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In order to fully understand how popular The Amityville Horror was, a brief history of the story and book must be revealed. This book has sold nearly ten million copies from the time it was written in 1977 until present day. This is an extraordinary number and it continues to rise today. According to Benjamin Radford, a film critique, this book has caused the spawning of many different movie versions and has at least seven different spin-offs from the original story. Just a few of these stories have been continued in a series of books by John G. Jones. These are The Amityville Horror Part II (1982), Amityville - The Final Chapter (1985), Amityville - The Evil Escapes (1988) and Amityville - The Horror Returns (1989). In 1991, Amityville - The Nightmare Continues, by Robin Karl, was published. The original movie made nearly $402,500,000 worldwide.
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There were many different events that took place between 1960 and 1970 that could explain the popularity of The Amityville Horror. Some of these events that took place are the Civil Rights Movement, the Watergate Scandal, America’s Bicentennial, but the primary reason for the popularity of The Amityville Horror was the creation of the movie, The Exorcist. According to Danielle Wiggins, a movie critique, "The Exorcist is an Academy Award-winning 1973 American horror film, adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl, and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests" (Wiggins). This film was the beginning of the new paranormal craze in the 70’s. This film shocked many people and also made people question their beliefs.
The other event that caused the increased popularity of The Amityville Horror is the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War is known as one of the worst battles that America has ever participated in. This is because we have never lost in warfare and it was considered a pointless war that we should have never been involved in. This war affected many American lives physically and emotionally. After the government realized what a mistake it was to be at war with Vietnam, they quickly withdrew forces. This was more of a political defeat than a military defeat. The government was secretive and kept many details from the American people. During this time, America was already rebuilding after World War II and trying to lead a life of success. After the American people discovered what the government had done, all faith was lost. People began to question everything the government had to say and no longer felt safe. The "American Dream" seemed as if it were no more than an impossible dream.
Both of these events drastically increased the popularity of The Amityville Horror. The creation of The Exorcist was an instant success and made people wonder about anything paranormal. This movie inspired many to create similar movies and write similar books. Due to the high success of The Exorcist, demonology became an extremely interesting subject. This may have some reason behind the success of The Amityville Horror. The Exorcist is extremely similar to The Amityville Horror in several different ways. For instance, they both involve possession of demons and they both involve a priest that tries to rid the demons. Since The Amityville Horror was based on a true event, people became extremely interested and everyone wanted to learn more.
Also during this time, the Vietnam War took place. This event may have also had some effect on the popularity of this event. The American people have always had a dream to live in a large house with a healthy family and be extremely wealthy. Due to this war, this dream seemed impossible. The movie may have had a subliminal message about America because it showed this family in danger of losing everything they had because of this unexpected force. Every other family in American during this time was also in danger of losing all they possessed because the war affected everyone. In The Amityville Horror, this family was able to obtain a large Dutch Colonial home for only $80,000. This house had 6 bedrooms, spacious living room, formal dining room, enclosed porch, 3.5 bathrooms, finished basement, 2 car garage, heated pool, and a large boathouse (Anson). This was an offer no one could refuse, even though an entire family was murdered there several years earlier. The Vietnam War had the entire country curious about what they should and should not believe because they witnessed that the government that is sworn to protect them could not be trusted. Although the Vietnam War was not directly linked with this story, it could be implied if one were to look at it in a deeper meaning.
In conclusion, these two events during the time of The Amityville Horror may not have been directly related with the story itself, but it does question the fact that there may have been some sort of subliminal message behind this story. Some may question the fact that The Exorcist or even the Vietnam War had anything to do with the popularity of The Amityville Horror, but there are strong facts saying otherwise. This is an extremely popular story and its popularity has carried over into our generation. Something during this time may explain exactly why it is so popular, if it were not for The Exorcist and the Vietnam War, who know just how popular The Amityville Horror would have been.