The chilling legend of the Amityville Horror has been part of terror lure ever since Jay Anson authored the best-selling book about the paranormal experiences of the Lutz family in 1977.
The book would lead to a box office hit movie in 1979, and over the years, more than a dozen films have been part of the Amityville series.
The latest, “Amityville Harvest,” was released a week before Halloween and is available on streaming on-demand services—a perfect way to spend Oct. 31 night.
Kyle Lowder, who is best known for his daytime role as Rex Brady on Days of our Lives, stars in the film, portraying Vincent, a spooky host of the famed aging manor. When a documentary team led by reporter Christina (Sadie Katz) comes calling, cue the shocking dreams and bloody encounters as the crew members all fall under Vincent’s hypnotic spell.
“I’ve never done anything remotely close to a film like this before,” Lowder said. “I’ve always played the male romantic hero, so this was very daunting and challenging in the
beginning. Maybe some of my characters have had an edge, but here I am playing a horror villain in this particular genre.”
Shot in Los Angeles in an historical Victorian mansion, Lowder admitted filming was a bit creepy, but that only made the process that much more authentic. He and his castmates even had some ghost stories of their own from their time on the set, such as hearing footsteps above them when no one was there.
One interesting thing about shooting a horror film, he noted, is that the actors don’t hear all the scary music and creepy sound effects that appear in the finished film. Still, since shooting took place at night between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., Lowder shared there were plenty of freighting feelings around the set.
“The weird eerie feeling around these old homes really added to the atmosphere on the set,” he said. “I’ve seen the film and I have to say, it’s pretty scary. I’ve never done horror before, and it’s been cool to see the final product with all the music and sound effects.”
Lowder notes he’s been a horror fan for a long time, watching the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies in his younger days.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the Amityville story mainly because it actually happened—maybe not in the details the movie shows, but it’s a real thing,” he said. “When this project came across my plate, it immediately sparked something in me. To be part of this franchise was very exciting to me and this film does not disappoint as it celebrates the history and the lure of the Amityville franchise.”
Written and directed by Thomas J. Churchill, the supernatural film is already the talk of those who follow the horror genre.
“The film is a wonderful throwback to the horror films of yesteryear—not that it’s dated at all,” Lowder said. “There may be some exaggerated plot points, but I did not want Vincent Miller to be an exaggeration of a horror villain. Building the character was a wonderful process.”
To prepare for his role, the actor watched films like “Interview with a Vampire” and paid close attention to the tone, cadence and voices that Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas used in the film. He also watched the original “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi.
“I was in constant communication with Thomas as he created this character so I wanted to know what he had in mind,” Lowder said. “We didn’t want him to be a caricature of a vampire. We wanted him to be as real and authentic as possible.”
Now that Lowder has taken a bite of the horror genre, it’s something he hopes to get to do again.
“My career up to this point has been very specific in the roles that I’ve played and this is completely out of the box and I know I am capable of doing it,” he said. “I love this genre and am a fan of it, but also, I’m a fan of the process. I am hoping it leads to other opportunities in the genre for sure.”