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The Surprising Reason James Brolin Decided To Join The Amityville Horror

True crime often inspires the horror genre. The chilling case of Ronald DeFeo Jr., a 23-year-old who killed his parents and four younger siblings in 1974, led to a book about a family who moved into the DeFeo's home and allegedly experienced paranormal events. In turn, this launched a classic horror franchise.

"The Amityville Horror" is a 1979 film directed by Stuart Rosenberg. It follows the Lutz family as they move into a haunted house where a man murdered his entire family. They experience increasingly disturbing incidents leading up to a harrowing breakdown of the father, George Lutz (James Brolin).

Brolin portrays the disturbed man, but he wasn't initially convinced to take the part. The prolific actor, best known for his roles in "Skyjacked," "Westworld," and "Traffic," unexpectedly changed his mind about the role following a heart-racing 2 a.m. incident.

So, why did James Brolin decide to join "The Amityville Horror"?

A frightening coincidence

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Brolin revealed the startling incident that convinced him to star in "The Amityville Horror." While he was working on "Night of the Juggler," he was offered a leading role in the upcoming film and was told to check out the novel it was based on. He was hesitant to agree to the film given its unfinished script, but after this particular incident, he couldn't say no.

He explained that he stayed up to read the book when a pair of pants he had slung over the door suddenly fell. "How I didn't hit my head on the ceiling, I have no idea, because I was at a scary part of this book," he said. "And it so surprised me that I started laughing after I recovered and said, 'I've got to do this movie!'"

At that time, no one could've predicted just how successful the movie would be. Today, it is regarded as a staple in the horror genre. Despite this, Brolin joked with the interviewer about being glad he didn't return for any of the critically panned "Amityville Horror" sequels.