Wow it is only a few days until Halloween and I am trying like crazy to wrap up this review, watch a few required films (Ghostbusters, Night of the Living Dead, The Sixth Sense and Donnie Darko not to mention Dracula on Halloween), carve pumpkins AND finish the Halloween cd which I hope to have done tomorrow. Songs are picked and artwork is in place. Just need to mix the songs and pick some fonts etc.
Anyway, I love this month but it always gets stressful in the last week. All that aside lets talk about Poltergeist.
So this is the story about Coach and his family who live in Cuesta Verde (what does that mean? Green what?). He sells houses for his company and apparently is very good at it. he has sold 40% of the houses in the area. One night their daughter, Carol Anne, sits in front of the TV (pictured above) and starts to talk to the white noise. Anyway, no big deal. Next night same thing happens and a spectral energy shoots from out of the TV into the house. Carol utters the famous phrase "They're here." AFI voted this the 69th most famous movie line ever. So now things start to happen. Chairs stack themselves. Things slide across the floor. Glasses break. Etc. All good fun until one night when a tree outside the kids' house breaks through and tries to eat their son. At the same time Carol Anne is sucked into the closet and enters a portal. This scene scared the girl who played Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) so bad that Stephen Spielberg insisted that there be no additional takes. Anyway, Carol Anne is now in a place with the spirits of the dead that are causing the disturbances. They are drawn to her life force and this prevents them from moving on.
So some parapsychologists check out the house and have one spooky night. One of the men looks in the mirror and thinks he is tearing his face off (the one scene that scared me as a child). They decide it's time to call in the expert. Tangina is a very short very stout woman who is known for cleansing houses. In the meantime we learn that their house is built on top of where a cemetery once was. Bad idea. Anyway, Tangina arrives and they send the mother in through the portal attached to a rope. She must find Carol Anne and separate her from a dark presence that is preventing the other spirits from moving on. Getting more of this back story makes it worth renting Poltergeist II. Kane is a pretty creepy character and we learn a lot about these spirits that are trapped. but Poltergiest III is terrible and made me mad it was so bad. Anyway, the mother finds Carol Anne after she helps the other spirits move on and all is well. They spend one more night in the house while moving out. For whatever stupid reason they put the kids back in the bedroom of death. And of course they are attacked again, presumably by the dark presence that had no intention of moving on. They escape the house and all sorts of bad begins to happen. Graves come up through the ground and skeletons surface in the backyard hole where they were digging a pool. BTW, real skeletons were used but the actress who was in the muck with them was not so informed until after her scene was done. Sneaky!
So Mr. Plute (the president of the developing company) shows up as the house is imploding and we learn that when the moved the cemetery they only moved the headstones. They left the bodies where they were! Sure it saved money but the you risk a poltergeist. House implodes and the film closes as they go into their room at the Holiday Inn, putting the motel TV outside of the room.
Okay now this is one of the first big non-Rated R horror films. Originally this movie was given an R rating but the producers begged it down to a PG (no PG-13 back then). So it was a big deal. Sort of a family friend;y horror film. In fact the first time I saw this as a kid was with my mom and dad. Shame on you Mom and Dad! Oh J/K. I don't remember any nightmares if that makes you feel any better.
Also of big not is that this film feels like a Stephen Spielberg film. You expect to see his name come up as director but it doesn't. However he did write and produce it. That being said, everything I read says he had a very heavy influence and was more or less the director in everything but name. Now the real director is none other than Tobe Hooper. Who is Tobe Hooper you ask? He directed the cult classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So for whatever reason Spielbergo decided to creat a family friendly horror film and decided that no one could pull it off better than the director of one of the most disturbing horror films of all time! Well what can you do.
Anyway, this really is probably the best film yet made on the topic of hauntings or poltergeists. Seriously. So many crappy films on the subject. Like The haunting with Liam Neeson. Ugh. To be fair, you could say that one of the best horror films of all time is about a haunted hotel. I'm talking about The Shining. If you put that film in the Haunting category then it is the runaway best in the genre (and my favorite horror film of all time!)
Well I hope you enjoyed this well made, rather tame horror film. I did a movie comentary of this film with Jon Madsen. Check out the podcast. What's more I hope you enjoy Halloween!
Steve Bay, who chose Poltergeist has decided to continue the scary film category. He has decided we should choose Frankie and Annette films! Boo! That IS scary! I'm going with Back to the Beach. Let me know what you thought of Poltergeist and what Frankie and Annette movie you want to see. Have a very scary Halloween everybody!
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