On this date in 1979, the first film in a popular haunted house franchise hit screens. On July 27, The Amityville Horror was unleashed and became a box-office success worldwide. The film starred James Brolin, Margot Kidder, and Rod Steiger and was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by author Jay Anson. Of course, the film told of the alleged real-life haunting of the Lutz Family in a house located at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York (see Amityville Horror House).
The residence that doubled as that infamous house for the film was actually located in nearby Toms River, New Jersey, as Amityville officials turned down the studio's request to film there – reportedly already fed up with the exposure from the alleged haunting. The success of The Amityville Horror was spawned into countless sequels and even a remake in 2005 (see Amityville Horror Movie House (2005)) and reinvigorated the haunted house sub-genre of horror films. In fact, as this film celebrates its 30th Anniversary, another film based on an reputed haunting tore up screens earlier this year and is currently on top of the DVD rental charts - The Haunting in Connecticut (see The Haunting in Connecticut House).
Celebrate 30 years with a trip to Tom's River.
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