the house and is told to GET OUT. Shortly thereafter his windshield wipers start moving…ALL BY THEMSELVES!!!!!!! Sorry, can’t help it, that’s how it is read.
The Amityville Horror and its critics
The book has been marketed over the years as a true story. It has many, many critics who have attempted to debunk the claims made by the Lutz family. It has been made into at least two movies that I can think of. As a piece of horror fiction I would call it adequate. As a true story it sounds like nonsense. But the quality of the audiobook may have colored my opinion. The narrator over-emotes during the narrative passages as if they were dialogue. Again, this is the only audiobook besides The Secret that has absolutely made me laugh until it hurt. Not what you want from Horror a horror story.
So, the narrator, for instance: When the priest who is trying to help the family awakes one night he has a very high fever. The incident is related in third person, but punctuated kind of like this…
Father Mancuso awoke to find that he had a fever…OF 104 DEGREES!!!!!!!!! The voice gets so out of control, it’s fantastic.
This kept happening throughout the book. The dialogue was rarely invested with emotion, but the narration, which in my opinion should be the facts, just the facts, was hilarious in how antsy it got.
I really can’t recommend this book to anyone except the most die-hard horror fan who should probably check it off of their list of famous horror stories, or haunted house books. But if you’re looking for something hilarious to listen to, you can do a lot worse than the audiobook of The Amityville Horror.