The True Story Behind The Amityville Murders To Be Explored In Epix Docuseries

Jay Anson's 1977 book "The Amityville Horror" has yielded over 30 theatrical and direct-to-video films since it was first published, starting with the original 1979 feature starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder, and Rod Steiger. That's not even counting "The Conjuring" movie series, which centers on fictionalized versions of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life paranormal investigators and married couple who gained recognition through their involvement in the Amityville case (as seen at the beginning of "The Conjuring 2").

While the facts of the alleged Amityville hauntings have been disputed and attributed to a hoax conceived over wine, the supernatural stories that arose out of the famous house — with windows like eyes — were grounded in a history of real mass murder, committed by a man named Ronald Defeo Jr. against his own family members while they slept. Now, the true story behind the multiple homicides at "The Amityville Horror" house is about to become the subject of a documentary TV series on the premium channel Epix.

Per Variety, "The Making of a Haunting: The Amityville Murders" is one of three new docuseries that Epix has greenlit, along with "Women Who Rock" and a second season of "NFL Icons." "The Making of a Haunting: The Amityville Murders" will be delivered in four parts and promises to chronicle "the true history behind the scary stories told in the book and film series, 'The Amityville Horror.'"

"The Making of a Haunting: The Amityville Murders" is a B17 Entertainment production. Executive producers include Lesley Chilcott, Blaine Duncan, Brooklyn Hudson, Amanda Raymond, Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher.

The True-Crime Version of Events

Epix is the home of "Chapelwaite," the Adrien Brody-led adaptation of Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" prequel, "Jerusalem's Lot." That show has also been renewed now for a second season, so Epix is clearly making a bid to attract some horror fans with it and "The Making of a Haunting: The Amityville Murders." However, based on what little we know of this series so far, it sounds like "Amityville" will be less focused on anything supernatural (i.e. demons) and more focused on true crime. 

The last high-profile "Amityville" film to be released theatrically was "Amityville: The Awakening," which bowed in 2017. That movie had one of the worst opening weekends of all time, and since then, the "Amityville" franchise has been relegated to limited theatrical and direct-to-video releases.

I can't claim to be the biggest "Amityville" fan or expert, and if we're being honest, the last time I really invested any time in this franchise was back in 2005 when the remake of the original film — starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, and Philip Baker Hall — hit theaters. I do remember Reynolds, the suburban father, having improbable washboard abs.

"The Amityville Horror" is one of those films, like "Poltergeist," that could almost be seen as a form of suburban folk horror, since it makes use of the cliche of the "ancient Indian burial ground." For anyone who finds that kind of thing hard to swallow in the 2020s — but who still might be interested in the true-crime aspect of the Amityville case — "The Making of a Haunting: The Amityville Murders" might be just what the doctor ordered.