Director: Tobe Hooper
Writer: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor
Rated: PG (some language, drug use)
Cast: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O’Rourke, and Zelda Rubinstein
IMDb/trailer | Official movie site
It’s that time of the year again folks! It’s October, and I will attempt to review as many horror films as possible. To kick things off for 2012, why not start with a classic: Poltergeist, which is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary!
The film is a classic haunted house tale of the Freeling family who start to experience a series of supernatural phenomena. It starts with the television set, which attracts the attention of young Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke). It then moves onto the kitchen, where mom (JoBeth Williams) has fun discovering the supernatural kinesis, such as sliding chairs, and her daughter, across the floor.
It’s all good fun until son Robbie (Oliver Robins) gets attacked by the evil forces in the house, which then move onto physically abduct Carol Anne. This leaves the family terrified and desperate to get Carol Anne back. Not knowing what else to do, they call in a team of paranormal investigators who get more than they bargained for.
At this point the movie really gets turned up a notch. The paranormal activity in the house goes from sporadic to all out present. The children’s room is overtaken by the forces, prompting the family, and the investigators, to realize they will require more assistance. I have to mention a scene with one of the investigator crew in the bathroom; one of which makes me find it hard to believe this film made only a PG rating!
While the film started out with an eerie feeling, it starts to turn into full blown pandemonium. Flying objects, bright flashes of light, and demonic looking creatures coming from mist are among the wild happenings of the poltergeist. Once medium Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) arrives on the scene, things really kick up. Not only do the unseen forces make their presence more known, but the comedic tone is more evident as well.
The film represents a great era in horror movie history. Today attempts are made to scare, gross out, and shock. While here, more effort is made towards creativity, humor, and being scary while also being fun and not too serious. The effects for their time are very cool to look at (I have to refer back to that bathroom scene), and the overall vibe of the film does a great job of combining the creepiness with the slight cheesiness. They need to try to make more films in the spirit of Poltergeist these days if they want to revive horror. This is essential horror viewing.