'Amityville Horror' house on the market for $1.15 million
Why the fuss? This listing on Long Island's south shore, for $1.15 million, is the "Amityville Horror" house, where six members of the DeFeo family were killed in their sleep in 1974. The eldest son, Ronald DeFeo Jr., was convicted of the murders. But don't expect that notoriety to increase the house's value.
According to Jay Anson's 1977 book, "The Amityville Horror: A True Story," George and Kathleen Lutz bought the house about a year after the infamous murders and moved in on Dec. 23, 1975. During their brief stay in the home, the couple reported a cultist's list of paranormal activity. including swarms of flies in the dead of winter, the recurring image of a demon, green slime oozing from walls and the front door slamming at night.
In January 1976, the Lutzes and their kids hightailed it out of the "haunted" house, leaving behind personal possessions, a slew of media stories and a never-ending caravan of the curious. Subsequent owners reported no paranormal activity.
The Oscar-nominated (best score) cult classic "The Amityville Horror," starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as the Lutzes, was followed by a number of sequels and a 2005 remake of the original.
But does all that movie fame mean the house is more valuable?
"No. Quite the reverse," says Christian Stevens, a prominent Beverly Hills agent with Keller Williams Realty. "People don't want to live in home that's on the Top Five list of places to see on tour buses. No one advertises these homes as 'seen in this or that movie' -- it would be the kiss of death."
Stevens says that the owner of the former William Randolph Hearst/Marion Davies estate in Beverly Hills, in which the unforgettable horse-in-the-bed scene was shot for "The Godfather," had to increase the height of the property's landscaping to keep gawkers away.
Homes in which infamous murders took place don't fare much better.
"No one wanted to buy the Benedict Canyon house in which Sharon Tate was murdered," says Stevens. The Beverly Hills home in which Eric and Kyle Menendez murdered their parents "sold a couple of times," says Stevens. "It never was advertised as the 'Menendez home!'"
So good luck with the "Amityville Horror" home sale. Crime, as they say, doesn't pay. Neither, apparently, does horror-film cult status. In real estate, anyway.