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IndieWIRE Interview

by Andrea Adams
August 12th, 2012

indiewire logo IndieWIRE InterviewIndieWIRE, August 10, 2012  -  Why He’s On Our Radar: Eric Walter makes his directorial debut with the intensely creepy documentary “My Amityville Horror,” which recently world premiered at the just wrapped Fantasia Fest in Montreal.

The film presents a first-person account by Daniel Lutz, the eldest son of the family behind the allegedly true story of the “Amityville Horror.” For the first time, Daniel Lutz offers his take on his experiences living at 112 Ocean Avenue, the house his parents publicly claimed was haunted by paranormal activity when they lived there in 1975.

What’s Next: “I’m currently developing several original film projects apart from ‘Amityville,’” Walter told Indiewire, though he wouldn’t specify. “In many ways, I’ve also been haunted by the Amityville story for years now, so I’m actually looking forward to the opportunity to explore a variety of different subjects in the future and expanding my palette of work.”

READ THE ARTICLE


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Fantasia Press Reviews

by Eric Walter
July 31st, 2012

“It can be unequivocally stated that MY AMITYVILLE HORROR is the most true-to-life film to deal with the phenomenon, and pretty much as unequivocally stated that it’s the best of them too.” - Michael Gingold, Fangoria

“It examines the frailty of human perception in such a brilliant way that you will be thinking about Daniel Lutz’s story long after the creepy end credits have rolled.” - Serena Whitney, Dread Central

“What is most impressive about this documentary is how inclusive it is….director Eric Walter does an incredible job of showing both sides of the story, without turning Daniel Lutz into a crazed lunatic.” Bloody Disgusting

“The film becomes absolutely fascinating, with it taking a pragmatic, skeptical approach most documentarians working in this genre might have been scared off by.” - Chris Bumbray, JoBlo.com

“An extraordinary work of investigative vision and grounded restraint, documentarian Walter casts an unflinching yet empathetic gaze upon the most sensational American haunting of the 20th century, but through a lens of humanity that elevates it above its ghost-chasing brethren.” - Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound 

Below are a collection of photos from our World Premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival:


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Fangoria Reviews My Amityville Horror

by Eric Walter
July 25th, 2012

myamityvillehorrorrevthumb Fangoria Reviews My Amityville HorrorFANGORIA, Jul 23, 2012  -  There have been many—probably way too many—movies made about terrible events within and surrounding the house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, most purporting to be based to some degree or another on fact. It can be unequivocally stated that MY AMITYVILLE HORROR is the most true-to-life film to deal with the phenomenon, and pretty much as unequivocally stated that it’s the best of them too.

World-premiering at Montreal’s Fantasia festival (where it has its second screening this Friday, July 27), MY AMITYVILLE HORROR is a documentary re-examining the case from the point of view of Daniel Lutz, who was a preteen when he, his parents George and Kathleen and two siblings moved into that house, then fled a month later, claiming to have been beleaguered by supernatural forces. Looking older than his 45 years, Daniel is seen speaking directly to director Eric Walter’s camera, in a session with a psychologist and, for the most screen time, recounting his experiences with Laura Didio, the journalist who spearheaded an investigation into the truth behind George’s claims of the haunting. The fact that Didio is his primary confessee says something about how the Lutzes’ quickly came to be defined by their media coverage.

Read the full review at Fangoria.com


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IndieWIRE unveils the official poster

by Eric Walter
July 20th, 2012

indiewire playlist IndieWIRE unveils the official poster

From INDIEWIRE: The faux documentary craze has gripped modern horror. Popularized by The Blair Witch Project and, more recently, the series of successful Paranormal Activity films, the “found footage” aesthetic adds some level of authenticity to horror films, allowing modern audiences to better identify with things that go bump in the night. “My Amityville Horror,” premiering at the Fantasia Film Festival, is the real deal: an actual documentary chronicling an infamous case that’s been immortalized by pop culture.

Directed by Eric Walter, My Amityville Horror is the first hand account of Daniel Lutz, who as a child moved into the infamous Long Island home with his family. The house had been the scene of a series of grisly murders a little more than a year before. That night, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo killed six members of his family as they slept, later claiming that demonic voices had compelled him to carry out the slayings. The Lutz family moved into the house and didn’t think much of its hairy past, but ended up fleeing the house (and losing a considerable amount of money) after only 28 days.

The tragedy, and the supposed haunting that caused the Lutz family to take flight, became the basis of a best-selling non-fiction book by Jay Anson (with full participation of the Lutz family) and a series of popular feature films. The last of which, released in 2005, is a remake of the original 1977 film and features explicit dramatizations of both the murders and haunting. (Starring a surprisingly intense Ryan Reynolds and written by splatter-punk aficionado Scott Kosar, it’s not a bad little fright flick, especially when comparing it to the hopelessly cheesy original.)

What makes My Amityville Horror so unique is this first person perspective by someone who was in the house – who witnessed the things his parents claimed, time and time again, really happened, and what it was like to live outside of the house in the firestorm of media publicity and pop culture notoriety. In short: it sounds like a hell of a tale, a real life American horror story as psychological as it is phantasmagorical. We can’t wait to see it. At the very least it will probably be less “documentary”-looking than most major studio horror films released these days.

My Amityville Horror has its first screening on Sunday, July 22 at 10:10 PM at J.A. De Seve Theater.


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World Premiere Announcement

by Eric Walter
June 19th, 2012

We are very proud to announce the WORLD PREMIERE of MY AMITYVILLE HORROR at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, July 19 – August 9, 2012!

Check out the official screening times and be sure to grab tickets while they’re still available: http://www.fantasiafestival.com/2012/fr/films-et-horaire/150/my-amityville-horror

fantasia 2012 poster World Premiere Announcement


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From the Producer’s Corner

by Andrea Adams
March 9th, 2012

It’s been six months since our last blog entry. While it pains me to write this fact, we have certainly not been idle. After extensive internal discussion, we ended up re-editing a lot of what had already been completed, cutting out story lines and angles that were ultimately felt to be unnecessary to the most important goal of My Amityville Horror: portraying Daniel Lutz’s point of view and relating in an interesting and cinematic way what truly was and remains his Amityville horror. In turn, the documentary is stronger, leaner and flows very well. This is fantastic to relate as many of the decisions that brought us to this point were strongly debated during production meetings.

This is where we are now. We are nearing completion in post on our newly recut documentary, awaiting final sound (design and mix done by Ronnie van der Veer) and score (composed for us by Herman Witkam). We are excited to have a soundtrack to the film that will accentuate the emotions elicited by our subjects and are eager to finally have a finished work that we can truly be proud of – especially because we are so looking forward to sharing the film with all of you.


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A Look Inside: Producer’s Q&A

by Michelle Paster
September 9th, 2011

Associate Producer, Michelle Paster, throws Q&A towards the Producers: John Blythe and Andrea Adams.

Michelle Paster: Why Amityville – why did you decide to get involved in the project?

John Blythe: I am an entrepreneurial film producer and am President of Film Regions International, Inc. I’ve always had appreciation of ‘haunted house’ stories such as House of Haunted HillThe House That Dripped BloodPoltergeist and 1979’s The Amityville Horror starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder. My Amityville Horror is a documentary; not a horror flick, but I believe the horror audience will appreciate it.

How I became involved with this project is unique. I had remembered this Unsolved Mysteries case I saw at an early age involving an alleged haunted house in Horicon, Wisconsin back in the late 1980’s. So in June, 2009, I was researching this story and came across an editorial by a filmmaker named Eric Walter, which he was discussing the similarities to that story with the infamous Amityville story.

When I emailed Eric, I indicated the Horicon story would make a great horror film, and it was something that I had thought about wanting to put on FRI’s future film slate. It was when I realized he was living in Santa Monica that we both met up and discussed that particular story. During the course of our discussion, he had indicated that he was in communication with an “unnamed person” who was somehow involved in the Amityville case. Eric would be flying to New York to meet this person.

About a month had passed and we met up again and he stated this “person” was Daniel Lutz, one of the children who lived in the actual Amityville house on Long Island. This house haunting inspired the best selling novel and the entire film franchise. Seeing that this was an untold story about an already world renowned case, sparked my interest. I offered for Eric to join my company in order to raise enough financing to get the project off the ground.

Andrea Adams: I was working a day job in development that I felt underappreciated in and so therefore, it was becoming thankless. One weekend, a college friend, Nate Hoeft, asked if I might be interested in meeting with his friend, who was looking for a producer for a documentary he was doing. Having produced many independent projects in my spare time, I was intrigued but somewhat turned off by the documentary aspect, figuring it was a dry topic. However, when I met Eric and John, they pitched me their vision and showed me a seven minute sizzle reel of Daniel Lutz. I was captivated by the subject, the inherent interest in Amityville, as well as Eric’s intensity and knowledge about the subject.

Read the rest of this entry »


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From the Outside Looking In

by Joe Zohar
July 27th, 2011

My long time friend and colleague, Andrea Adams, called me up asking if I would be interested in shooting content for a feature length documentary, My Amityville Horror. Needless to say, projects like this don’t come around very often, so I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more. After being really impressed with the teaser trailer, I spoke to Andrea and told her I was in.

From working with Andrea in the past, I knew she wasn’t into wasting her time, so when she says to me, “I am really excited about this project and know you will get along great with the director,” I knew I’d be joining something special and interesting. Shortly thereafter, I talked over the phone with Eric Walter, the director of the film. Our talks were very concise and to the point. He knew what he wanted and communicated it very well, trusting that I would do my thing on the word of his direction. The stage was set and I was excited.

February 15th comes and I’m twenty minutes late for meeting Andrea at NYC’s downtown subway station. Upon my arrival to her happy, yet obviously “in the mode” essence one has during production, I was introduced to John Blythe, the other primary producer of the film. It only took a few lines of dialogue for me to tell that John, although not directly involved in the technical aspects of film, loved and respected the craft of filmmaking. Needless to say, it made me feel great about the administrative production team and was pumped to meet Eric and the rest of the crew.

Upon our arrival to the hotel in Queens, I was greeted by Eric and Danny Lutz and was brought up to speed about the project and what we’d be getting into on location. It was as easy talking with Eric in person as it was over the phone. Danny proved to be as interesting as I’d thought he’d be, something I’ll let the film speak for me on. I began to see that this subject’s handling of growing up being involved in America’s most notorious haunting was the air to this Zeppelin we were riding on and was assured it would make for compelling cinema.

After meeting the rest of the crew, I knew this production was going to go really well. I had heard the crew was more of a squad, having worked together on countless productions. Being the odd man coming into a family of technical people can be so many things: a nightmare, awkward, isolating, just to name a few. My experience was anything but that. All the guys were very welcoming, easy to work with, great sense of humor, not to mention technically proficient and amazing at what they do. Aside from minor setbacks, I thought all the shoots went incredibly well. The footage looked gorgeous and I couldn’t wait to see it all in context.

I thrive on productions where crew members specialize in their field and can trust one another professionally to shoot/record/produce the film as if it were your own. Throughout the shoot, we visited some truly unique locations. From a home filled with stuffed animal heads hunted from all over the world to an 84 year old demonologist’s home who carries with her a relic of Christ’s cross, while living above a museum dedicated to the bizarre and macabre with multiple roosters, cats, and other various animals running around her home that made for intriguing visual subject matter. All this was captured beautifully by Director of Photography, Charlie Anderson, who was shooting on the RED camera like it was an extension of his own being. Charlie was really able to capture the contrast present in all these locations. I could tell cause I was constantly looking over his shoulder saying, “Damn, that looks good.”

After principal photography wrapped, I stayed a few extra days with Eric to capture b-roll of the various locations, including the village of Amityville. During this time, I was really able to connect with Eric and see what he was about as an individual and filmmaker. What I found was somebody I couldn’t believe lived in Los Angeles. He was down to earth, loved early 90′s grunge rock, and wore black with an affinity for literature and challenging cinema. I was glad I got the chance to spend the extra time with him. Eric was incredibly focused during the principal shooting, so I didn’t get the chance to see beyond the surface. After having some time alone and getting a sense for why he wanted to make the film, what he plans on doing with it and how he plans on doing it, I was instilled with an heir of confidence that this film could really go places and peak a lot of people’s interests.

In closing, I love spiritual, supernatural, and ethereal subject matter. I hope all the viewers out there who will see this film will enjoy meeting Danny Lutz, who was only ten years old at the time of the hauntings. I hope the viewers think, question, and debate the experience of what it would be like having an intimate experience with a force so powerful that even forty years later it stays vivid in your mind. Whether you’re a skeptic or believer, this film challenges both. I can only speak for myself in saying that. Whether or not I think Danny Lutz is telling the truth or if the whole Amityille Horror is something that really happened, is entirely beyond the point of how the film should be viewed. The point being that Danny Lutz believes it. Hopefully after you spend some time with him on screen, you’ll have an opinion of your own. Something I feel will be where the success of the film lies.


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The Demonologist of Connecticut

by Marlon Wallace
June 10th, 2011

We were to visit Lorraine Warren and the Occult Museum built inside her Connecticut home. The only thing that I knew about Mrs. Warren was what the film’s director, Eric Walter, wrote in his documentary’s proposal. According to Eric and the proposal, Lorraine Warren is a “light trance medium and demonologist who investigated the Amityville house in 1976.”

It was Walter’s intention to have Danny Lutz, the subject of his film, revisit many of the key players in that Amityville investigation in order to give Lutz an opportunity to compare and contrast their experiences with his own. The previous morning had Lutz doing this with Laura DiDio, the Channel 5 news assistant who did an immense amount of investigation work on Amityville.

DiDio was actually going to be visiting the Warren residence as well, acting as moderator for Lutz and Warren’s discussion. As I waited in the hotel lobby, I was really waiting for DiDio. I was to be her companion during the hour or so car ride from our hotel in Queens to the Warren’s residence in Connecticut.

During the July 2010 filming, DiDio had talked about a “psychic slumber party,” a sort of séance held at the Amityville house, which included DiDio, Lorraine Warren and her late husband Ed, among others. What DiDio said of the Connecticut medium in July certainly didn’t prepare me for what I’d encounter when I actually met Warren.

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The Real Amityville Horror

by Eric Walter
May 27th, 2011

I did something interesting recently. I went back and reread The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, something that I haven’t done in a number of years. As a kid, I couldn’t put the book down, and as many people who are interested in this topic have, I went about doing my own research into the story. And now, many years later, I’m sitting in post-production on the very documentary that I, as a fellow Amityville enthusiast, have been waiting to see: testimony from someone other than George and Kathy Lutz about their experiences inside the house. But, not just that – an examination of the psychological effects this story has had on Daniel Lutz’s life.

It was interesting revisiting Jay Anson’s book. His retelling of the Lutzes’ haunting claims is, without a doubt, the most effective account ever put into print, despite the multitude of books and films on the subject. Sadly though, I have to wonder why George and Kathy would have allowed the book to be fictionalized to such a degree if they were so concerned, as the book states, “that too much was being overstated and exaggerated.”

From its very outset, the Lutzes’ story was tainted by the media and its apparent hunger to sensationalize their experiences. On the heels of another recently announced Amityville film, The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes, which curiously seems to mimic Laura DiDio’s role in the case, it seems no one is safe from the Amityville machine.

The real Amityville Horror isn’t just what has happened in the past, but how it has continued to manifest itself in the present. Did any of it really happen? I feel the real story here is one that has never been told. It’s that gray area. It’s a story about the dynamics within the Lutz family at the time. In the end, the ghost stories are just that – stories. No one can confirm or deny their veracity. But, there’s no question these events, hoax or not, had an enormous impact on each member of the Lutz family in different ways. That’s what I’m interested in and that’s exactly what I believe will set this documentary apart from competing material.