Posts Tagged ‘Danny Lutz’


IndieWIRE unveils the official poster

by Eric Walter
July 20th, 2012

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.


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.


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.


Through the Lens

by Charlie Anderson
January 17th, 2011

I’ve never been one for documentaries. Sure, I’ve seen a few in my time, but I’ve never really been drawn to them. That notion escaped me the day that I was asked to meet Eric Walter.  I got a phone call from my friend Brandon Cater saying that his friend in LA was producing a documentary and that he was looking to shoot on the RED, and that I was the go-to guy for the job. I talked to Eric for a good bit last January about his project, not knowing what to expect.  He told me he was producing a documentary about the Amityville Horror.  That instantly got my attention.  Like I said, I’ve never shot a documentary before; I’ve been approached before but nothing really caught my interest the way Eric’s pitch did.  I was instantly hooked.  Eric asked me to put together some ideas and numbers and we’d talk later on once he got some things in place.

A few months went by and Eric kept in touch with me, just letting me know things were going smoothly, the usual talk that I’ve been fed by producers over the years.  What made this different for me was when I actually met Eric in March.  Now most indie producers (mainly for films) are all talk and no show, Eric was no talk and ALL show, which impressed me.  I met up with him after I had just finished shooting another movie in LA.  Originally, I had this notion that I was not going to end up shooting this.  Boy, was I wrong.  When I met Eric, he promptly gave me the break down on everything he had been planning, from showing me script breakdowns, to story boards, to audio interviews he’d previously conducted with Danny Lutz, to articles clipped and organized.  I was flabbergasted. I definitely didn’t think I was going to be walking away with this documentary, but again I was wrong.  Eric had seen my reel, he had seen movies that I’d previously shot (he did his homework), and was dead set on making me the Director of Photography.  What choice did I have but to dive into this? (more…)


The Hidden Witness

by Marlon Wallace
December 15th, 2010

What do you think of when you hear the name Amityville? Yes, it’s a village on Long Island, but what does it invoke in the mind of the average American?

Large or small, most towns are known for something, but often it doesn’t become a national phenomenon that forever defines the town in infamy.

Amityville joined the ranks of American towns like Pearl Harbor, Waco, and to an extent, Roswell, as being a place that the country associates with a strange or horrible event that happened there. The problem is that no one really knows what that event actually was. Was the Amityville house truly haunted? Or was it just a couple of crazy people inventing things?

Up until now, there have been only two witnesses to the Amityville events who have come forward. Both have now passed on. Thirty-five years after the fact, most people would think that there’s nothing more to be said on the subject, nothing new to be added. Those people would be wrong.

Because now, one of the hidden witnesses to the Amityville haunting has finally emerged out of the shadows.