After decades of infamy as the source of reported hauntings and other spooky stories, Long Island's Mount Misery Road is finally getting the movie treatment.
“It’s the most haunted road in America,” says filmmaker Chuck Morrongiello, whose “Amityville: Mt Misery Road” will be available on DVD in Walmart stores nationwide beginning May 7. “You can talk to anybody here, from Huntington, Syosset, Plainview — they all know about this road.”
“Amityville: Mt Misery Road” conflates more than a few local legends. Part of the title refers to the Long Island town made famous by “The Amityville Horror,” a book and film about the real-life Lutz family and their purportedly haunted house. Mount Misery Road, located in a heavily wooded area of West Hills, is also a real place that has become the source of hard-to-prove stories. In the film, Morrongiello, an Old Bethpage native, and his wife, Karolina, play ghost enthusiasts who explore the area and wind up regretting their decision.
“It’s based on all these stories I heard as a kid,” says Morrongiello. One of his favorites is the story of Mary, a patient at a nearby insane asylum who burned the place down and still haunts the forest. Another tells of a red-eyed hellhound who stalks the area. It’s also said that cars parked along the road — often by teenage canoodlers — have been pushed by unseen hands.
Morrongiello, who now lives in Florida, is not a filmmaker by trade but a musician (he played guitar with former Jefferson Airplane member Marty Balin for many years). Nevertheless, he got the idea for a movie when he returned to Long Island during the 2015 Christmas season to visit family. In the chilly, gray weather he walked his wife through his old Mount Misery Road stamping grounds.
“I said, ‘You know, there’s never been a film made about this place,’ ” Morrongiello says. “And we started filming immediately that week.”
The modestly budgeted horror film relied on what you might call a skeleton crew. The Morrongiellos co-wrote and co-directed. She served as editor. He composed the score. A few friends rounded out the cast.
“It was a lot of fun making it,” Morrongiello says. “I think we’re onto something. We’ve got the Amityville part and the Mount Misery Road — two famous places in Long Island.”