For a Christian film critic like me, one of the more interesting things about the recent glut of horror sequels and remakes is the opportunity it has given me to go back and look at the classic thrillers that I avoided at all costs in my younger days. When I was a child, I was reluctant to expose myself to any supernatural story that didn't have the clear imprimatur of some evangelical author or other, and by the time I became a man and put away childish things, many of the films made during my youth had faded into video-store oblivion. So the best thing I can say about Andrew Douglas's remake of The Amityville Horror is that it gave me a reason to track down the original film, which I remember hearing about when I was still in grade school, and which, to my surprise, has a fair bit of Christian content.
In that 1979 original, based on a book by Jay Anson and directed by Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke), it is made very clear that George and Kathy Lutz are a Catholic couple, who count a nun among their relatives and ask a priest to bless their home as a matter of course. When the priest is driven out of the house by some sort of evil presence, he begs his ecclesiastical superiors to let him seek help for the family, but the church bureaucracy is skeptical of his claims and turns him down. In some ways, the film harks back to The Exorcist, but where that slightly earlier movie was content to express the conflict between skeptical modernity and spiritual pre-modernity suggestively, through its use of sounds and images and character arcs, The Amityville Horror spells things out more bluntly, as the characters use words like "modernist" and "rationalist" in their conversations.
Still, even a blatantly obvious discussion of the ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
The Amityville Horror
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.