in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 20

Poltergeist (1982)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Domonique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Heater O’Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein

I used to be kind of hard on Poltergeist for reasons I can’t really remember. I do think it holds back on being as dark as it could of been but whatever, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s made an impact on the genre. How many times have you heard about something that was “Buried over an Indian burial ground?” Poltergeist may be more “Hollywood” than your average horror flick but that doesn’t make it any less important.

So the film starts out following a peaceful suburban family in California. The perfect picture of the American family, things take a turn for the worse when Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) the youngest child is contacted by spirits through the family television. Soon enough a series of paranormal disturbances wreak havoc on the family, you know like evil trees and clown dolls. The film escalates as Carol is sucked into the television and into the spirit world. So they hire a medium played pitch perfect by the unusual Zelda Rubinstein. From there on the Freeling family battles it out with the spirits and there’s no shortage of corpses that launch out of the ground. Some great creepy visuals and an excellent soundtrack from Jerry Goldsmith as well.

People say there’s a curse on the film as the two daughters in the film both died young and two other actors from the sequels are also dead. Though that’s very sad that’s hardly a curse, “The Little Rascals”, now there’s some messed up shit. I’ve always been more interested in the debate over who really directed the film. Though Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is the credited director, many crew members have claimed that producer Steven Spielberg helmed most of the important stuff. Sounds to me like they both did their fair share of work on it but Spielberg just by nature is the more interactive filmmaker, so really it should’ve of been credited to both of them but what the hell do I know? Poltergeist does have that Spielberg shimmer on it though and miraculously holds up well today, check it out but don’t look into the light.


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