Poltergeist (1982)


"You'll get sucked into the underworld if you're that close to the TV!"
"You'll get sucked into the underworld if you're that close to the TV!"

Genre: Horror

Starring: Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles"Coach"), JoBeth Williams (Kramer vs. KramerPoltergeist II: The Other Side)

Directed By: Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre • Salem's Lot)

Overview: When a housing developer's family starts experiencing ghostly visitations, they resort to calling in a team of experts.

From German poltern, meaning "to rumble", "to make a noise", "to knock" and Geist, meaning "ghost" or "spirit"

From this simple title comes this simple movie about an extraordinary thing happening in an extremely ordinary town, and for those of you who don't remember seeing Poltergeist in the 80s, not only will this perfectly transport you back to the decade, it will impress and frighten as well today as it did in that yesteryear (yes, the 80s are 'yesteryear', you're old). The magic of Poltergeist is that it plants itself so perfectly in its present that we can genuinely enjoy the extended prelude of everyday life that this film takes before it turns frightening. Almost half the script plays out like an anthropological study of a suburban society of 2.2 kids and 2.2 cars in Middle America, and with actors like good old "Coach" as dad, it’s just all around fun.

You want your kids to be forever freaked out by clowns? Try Poltergeist.
You want your kids to be forever freaked out by clowns? Try Poltergeist.

Some people believe that when you die there is a wonderful light. As bright as the sun but it doesn't hurt to look into it. All the answers to all the questions you want to know are inside that light. And when you walk into it, you become a part of it forever. Now, some people die, but they don't know they’re gone... Maybe they didn't want to die. Maybe they weren't ready. Maybe they hadn't begun to live yet or lived a long, long time anyway, but wanted more life. They resist going into the light no matter how hard the light wants them. They hang round, watch TV, watch their friends grow up, feeling all unhappy or jealous and those feelings are bad, they hurt. And then some people just get lost on the way to the light. They need someone to lead them there. 
- Dr Lesh  

Neat scenes that make one smile today includes dad reading a biography on Reagan while his wife smokes a spliff in bed, the big game being interrupted by neighborly conflict, the son being frightened by the tree outside and the stuffed clown toy inside during a thunderstorm, and the kitchen as a paranormal skating rink. From this everyday familial lifestyle we gently delve into how a presence beings to effectuate slow and steady changes in the house and we move to the ghostly yet comedic, scenes like seeing the 4'3" medium Tangina for the first time, impressively played by Zelda Rubinstein, or when the scientific experts describe how they recorded, with time lapse video, a toy car move across a room for 7 hours. Unimpressed, dad opens the bedroom door where a whirlwind of violent ghostly activity makes these so-called experts instant amateurs.

Don’t worry about it. It’s not an ancient tribal burial ground. It’s just... people.
- Mr. Teague

Add to these scenes a script written by Stephen Spielberg, special effects that impressively hold up against modern 2010 CG, and solid performances from everyone, including the ever-cute 7-year old Carol Anne Freeling played by Heather O'Rourke, and we have in Poltergeist a film that has done quite a bit to guarantee its place in the annals of Horror Film history.

4'3" and she can stomp spooks like David to Goliath!
4'3" and she can stomp spooks like David to Goliath!

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 9 Script: 8 Plot: 9 Mood: 9

Overall Rating: 86% (Never Boo-Ring!)

As it has been proven by Hecklefest time and again, the 80s are even better today, and Poltergiest is a particularly well-distilled wine that has aged wonderfully.

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