(July 26, 1979)
HARTMAN: Back in November of 1975, six people were killed
in an awful mass murder – God knows its gotta be awful –
in a small town in Long Island. The town is called Amityville.
The murders took place in this house. One year later George and
Kathleen Lutz bought the house and they moved into it with their
three children. After living there for twenty-eight days, they
were convinced the house was possessed by some kind of evil force
and they left their belongings and they fled; and they were really
terrified. The events that supposedly took place there during
those twenty-eight days have been put down in a best selling book.
It's called The Amityville Horror, and there is now a
movie out, or about to come out, about the book. George and Kathleen
Lutz are with us this morning to talk about what happened during
those twenty-eight days in Amityville and James Brolin, a super
young man, actor.
JAMES BROLIN: Thank you.
DAVID HARTMAN: Yes. Much pleasure. Good to see you again, Jim.
He plays George Lutz in the movie, and Jim is with us this morning.
It's great seeing you again.
JAMES BROLIN: Great seeing you again.
DAVID HARTMAN: And Lutzes, good morning to you both.
DAVID HARTMAN: Alright, first of all, the book and the movie depict
all of these kind of weird, strange things that happened in that
house during those twenty-eight days when you were there. What
kinds of things, George, happened? Physically, what were some
of the things that happened that scared you?
Well at first, just moving into the house was fine. It's a lovely
house and we enjoyed moving in. Within a week Kathy's hand had
been touched by something that we discussed and couldn't explain.
It was just something unseen. It was in two...
DAVID HARTMAN: In the daylight or was it...
Yes, it was during the day.
We also had hoards of flies that would appear within two rooms.
And no matter how many times we would kill them, they would reappear.
DAVID HARTMAN: Alright now, flies can be a real problem in this
part of the country, in the summer, in any house. You know?
Sure. But if you have two or three or four within one room, that
could be commonplace.
GEORGE LUTZ: And it was the Winter.
KATHY LUTZ: But when you're talking over one
DAVID HARTMAN: And this was the Winter.
DAVID HARTMAN: And you're taking about how many?
Over one hundred flies at one time.
DAVID HARTMAN: Over a hundred.
And then you'd go around and kill them – they'd be lying
on the floor. You'd come back an hour later and they would be
there. More of them.
DAVID HARTMAN: Okay. There's something about green slime. What
was that? On the wall in the movie, there's green slime [that]
comes out of the walls? Right? George, did that happen?
As the movie did it, not exactly. No. It was more of a gelatin
kind of substance that we thought the children had somehow mixed
something up and spilled it around the house. The next time it
happened, the kids were at school, and there was just no way to
explain how it got there.
DAVID HARTMAN: Did you all call a contractor or a carpenter or
anybody to come and look and to try to...
KATHY LUTZ: We had several repairmen come in.
Telephone repairman came three times because each time we'd try
and communicate with the priest we would run into faulty connections.
We had extreme fluctuations in the heat, between forty and fifty
degree fluctuations. Three times the serviceman came in. One time
he was there, he heard the furnace functioning and yet there was
no heat within the house. The temperature was at forty and yet
the thermostat read eighty.
DAVID HARTMAN: But you had somebody inspect the entire heating
system? Goodness knows, those of us in the North know what can
happen with heating systems in a house, especially old houses.
George, there was also something about black in the toilets. The
water black and making the ceramic, the bowls or whatever black...
It was the china, itself, it wasn't in the water. The china itself
turned black and at first it was one bathroom and then another
and then another. So that by the time the investigators got there,
a number of them were still black. You know, they was still that
way. There was never any reasonable explanations.
DAVID HARTMAN: Did you have a plumber come in? I mean when you
first spotted it, did you have
No, it wasn't a problem with the water. The water was clean, it
DAVID HARTMAN: But did you invite any contractors, somebody like
that, just to say "hey, what's wrong with the toilets?"
DAVID HARTMAN: You didn't?
One of the things we found was the keyholes would ooze a black
substance which was of the same nature in appearance of that which
was on the porcelain in the toilets. And when the investigative
team came on March 6th, 1976, the substance was still on the keyholes,
and they were unable to obtain samples of it because it was never
in a moist condition. And they wouldn't do physical damage to
the door – in other words, carve out a piece of wood without
DAVID HARTMAN: Have either of you before had any experience with
the occult or the supernatural, ever before?
No. We didn't believe in it.
DAVID HARTMAN: Were you afraid for your children? Why didn't you
leave earlier than the twenty-eight days if you were terrified?
Well, it was our house. First of all, we had never intended to
give it up. Even after we moved out we intended to find out what
was wrong and move back in there. That's why the investigation
was held and people from different psychic research groups that
at least we could check their credentials were called in and asked
to come in. We've been asked many times why we stayed so long.
It's very hard to remember the exact emotions or the moments why
you would make a decision or why not.
DAVID HARTMAN: But you finally did make it, and you fled.
But by the time we left we had lost a considerable amount of weight.
Kathy was passing out quite regularly. I had lost over twenty-six
pounds and we were just reacting from one happening to another.
We weren't really...
DAVID HARTMAN: So you were genuinely shook-up...
Yes. We weren't thinking as we normally would.
DAVID HARTMAN: Jim, you play George in the movie. And you've researched
this and worked on it and so forth. And you smile. Do you believe
JAMES BROLIN: Do I? Yeah. And when I'm sitting here with them,
yes I do. And I've watched George and I've watched... You know,
you've been an actor David, and you kind of know how to watch
for tell-tale signs when you're doing research and watching the
people and we also...well, you get an insight. And I can't say
that looking over the story, I believe the book as it's presented,
totally. But sitting with these people, it's...
DAVID HARTMAN: Were you...
JAMES BROLIN: It's hard to deny a lot of the facts, too.
DAVID HARTMAN: Were you frightened?
JAMES BROLIN: George gave up a lot of money.
DAVID HARTMAN: Yeah. Were you frightened playing...
JAMES BROLIN: More than I think that he would make on the book.
Do you know what I mean?
DAVID HARTMAN: Yeah. [to the Lutzes – interrupts Kathy]
Why would you keep up working on this if it was terrifying and
not a pleasant experience? Why don't you just leave it behind
you and forget it and move on to other things?
Things of this nature happen quite frequently. And when they happen
DAVID HARTMAN: To you?
No, not to us. This is something we learned from the investigators
and psychics that came in. And when it happens to a family, usually
they close the door and they don't talk about it. And unless these
things are talked about, they'll never be understood.
DAVID HARTMAN: We went out when the movie was being filmed, Jim,
we went out to the house and talked to the couple who live in
the house – or did, a year ago – and they said they'd
had no problems whatsoever – everything was just fine –
and they implied that this is all a big hoax.
Well one of the things we are very happy with is, four weeks ago,
both of us were subjects of a polygraph test. It was given by
Chris Gugas and Michael Rice. And we both passed with flying colors.
Tested separately on it.
DAVID HARTMAN (to Brolin): Is the movie fun?
JAMES BROLIN: The movie is very effective. I, and I'll tell ya.
When I was sent the script, and you know, we're all at the mercy
of scripts in this business, I read it – and I was working
on another picture, I didn't have much time – and I read
it quickly and they wanted an answer. And I just thought "this
is going to make a terrific movie!" And when I called, I
said "let's get involved", and the agency said "why
don't you pick up the book tomorrow?" and I said "Oh
yeah, there's a book!" And then the next day I found out
it was a true story. I wasn't aware of it. And so my involvement
from the beginning was really sort of naive. And I just took it
as something that was going to be a wonderful movie and it is.
[smiling at George] I didn't realize what I was getting into.
DAVID HARTMAN: Ah. George and Kathy Lutz, thanks for joining us
Thank you very much.
DAVID HARTMAN: Living in Southern California. The weather is better
out there isn't it?
(laughs) Yes it is.