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— by Larry Carroll

For generations, it's been the American dream: a house big enough for the whole family, with a white picket fence, a yard for the dog, a roomy front porch and walls streaming with blood.

Some homes, it seems, need a little more fixing up than others.

 You find yourself trapped in a horror movie — what do you do? Melissa George and Ryan Reynolds offer some expert advice.

In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into their newly bought Long Island dream home — a house where, a few years earlier, a multiple murder had taken place. Twenty-eight days later, they fled in terror, convinced that an evil presence wanted them gone. In 1979, James Brolin and Margot Kidder portrayed the couple in the blockbuster horror film "The Amityville Horror," based on a best-selling 1977 book about what happened in the house after the Lutz family moved in. And now, a quarter-century later, Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George check in to the house with the legendarily creepy, eye-like windows for a version of the story that claims to be closer to the original account of the haunting — and a hell of a lot scarier.

As a former assassin on TV's "Alias," the radiant George knows the pleasures of making people jump. "I think it makes you feel alive when you're in the audience," the actress insists. "That's the thrill, getting scared just from watching a movie."

Reynolds agrees. "People like to be provoked," he says. "When you're watching a horror movie, you feel alive. Your senses are on overload. You're having endorphin rushes left, right and center. And it's a great date thing to do, taking a date to a horror movie. The greatest way to have a girl clinging to you is having her clinging to you terrified for her life."

 On The Set: Watch Sway get spooked at "The Amityville Horror" house

 Click here for a lot more on "The Amityville Horror"

Although Reynolds and George might believe that those are the reasons horror movies make so much money, real fans know the real truth: there's nothing like the joy of watching people dumber than you getting killed. "It's a situation where only [the person in the house] knows what to do," George says of the dumb-victim theory. "You can always look at it as an audience member and say, 'Oh they should have gotten out of the house.' But you don't know that. When you're in the house, living a horror film, it's different."

Reynolds, who made a name for himself in comedic fare like "Van Wilder," says that while the original movie has become a classic, this updated version is far more terrifying. "They're two totally separate movies," he claims. "In fact, so much so that I wouldn't call it a remake. I feel like the original 'Amityville Horror' is so old, and that in that genre, in particular, it's hard to stay current. It's just so dated; the true story is so terrifying that I felt it was one of the truly worthwhile remakes."

His leading lady says that you should rent the '79 version beforehand, so you can appreciate just how much better their version is. "See it, yeah," she says with a smile. "Then you can see how we made our film different. We've made our movie based on the book a little more, and not so much redoing what they did in the seventies. There have been a lot of new stories that have come out in the last thirty years about what really went on."

While there have been plenty of haunted house flicks over the years, the Amityville story stills slays them all. Reynolds does wonder, however, why nobody ever makes a movie about a haunted apartment. "You know, like a nice Art Deco condo in South Beach," he laughs. "That would have been a great place to shoot this movie."

 Photos: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Ice Cube and more at the premiere of "The Amityville Horror"

 See more photos from "The Amityville Horror"

"I don't know why it's always houses," he continues, getting serious again. "Houses carry with them a sort of residual energy of the people who lived there. Houses, typically, are more for families, as opposed to apartments, which are so much more transient. Houses have a more lasting impression of former occupants than an apartment because people just come and go from the apartment itself — particularly in this case, where six people died in that house, and obviously there was some deep, dark residual energy left there."

For the 28-year-old Australian-born George, the film's scariest moments weren't always on the set. "Chloe [Moretz] plays my little girl in the movie, and we had a slumber party at my house," she says when asked about the real-life moment during filming that terrified her the most. "It was just her and me watching movies and stuff like that. The next morning I went to get some clothes out of my closet. She crept upstairs and hid in the second room, and as I walked down my hallway she jumped out and I just lost it, she got me so good. The smallest thing will scare me. I will shed my skin."

Ask Reynolds about his most terrifying real-life moment, and he shows off the comedic skills that are so welcome in a movie like "Amityville." "The most scared I've ever been? Asking out Ariel Glover in the ninth grade. Man, was I terrified. God almighty. She was incredibly cute, and I was scared to death, and she said no and that just crushed me," he says, shaking his head. "Yeah, it was [the beginning of] a lifelong pattern of horrific wounding."

A message to Ariel Glover, if you're out there: Ryan Reynolds has the perfect house for you, available at a price to die for.


Check out " 'Amityville Horror' Shoot Had Its Own Spooky Occurrences" and get behind the scenes of "The Amityville Horror."

Check out everything we've got on "The Amityville Horror."

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