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Director Andrew Douglas Talks About "The Amityville Horror"

Interview from the Hollywood Premiere of "The Amityville Horror"


Andrew Douglas Amityville Horror

Director Andrew Douglas at the Hollywood Premiere of "The Amityville Horror"

© Rebecca Murray
Remaking “The Amityville Horror:” After tackling the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake, producers Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller were looking for their next project when they were bombarded with horror remake scripts. Nothing really attracted their interest until they came up with the idea to remake “The Amityville Horror.” The 1979 film was a big box office success and according to Bay, Form and Fuller, the story was ripe to be retold.

Fully aware of how remakes and sequels are perceived by the public, the producers felt there was enough material in the Jay Anson book to warrant a new version of “The Amityville Horror” and that horror fans would be willing to accept another look at the story of the Lutz family.

After hiring screenwriter Scott Kosar to come up with a script, the producers settled on commercial director Andrew Douglas to helm the project. As with the original book and the first film, this “Amityville Horror” follows the story of George and Kathy Lutz who, along with their young children, endured 28 days of hell while living in a house in Amityville, Long Island.

What a Successful Commercial Director Brings to a Feature Film: After directing hundreds of commercials, including ads for Nike, Coca-Cola, and Verizon, Andrew Douglas was offered the chance to make “The Amityville Horror” as his directorial feature film debut. Douglas knew it would be a tough transition, but he also recognized why he got the job. “I think what they’re expecting me to bring to it was a look. I think that’s why they import us from commercials, to kind of give genre films, especially like horror films or action films, a look. Because what our day job is to some extent is the new thing, the new thing, the new thing… I hope I brought something else as well, because I tried hard to. Who knows? I don’t know. I can’t tell. I tried to bring a level of performance sophistication to a horror film, as well.”

Casting Ryan Reynolds Might Not Appear to be the Obvious Choice: “No, but when you see him you’ll completely understand why. And Melissa [George] actually. They bring such a level of talent to it that is surprising in a horror film actually. I hope it makes it a bit more durable.”

The Desire to Make This Version a More Character-Driven, Psychological Thriller Than the Original Film: “I would like to say so but you know you’ll be a better judge of that than me, really. I mean, certainly I tried to make it so. It was where I was the most nervous as a newbie. Because I felt I was completely competent in the imagery and I have a grisly imagination, so I made the scares as horrible as I could. Where I was a bit scared was in directing first division talent because I’d never done it. So I worked hard at that I had a good time doing that.”

Was Director Douglas Nervous About Doing a Remake?: “No. you know, it’s a generation ago. I remember it, you may remember it, but really a lot of people don’t. It was a good film at the time, but it’s a great story.

It’s funny because a lot of horror films are more or less telling the same story. You know, ‘The Shining’ and ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Amityville’ are terribly close. It seems to me they’re a little bit like fairy tales anyway. They’re interchangeable and you know they are perennials. We can tell them again. [You] just tell it a different way and tell it for another generation and maybe emphasize one thing or another. I think that’s completely legitimate. And it didn’t bother me at all. Not really.”

Does the Director of “The Amityville Horror” Believe the Story?: “I sure believe the serial killing because that’s documented. And I’m inclined to believe the other just because if I doubt the other, that means when I die, I’m dead. But if I believe there are ghosts then maybe I’ll have another go-round.”

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