Monday, 24 January 2011

They're Heeeeeeeere - Poltergeist (MGM, 1982)

The cool poster. Looks so innocent, doesn't it? Wait until you see it.

Made in 1982 by MGM, Poltergeist was a landmark in film making. A ghost story like no other. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Tobe Hooper, it brought to life a story about a family unit overcoming the most difficult of odds, and situations, to save the one they love. Now, Tobe Hooper is not a name you'd associate with a big name production like Poltergeist, or with a well known Producer/Director like Spielberg either. But, his name is credited as Director, and it's one hell of a film. 
Another of the awesome special effects

First, there's Carol-Ann talking to the TV, then, a few things move from one place to another on their own. Then one night, 'they' take little Carol-Ann to 'The Otherside'. A dimension between Life and Death, and hold her against her will. How they get her back is a story that is finely crafted, with some great special effects. One being that one of the party of ghost Hunters dreams of tearing his face off. The music compliments the film perfectly, and I think, is one of Jerry Goldsmith's most polished scores (on the same level as First Blood and Star Trek TMP). It creates tension in the most important scenes, especially when the smoky hand comes out of the TV, and shoots into the wall.
One of the best scenes in the movie, and funnily parodied in Family Guy

The cast do a stellar job, especially Heather O'Rourke (who had an unfortunate short lived career), who so scared at doing the abduction scene, that when she burst into tears, Spielberg gave her a very comforting hug and said, in so many words, she would not have to do that again, as she was terrified.
The only thing is, the film seems too Spielberg-ish to be anyone else's. It's directed in the same manner, with that Spielberg look. Only the abduction scene seems Hooper-esque in it's look. Another thing surrounding the film is a supposed curse, being that 4 of the cast members across all three movies died before the release of the third movie.
Eddie, Iron Maiden's mascot makes a cameo. But, can he play with madness?

With the other films in the series, Poltergeist II was not a bad follow up, but it did not keep some of the key plot points of the first, and makes some stuff up. Overall, it wasn't bad though. The third.....well.....I've only seen a few clips of it, and it's terrible. So bad it makes Heaven's Gate look like an epic. So, my advice: Stick with the first two, as they're the only ones worth watching.


  1. also like it, strange for a horror flick no characters actually die in the original!

  2. That is true. Still remember the first time I watched this when I was really young, and having the shit frightened out of me.

  3. I'm not really into horror films but this is awesome! The genre has really gone downhill in recent years in my opinion :|