Dead Pool 23rd April 2023

With the sad passing of Barry Humphries, Sarai scores 61 points, well done her, although it was me who suggested him as she couldn’t think of another name… Sheesh! I do better on other peoples lists than my own! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Sir Michael Parkinson made a rare public appearance to celebrate his friend Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird’s 90th birthday. The broadcaster, 88, looked smart yet emaciated as he laughed and joked with pals at Leeds’ Headingley Stadium. The former BBC talk show host was one of 230 guests who joined Bird for a special lunch in the Howard Suite at Yorkshire’s headquarters to mark his milestone. ‘I was in hospital three weeks ago but I was determined to be here because he is my oldest friend,’ said 88-year-old Parky, who used to play cricket with Bird at Barnsley. ‘He is an extraordinary human being. He is one of the most remarkable men I have ever met. And he is the soul of cricket. I am proud to call him a mate.’ Former ECB and Yorkshire chair Colin Graves, the county’s interim chair Baroness Grey-Thompson, ex-Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson and former England spinner Jack Birkenshaw also attended the lunch. ‘Ninety not out — it’s a good age!’ Bird told the Flying Monkeys. ‘I’ll try to go on longer now. Get to 95. A hundred is a big haul but I’ll be trying! I’ve enjoyed the day very much. I would have liked to have gone round all the people and thanked them individually for coming. I was so delighted to see Parky because he’s been my friend all these years. I was so grateful that he came.’  

Much-loved radio legend, Tony Blackburn was absent from his show last week due to illness and has said it may be some time before he’s back. 80-year-old Blackburn, was unable to host his weekly Radio 2 show, Sounds of the Sixties due to a chest infection, and his old friend Johnny Walker, 78, stepped in to take over. In a tweet yesterday, he tried to reassure worried listeners that he was okay. The statement read ‘The infection I have is requiring more treatment than initially thought and it means I am having to reschedule the Sounds of the 60’s Tour for the moment in order to recover fully. All tickets booked will be automatically transferred to the new dates and you will be notified of this change by your ticket provider. I am sorry for the disruption, and I really am looking forward to getting back on the road with the band.’ Tony added: ‘I hope to be back on the radio as soon as possible but it might be a few weeks before I am able to get back in the studio. As you know, I am passionate about my radio shows, and I will be back as quickly as I safely can. I want to thank all of the listeners who have sent their well-wishes and messages of support. I do read them all and it really means a lot. I also want to thank @BBCRadio2, @7digitalCreativ and @BBC Local Radio teams for all their understanding and support. @senbla are the promoters of the tour and have been incredible as have the theatres who have been very understanding of the situation. Finally, to all the nurses, Dr’s and support staff at Barnet General hospital who I spent a few days with over the last week, thank you for looking after me. You are brilliant!’  

Sam Smith was forced to cancel his gig in Glasgow just hours before he was due on stage after being struck down with a mystery virus. The singer, 30, had been due to perform at the OVO Hydro Arena on Saturday night but pulled out, disappointing his two fans who were due to see him perform. Sam took his Instagram on Friday to deliver the devastating blow to his two fans, writing a heartfelt apology on his page. The pop star explained that he and his team were feeling “really unwell” and needed to reschedule. Sam wrote on Instagram: “Sailors, I’m so sorry to say but we have to reschedule the Glasgow show to 25th May 2023. Myself and a lot of my team have been hit with a virus, that’s made us really unwell. I want to give you the best version of Gloria the Tour and at the moment that’s not possible. It was also really important to me that we had another date to move this to straight away. We will celebrate Gloria together!! All previous tickets are still valid for the new date. For any more information go to my website. All my love, Sam.” Sam has recently sparked a heated conversation online once again thanks to another ‘controversial’ performance. While his fans who were in the audience seem to love his tour aesthetics and themes, critics have taken aim at the non-binary idiot – accusing him of giving ‘satanic’ and ‘sexualised’ performances. Sam – who uses they/them pronouns, mainly because he’s fat enough to be two people – dresses in a series of eye-catching looks for his latest tour, with red devil horns, sheer veils, wire crowns, nipple tassels and fishnets all making appearances throughout the performances. The Unholy hitmaker’s tour also includes the use of religious imagery and clips from Sam’s show circulating online have prompted many of the singer’s critics to slam the star and accuse him of seeking attention via his ‘sexualised’ performances.

On This Day

  • 1661 – King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • 1985 – Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.
  • 2005 – The first YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo”, was published by co-founder Jawed Karim.    


The True Story Behind ‘The Amityville Horror’

The history of the horror genre is filled with movies based on actual events, for what is scarier than the evil found in reality. Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs are all loosely based on the killer Ed Gein. The Conjuring and Annabelle films are based on the stories told by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. The most famous horror film based on a true story, however, is the 1979 fearfest, The Amityville Horror.

The movie was so popular that it inspired a franchise of forgettable sequels, and even a Ryan Reynolds-led remake in 2005, but none could match the impact of the original. Starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder, and Rod Steiger, The Amityville Horror was a big box office hit thanks to its “too scary to be true” story. It pulls from the 1977 book of the same name by Jay Anson, a work itself that was very popular, but also controversial due to claims and lawsuits about what was true and what was made up.

So what is the true story behind The Amityville Horror? Simply put, the film is about a man and his wife and children who move into a house where another man once killed his family. They quickly come to find that the house is haunted and their lives in danger. While the supernatural aspects can be debated, what can’t be questioned is the inciting event. 

The film gets its name due to what once happened in Amityville, New York, a town on Long Island. On November 13th 1974, in a house that looks almost exactly like the famous one from the movie, a 23-year-old man by the name of Ronald J DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family with a rifle while they slept in their beds at night. Killed were his parents, Ronald Sr. and Louise, along with his young brothers and sisters, Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John.

At first, DeFeo claimed he had found their bodies after the murders, and even blamed the mass killing on a hitman, but by the next day, he confessed his sins and admitted that it was he who had killed his entire family. The “why” behind his crimes was never clear, as his story changed over the years. First, he said he heard voices. Later, he said other members of his family helped him. Many have tried to figure it out themselves. Was DeFeo after his father’s life insurance money? Did he have a psychotic break? Did his history of drug use play a role? Or was it something supernatural and unexplainable? It was a story that stuck with people. How could a man kill his entire family like that, and how could he do it all alone without the neighbours or any of his family hearing the gunshots! None of them got out of bed, or fought back! DeFeo was found guilty of the murders at trial and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. It was there he stayed until his death in 2021.  

While this is mentioned in the film, it’s what happens next that is the focus of The Amityville Horror. A year later George and Kathy Lutz (who would be portrayed by Brolin and Kidder), bought the house on the cheap, aware of the home’s grisly history, and moved in with Kathy’s three young children. The couple had the house blessed by a priest named Father Ralph Pecoraro, who claimed he heard a mysterious deep voice telling him to get out. It was then that he said he was slapped by an unseen force, and later blisters formed on his hands.

When the Lutzs moved in, the traditional haunted house tropes began. Doors slammed on their own. Beds moved. Ooze formed on the carpet. Strange smells came and went. And the house stayed extremely cold no matter how they tried to heat it. George said he would wake up at almost 3:15 am every night, the same time the murders happened. One night, he said he even woke to find Kathy levitating over the bed. Less than a month into living in their new home, the family bailed, leaving everything behind.

Naturally, paranormal investigators wanted to get involved and visited the house in droves. Among them were the famous couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren, of The Conjuring and Annabelle fame. Nothing out of the ordinary was ever noticed by those who visited the house, outside of a photo taken that claimed to be the ghost of one of the young murdered DeFeo children. Many, though, claim that it was most likely a member of the team and probably a hoax. While she didn’t see anything, Lorraine Warren said she could feel a presence, telling CNN in a 2005 interview that what happened in the house was, “the personification of evil, how evil can personify itself, how it can be attracted in certain situations.” 

It is true that the Lutzs only lived in the home for 28 days. It is true that investigators descended on the home. But what can’t be proven are the paranormal claims the family made. Many have determined that the Lutzs made it all up for financial claim, as the popular book is based on conversations with the family. Before speaking with the book’s author, George Lutz contacted DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, who was trying to get a book written about his client. Weber told ABC how Lutz got drunk when telling his story and how he was just “creating ideas.” When asked if Weber believed Lutz, he said, “Absolutely not, because they were making a commercial venture.”

It was indeed such a venture, for the Lutzs’ reportedly made $300,000 for Anson’s book. There are so many claims about the haunting all being a hoax for financial gain, from reports that the priest never visited the home to reports that the police were never called even though the book said that they were. It should be noted that no other family who has lived inside the home since (and a family lives there to this very day) have ever claimed to experience supernatural events there. 

You could go back and forth with those who believe in ghosts and demons and buy every aspect of the Lutzs’ story, and those who don’t believe and think it’s all BS. That controversy, after all, is part of the appeal over all of these decades, for a haunted house existing in reality is just too surreal for many.

Whether the Lutzs’ story is true or not doesn’t really matter. A book and movie came out of it, but no one was harmed. It’s the actual 100% true story with the DeFeos where the real horror is found. More frightening than things that go bump in the night is the reality of a human being giving into an indescribable madness and committing the most horrific crime imaginable. Ghosts and ooze and mysterious voices are all creepy, but it’s the news stories we hear about that keep us up at night. Only the Lutzs know if they’re lying or not. Ronald J DeFeo Jr. wasn’t lying about what he did. That really happened and there are six graves all together in a cemetery to prove it. The only mystery is the motive. DeFeo was always changing his story, and only he knew the real one from the lies. He took that with him to his own grave, leaving a mystery that has captivated millions for almost half a century.

Last Week’s Birthdays

John Cena (46), Dev Patel (33), John Hannah (61), Lee Majors (84), Gemma Whelan (42), Blair Brown (77), John Oliver (46), Jack Nicholson (86), Amber Heard (37), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (57), John Waters (77), Sheryl Lee (56), James McAvoy (44), Andie MacDowell (65), Toby Stephens (54), Tony Danza (72), Iggy Pop (76), Andy Serkis (59), Clint Howard (64), Veronica Cartwright (74), Jessica Lange (74), Ryan O’Neal (82), Carmen Electra (51), George Takei (86), Nicholas Lyndhurst (62), Michael Brandon (78), Hayden Christensen (42), James Franco (45), Tim Curry (77), Kate Hudson (44), Ashley Judd (55), David Tennant (52), Rick Moranis (70), Hayley Mills (77), James Woods (76), Eli Roth (51), Conan O’Brien (60), Jennifer Garner (51), Rooney Mara (38), Sean Bean (64), and David Bradley (81).

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