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Poltergeist 1982
Description: Steve Freeling lives with his wife, Diane, and their three children, Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne, in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood. It begins with just a several odd occurrences, such as broken dishes and furniture moving around by itself. However, when he realizes that something truly evil haunts his home, Steve calls in a squad of parapsychologists led by Dr. Lesh to support before it's too late.
Released: 04 Jun 1982 Director: Tobe Hooper Writers: Steven Spielberg (screenplay), Michael Grais (screenplay), Mark Victor (screenplay), Steven Spielberg (story) Actors: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne Genres: Horror, Thriller
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Poltergeist Reviews:

I am not going to go into all the controversy surrounding this movie...everybody knows about the different deaths of cast members, as well as questions over who now directed "Poltergeist". What I will decribe in this review are my feelings concerning the movie. "Poltergeist" is a nice scary picture which will not only entertain you, but will create you wonder what originally occupied the land where your home is currently standing. This film makes nice test of foreshadowing and building of tensions to transport a viewer to trust what they are now seeing is really happening. While giving the "funeral" for the pet bird, Robbie asks if they can soon dig it up so they can "see the bones". At the end of the movie he is indeed treated to seeing "dug up bones", only they were not ones he had in mind. Nice movie, nice acting, nice scary fun! A+


Horror movies often do not receive their do, and the 7.1 rating for Poltergeist shows that this trend will most likely continue. Clearly an influential movie by Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist reached for, and achieved, everything that the earlier Amityville Horror failed to be; namely, scary, credible, and well acted.Poltergeist, in a nutshell, is a storyline of suburban California family that discovers the darker side of the American Dream when their youngest daughter, Carol Ann, makes contact with evil spirits through the family tv set. "They're here", never fails to send chills down my spine as I recall seeing this movie for the first time as a teenager.Perhaps 10 to 15 more years will finally lend the credibility to this movie to finally zone it among the classics in modern horror cinema.


In 1982, Steven Spielberg pulled off an wonderful feat. In June of that year, Spielberg released two movies only weeks apart that were both highly successful yet diversely various in both topics matter and their goal audiences. One went on to become the highest grossing movie of all-time (E.T.), the another spawned a franchise (Poltergeist). Poltergeist had a screen credit of being directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but history has revealed that it was Spielberg's vision, editing and overall command of the shooting that was really behind the making of this extraordinary film. Poltergeist brought back the traditional haunted house category that lay dormant and restless since The Amityville Horror in 1979. The storyline surrounds a family's house that has been punctured by the spirit globe that seem keen on the youngest daughter of the guild – Carol Ann Freeling, played by newcomer Heather O'Rourke. At first, the family meets the strange events in the home with playful pleasure, but in an immediate the poltergeists intentions turn vs the Freelings, and their daughter is captured and taken back to the supernatural globe where communication is possible only through the bedroom television.The Freelings waste tiny time and later contact a paranormal group, well over their heads, to support them rescue their daughter from the unseen captures. It becomes clearly evident however, that the group is over matched, and they call in a poltergeist expert, Tangina Barrons (played with relative enthusiasm and wit by Zelda Rubinstein) to support with the phenomena. Tangina then leads the Freelings through the unknown, both calming their fears and eventually finding a portal that may be the key to retrieving their daughter.Poltergeist works as both a horror and a thriller. The cast, lead by O'Rourke, Jo-Beth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Oliver Robins have true chemistry and are believable as a family unit, and unlike most horror films, they create sound judgments and know their limitations. When Carol Ann's bedroom becomes overtaken by the ghostly spirits, they lock the room and hold away rather than trying to war something they cannot contain. And when things start to look bleak, they call for support and look for experts in the field. This is an clever horror that doesn't have folks running up the stairs when they could be running out the door.Put together with a modest budget of less than $12 million, Poltergeist stretched it's dollars to deliever us with an wonderful array of unique results that still keep up well after 20 years of viewing. Sure, the stage where a scientist literally pulls his face off or when the bedroom is opened and we see stuff flying at random as if in a ghostly tornado, might be better served with CGI if made today, the results still hold the storyline progressing with a sense of credibility. Probably what keeps things so rooted in acceptability is how simplistic some of the unique results were in the larger scenes. A closet full of strobe lights are all that is needed to convince us that it is a portal to other globe and a fanatic gently blowing the hair of mother Williams' is believable as the spirit of her kid flying past her. Easy plausible.Whatever the reasons, Poltergeist works. One of the several screenplays written by Spielberg from one of his own stories, Poltergeist has all the elements that we actually associate with the master director. There is a powerful family unit, a kid as the central character, above average production values and most notably, not one fatality in the whole movie despite all the jilts and jolts. The closing scenes of chaos including a pool of skeletons (later revealed to be authentic), is pure film magic with frantic pacing and edge of your seat suspense. Since it's release, a lot has been made of the back stories and the curse surrounding the production of the franchise. Heather O'Rourke tragically died at a young age due to an internal infection and Dominique Dunne (who played a smaller role as her sister) was murdered the same year as the movies release. The subsequent sequels have also included characters that died shortly after their movies completion. Truth or fiction, lore or legend, these stories add to the mystique and mystery surrounding the film. Having knowledge of the ‘curse' makes it even scarier and gives it type of a feeling like Naomi Watts' hero gotta have experienced in The Ring, as if just by watching, you are contributing to the ongoing haunting.Like most films successful in the late 70's early 80's, there were sequels that were made with considerably higher budgets but less than stellar effects (Superman III anyone?). Neither of the Poltergeist sequels or subsequent tv programming should come close to capturing the essence of the original. Besides, how can you top what is actually one of the most popular film tag-lines of all time `They'rrreeee Here'?Strong recommendation.



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