The 3 best Amityville horror documentaries (and 2 honorable mentions)

Amityville: An Origin Story Season 1 Episode 101 - Courtesy MGM+
Amityville: An Origin Story Season 1 Episode 101 - Courtesy MGM+ /

Amityville: An Origin Story, the most recent documentary about the Amityville horror house, premiered on MGM+ this past April.  But how did it stack up compared to other Amityville horror documentaries that have preceded it?

Based on IMDb ratings, it’s the best yet. But what defines best? In this case, it constitutes Amityville horror documentaries with an IMDb rating of 6 stars or above.

But two others scored solid 5s, so you’ll find them in the honorable mention section.

The best Amityville horror documentaries

3. Amityville Confidential (2005) – 6.2

This History Channel documentary was among the first to analyze the notorious house that inspired the 1977 best-selling book The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, which went on to become a blockbuster movie of the same name in 1979. (And ever since has resulted in sequels, remakes and spin-offs.)

Amityville Confidential set the benchmark for the future Amityville horror house documentaries, which have continued to improve over the years.

Amityville house window change - Amityville horror documentaries
Jun 15, 2021; Amityville, NY, USA; An exterior view of a house on Ocean Avenue in Amityville, NY. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY NETWORK /

2. Shock Docs: Amityville Horror House (2020) – 6.3

Ryan Reynolds, who starred in the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror, called it “the greatest American haunted house story ever told.” (“It” being the house’s overall history, not just the movie.)

Travel Channel’s Shock Doc naturally focused more on the house’s alleged paranormal activity, including the investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren. It went all-in on the premise that, hands-down, the house is haunted, no hoax here.

1. Amityville: An Origin Story (2023) – 6.6

An ABC News article about the “horror vs. hoax” debate ends with this statement: “After nearly three decades, there is very little proof either way — though no one who has lived in the house on Ocean Avenue since the Lutzes has reported any strange activity.”

That article was published on Oct. 31, 2002. Twenty-plus years later, that sentence still rings true.

And it’s the angle Amityville: An Origin Story explores: “Is it a truth, or is it a hoax? Time to set the record straight.”

Do they?

Yes and no.

The four-part docuseries is the most thorough examination yet of the whole story, from the DeFeo family murders to the Lutz’s alleged 28 days of terror in the house that sparked the book and movie. It contains many never-before-heard-from friends and neighbors of both the DeFeos and the Lutzes. It also features Christopher Quaratino (formerly known as Christopher Lutz) sharing candid memories of his time in the house and the trauma that resulted from his family’s fame.

But, of course, it concludes with a potentially ominous observation Hans Holzer once made:

"“The house will continue to be a timebomb. Ticking away, ticking away. One fine day, someone will move into that house who has some of the qualities of young Ronald DeFeo, Jr., —and it will start all over again.”"

Amityville horror documentaries: Honorable mentions

My Amityville Horror (2012) – 5.4

This documentary also had one of the Lutz children coming forward, in this case, Daniel. Was he really haunted? He shares his side of the story.

It also featured footage of interviews and analysis with investigator Laura DiDio, reporter Marvin Scott, and journalist Joel Martin, as well as archival footage of Ronald DeFeo, Jr., and George and Kathy Lutz. (Much of which is also used in Amityville: An Origin Story and Famously Haunted: Amityville.)

Famously Haunted: Amityville (2021) – 5.9

On any given day, IMDb ratings may fluctuate. The day I checked, the Tubi original Famously Haunted: Amityville, clocked in at a 5.9, just narrowly missing the 6.0 cut-off to be considered among “the best” Amityville horror documentaries.

It’s solid, though. And contains many familiar faces from the other docs, as well as some others who speak to the paranormal and horror aspects, like paranormal investigators Stephanie Burke and TikTok star Beckie-Ann Galentine.

dark. Next. Interview: Jack Riccobono, director of MGM+ series Amityville: An Origin Story