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— by Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway

In the true story (at least, some believe it to be true) that inspired "The Amityville Horror," George Lutz woke up demonized every night at 3:15 a.m., the exact time a boy living in his house a year earlier killed his family.

 "The Amityville Horror" Exclusive Trailer Premiere

After the first night of shooting the 2005 version, inspired by the same 1977 book that spawned 1979's first "Amityville" movie, actress Melissa George ("Alias") woke up in the middle of the night and glanced at her clock. It was 3:15.

"That was scary for me, but I laughed," George said on the Buffalo Grove, Illinois, set of the movie in October. "I thought it was quite funny."

George laughed less a few weeks later when security guards on the set called the director one night to report that all of the lights in the "Amityville" house had been turned on and nobody was found inside. And it was certainly not funny when the real George Lutz's wife passed away suddenly during filming.

Slightly freaked, the cast went on and finished the movie, but those experiences never left their minds.

"I can't say I believe in ghosts, but I do believe in something else other than us," George said. "The supernatural. I think there's something out there."

Jay Anson, the author of "The Amityville Horror" book, was not a believer in ghosts either, but nothing in his book was ever proven false. According to his research, George and Kathy Lutz moved into what they believed was their dream house in Amityville, New York, a year after Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his parents and siblings there. The house was set on an 18th century Native American burial ground and DeFeo later argued that spirits told him to commit the crime.

The Lutzes lived in the home for 28 days before abandoning it abruptly. The family maintains the house was haunted, although naysayers have accused them of making up the story for publicity.

 Photos: On The Set

 "The Amityville Horror" Set Visit

"I don't know that I believe in ghosts, but I believe in bad energy," co-star Ryan Reynolds said during a break between takes. "When you move into a house where six people were murdered, you have to expect something a little creepy will go on."

"I think a lot of it really happened," George said of Anson's book. "For one thing, who leaves their house with all of their possessions [still inside] and never comes back? "

For Reynolds, best known for comedies like "Van Wilder," remaking "The Amityville Horror" is a dream come true ... or maybe a nightmare (see "Ryan Reynolds Gives Backstage Tour Of 'Amityville Horror'").

"I read that book as a young kid and it terrified me," Reynolds recalled. "When I saw the original movie, it was the first time I went, 'Oh my God, they didn't stick to the book!' And with the [new] script, I was so happy because they stuck as closely to the book and were as faithful as possible, because the way the story unravels is truly one of the most unnerving pieces of literature I've ever read."

Reynolds considers his version a retelling of the book rather than a remake of the 1979 movie, which starred James Brolin in role as the haunted George Lutz.

"We have a little more coverage of what happened to the [DeFeo] family before," Reynolds said. "That's some of the most unsettling stuff, and it sets the tone."

 "The Amityville Horror" Photos

Reynolds learned karate and spent months training for "Blade: Trinity," which opens December 8, but he considers "The Amityville Horror" just as challenging to make.

"Playing this character has put me in touch with my rage, and it's been hard to leave it on the set," he revealed. "It's heartbreaking for me because I've done these scenes where I'm getting along with these kids, we're playing, I love these kids, and then I'm trying to end their lives. It's emotionally gut-wrenching.

"I'm gonna need a nice Disney animated movie after this," he added with a smile.

"The Amityville Horror" has also proven quite a challenge for Andrew Douglas, a commercial and video veteran who is making his feature-film directorial debut with the movie.

"One of the things about doing a horror film is that your first instinct, as Eddie Murphy said all that time ago, is to yell, 'Don't buy it! Don't go in! Walk away! It's clearly haunted,' " Douglas said. "And so for a character in a horror film, one of the things you have to help the audience get over is why you're still there. Fortunately, with Ryan and Melissa, they bring a layer of denial to their characters, which allows you to believe that they are still there, these things aren't really happening. It's an insecurity about their relationship. The way they are doing it is really magical."




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