1. ‘The Amityville Horror’ is not based on a true story

The Amityville Horror was not based on a true story.

I’m sorry if that disappoints anyone, but we’re not free to change what is or is not true based only on what we find to be disappointing.

It’s also a bit odd that anyone would be disappointed to learn that a “horror” is not real. That’s like having a horrifying nightmare and then waking up disappointed to realize it was only a dream. You’re not supposed to be disappointed when you wake from a nightmare, you’re supposed to be relieved.

I know that the movie posters and book covers all said that this was based on a true story, but I’m afraid this is another disappointing truth: You can’t believe everything you read on movie posters.

Benjamin Radford wrote a lengthy debunking of the story for Snopes back in 2005, when the most recent movie version came out:

Researcher Rick Moran … compiled a list of more than a hundred factual errors and discrepancies between [author Joe] Anson’s “true story” and the truth.

“The Amityville Horror: A True Story” is not a true story.

… Over and over, both big claims and small details were refuted by eyewitnesses, investigations, and forensic evidence. Still, the Lutzes stuck to their story, reaping tens of thousands of dollars from the book and film rights.

The truth behind The Amityville Horror was finally revealed when Butch DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, admitted that he, along with the Lutzes, “created this horror story over many bottles of wine.” The house was never really haunted; the horrific experiences they had claimed were simply made up. Jay Anson further embellished the tale for his book, and by the time the film’s screenwriters had adapted it, any grains of truth that might have been there were long gone. While the Lutzes profited handsomely from their story, Weber had planned to use the haunting to gain a new trial for his client. George Lutz reportedly still claims that the events are mostly true, but has offered no evidence to back up his claim.

… The revelation that the story was based on a hoax has led to embarrassment, especially among the handful of “paranormal experts” who “verified” the fictional tale. The Lutzes must have had a good laugh at the expense of the mystery-mongering ghost hunters and self-proclaimed psychics who reported their terrifying visions and verified the house’s (non-existent) demonic residents.

Foremost among those “ghost hunters and self-proclaimed psychics” who confirmed this hoax were Ed and Lorraine Warren. They cited their paranormal and religious expertise, as well as Lorraine’s alleged extrasensory intuition, in validating a story later proved to be a total sham. So either the Warrens were knowing participants in the hoax, or they were themselves credulous dupes duped by their own eagerness to find devils in doorknobs and monsters under the bed.

This old MovieWeb interview with Lorraine Warren has me guessing maybe it was a little bit of both of those. Warren seems to have a Mike Warnke-esque knack for putting on the kind of show she knows will appeal to her devoutly religious target audience. But she also seems like a dealer who’s getting high on her own product — a victim of the “shut-eye.” It’s hard to tell whether or not she’s in on her own joke. Michelle Dean’s recent profile — “The Long, Strange Career of ‘The Conjuring’ Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren” — leans toward the more cynical interpretation.

As the headline to Dean’s piece notes, the Warrens are back in the news due to yet another horror movie adapting yet another of their cases as “religious demonologists.” The Conjuring reportedly plays up this religious aspect, and the movie studio has hired Grace Hill Media — the current go-to PR firm for this kind of work — to sell the movie to churchgoers.

Filmmaker brothers Chad and Carey Hayes say their film isn’t your typical “Christian” movie fare, but it nonetheless carries a strong religious message that can appeal to faith-minded audiences.

It is, they say, a “wholesome horror film.”

No it is not. It’s a hoax, just like the other stories of its kind sold by the Warrens and the Warnkes of this world to gullible audiences who for some reason wish these stories — and even worse things — to be true.

That “wholesome horror film” quote above comes from Kevin Eckstrom’s Religious News Service story, “Can a horror film lead people to God?

The answer to Eckstrom’s question is “No.” Or, at least, “Maybe, but not this horror film.”

This film is a pep rally for a witch hunt. Witch hunts do not lead people toward God. Witch hunts and witch-hunters lead people, instead, toward the lethal notion that it is their job to identify and destroy the enemies of God. The stories witch-hunters tell are never true stories, but the victims those stories produce are all too real. And there is nothing “wholesome” about that.

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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “Horror film” by definition involves scary-ass things and Eldritch Abominations. How anyone can claim Christian themes underlie them is beyond me.

  • AnonaMiss

    Not Christian proper, but Real True Christian, sure. If ‘sinners suffer for eternity’ is a theme of your religion, your religion is an Old God cult and ripe for horror stories.

    With an extra dose of horror if you believe every person is a sinner, and it is only the caprice of Great Jehovathtep which rescues Elect individuals from the flames, for His glory. Ia, ia! Jehovah fhtagn!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    This is true.

  • connorboone

    For a truly putrid example of this specific genre, you can try House, by Frank Peretti – whose name I did not recognize when I grabbed the book on a whim at my local library. It’s a pretty pedestrian horror novel with ugly othering going on (‘Watch out for them inbreds!’) and standard issue whittling down of the cast – until the last ten pages, when the survivors suddenly have an Evangelical-specific magic-words style religious epiphany, killing the monster and winning.

    I was not a fan.

  • VMink

    That sounds really different from the movie, which was a kind of goofy light ‘scary-as-in-JINKIES!’ rather than ‘scary-as-in-OHGODMAKEITSTOP!’ Is there any relation between the two except for the name?

  • connorboone

    There was a movie? I’m sorry for your pain.

  • VMink

    That’s the weird thing. It was a silly-fun movie. I’m very likely mis-remembering the title, since IMDB tells me that the plot synopsis of House isn’t anything that I recognize. I distinctly remember a plumber saying “Looks like ya gotcherselves an interdimensional portal ‘ere.”

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    They’re two different movies. The movie that you and I saw (and that was totally misadvertised) came out circa 1986, around 20 years before the Peretti book was written.

  • connorboone

    Oh, no, that’s completely different. And that’s an electrician.

    The actual quote is “Looks like you’ve got an alternate reality situation in here” or something similar. I need that in GIF form at some point, for Republicans on Facebook.

  • solmead

    That’s a different House. The movie made from this book, came out a few years ago, while that movie House came out 20 years ago at least. (And was followed by two sequels)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Not to be confused for a different blue text House that involved variable geometry…

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    “Stairs! We have found stairs!”

    *shudder*

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I have a copy of that album at home. I keep meaning to get around to listening to it. I have no logical reason for having put it off, except possibly for lying awake all night waiting for the walls to start moving.

  • connorboone
  • Panda Rosa

    I remember that one, actually the sword-wielding plumber made the whole film for me.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    For some reason, that made me think of a flash game I played ages ago. It seemed like a standard fantasy genre point and click game where the eventual goal was to defeat a dragon and enter a castle. No matter what you did, the dragon couldn’t be defeated — it destroys your weapons and shield.

    The solution? Allow yourself to be destroyed by the dragon, sacrificing yourself and thus entering the Kingdom.

    Because it was a Christian game.

  • JustoneK

    are you sure that wasn’t a psychological horror game cuz wow

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Wait – isn’t suicide a sin? Sending you straight to Hell?

  • AnonaMiss

    Suicide is a sin; Suicide By Cop isn’t, if you don’t have to commit any sins to provoke it. (Well, by dragon.)

  • Vermic

    I saw “The Rapture” (Mimi Rogers, David Duchovny), and I think it can be accurately described as a horror film, with the horror being “what if RTC theology was true?” Although RTC reviewers tend to see it differently.

  • AnonaMiss

    Actually, come to think of it, worshipping Jehovathtep so he’ll rapture you before the tribulation is nearly identical to worshipping Cthulhu so he’ll eat you first.

  • JP

    Agreed on “The Rapture”. As a matter of fact, I just rewatched it recently, and 20 years later, it’s still disturbing (especially the ending). I remember the outcry from RTCs when it came out; they were outraged and quite defensive about it. Which is sort of hilarious considering that the film represents that theology preeeeeetty accurately, and just takes it to its logical (and unpleasant) conclusions.

  • Jurgan

    I didn’t really care for that movie. It had a few good moments, but it was very slow and repetitive. The only really scary thing was David Duchovny’s mullet.

  • Jim Roberts

    When I read this, I had this sudden image of a Cthulhuian youth pastor praying ahead of a youth group meeting.
    “So, lord mighty Cthulhu, we, uh, lord mighty Cthulhu, we, yeah, we love you, ia ia, yeah, we, uh, lord might Cthulhu . . .”

  • Kenneth Raymond

    Go to Charles Stross’s “The Apocalypse Codex” (book four of the Laundry series) for a fringe right-wing evangelical Christian megachurch as the really terrifying villains, as part of a Lovecraftian cult. He bases it just enough on real Christian groups like the Quiverfull movement and Rapture theology that it becomes a quite unpleasantly plausible front for a Great Old One cult. It’s definitely a more disturbing story than most any that claim to be based on something true.

  • Jon Hendry

    If I ever visit Colorado Springs, I’ll be on the lookout for tongue-eating isopods.

  • Isabel C.

    Depends on your interpretation. Morality-wise, I could totally see a horror film where the evil is eventually defeated by charity and self-sacrifice, which would work with Fred’s take on Christianity. (And a lot of fairy tales, actually.)

    And certainly a lot of classic horror has Christian trappings–vampires repelled by crosses, women giving birth to the Antichrist, et cetera.

  • JP

    I’d put “Pan’s Labyrinth” in that category. I’ve been a horror fan for most of my life, and I’ve been in the position of having to defend my tastes more often than I’d like to count. I was so grateful for “Pan’s Labyrinth” when it came out because it’s such a perfect example of what horror can do at its best. Still one of my favorite films.

  • jmb

    And, actually, it’s the theme of del Toro’s latest work, too. We’ll stand against the Eldritch Abominations because that’s the right thing to do, and maybe we only have a tiny chance of saving everyone else, but it’s still better than hiding behind expensive walls and leaving the poor to be Eaten First. Even if we don’t survive. Even the vain and vainglorious can find redemption, and do the right thing for the right reason, in the end.

    Someone on Twitter spotted definite St. Michael iconography going on in the infamous swordfight, as well.

  • Tomas

    The movie, Devil, about people trapped in an elevator with the Devil, fits that description. The title character is defeated when people actually act like Jesus, rather than simply call on Jesus.

  • J_Enigma32

    Given what the RTCs say about their God?

    The deity sounds like it’d be right at home in one of Clive Baker’s dark fantasy or horror novels.

  • J_Enigma32

    Oops. AnonaMiss beat me to it.

  • VMink

    With the exception that in Clive Barker’s stories, sometimes the monsters are the good guys. Don’t ask about the bad guys; sometimes they’re the angels.

    Clive Barker thinks up some seriously messed up stuff..

    Seriously, though; Imajica amazingly, beautifully weird while also being very horrific. (At least, if I’m remembering right.) And I’m still trying to get through Mister B. Gone and The Great and Secret Show.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    For the most part, I adore Clive Barker’s writing. (Which is to say, I adore his imagination while finding his prose uneven but leaning heavily toward the poetic.) But I could not get through Mister B. Gone. I started skimming towards the end just to find out how it ended. I think the problem for me was the narrator, whom I simply could not take seriously. That, plus knowing from what history tells us that he must lose in the end, made me skeptical I’d buy any epiphany about his ultimate loss.

    Imajica remains one of my favorite re-reads, and I am living in gleeful antification of the next installment of Abarat.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The narrator always struck me as being simultaneously implied to be big, bad and fearsome — and being a complete wimp.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I think that was probably the problem for me. That kind of character — the one who tells you over and over again what a ferocious monster he could be if he chose, but whom the text shows over and over again to be a coward — could be amusing if his bragging was entertaining enough, but for me it wasn’t. I kept wishing he’d get the hell out the way so I could pay attention to the story.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    It would be an odd movie, in which the Eldritch Abominations would be a metaphor for Othering the powerless or the worship of Mammon, or both, but it could be done.

  • LL

    Well, the point (IMHO) is that if ghosts exist, then the soul exists. And if the soul exists, then God exists. And heaven and all that stuff. So ghosts and hauntings are “evidence” of everything religious people believe. So every bit of supernatural nonsense (ghosts, witches, evil spirits, possession, etc.) is real and justifies the existence of religion and witch hunts and the whole protection racket that goes along with all of that.

    I’d think it all harmless enough (and I don’t really care enough to get terribly upset about it) but people (esp. in other countries) act based on all this nonsense. It would be like me believing in the Easter Bunny and insisting on laws that favor belief in the Easter Bunny. And murdering people who disagree, people who I have some sort of problem with, like “feminists” and homosexuals.

  • Urthman

    A whole lot of horror is based on some sort of Christian mythology – vampires being destroyed by crosses and holy water, for instance.

    In a lot of stories you get this weird sense that religion only exists as a sort of antidote to evil horrors. There’s a scene in Stephen King’s book Salem’s Lot where people are frantically trying to dig up vampire coffins and they anoint their arms with holy water, giving them supernatural strength. I remember reading that and thinking, “I wonder why holy water doesn’t give people supernatural strength for, say, building an orphanage or carrying a sick person to the doctor. You know, stuff God actually told Christians they ought to be doing.”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There’s a meme out there that I’ve always been terrified is intended to be taken as a serious argument.

    If so, my response is, “If the sídhe aren’t real, then why is there gold at the end of a rainbow?”

    Looks like it’s lass call — *Sunglasses* — for Abhartach.

    (YEAAAAAAAAH)

  • Vermic

    Vampires in the Buffy-verse are subject to the whole crosses-and-holy-water thing, but I don’t think this was ever explained in universe.

    (Though I have a vague memory of Joss Whedon or somebody offering that vampires and Christians had had some nasty supernatural conflicts in the early days, and the weaknesses were a result of this, and not because Christianity is any more “correct” in the Buffyverse.)

  • Isabel C.

    I also remember an alt.tv.btvs argument that Christanity was descended from Mithraism, which was a sun cult, and vampires didn’t like the sun, so.

    Which argues that a priest of Apollo or Ra should be able to do some serious damage. And I would totally read that novel.

  • MarkTemporis

    Richard Pryor: “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.”

  • Amaryllis

    “Why are vampires afraid of crosses?”

    Fred answered that question some years ago, back on Old Slacktivist. I haven’t seen a better explanation yet– nor a better explanation of why modern vampires seem to be developing an immunity.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Ha!

    Looking up the way White Wolf handles True Faith and how it repels vampires and can blunt the power of werewolves and other supernatural creatures led me to looking up Demon: The Fallen. Now that’s an interesting take on things — fallen angels harvest faith from mortals who have witnessed their divine powers.

  • Jurgan

    I love that post. I actually am writing an entire vampire novel based in part on Fred’s answer to that question.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “I wonder why holy water doesn’t give people supernatural strength for,
    say, building an orphanage or carrying a sick person to the doctor. You
    know, stuff God actually told Christians they ought to be doing.”

    Duh. Because you can only use status-buff items from the combat screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    Carl Th. Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc functions somewhat like a horror movie- certainly the whole thing is suffused with dread and pain- and it’s also one of the most powerful religious works I’ve ever encountered.

    His Vampyr is even more straightforwardly horror, and that one is absolutely something you could show any (patient) Christian community.

  • Daniel

    Zombies in the gospel of Matthew 27:53.
    Witch of Endor.
    Pig devils.
    Scary melting faces…oh wait, that’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    It’s all there.
    Except the melting faces.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hmm! I knew about the witch of Endor, but not the others. O_O Okay, that’s definitely Biblical.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wouldn’t want to convert from a horror film. First impressions stay with me a *long* time, and a first impression left by a horror film…Not good.

  • Vermic

    If films could scare me into religious conversion, I’d probably be worshipping the killer from “Seven” today, though I’d burn candles to the Xenomorph on Christmas and Easter.

    Which is to say, the problem with using horror to sell your message is that you’re competing with folks who are, in all likelihood, far better at horror than you. It’s a tough market.

    Another problem with horror is that Sturgeon’s Law is fully in effect and most of it is crap. Forget messages — most horror flicks just want to scare the viewer, and most of ’em fail at that. It’s a hard enough trick to scare an audience, let alone do it so well you make them change religions.

  • myeck waters

    Y’all can keep your false horror gods. I’m sticking with my zombie redneck torture family. Or maybe the merman…

  • Feygele Goy

    Y’all can keep your false horror gods. I’m sticking with my zombie redneck torture family. Or maybe the merman…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ethel_Merman_Disco_Album
    Stomach-churning, soul-wrenching horror, not recommended for the faint of ears.

  • myeck waters

    Actually more horrifying than the merman I was thinking of, and as it’s lunch time, thanks for helping me stick to my diet.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    (Clicks on the above link)

    AAAAAGGGHHHH ZURXPLARCK!!!! UUUGGGHHHH!!!!

    Greetings, this is Jeffery Allen Weskamp’s mindless, souless body typing this message to this blog. I must now go forth and implement the entrance of the Great Old Ones into Earth’s dimension. I am now logging off. EOM

  • Feygele Goy

    I’ll just say, “I’m always doin’ something, something for the BOY-oys…”

  • Baby_Raptor

    There would be a massive cult dedicated to the dude from Saw.

    Wow, I think I just gave myself nightmare material.

  • Daniel

    Cat People led me to a religious conversion. I’m still awaiting the coming of Lewton’s Bus.

  • Launcifer

    Just so long as it’s the ’42 version rather than the ’82 one. I converted to the wrong version of Get Carter. It didn’t go well ;).

  • Daniel

    Ooooh, nasty! That’s like finding the remake of the Italian Job first. Or Gus van Sant’s Psycho. Ghastly.

  • Launcifer

    Having said that, watching the remake of The Wicker Man after the most complete extant copy of the original was possibly one of the most hilarious experiences of my life.

  • Daniel

    Not… the bees?

  • Launcifer

    All of it. It’s one of the most sustained examples of completely missing the point I’ve ever seen in my life.

  • Daniel

    However, it did give rise to the phenomenon known as the “Nicholas Cage” which happens when your face is entirely enclosed in wicker and you get hit by a flash of bees they’ll be conducted around the cage and be harmlessly earthed at the nearest flower. It doesn’t need to be a specially made mask- any wicker will do. A laundry basket. A chair. A different type of basket. Any wicker.
    Wicker.

  • Launcifer

    Even the late Alan Whicker?

  • Daniel

    In theory, yes, particularly if you are being attacked by euglossini bees which have scent baskets on their legs and are easily distracted by his distinctive scent. This is even more distinct now.
    However, this is only hypothetical. For decades scientists have been working on a synthetic Alan Whicker in order to help bee keepers and bee visitors, but it is too difficult to make a hollow Whicker. There are numerous prototypes knocking about on a small pacific island.
    There are too many Whickers.

  • Launcifer

    And cue the music in 3…2…1…It’s!

  • Daniel

    Ladies and gentlemen a 1 a 2 a 1 2 3 4…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlrsqGal64w

  • Daniel

    Serious question now, Cat People (original) or Return of the Cat People? Because the second one scares the bejesus out of me and I’ve been banned from singing the song that Simone Simon sings in it by my sister, who hasn’t seen it but is terrified of the song.
    So, which do you prefer?

  • Launcifer

    To be honest, I rather prefer the original version because it’s so…. left-field, I suppose – especially when placed alongside the Universal horror films of the time. It’s also probably the most interesting take on that particular horror staple until Ginger Snaps (or possibly Company of Wolves, largely because Angela Lansbury just creeps me out in that).

  • Daniel

    See that’s why I like Return of the Cat People more, because you get the psychological horror of the child turning her parents’ guilt into a spirit pal. There’s also the old lady in the house who refuses to acknowledge her own daughter which is heartbreaking. The uncertainty in both makes them marvellous- like the uncertainty in The Innocents, which was also remade a few years back and was…a bit rubbish.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    If films could scare me into religious conversion, I’d probably be worshipping the killer from “Seven” today,

    To be fair, the killer in ‘Saw’ has better morality than TurboGod. Pleasant thought, no?

  • Michael Pullmann

    You want to talk disappointing movie claims? The Never Ending Story only runs for an hour and a half.

  • Baby_Raptor

    In the same vein, there are now…What? ~16 different Final Fantasy games?

  • Jason Jones

    Fifteen numbered with a couple dozen non-numbered entries. It used to be a running gag because Final Fantasy was going to be the last game Squaresoft ever published; then they made a mint on it and kept going.

  • myeck waters

    Back in the mid 1990s I used an Atari ST computer. The market was dying, so the makers of an app called KCS released the final version, KCS Omega. Later on they released Omega II.

    At least they had the decency to stop there.

  • Silverrain

    FWIW, according to Wikipedia, the last game published by Square before its merger with Enix in 2003 was Final Fantasy X-2. They were pretty bad at counting, but they weren’t exactly wrong.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    What’s a little worse is that they’ve said a few times now that they’re never making another Final Fantasy game again, and now even the new CEO has hinted that they’re going to retire the franchise — shortly before announcing Final Fantasy 15.

  • Jason Jones

    I have no doubts they’ll continue making Final Fantasys until the name stops drawing in big sales. As far as the running joke, I actually don’t mind that much. I just wish there were more creative turnover at SE, because I find the aesthetic that Tetsuya Nomura seems enamored with boring and uninspired.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    By aesthetic, do you mean the art specifically? It does seem like an awful lot of gray gets used in every game from 12 onward…

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I can’t speak to what he was referring to, but I hated the design aesthetic of 13 pretty intensely (it was a similar aesthetic to 8, I felt).

    9 was the last numbered Final Fantasy where I liked the aesthetic (it was also the last one I played to completion). I wanted to like 12, as FF:Tactics is one of my all-time favorites, but I couldn’t get past the opening sequence. You can have knights on chocobos, or you can have jet fighters with machine guns, but I can’t buy both in the same battle.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’ve gotten pretty tired of the steampunk genre, myself. It’s just getting so tiresome seeing swords and guns and mecha in pretty much every game. I think I’m getting jaded, though (as per the above post) since I realized at some point that I really didn’t identify with any of the characters. I never felt myself taking mentally taking their place. Unfortunately, this is another kind of thing Square does: Angsty and obnoxious characters.
    IV: Cecil spends much of the first third of the game struggling with his crimes as a dark knight, then spends much of the ending struggling with the crimes of his brother. It almost helps that so little personal story is afforded to each character.

    VI: Terra spends almost the entire game suffering delusions of inadequacy and body horror. She is removed from action several times because of this. She’s even worse in Dissidia where she spends half her screen time cowering.
    VII: Cloud’s facade of being in SOLDIER is unbearable when you have the full translation of the game. A lot of foreshadowing was cut out which made it obvious early on that Tifa knew something that wasn’t being said. Since then, he’s become an even more unbearable character in Dissidia and Advent Children. Like Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies, he resets to being crushed under his guilt every single time we see him, grows and releases his burden — and then promptly is crushed beneath it again the next time we see him.

    VIII: I hate Squall. I really do. The first three quarters of the game make me want to hit him with that stupid gun/sword/gun/sword of his. It’s impossible to connect with a character whose only response to every single stimuli is “… Whatever.” He becomes much more likable in Advent Children. For a long time, though, I wanted to know what the heck Rinoa saw in him while he was displaying the personality of a pile of stool.
    IX: Vivi threatened to be angsty and I’m not sure he didn’t end up that way after all, since my saved game got deleted soon after the factory scene and I’ve since repressed all memories of the game. I do recall Zidane was pretty obnoxious, though, and Zidane is definitely annoying in Dissidia.
    X: DIE TIDUS HAHAHAHAHA AAAAHAAAHAAA HAAAAAAA DIE. (Also: Whoever wrote the ending to X-2? I advocate a hearty slap with a tuna.)

    And that’s as far as I got.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I liked everything about IX except the story, the characters, and the gameplay. Which doesn’t leave much, haha. I liked the world designs and some of the character designs, and the music was fantastic, but what few characters I liked got zero development and the main plot was a pile of garbage. I made it through to the end, but I didn’t have the heart for the optional bosses and I ended up never getting another console FF game. I missed the laughing scene in X and had no idea it existed until about 2 or 3 years ago.

    I liked VII a lot when I was 14 and in high school, but the world didn’t age well for me. I couldn’t make it through Advent Children.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Final Fantasy IV is my favorite, and I did enjoy its sequel, The After Years. I do see an awful lot of similarity to Final Fantasy VIII in the storyline, though…

    Unfortunately, IV made me lose a lot of respect for Square. I shelled out the full $40 odd dollars for the WiiWare release of The After Years, then a $35 release containing the original game, The After Years and an additional chapter came out on PSP, which also happens to have all new updated graphics. I do not like paying more money for less game.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Square really went overboard with porting their older FF games to every available system, yeah. I was tempted to get FFIV for the DS (the 3d revamp), but I’d stopped taking the train at that point and I found that I really only played my portable systems on the train and on plane flights. I had the cable to link my PSP to my TV, but the bounding box was really odd and the cable was too short.

    IV and VI were my favorites, but I haven’t revisited either in quite a long time. IV was the first RPG I really played and got into, but listening to the soundtrack is enough to tap into the nostalgia factor for me.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Likewise. I’d played the very first one way back when, but never got into it until I played IV. I had grumble fits when I noticed X and XIII didn’t have Prologue in their soundtracks. When I play Dissidia, I tend to spend far too many battles playing as Golbez with Final Battle as my battle music. :p

  • Omnicrom

    I’m all in favor of a creative turnover if it means Final Fantasy will stop sucking. It had been going downhill slowly since the merger but the most recent games have been atrocious and the absolutely horrible and relentlessly pretentious “Fabula Nova Crystales Saga” have demonstrated how far SE has fallen.

    Sadly the open armed embrace of cheap Fanservice that SE shows with Final Fantasy 13-3 has convinced me that without DRASTIC changes the franchise will never be good again. SquareEnix please stop. Cut the fanservice, drop the pretentiousness, quit the empty flash-in-the-pan style, end the incredibly cynical and ugly Fee to Play stuff, and actually remember why you ever had fans to begin with: You used to make DAMN GOOD GAMES.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I think I’ve gotten cynical over the years. When I went back and played older Final Fantasy games, all I could think was “This is exactly the same problem I remarked upon in their newer games.” Frequently.

    Can’t even call the fanservice a new issue — it dates back to the first FF game (the Medusa monster, even in pixelated form, stands at an angle to reveal pronounced breasts and an expanse of leg) and there has continued to be an element of it in every game since. They just emphasize it more now, and likewise, lazy plots have gotten a little lazier, but it all just continues a trend set early on by their past games.

  • Jason Jones

    Unfortunately, when the merger happened all the people on the creative team for Final Fantasy that made the early games so good got pushed out the door. Sakaguchi went and started his own studio to continue making games the way he wanted. I’ve only played one Mistwalker title, and it was okay, but it felt a little stale.

    As for SE, they’ve been all style and no substance for a long time. The last Final Fantasy game that I really cared about was FFXII (primarily because it had a different creative team) and even that one just wasn’t very memorable.

  • dpolicar

    There’s a part II.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    And, sadly, a part III.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    To be fair, the first movie was based on the first half of the book. The sequel purported to be based on the second half. That there’s an idea with merit, if properly implemented. The movie we got is not the movie we deserved. (“You know what the book was missing, that our movie can provide? Immature pop culture reference jokes and also Howard the Duck!”)

    There is absolutely no excuse for part 3.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Wow. Also, links to Agony Booth really should come with a warning. “Here be lots of gay-bashing and gender-policing.” Yeesh.

  • myeck waters

    Back in 1990 or so the local Chinese restaurant where we ate frequently played the same music tape constantly. We would hear the theme so to tNES two or three times every meal we had there. It really began to seem never-ending after a while.

  • Lori

    Lionel Hutz agrees with you.

    Homer: All you can eat–hah!

    Hutz: Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent
    advertising since my suit against the film, “The Never-Ending Story.”

    Homer: Do you think I have a case?

    Hutz: Now, Homer, I don’t use the term “hero” very often. But you are the greatest hero in American history.

  • Daniel

    Does that sound like a man who really had ALL HE COULD EAT?

  • Turcano

    That could have been me!

  • LL

    LOL

  • rizzo

    My mom’s from Amityville and had a friend that lived across the street from ‘the house’ when the haunting supposedly took place. She said nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. So I’ve known it was a fake since I was a wee lad.

    The book is still a pretty cracking yarn though.

  • GeniusLemur

    So this is a true story and the baddie is the ghost of a witch from the Salem witch trials? Somebody should tell these twits that in less than ten years practically all everyone involved with the Salem witch trials admitted it was all BS and there were no witches. That’s right, all these puritans said publicly that the whole sorry mess was (to use Samuel Sewall’s statement as an example) “the late Tragedy, raised among us by Satan and his Instruments” and they should “take the Blame & Shame”

  • Panda Rosa

    Satan And His Instruments, didn’t they open at a concert up in Vancouver somewhere?

  • redsixwing

    … playing the tracklist to “Disagreeable Animadversions.”

  • Daniel

    I thought it was an unfortunately named medical supply shop.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Got a literature reference? *is curious*

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’ll turn out to be like Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost, where they help a descendant of the Witch Trials clear his ancestor’s name, as she was really a kind-hearted Wicca who didn’t consort withthe devil or anything, just knew about herbs and did folk medicine. Only once they remove the sealing whatzits on her remains, it turns out that she wasn’t Wicca at all but a witch, who sought unholy power to destroy the world.

    (Shame on Velma for not seeing the obvious flaw in the story)

  • J_Enigma32

    The Warrens are to parapsychology what David Barton is to history.

    And that’s saying something, since parapsychology is bunk field to begin with.

  • Launcifer

    Well, it’s a bunk field except for Spengler, Stantz and Venkman, obviously ;).

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    1. ‘The Amityville Horror’ is not based on a true story (emphasis mine)

    Do we know what we’re counting here yet? Or will the nature of this list be revealed with time?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Can’t help but think of Fatal Frame, a horror game which claimed to have been based on a true story and has never offered the slightest hint as to which story that might be, other than that it’s a mixture of two urban legends (which are not the same as “a true story”). To this day, this is the only website I can find which offers any basis to the claims, and numerous people have said that they’ve never heard of any such place, ritual, or legends.

  • Vermic

    To be honest, I’ve never understood the appeal of “based on a true story” in any context. Stories stand on their own as far as I’m concerned: the claim of a factual basis doesn’t make the tale any scarier, funnier, or whatever. In fact, if anything it’s a bit of a turnoff, like, don’t strain my suspension of disbelief further by asking me to believe this BS too, Mr. or Ms. Marketing Person. You’re just cheapening it for both of us.

    (Afterwards, it can often be fun to learn that the story I just experienced was BOATS, and then I can go and research it and learn a bit more. But it doesn’t make the original story any better or worse.)

    BOATS claims must matter to some people, though, based on the number of urban legends that get forwarded with them. Somebody takes a perfectly decent joke and then, for reasons opaque to me, decides that more people will pay attention if they think it really happened, so they clumsily preface it with “This came from a newspaper article in New Zealand in 1975! Wow!!” I don’t get it.

  • AnonaMiss

    The only work that I’ve seen/read which benefitted from Based On A True Story was Apollo 13. I’m… not really sure why that is, actually.

  • Daniel

    Heavenly Creatures is made all the more poignant and terrifying knowing it was based on a real event, but otherwise BOATS just makes me get extra picky and pedantic about every little bit of the film. I’ve never seen Paranormal Activity, but an old housemate of mine was amazed when he saw it and was utterly convinced that it was real.

  • Lori

    an old housemate of mine was amazed when he saw it and was utterly convinced that it was real.

    Now that’s just sad.

  • Daniel

    You have no idea. He insisted there was no editing as well. So days and days of recording UNEDITED came out at roughly 2 hours of film.
    The guy was a stray from Jeremy Kyle.

  • Mark Z.

    I’d say because it forced the director to show some restraint.

    If Apollo 13 had been cooked up from scratch by a Hollywood writer, it would have been The Core.

  • Turcano

    If not before, that claim definitely got put to bed when Hidalgo came out. Based on a true story, my fat hairy ass.

  • Isabel C.

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre advertised itself as being based on a true story, too. (The tagline is “What happened is true. Now see the movie that’s just as real.” Which, I guess, is not a lie as such–“what happened” is, indeed, true, and the movie is a real movie. It’s just that nothing in the movie actually happened.) I believe the argument was that there was once a dude (Ed Gein, although he probably wasn’t the first or the last, considering) who made people-skin clothes.

    That’s it, as far as I can tell. Well, and that Texas exists, and some people there probably own some chainsaws.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Yeah, the last one I saw (whichever one came out in the mid to late 90’s) said it was based on Ed Gein. It certainly bore no resemblance to the case files as I know them. :p

  • Isabel C.

    Right. Like, the guy did have a thing for wearing human skin, and he did use a chainsaw, IIRC, but he used it on cadavers. *(Chainsaws, as the Zombie Survival Guide points out, are actually really bad murder weapons.) He was mostly a grave-robber; also, there’s no evidence that he ate anyone, though he did eat *out* of people’s skulls.

    …I may have read a lot about serial killers. Keeps people on the T from getting chatty, at least.

    *Although Leatherface seems mostly to have used a hammer in the original film, according to TVTropes. The more you know!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Good Whatever, there are seven Texas Chainsaw Massacre films and an eighth one coming out in 2015. ._.

  • Isabel C.

    Well, there’s an awful lot of Texas, I guess.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    “Texas: Best known for people killing each other.”

    Sounds like a prime tourism catchphrase to me!

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    I remember one TV special where Mrs. Lutz blamed transcendental meditation for the goings on at that house. She claimed that the paranormal events only started after she and her husband began experimenting with new age spirituality, and that she believed transcendental meditation opened the family up to diabolical influences. All this with the Warrens looking on and nodding solemnly. At that point, I didn’t really care if Amityville was real or not, I was just thoroughly pissed that they would so willingly scapegoat another esoteric tradition in an obvious effort to bolster their paranormal claims.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Very tangential aside: Transcendental meditation comes up humorously in the book Tandia:

  • DCFem

    If you haven’t yet, read the links in this post — very interesting stuff. But I must admit that the photo’s of the Warren’s have “grifters” written all over them. Maybe it’s just me, but they look like stereotypical con artists. No wonder the folks in Hollywood liked them, they look like a screenwriter created them.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Ah, this is another reason I miss working at the (now-defunct) indie bookstore: we were allowed to file The Amityville Horror under Fiction, never mind what it said on the spine.

    When we somehow got in a Glenn Beck book, we were allowed to file that under Humour.

  • Michael Pullmann

    The Strand, in NYC, puts the Left Behind books in the sci-fi/fantasy section.
    I still can’t decide whether to be amused or offended by that.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    A bookstore I frequent files the works of Ann Coulter under ‘Satanism’.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    That’s the first bookstore I’ve ever heard of even having a Satanism section.

  • MarkTemporis

    Not only did they make up the Amityville Horror story, but the story itself bears a very close resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft’s story “The Colour out of Space” only with standard Native American witchcraft/Judeo-Christian satanic elements grafted on.

  • stardreamer42

    “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord,” is the quotation which rather springs to mind here.

    OTOH, encouraging people to believe that they don’t have to obey the law because they’re answering to a higher law (which conveniently happens to coincide with whatever they most want to believe) is a really good way to develop a ready-made mob. That first step over the line into vigilantism is so thrilling and satisfying, but like any other addiction, it requires ever more frequent and stronger fixes to maintain the high. Add religious leaders playing the “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest” (or woman, or gay, or liberal, or non-white, or whatever) game, and what you end up with is called “stochastic terrorism”.

  • Jurgan

    The answer lies in comparing the real horrors that happened in that house with the fictional horrors of the movies. It is an undeniable fact that Ronald DeFeo murdered his entire family in that house before the Lutzes ever lived there. The idea of a child killing his parents and siblings in their sleep for no clear reason is horrifying. Somehow, believing a demonic spirit caused him to do it is more comprehensible. What’s more, the spirit could hang around for years afterwards, meaning if I want to avoid this sort of tragedy I can actively protect against it by researching places I live and avoiding any with criminal history.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    This reviewer ( http://www.braineater.com/house/ah05.html ) suggests that the claim of demonic possession had less to do with the horror of Ronald DeFeo’s crime, and more to do with timely opportunism:

    …on November 14, 1974, a young man shot his entire family to death, in the family’s home at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York.

    The reasons Ron “Butch” DeFeo, Jr., killed his family were far from mysterious. DeFeo was known to be a bully, a liar, a thief and a drug addict; shortly before the killings, he’d attempted to fake a robbery from his father’s car dealership to get money to support his drug habit. Unfortunately, he behaved suspiciously under police questioning, and his father realized what he was up to. Rather than risk being exposed by his own father, DeFeo shot the entire family, and then tried to pass off the killings as a mob hit. The police didn’t buy it, and eventually DeFeo confessed.

    But by 1975 post-Exorcist interest in the supernatural had not abated significantly, even in the courtroom where “Butch” DeFeo was being tried. DeFeo was claiming insanity, saying that he’d heard voices that told him to kill; he also claimed at one point to be God. A rumor began to circulate that DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, had claimed the boy was innocent “by reason of demonic possession”. I haven’t researched this absurd claim to find out if it’s true — many absurd things have turned out to be true — but in light of the Exorcist hysteria that had swept the nation, it’s easy to see how such a story would gain credence.

    The jury was unconvinced. The evidence against DeFeo was strong enough to suggest there were no ghosts or demons spurring him on. He was responsible for his own actions. DeFeo was found guilty, and remains in jail to this day.

  • Aspen Bell

    I have been trying to convince people of this for many years. I have a close friend whose grandparents lived on Coles Avenue, a very short distance from the alleged haunting. Her family visited them often during the summer. Her grandmother, a liberal Christian, told her the whole story about the hauntings was completely bogus. She drove her past the house once so she could see it. According to my friend, it was a very normal-looking suburban house with a nice garden out front and a basketball hoop in the driveway. She did not experience any kind of feeling of overwhelming evil or demonic presences; it just seemed like a regular house.

    The story her grandmother had heard from locals, and the one she believed, was essentially the same as on Snopes; a family had lived there whose oldest son was mentally disturbed (her grandmother’s description of it) and had a criminal record, and might have been on parole from prison, and came home one night and killed his parents. There were no “satanic” elements involved, and he was arrested and convicted, and the house was sold to someone else. The urban legend about the house seemed to have been made up partly by the people who moved in right afterwards and by neighbors’ gossip/rumors/etc.

    Apart from the murders, the worst effect it seemed to have was to hurt the town of Amityville, a normal Long Island seaside town with a lot of beach tourists in the summer. The reputation created by the urban legends either scared people away from it, or brought in people who were interested in the supposedly demonic element. The town went out of its way to create a welcoming image after that, rather than exploit the murders for tourism. She remembers getting a T-shirt from her grandparents that said “Amityville, NY — A Friendly Bay Village” on it. Her grandparents eventually moved away, but only to live closer to family, and because the mortgage got to be too much after they retired. In over a decade of living there, they never experienced any kind of unexplained phenomena or feelings of evil presences.

  • Daniel A Bernath

    The house is haunted. (probably)

    I was a reporter for the country music station NYC. I saw on the wire that the people who had bought the house from the Lutz were pissed off because they got no peace because the book came out and people were coming to their front door or driving by slowly and they wanted the press to view the house and see that it was all a hoax.

    I drove my Ford Thunderbird there and went inside. The family was sitting on the couch and already talking to reporters. I snooped around and saw that they had a log near their front door where they recorded all the haarassment they suffered from fans (“man drives by slowly 10:30 a.m. Man and woman knock on front door 1:30 pm that sort of thing.)

    I didn’t read the book, nor did I see the movie(s). This was in 1979 or something.

    So the owner takes us around the house. “Here is the so called red room-its just a closet that was painted red.” The red paint was flaking so I took a piece and put it in my pocket. Just the space under the stairs.

    He took us to a room and said “this is supposed to be where the flies where=nothing here, right?”

    So anyway, I got my tape to make my reports for air and I left. I was living in Tenafly New Jersey so I had to drive on the LIE. I wanted to bypass Manhattan and get to New Jersey by way of the GW Bridge and there is a point where a driver has to leave the west way driving and then head north. Just as I left going west and started going north, I looked at my gas gauge. The red needle and marking was behind a cowling.

    THE RED NEEDLE starts to move slowly from l/4 tank-then it goes to l/2 tank then it goes to Full and then IT GOES RIGHT PAST THE FULL AND OFF THE SCALE (behind the cowling).

    I am quite concerned about this. Then I see that it is gradually going back down and I figure (?) that my turn to the north caused something.

    I’m traveling north now and after about a minute IT HAPPENS ALL OVER AGAIN.

    I keep driving and get home. Nothing else has ever happened after that. Nothing has happened like this before. It was a once in a lifetime event and only after I was in every room of the house in Amityville. So you can debunk all you want. The authors might be exaggerated as to what happened to them but I believe based on what happened to me, that SOMETHING happened to them in that house. I thought you should all know about this as I’m 64 now and won’t live forever but there are some things that we can’t explain. (some people have suggested that a poltergeist came with me but got out when I headed north and wanted to let me know that I wasn’t alone.)

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Problem is, the Lutzes’ lawyer admitted that he’d helped them make the story up to try and help them recoup the losses they’d had from buying a fixer-upper that didn’t work out. And a lot of the details Anson claims in his book are just plain wrong (a bar that didn’t exist, for instance). Not to mention, nobody who’s lived at the house since 1976 has reported any problems aside from an overabundance of thrillseekers. Speaking of which, the house is still standing and still lived in, but some changes have been made to make it less recognizable (like switching out the eye-shaped windows for more square ones).

    Occam’s razor, dude.

  • Daniel A Bernath

    I know what I saw. I can’t vouch what other people say they saw. In fact, I never saw the movie, read the book or even heard of that house except as a reporter in NYC when we did stories about the mass murders. I can’t explain it. Don’t want to try. Not my area of expertise. I just know what happened to me after visiting the house and throw it out there to the world to do with what they want.

  • Daniel A Bernath

    A theory; the stuff that happened to the Lutz’ may have been minor things like what happened to me. But they decided to exaggerate it. I don’t know. Just speculation. But I know what I saw in my car.


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