Poltergeist (1982)

Description   [from Freebase]

Poltergeist is a 1982 American horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the first and most successful film of the Poltergeist film trilogy. Set in a California suburb, the plot focuses on a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family's youngest daughter. The film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made. The film also appeared as #84 on American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies. Poltergeist was also nominated for three Academy Awards. The Poltergeist franchise is believed by some to be cursed due to the premature deaths of several people associated with the film, a notion that was the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story. Steven and Diane Freeling live a quiet life in a California planned community called Cuesta Verde, where Steven is a successful realtor and Diane is a housewife who cares for their children Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne.


History has recalled Poltergeist as a Steven Spielberg film, as most viewers don’t remember that Tobe Hooper, famed director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, was behind the camera. (Spielberg wrote and produced.) Hooper’s skill with gore combined with Spielberg’s ability to sanitize anything into family-friendliness makes Poltergeist a smash horror hit –and it’s rated PG. (Barely, it was a hard-fought PG.)

Pardon the cliche, but the story does for TV what Psycho did for showers. Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) says ‘They’re here…’ and with those two words, let the haunting begin, as a ghost/demon/Indian spirit abducts Carol Anne into some vague ethereal plane, and mom (JoBeth Williams) and dad (Craig T. Nelson) do anything to get her back, via scientists and mediums alike. As scary as the film was in 1982, I found it 10 times more horrifying today… now that I have a three year-old whose voice is uncannily similar to O’Rourke’s.

The new 25th Anniversary Edition DVD includes a documentary on the making of the film and the ‘real world of poltergeists’ as well as restored and remastered video.

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