Friday, March 14, 2014

Amityville Horror

The story line of the movie Amityville Horror with Ryan Reynolds that I talked about in class the other day reminds me a lot of the story line of beloved. The movie is based off of a true story in which a boy killed every member of his family. In the movie Ryan Reynolds and his new family move into a house and they find out that all the members of a family living previously in the house were murdered. The house is haunted and causes Ryan to try and kill the family. I won’t give away the ending, but many similar aspects of the movie remind me of “Beloved”. A parent figure tries to kill his or her kids. The house is haunted and terrorizes the family members. There is evidence of slavery and physical abuse in both. The ghost was a man who would torture his slaves.

For kicks and giggles I researched what supposedly happened the night of the crime in Amityville.   Here is a summary of what happened from

During the 2000 interview, the details of the hours leading up to the six killings emerged. The DeFeo household had been in a frenzied state during the evening of November 12, 1974. Butch's father, according to Butch, routinely abused his family. After that evening's tirade had settled down, Butch, his 18-year-old sister Dawn, and two of Butch's friends proceeded to get "high" in the basement.
Incensed that her father was preventing her from joining her boyfriend in Florida and worn out from the years of physical abuse, Dawn DeFeo approached her older brother about killing their parents. Butch initially refused. After a culmination of drugs, alcohol, and desperation over the next few hours, Butch finally gave into Dawn's ghoulish request. Employing his two friends, Butch and Dawn left the safety of the family's basement and headed for their parents' bedroom on the second floor. It was around 1:00 a.m. on November 13, 1974. While one friend waited as a lookout, the other, with his Colt Python, followed Butch, who had armed himself with a .35-Marlin rifle.
A votive candle burning on the father's dresser, the second-floor bathroom light, and a military-style flashlight that was later recovered by the police on the brown recliner in the hallway outside of the master bedroom was their only light source (See Crime-Scene Gallery).
The parents were attacked while they lay in bed. Mr. DeFeo, however, was able to struggle to his feet to attempt a counterattack on his assassins. A second bullet struck him dead before he was able to reach his target. Louise DeFeo lay in bed, moaning for help, as she slowly bled to death. A second bullet would silence the woman for good.
Although the original plan called for the younger children to be taken to the grandparents' house in Brooklyn, Dawn, according to Butch, killed them to eliminate the children as witnesses and potential threats. Butch claimed he was not in the house at the time of the children's murders, but giving pursuit to one his friends, who had fled the scene, in order to lure him back to assist with the cleanup. Even while feigning insanity at trial, Butch DeFeo never admitted shooting the children.
One can only imagine the horror on Marc's and John's faces when their big sister entered their room with a rifle. Dawn callously ordered the boys face down. A clue that the DeFeos were awake at the time of the murders rested in the final position of Marc DeFeo's body. Because Marc had suffered a debilitating injury from football, he was forced to sleep on his back. Yet, he was shot face down in bed. The prosecutor confirmed this fact at the DeFeo trial.
The next room Dawn entered was Allison's. Standing at the doorway, Dawn raised the rifle, taking aim as Allison slightly raised her head before looking into the muzzle flash. Death was instantaneous, as the bullet impacted Allison's left cheek and exited her right ear. Allison's wounds were meant to disfigure the beautiful girl.
Butch, upon his return and enraged at the senseless murder, confronted Dawn DeFeo in her third-floor bedroom. After briefly wrestling for the gun, Butch got the upper hand and slammed Dawn against the bed knocking her out. As she lie unconscious on her bed, Butch placed the back of the rifle to Dawn's head and fired. The murderous spree had finally ended, but the cleanup had just begun.


Amy Clement said...

To be honest, I was a little confused when you brought up this reference in class, but now that I think about it, I can definitely see a connection. In the movie, Ryan Reynolds, like Paul D. was physically moved by some entity in the house. Beloved also had some of the same elements of possession. The evil forces in the Amityville house want to isolate Ryan's character from his family so he will carry out these horrible acts, and Beloved tries to push away the rest of the family in her desperate yearning to be with Sethe.

Joseph D'Amico said...

That's such a terrible story. I don't know which story is the truth, but both are extremely tragic. Even if the father was a generally bad person, the little kids were innocent, and none of them should have been killed. The whole haunting aspect is kind of like Beloved, both in the way Paul D. is influenced and the way Sethe killed her children.