The Science of The Amityville Horror (Part 3)

This is my final segment of the science of the Amityville series. Part 2 can be found here.

Alexandra Holzer: Have you been able to perform any sort of examination of it?

Ryan Katzenbach: We don't have the gun, Alex. Suffolk police confiscated it right there on the spot. It's, at this point, in their possession. They told us that if the gun was ruled out as being involved in the DeFeo murder, they would give it back. In less than 24 hours, they ruled it was a flare gun and that it was not connected to the case. These were based on statements they made to Newsday. They eventually retreated from the statement that it was a flare gun, but even so, they have been steadfast that it was not involved in DeFeo. And even though they have made this finding, they have refused to give the gun back to us. They have cited New York law that gives them authority to keep the gun because it is a "firearm." And this is, to us, preposterous. It's not a firearm at all at this point. And they have refused to recite any actual codified statute that gives them legal authority to keep my property. And as far as I am concerned, it is my property, for which I have a receipt signed by the officer that confiscated it.

AH: What do you do now, Ryan?

RK: Alex, they're Johnny Law. They can do whatever they want, or so they think. I've taken my case to the New York State Attorney General, Eric Schniederman, and even though they receipted my complaint on Feb. 28, they haven't corresponded with me since they gave me a brief disposition of the case in March. As of this interview, I think enough time without communication has passed. The time for action is present.

AH: Do you have any form of recourse to try and get the gun back?

RK: Under law, yes, we do.

AH: So the search for the gun, and the documents you've uncovered -- are those in Part 2, which is ready to be released soon?

RK: Yes and no. I don't want to give too much away, but suffice to say, it takes the next two installments to fully deal with it. I think viewers, by the time they screen Part 2, will understand exactly why we believe that there was a second gun used. But it's in Part 3... well, there's a lot in Part 3 that should make people go, "Whoa!"

AH: Ryan, what's next? What's after this? Are you working on 6:38, another murder piece that you previously mentioned to me in passing?

RK: Yeah. We're engaged in active pre-production and research on it. My drawback to that film is that it's another dark murder piece, and I am not really sure if I want to jump right back into that genre or do something else in between that and Amityville, something light and fun, because, really, my favorite genre, bar none, is comedy. Love it. 

AH: No plans to do Amityville: The Musical, probably the only thing left to be done on Amityville, no?

RK: Tempting, Alex, tempting, but no. I am afraid when Shattered is done, I have moved on from the "A" word. I have a bunch of feature scripts that I have written, and some projects that are near and dear to me, like Back of Book, my comedy set in the car business, which has Ed [Asner] attached to it. I'd love to shoot that independently.

AH: That was the one that had Betty White attached?

RK: Well, she wasn't formally attached. Betty had agreed, in 2010, when we did the last staged reading at Garry Marshall's Falcon Theatre to play one of the lead parts. But right at this time, she got the hosting gig on SNL, which was the same weekend as our reading, so she had to opt out. I was, needless to say, extremely disappointed, because I love Betty and would love to work with her sometime soon, but this is to be expected when you're doing a non-paid reading and an actress as big as Betty gets a paid gig. You encourage them to go do the paid gig. Completely understandable.

AH: Now you also have a TV series with veteran actor Ed Asner, right?

RK: Well we have a pilot we wrote for Ed that Ed read and loved.  Myself and my frequent writing partner, Tim Stubinski, wrote a series called Tinseltown, which takes a really interesting look at the entertainment business. We have seen so many different shows -- Entourage comes to mind -- wherein the business is glorified and glamorized. What Tim and I wrote was a sharp comedy pilot that is basically Entourage meets Married with Children or Roseanne.  The series is told from the point of view of a struggling writer and producer who comes to Hollywood, meets a musician, which he then becomes roommates with, and the series chronicles their efforts to try and make it in the business while dealing with all the trials that L.A. has to offer. We get to pick on an fictional agency based on the L.A. parking authority extensively, which is exactly why I enjoyed writing the piece so much. Blood-sucking vampires. And along the way, Barry meets Ed Asner, who takes him under his wing and becomes a sort of mentor. So Ed is basically playing Ed, raw and uncut. And the lines and dialogue are delicious, and Ed is absolutely hilarious just playing himself. I'd love to see this piece come to life, too.

AH: I had no idea you had so many projects in the pipeline.

RK: The problem is the pipeline is clogged -- with Amityville. It's taken so much of my time that everything else has taken the back burner. I look so forward to getting out there, after Shattered is out, in entirety, and developing these projects that are so much more fun. I'd love to see them, as independent projects, completed.  Amityville really is not my life, not a career, and not what I want to be known for. I'd love to make people laugh. I have a lot of developed projects that could do just that.

To learn more about Shattered Hopes and writer/director Ryan Katzenbach, please follow him on Twitter at @AmityvilleFilm, or find his website at