The house at 18 Brooks Drive in Toms River, New Jersey, is not haunted. Nor did ghastly murders take place there. But sure enough the house was featured in the 1979 mega hit 'The Amityville Horror.'

The movie 'The Amityville Horror' was based on events that supposedly happened in a Dutch Colonial house in the town of Amityville on Long Island, N.Y. According to Jay Anson's book 'The Amityville Horror,' the Lutz family lived there for 28 days before fleeing because it was haunted. The year before the Lutzes moved in, Ronald DeFeo murdered his mother, father, two brothers and sister there in 1974.
The house at 18 Brooks Drive in Toms River, New Jersey, is not haunted. Nor did ghastly murders take place there. But sure enough the house was featured in the 1979 mega hit 'The Amityville Horror.'

The movie 'The Amityville Horror' was based on events that supposedly happened in a Dutch Colonial house in the town of Amityville on Long Island, N.Y. According to Jay Anson's book 'The Amityville Horror,' the Lutz family lived there for 28 days before fleeing because it was haunted. The year before the Lutzes moved in, Ronald DeFeo murdered his mother, father, two brothers and sister there in 1974.

Filmmakers came to Toms River to recreate the Amityville house and after rearranging the facade a bit, it was showtime. The film starred James Brolin as George Lutz, who moves his family, which includes Margot Kidder as wife Kathleen Lutz, into a dream home that turns into a nightmare. Rod Steiger played the concerned Father Delaney. The family in the movie fled the house after a series of terrifying paranormal events. The original film spawned two direct sequels, which also featured the house on 18 Brooks Dr., a remake in 2005 (sans 18 Brooks Dr.) and a string of TV and straight-to-video variations.

Location As Character: It's all about the house. In the original movie, the house plays host to a bug infestation, oozes slime, opens doors, collapses stairs, moves furniture and bears a demonic pig named Jodie. 18 Brooks Dr. in Toms River and the land surrounding it nicely evokes the rustic charm of a Northeast fall -- all of which is spoiled by the evil inside. Incidentally, several scenes were shot around town, including the city's own hall at 33 Washington St., where Brolin's George Lutz visits, and the Sunken Garden at Georgian Court College in nearby Lakewood. That's where Father Bolen visits Father Delaney.

The house at 18 Brooks looks much different today. The facade has changed, the creepy eye shaped third-story windows are gone, it's now painted a light blue. Also, the house has been moved to bring it closer to the inlet behind it. A note: The actual house in Amityville, N.Y. is currently for sale.

Historical Significance: The word "Amityville" has become synonymous with terror. The book and movie were a phenomenon in the '70s, generating much interest in the case of the Amityville house and paranormal activity in general. The original movie grossed more than $86 million, a blockbuster in the '70s. In 2008, a group in nearby Seaside Heights (yep, where TV's 'Jersey Shore' is filmed) held an 'Amityville Film Festival' to mark the 30th anniversary of the filming of 'The Amityville Horror' in Toms River.

Directions: The house at 18 Brooks Dr. is located just off Exit 82 on the Garden State Parkway. After exiting at 82, take Route 37 east for a short distance and make a right on Main Street. Go south through town about less than a mile, then make a left on East Water Street. Follow the street until you come to Brooks Drive, then make a right. The house is the second on right.

Visitor Info: 18 Brooks Dr. is a private residence, so please be respectful of the neighborhood.
CATEGORIES On the Scene