The A&E television network interviewed Eric Walter for a program that will air Halloween 2010. The program entitled Amityville: The Last Testament prominently features a prison interview with Ronald DeFeo, Jr., whose murders were the overture for the 1979 film The Amityville Horror. Walter has no direct connection to the case, except that the 25-year-old filmmaker has maintained AmityvilleFiles.com, the largest web-based archive of research about the murders and the subsequent hauntings.
The fact that A&E is doing this program indicates a renewed interest in the Amityville case. Walter wanted to seize upon that interest to promote his new project, a documentary that touches upon an angle that no one except for Walter has been able to tackle. There was an article in Newsday on May 27th by Valerie Kellogg that reported on the DeFeo home and referenced an upcoming documentary film centered on an exclusive with one of the Lutz children. The film would star the eldest son who witnessed some of the supposed 1975 hauntings in that New York house. Kellogg’s article didn’t name the filmmaker, but I already knew who it was. Walter had told me about the details and the preparations for his film a month or so prior to the article.
Kellogg, a reporter for a major newspaper, didn’t mention Walter. Who knows if she even knew his name? Walter has kept his film project under wraps for a year. After starting production this summer with plans to wrap additional photography this fall, Walter feels it’s time to get his name out there as well as the name and face of that eldest Lutz son who up until now the public has not seen or heard from.
Starting on Halloween, Walter wants to introduce the public to Daniel Lutz. Every month or so, he will drop a little bit about Lutz and the documentary, leading up to its world premiere.
I first met Walter about four years ago during the premiere of his first feature, a horror-comedy, a funny spoof of scary movies and the media. Upon seeing that feature, I was instantly impressed and knew that this was a filmmaker I wanted to know more about. Over the course of the next four years, I would get opportunities to do so. It culminated this July as Walter began filming his documentary with Lutz and I began the on-set observations that would become this, “My Amityville Blog.”
I joined Walter on his film set. I watched and took notes on everything that I could. So, whether it’s pulling the curtain back or lifting the veil on his production, as Walter would say, my hope is to use this blog, these writings, to reveal in small monthly amounts too what I learned about Walter, as the young filmmaker worked on his perhaps most personal project, which he calls My Amityville Horror for reasons appropriate to the subject but also appropriate to Walter himself.
If you want to know the reasons that Walter made this movie, it all begins and ends with Daniel Lutz. Beyond the hype, the myths and the so-called urban legends and scary stories, there is a man living in New York who NEEDS a movie made about him because Lutz is the kind of person who has to be seen and heard in order to be believed. I realized that for myself when I saw my own skepticism slide as I stepped into his world and onto that movie set and met this Amityville kid. What I saw that turned my head around is next month’s blog.