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Interview: John Robinson (The Amityville Murders)

Actor John Robinson (“Elephant”, “Lords of Dogtown”) and more stars in the new film, “The Amityville Murders.” John portrays Butch DeFeo. “The Amityville Murders” is written and directed by Daniel Farrands. John took time to speak with Horrornews.net about “The Amityville Murders.”

Hi John, how are you?

John- Hi Janel, I’m great.

You did a great job in “The Amityville Murders.” Did you do anything special to prepare to play Butch DeFeo? You did such a great job in the film.

John- Oh, thank you. I am so glad you liked it. I think for me I was really excited to play a character like Butch and try to show him not just as a monster but…. A kid struggling to fit in. The experience that he had, it was pretty clear that his father was quite abusive and what was going on in the family was not often talked about. I felt like I was excited to show a human side and potentially shine some light on the trauma in America as well as the upsetting stories that we kind of obsess over. The serial killers and these actions that seem to happen quite often now. We should talk about it.

I do agree. I had a teacher that lived near the Amityville home. Was there any kind of research you looked up or did you kind of just go into this free-thinking?

John- You know I didn’t go to Amityville but I did everything that I could from where I was, reading and watching documentaries. I think the problem is that you spend a lot of time theorizing what happened and why. With Butch’s story there is so much out there with what he said later and all this kind of stuff. It didn’t help me a lot.

He became a celebrity in jail and it’s horrible in that sense. There is no resolve for the DeFeo’s, you know what I mean. We are still kind of left with this sad story that we don’t really know why and what happened. What was interesting to me was this idea and I don’t know how, it is something that I believe. The idea we put in the film about the house itself being built on the burial ground of potentially a Native American massacre. How that energy itself is something we don’t get to talk about a lot in film in general. To me it was exciting and it was something that I clamped on to. Wow, you know we are watching the white male patriarch kind of dismember itself from my perspective or maybe empower itself from others perspective.

The idea that maybe Butch and his actions were an expression of that collapse in the self-happenings where we’ve celebrated male, white dominance for so long. In a certain way Butch’s actions had this radical. As we see often now in a lot of killings, it is a lot of white boys. Where does that come from and what was interesting and something exciting to me was that someone would say, what if these voices weren’t just any spirits, maybe they were the roots of that soil asking to be heard. They were saying the stealing of this land was not okay.

That is a good theory because we are on stolen land. You don’t really know if something is trying to reach out.

John- It is interesting to look at.

It was an honor to talk with you. You did such a great job in this film. You killed it… Not literally. You know what I mean (laughter) and “Lords of Dogtown” is forever a classic. Thank you.

John – Awww, I am glad you liked it. Thank you for saying that.

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