The Red Scare: Marxism, Menstruation, and Stuart Rosenberg’s The Amityville Horror

  • Larrie Dudenhoeffer


A number of horror films significantly feature the number 28, the average duration of a woman’s menstrual cycle, in their title or narrative structure. These films include Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002); its sequel, Juan Carlos Fesnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later (2007); and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), a story of demonic possession that roughly occurs over 28 days, coincidentally the number in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus encounters “two possessed with devils” and casts them into “a herd of many swine.” These films also include Stuart Rosenberg’s The Amityville Horror (1979). The novelization of the “true story” of George (James Brolin) and Kathy Lutz’s (Margot Kidder) encounter with the evil spirits inhabiting their Long Island “dream house”— the real estate sign in front of it reads “High Hopes”—also occurs over 28 days. The film adaptation shortens their stay to 20 days, a narratological choice with some significance toward making sense of the film’s diegesis, color schemes, and subtexts. The couple, their three children, and their dog move into 112 Ocean Avenue, a Dutch Colonial right next to a canal, at a discount, since it was the site where Ronald DeFeo, the son of the former owners, had shot six family members at 3:15 a.m.


Menstrual Cycle Surplus Product Change Body Front Door Cervical Mucus 
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© Larrie Dudenhoeffer 2014

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  • Larrie Dudenhoeffer

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