I’m not a huge reality TV fan, but a few days ago I stumbled across a show called “World’s Worst Tenants” on Spike TV, and admittedly I got a little hooked. The show focuses on a trio of “eviction specialists” that investigate disputes between tenants and their landlords, often ending in some sort of bizarre situation that, in essence, seems utterly ridiculous and only borderline realistic (even though they are in fact stated to be re-enactments of events that supposedly happened).
What really caught my attention is the season 2 episode “Motel California“. My husband happened to be watching this episode with me and as the last segment progressed he almost immediately noticed that something was amiss.
The house in the episode is the same one that appeared as the setting of The Amityville Haunting, a 2011 low-budget horror film on Netflix that wasted almost two hours of my life last month. Since the movie sucked so much and it’s unlikely that anyone lasted past the first ten agonizing minutes, I guess the show’s producers didn’t think that filming there would be a dead giveaway. And yes, I’m the loser that sat there taking still shots of the TV with my camera phone to deliver undeniable proof that this show is completely fake. It’s understandable that the crew would rent a house to perform their re-enactment, but they also clearly stole the back-story from the movie as well.
Let’s start with the front of the house. Here is the shot that was shown as the three are walking up to the house, discussing the reason why they were there: the tenant wasn’t paying her rent and the show’s specialists – Todd, Randye, and Rick – were sent to give her notice to pay up.
Now, here is a similar image from the movie, taking place near the beginning when the Benson family is touring their future home that, unbeknownst to them, is haunted by the late DeFeo family (even though it’s not the same glaring house from the other 10 Amityville movies). Aside from the identical architectural features, such as the steps, windows, door, and bushes, you’ll notice the same lion statues and cement sculptures decorating the porch area:
A few minutes later, the lady is explaining to Todd and Randye the reason she hasn’t been paying rent – her house is apparently haunted, and she spent her rent money hiring paranormal investigators to look into what she believes is the ghost from a murder that occurred in the house in 2010 (apparently the landlord never disclosed this information, she instead found a death certificate on the Internet). She hears sounds at night, feels a strange vibe when walking around the house, and her lights keep flickering. Ooooooo, scary. And original. Definitely not the premise of the movie that happened to be filmed in the same house.
If you look behind Randye you’ll see the same door from the film that was repeatedly opening itself at night, next to the same fireplace, dresser chest, and white sofa seen in the movie. When Todd moves out of the way you can also see the two lamps, but I didn’t care to get a still shot of that one.
Now we’re walking through a dining room area while Todd yaps about how his dad was a mortician who didn’t believe in ghosts. Behind them you can see a large paned window with a swan sitting on it:
This is where the likeness becomes all too visible. It looks like whatever studio owns the house didn’t even bother to redecorate between filmings:
You may have also noticed the ugly wallpaper behind Todd. Look familiar?
While loony lady is going on about the murder, we’re lead to a study-type area with a large bookcase, a ladder in front of said bookcase, and a few couches.
Several scenes in the movie display the same room with the exact same bookcase, chaise, and ladder (plus a really dead guy who didn’t grace the TV show):
Unfortunately the kitchen and bedrooms were not shown in the episode, but it’s pretty obvious this is the same house.
In care you’re wondering, it turns out the lady’s house was actually not haunted. No – I guess that claiming it was would have blown the whistle on the fakeness all too soon. Apparently Rick discovered the house had some foundation damage that was messing with the structure stability and electrical wiring, explaining all the paranormal phenomenon that loony lady was experiencing.
In conclusion, the entire episode was staged. It’s not like they claim the stories on the show are 100% real, but some are just obviously fabricated in their entirety. All in all, the show is still pretty funny, but definitely not as enjoyable now that I know the truth.