This was purported to be the final chapter of what is a dreadfully bad series. AMITYVILLE – THE FINAL CHAPTER (hereafter referred to as ATFC) follows the first John G. Jones book on this subject, AMITYVILLE HORROR II.
But wait, Jones did two more AMITYVILLE books after ATFC (neither of which I’ve read or even seen) and a sixth book was done by suspense novelist Karl Largeant under the pseudonym Robin Karl, so I guess nothing’s ever really final, is it?
The author of the original novel, Jay Anson, did not live to do a second book on the Amityville House. He suffered a fatal heart attack not long after the release of his next novel, 666.
Anson had negotiated and received a million dollar advance on 666 based upon the runaway success of his first book. Guess his years as a Hollywood publicist served him well when he started interjecting his own bits of BS (apart from those of the Lutz duo) into THE AMITYVILLE HORROR.
There was also a book released called MURDER IN AMITYVILLE by Hans Holzer, but I personally do not consider it to be part of this series because it takes a look at so-called “history” of the house before the DeFeo murders at 110 Ocean Avenue in the township of Amityville, NY. This, by the way, was the same area where the movie JAWS was filmed.
For what it’s worth, I haven’t read MURDER IN AMITYVILLE – not sure that I’m going to anytime soon because, to me, Holzer has some credibility issues as well.
With ATFC, Jones has penned a completely dippy, unbelievable tale of George and Kathy Lutz’s life in the wake of leaving Amityville. Mr. Jones even suggests that he, himself, was demonically attacked/controlled in this book prior to having even started the writing process on it. He is then exorcised and later goes on to write this novel. Oh, goodie.
Without explanation, the Lutz children (George was a stepfather to all three kids; they were Kathy’s from a previous marriage) – Danny, Chris and Missy – are mysteriously re-christened Greg, Matt and Amy in ATFC. Perhaps at this point the kids were sick of the supernatural shtick and asked not to be named in subsequent books. The dog, Harry, did NOT get renamed. Poor fella.
ATFC’s copyright is listed to Jones and both Lutzes, so this was an obvious, desperate attempt at sucking every buck out of the story some 10 years after they bought and then abandoned the Amityville House. It’s been suggested that the mortgage payments were too much for them and that, over a bottle of wine, the Lutzes and their attorney concocted the story that would become THE AMITYVILLE HORROR.
After all was said and done, I closed ATFC upon completing the final page and two thoughts immediately occurred to me:
1. Thank God I only paid a quarter for this.
2. This was not “writing” – this was merely typing.
George and Kathy divorced sometime in 1988. Kathy died later after battling a long illness. In what was amongst her last interviews (on the History Channel’s AMITYVILLE CONFIDENTIAL), she appeared to be toothless and was on oxygen, even though she was able to sit up in her chair and speak without wheezing or any other difficulty (unless it was edited out).
I believe George died later of a heart attack. He’d been making the rounds doing interviews again to promote the Michael Bay re-make of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR in 2005. George would go on to object to Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of him in the film because Lutz did not actually kill the family dog in real life (but does so in the movie).
Skip all these books, but ATFC especially. The only one remotely interesting that I’ve read is not in this series; it’s called HIGH HOPES: THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS by Gerard Sullivan and Harvey Aronson and is the non-supernatural story of Ronnie DeFeo and the murder of the DeFeo family. More than anything else, THAT was the real Amityville Horror.