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(1979), R [R*]
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
April 6, 2005
36 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(1979), R [R*] --... just because it is old ... it is not a toy or a child's plaything ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): American International Pictures (AIP), A Cinema 77 film, Professional Films, Inc. Production
Distribution (US): American International Pictures (AIP), MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc. (DVD, VHS), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) (video), GoodTimes Home Video (video), Vestron Video (laserdisc), Warner Bros. (video)
Director(s): Stuart Rosenberg
Producer(s): Samuel Z. Arkoff, Elliot Geisinger, Ronald Saland
Written by: Jay Anson (book)
Screenplay: Sandor Stern
Director of Photography: Fred J. Koenekamp
Camera: MIcheal Benson, Edward Morey III
Music: Lalo Schifrin
Film Editing: Robert Brown, Jr.
Casting: Jane Feinberg, Mike Fenton, Judy Taylor
Art Direction: Kim Swados
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

With a final score of 36 the 1979 R-rated The Amityville Horror, made long before the CAP analysis model was ever thought of, rather confirmed the CAP analysis model. The 1979 The Amityville Horror was Rosenberg's competition for Friedken's 1973 The Exorcist which has been hailed to be the scariest movie ever. The Amityville Horror of 1979 gave the then six year old The Exorcist a frightful run for its money, maybe even beating The Exorcist out of its coveted title as the scariest movie ever.

In almost every film of evil there is somebody serving the evil. But not this one. There is no evil guy or gal. There is just evil. An evil presence that can say "get out -- GET OUT" without a mouth, can splinter doors, can cause people to get sick, can set off a dog and make a man grow cold and give his wife a bloody nose.

George Lutz (James Brolin) relocated his family and business to the quaint and quiet town of Amityville, Long Island with the help of his previously married wife, Kathy (Margot Kidder) and her kids, Amy (Natasha Ryan), Matthew (Meeno Peluce) and Gregory (K.C. Martel). They moved into their first house in Amityville.

The house the Lutz moved into was a nice modest home bordering on mid-19th century opulence. But that opulence had a demon in its closets. One year earlier a deranged father that looked identical to George shot and killed his wife, his four kids and himself in that house. It seems the cowardly deed of the deranged father gave the house a bad attitude. Or was it the house that gave the deranged father a bad attitude. From wherever the bad attitude came, it had a mind of its own and set out to convince the Lutzes to leave.

On the first of 21 days in the house strange voices were heard. Evil introduced itself to house occupants by causing insects to do its bidding, opening and closing doors and causing illness to a priest, Father Frank Delaney (Rod Steiger) who was there to bless the house. During the following days ... and nights ... a couple other odd and inexplicable events began to pester the idyllic family trying to make a go of it in Amityville, in their first house.

On the fourth day George's character and attitude started to change for the worse. Amy found an imaginary friend, Jody, who was not visible to anyone but Amy. Jody did not like Amy's stepfather, George. George did seem to begin becoming bitter and vengeful, as if the deranged killer of children who looked identical to George was possessing George. On the fifth night George's hatefulness increased and the nightmares began. George and Kathy began to notice a turn for the worse in George's health, too. On the sixth day George's feelings of being cold began and his illness increased, his bitterness sharpened and his abusive language started.

Around the 11th day in the house, Amy's obsession with Jody grew stronger and more possessive, or Jody's influence over Amy became stronger and more possessive. As days marched on, evil began to become more obvious and bold. When Kathy entered Amy's room one night Amy told Kathy that Kathy had scared Jody out through her window. Kathy was horrified as she saw two red, glowing eyes just outside Amy's bedroom window as the background music shrieked out a triplet of horror. Through all this, evil was portrayed as being increasingly able to manipulate the real world such as interfering with telephone communications and other routine matters of daily life, including a car's brakes. And people. Especially Father Delaney who grew more and more ill.

Around the 17th day George had a nightmare about axe murdering first Amy then Kathy. George manufactured increasingly lunatic lies to Kathy to excuse his worsening aberrant behavior. George also gave Kathy a bloody nose with his fist as she pried into George's worsening behavior and attitude. George started becoming physically cold. House doors were explosively splintered from the inside. And a snare drummer beat out its military cadence, drawing George into the living room ... until his entry into the room silenced it.

Matters darkened significantly from there. The house, built over a gateway to Hell, started bleeding. Black slime overflowed from the commodes. George was nearly drowned in a pit filled with the black slime. And on the last night there, a hulking figure was seen from a distance behind a window of the house as the Lutzes drove away.

The Amityville Horror (1979) was a trend setter before its time. It was clearly equivalent to the caliber of many modern horror films, not necessarily in extremes as much as in volumes. By the way, this is "based on a true story."

What was true about the film was the co-stripping for sex, clothed intercourse, upper female nudity and adults in underwear. [Rev. 21:8] Many portrayals of evil being able to manipulate and control the living and life such as controlling insects, making people ill, making the temperature cold but only for specific people and destroying inanimate objects. Even controlling people. [Phil. 4:8] Graphic gunfire murders introduce the viewer to the film with the obligatory flashback repeats of the murders. [1 Cor. 15:33]

Foul language, though not used as flippantly arrogant as do most filmmakers of today, was present with 20 uses, once by an adolescent. [Prov. 22:11, Luke 17:2, Matt. 18:10, Is. 2:17] God's name is used in vain both with and without the four letter expletive.

Most responsible for the final score of 36 was the programing found by the Offense to God (O) investigation area. There is portrayal of much evil in this film. [1 Thess. 5:22]

Note that this film is rated R for a reason. It was rated R way back when the MPAA ratings meant something, before all the accusations that an MPAA rating can be bought. Just because The Amityville Horror (1979) is old and we have "matured" in our entertainment diet and have become so drugged by the narcotics of extremes that what once was morally unacceptable is now morally invisible, it is not a toy or a child's plaything, folks. It presents some of the most realistic portrayals of evil capable of the clearly superior thespian talents, limited in comparison only by the technology of the day. Though the technology of the 26 years ago was magnitudes less than today, it was quite capable of and effective in digging deep into the imagination to make its unreal statements seem real.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable [vile], and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [practitioners of witchcraft, magic, sorcery, divination, etc.], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. [Evil communications, bad company are rampant in The Amityville Horror.]
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["Despise" is kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: 1) to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to look down upon (which includes abuse, even by influence).
  • Is. 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    The Amityville Horror (1979) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • scenes of bloodied bodies
  • explosive startles, repeatedly
  • traffic incident
  • anxiety causing injury with blood and scream
  • threat with axe
  • theft
  • man hit man with fist
  • dream display of axe murder of wife and child
  • husband hit wife with his fist
  • nightmare scream
  • storm violence
  • animal attack
  • near drowning in black ooze

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 20 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary,once by an adolescent
  • adolescent arrogance at mother's instructions
  • adult tantrum
  • lie to excuse behavior
  • lie about a man's condition

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts, repeatedly
  • adults in underwear, repeatedly
  • upper female nudity
  • co-stripping for sex
  • making out in bed nude (nudity unseen), twice
  • intercourse (nudity unseen)
  • flash rear male nudity
  • revealing exposure in bed, female
  • man and woman in bed
  • adult in underwear before a young girl

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • talk of beer to play
  • booze
  • bar
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)
  • voices with no people, repeatedly
  • portrayal of evil being able to: control insects; open/close doors; cause human illness/death; impeded electronic communications; change human character; change temperature; cause uneasiness; control people; wake people up; move/destroy inanimate objects
  • portrayal that evil is stronger than faith and Jesus
  • money disappeared
  • imaginary friend, repeatedly, increasingly evil with young girl obsessing over it
  • portrayals of various kinds of evil presence
  • glowing eyes in dark
  • unholy image
  • speaking of evil spirits
  • demon possession
  • unholy connection between two people
  • Cross on house wall turned upside down without explanation
  • drum sounds without source
  • hulking demon glimpsed through house window
  • bleeding walls, blood-soaked house

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • gunfire murder. six, five seen
  • flashbacks of gunfire murders

  • First Impressions and

    Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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