The spirits in the Amityville Horror house may or may not have been real, but the tragedy that happened there certainly was.
A new movie called 1974 will address what happened in the Amityville, Long Island, residence before it became famous for being haunted. According to Deadline, indie studio Broad Green Pictures is developing the project, which will be written and directed by Casey La Scala. Horror maven Eli Roth (Hostel) is one of the producers.
The film will focus on the terrible story of the DeFeo family, whose eldest son Ronald was convicted of shooting his father, mother, two younger brothers and two younger sisters to death while they all slept in their beds on the night of November 13, 1974. DeFeo is currently serving six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life at a correctional facility in upstate New York.
DeFeo and his lawyer mounted a defense during his trial that he was insane and that he thought he heard the voices of his family members plotting against him, which led him to kill them. He has changed his story multiple times over the years, but the idea that he heard voices was an element of The Amityville Horror, the book and movie that detailed the experiences of the next family to live in the house, the Lutzes.
The concept was fleshed out even more in a 1979 book called Murder in Amityville and the 1982 sequel Amityville II: The Possession, both of which suggested that DeFeo (or, in the case of the movie, a fictionalized version of him) was possessed by a spirit or demonic force at the time he killed his family.
We're not sure what tack this new film will take or how much it will tie into the twice-filmed experiences of the Lutzes, but the news comes literally as some of us on the SYFY WIRE news staff were having a discussion about the pros and cons of movies dealing with real-life serial and/or mass killers.
So we'll leave you with some of the questions we were debating: Why are we as a society so fascinated with these human monsters? Should we start seeing stories focused more on the victims? And in the case of someone like DeFeo, is there a new way to tell his story without sensationalizing it?
Production on 1974 is slated to begin in September.