Amityville Confidential (Bonus Disc) Review
The Region 1 Amityville Collection box set comes with this additional bonus disc featuring two History Channel documentaries, and a five minute look at the remake. It should be noted that these features appear on the second disc of the Region 2 special edition release of the first film.
Amityville: The Haunting - The first documentary examines the true history of the house and the ground it is built on, dating back over three hundred years. It mainly focuses on the story that the first and second films look at – that of the Defeo’s, an Italian middle-class family, who moved into the Amityville house; and the Lutz’s, the family who moved in later and were driven out by paranormal occurrences less than a month after moving in.
The 40 minute documentary, produced and aired on The History Channel is superbly put together, and interestingly tells of the middle-class Defeo’s and their eldest son, who eventually kills them all one night while they sleep. There’s some great moments that certainly unnerve the sceptic viewer such as the father, six months before he was murdered by his own son, calling a priest to bless the house. The son, Ronald Defeo (currently serving six consecutive life sentences in jail), later claimed to be possessed when he killed his family, and says he was given the gun by an apparition that visited him in the night.
It seems strange that anyone would want to live in a house with such a bloody past but shortly after the murders it is up for sale, and the Lutz’s, falling in love with the house before the real estate agent tells them of the terrible past, decide to move in. Less than a month later they are found fleeing for their lives, claiming the house to be inhospitable and filled with evil.
The documentary takes an impartial stance and lets the viewer decide whether to believe the Lutz’s story and Ronald Defeo’s claims of being possessed. Sceptics, paranormal experts and others close to the case including the Lutz’s themselves, discuss the events in detail, making for fascinating and somewhat unsettling viewing.
Amityville: Horror or Hoax? - This similar 40 minute documentary again produced by The History Channel, investigates the idea that the whole story was a fabrication on the Lutz’s part. This actually improves on the first documentary bringing in ideas of fame and fortune brought out of sorrow and despair, and is again a fascinating watch. All the principle contributors of the first documentary return including the Lutz’s who defend their story thirty years after they first made it public.
There’s some great photographic footage of a paranormal investigation that occurred shortly after the Lutz’s story broke and an interesting photo taken next to the stairs in the Amityville House, depicting what appears to be a young child in the corner. According to those that did the investigation, there were no children in the house when the photo was taken. Again, the impartial nature of the documentary leave the viewer to make up his/her own opinions about what they see, and as such, the paranormal investigators claim the photo shows real evidence, while the sceptics claim the photo was never proven to be real and not doctored.
On Location: The Amityville Horror (2005) - A five minute commercial for the new remake.
All features on the disc are presented in 4:3 non-anamorphic, as they were first aired on television. Picture quality is excellent throughout - the digital image showing no signs of wear and tear. Colours are very good and the image shows a high level of detail. The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is fine – dialogue is clear and while there isn’t a great deal of separation, it’s perfectly acceptable for these documentaries.
An excellent additional disc included in the Amityville box set that is both fascinating, enjoyable, and a tad bit unsettling. Well worth seeing.
NOTE: The DVD comes as part of MGM’s Amityville Collection box set