Through the Black Hole » THE AMITYVILLE MURDER HOUSE – review and interview with Andrew J. Rausch

THE AMITYVILLE MURDER HOUSE – review and interview with Andrew J. Rausch

Written by Tony Northrup

The amityville murder house

Andrew J. Rausch is a family man, father, editor, interviewer, expert on Pop Culture, but he’s also an extremely talented author of nearly fifty published books. His topics range from directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Ed Wood, to books about films, as well as Hip Hop music, to sharing his thoughts on author Stephen King. However, whatever Andrew writes, he pours his heart and soul into it, drawing the reader completely in.

This can also be said for Andrew’s fictional books as well. His latest novel, THE AMITYVILLE MURDER HOUSE is a gripping, suspense filled story that leaves you guessing to the very end.

THE AMITYVILLE MURDER HOUSE is a story that takes place in correlation with the famous horror franchise: The Amityville Horror. There have been many books and movies that surround the terrifying house in Amityville, New York. There is still a huge world-wide fan base that can’t get enough of this haunted house.

Most of us know the story of the Amityville house: A family moves in only to be haunted by spirits and worse! Depending on which book you read or movie you watch, those “spirits” could be of the victims of the son who killed his whole family before the Lutz’s moved in and experienced their own terrors. In the film, the Lutz family even claimed the gate to hell itself was in their very own basement! There have been many sequels (many straight to DVD) that came after the original, and some were not as close to the true version of the first film, therefore, losing some integrity along the way.

Andrew J. Rausch has brought us back to that Amityville universe with his latest novel. In Andrew’s story, Josh Dodd, a pop culture fan of sorts, gets the idea to travel to Amityville, New York with his wife Jen, to see the famous Amityville House. However, Josh doesn’t just view the house, he ends up buying it! As it turns out this is not the famed Amityville home, but another haunted house nearby that turns out to be the authentic haunted house of Amityville, and is definitely not all that it seems. Ghosts, spirits, fun goings on, and terror fill this book which has a very “Twilight Zone” feel to it, and includes many twists and turns. This book will definitely keep the reader guessing to the very end.

THE AMITYVILLE MURDER HOUSE is a rollercoaster ride, and once you reach the top…HANG ON! Gripping and creepy, with an ending that leaves you guessing. This book is a must read for any horror fan who loves the Amityville series of films, as well as a great read for any horror fan.

I highly recommend Andrew J. Rausch’s…THE AMITYVILLE MURDER HOUSE.

Andrew was kind enough to take a moment for a quick Q/A session with me. I hope you enjoy it!

Anthony Northrup – You have written over 50 books with a wide range of topics. What inspired you to write a story surrounding one of the biggest horror franchises: The Amityville Horror?
Andrew J Rausch – I like horror and have dabbled in it some in the past (although I’m primarily known for writing crime/noir). I just got a wild idea with this book and ran with it. I thought a haunted house story might be fun. I thought the basic concept for my story was so weird that it could be interesting. The idea was, there is a second fairly well-known haunted house in Amityville. A Kansas husband drags his wife there so he can see the house for a possible podcast he wants to do. They end up buying the house, and lots of strange things happen. The story of the original Amityville house has been fairly well debunked now. Additionally, Lutz’s lawyer claimed to have helped the family create the story. So I imagined that the story the Lutz family told everyone was actually a fabrication based on incidents that had actually taken place at this other local haunted house, which has come to be known as “The Amityville Murder House.” It was a fun story to write, and I wanted to do some new things in a genre in which it seemed there was nothing new to be done. I think I accomplished that. At least I hope so.

AN – Before, or during the writing of this book, did you watch the Amityville films, or re-read the novel to get into the “spirit” of things?
AJR – I did re-read the book. I also read some other haunted house novels. One of those was, of course, The Shining. I also discovered a great novel by Bentley Little titled The Haunted. I also read Burnt Offerings, which is supposed to be a classic, while I was writing this. Sadly, I thought Burnt Offerings was a dud. But mostly, I just used my imagination and made up a bunch of stuff. I also found an actual cool-looking house in Amityville, and based my description of my fictitious house on that one’s appearance. I actually looked at a lot of houses that were for sale in Amityville as I was trying to decide what my house should look like. Humorously, because of that, I continue to receive e-mails from a realtor in Amityville who thinks I actually want to purchase a house there.

AN – How long was the writing process from start to finish?
AJR – It took four months to write the first draft. I then spent another six weeks working on another three or four drafts. That’s about how long it generally takes for me to complete a novel. I wasn’t sure at first, but once I figured out who my protagonist was, it was smooth sailing from there.

AN – Let’s talk about your two lead characters, Josh and Jen. What kind of inspirations, backgrounds, or real life people helped create these very realistic characters?
AJR – Jen wasn’t based on any real person. I just created her. I tried to get inside her head and figure out who she was. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman and walk around in a woman’s shoes, so I tried to focus on the universal truths and similarities that people generally share. Jen was the first female protagonist I’ve ever written in a full-length novel. Josh was another story altogether. He was based on parts of myself and most of the Gen-X pop culture geeks I know; but only the very worst, most annoying aspects of them. While there are some pop culture geek women out there, it seems like it’s usually the pop culture geek man trying to shove these movies, comics, and TV shows down the woman’s throat. In most of the situations I’ve seen, the woman accepts this to a certain degree and goes along with it. So I put myself in her shoes and tried to figure out how much she might be annoyed by that. It turned out it was quite a bit! I also tend to loathe the “well, actually” guys who think they know everything and feel the need to correct everyone. So I added some of that into the mix as well.

AN – Writing horror is not an easy task. What kind of movies or music did you watch or listen to that inspired you to get in the groove to write this book?
AJR – None. I’m actually one of those people who need absolute silence to think and create. I love Stephen King, but I can’t imagine how he writes while listening to loud rock music. I have actually tried to listen to movie scores while I write, but that doesn’t work much for me either.

AN – Would you call this a sequel or a midquel (a story that takes place within the time frame of the franchise universe)?
AJR – I don’t know what to call this book in terms of its connection to Jay Anson’s Amityville Horror book and all of the Amityville movies that have been made. I just thought it might be cool to have this house, this completely different story, taking place in that same world. As you know, the characters in my book even take a tour of the original Amityville house. But really, my story really is its own thing. But… I will tell you this: when I started this novel, I had no idea there were all these ridiculous “Amityville” straight-to-video movies coming out. Have you seen these? I’m talking about dreck like Amityville in Space and Amityville Karen. I learned about these while I was in the process of writing my novel, and I actually considered scrapping my book because of them. God forbid my novel gets lumped in with those. My book is absolutely nothing like those. My book is a classic haunted house novel with a few new twists. No one goes to space.

AN – Lastly, will there be a sequel to your new book?
AJR – There will be no sequel to this book. This was just one and done. I had a fun idea for a book, and then I wrote it. It was fun, but I have no desire to return to that world.

Andrew’s interest with the Amityville Horror has certainly earned him a rightful place in the Amityville universe with this new book. Thank you Andrew, for taking the time to let us in on some of your inspirations and insights a bit more with this project. We certainly appreciate it!

Posted in Horror and Interviews and Nonfiction by Tony Northrup on February 13th, 2023 at %I:%M %p.

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