Sunday, October 28, 2012

682. Poltergeist (1982)

Running Time: 114 minutes
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Written By: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Main Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins
Click here to view the trailer


According to THE BOOK, Tobe Hooper got the directing credit here, but by all onset accounts it was Steven Spielberg who actually had the helm of "Poltergeist" and it's not hard to believe, especially when you compare this with "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre".

The Freeling family is your typical American family, living in the suburbs of California and headed up by Steven Freeling (Nelson), a successful realtor and Diane (Williams), a housewife. The Freeling's have three children: sixteen-year-old Dana (Dunne), eight-year-old Robbie (Robins) and five-year-old Carol Anne (O'Rourke). After a while, things in their home start to go awry and it all starts in the confines of the television set, when Carol Anne claims to hear voices, which she refers to as the "TV people". No one else can hear or see the TV people though and the rest of the family just chalks it up to the little girl's imagination. That is, until Diane witnesses a paranormal event in the form of her kitchen chairs moving across the room all by themselves. Strange things begin to happen all over the house and one night, as the house lies quiet, the Freeling family asleep, the tree outside Robbie and Carol Anne's bedroom window reaches through the window and tries to eat Robbie! In the midst of the confusion and chaos, Steven manages to rescue Robbie, but it's Carol Anne who's fate lies in jeopardy, as she disappears and can only be heard through a static channel on the television. It seems that Carol Anne has been sucked through a portal, which emanates from her bedroom closet. Meanwhile, in Carol Anne's absence, the paranormal activity in the house becomes heightened as objects whirl around rooms and poltergeist's make their presence known. Eventually the family has no choice but to call in outside help, in order to rescue Carol Anne and release their home from evil's grip.

There's only so much I can buy into. Zombies - I can buy that. Vampires - I can buy that. Psychos living in Texas, robbing graves and mutilating teenagers - I can buy that. But eventually I draw a line and with the exception of being asked to buy Jack Black and Kate Winslet as a couple, "Poltergeist" is the biggest bunch of B.S. I've ever been spoon fed in my life. No wait, I take that back. "Poltergeist" isn't THAT bad, but trust me, it's an over hyped, over popular, very unscary and very silly time at the movies. It's hard to believe that Tobe Hooper went from directing a very scary, very gritty film like "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" to directing this piece of Hollywood, fluffy horror. The music in "Poltergeist" is so lively, sometimes almost jovial that it doesn't fit the images on the screen whatsoever and I almost expect to walk into Universal Studios and see a ride based on this movie. No movie that ever claims to be horror should be mistaken for a Universal Studios ride and that's a steadfast rule!

Anyway, back to my accusations of silliness and the limit of what I can buy into. In my book, the object of a horror movie is to give me that smidgen of doubt. Give me even the slightest inkling that maybe...MAYBE this could actually happen and let me stew with it. SCARE ME!! You can throw silly piece of shit after silly piece of shit at me, but as long as you put some basis and believability behind it, I'll eat it up. The following is a list of things that I WON'T eat up, won't buy into and won't even begin to entertain the idea of being scared by:

*Trees coming to life and snatching little boys from their beds.
*Televisions coming to life and swallowing little girls.
*A clown doll coming to life and trying to kill previously mentioned little boy.
*A closet acting as an evil portal in which previously mentioned little girl is sucked in.
*An entire home being swallowed up by this portal, leaving an empty spot where said home used to sit!
*JoBeth Williams and "Coach" Craig T. Nelson SMOKING WEED!!!


Okay, so the last one's a joke, but the rest legitimately had me laughing more than they had me cowering and if I was Tobe Hooper, I'd be ashamed to say I had anything to do with this film. Yeah, I'm sure the fat check (or checks) he's received due to being part of this production soften the blow, but after directing a horror masterpiece like "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", I don't know why he'd jump at the chance to sell his soul to Steven Spielberg and make a piece of Hollywood garbage. Oh and the whole "Hey, the movie's over, everyone is safe and sound" and then springing everything on us all over again....LAME!

RATING: 5/10  Okay, so I ripped the shit out of that one, but a lot of you are going to go gaga for it. It's not as terrible as I make it sound and I guess I was just in a particularly harsh mood tonight and was extremely disappointed by this so called horror movie.


October 28, 2012  3:04am


  1. Are you planning on watching any of these movies again?

    Completely unrelated to this movie in particular, by the way.

    I ask because currently I'm going through the IMDB Top 250 and I've watched films that I liked, but I have a feeling I'll like a lot more on the second watch.

    1. When it comes to movies, my motto is: Give everything at least two chances to win you over. You may have just not been in the right mood for it the first time around and with a second watch, you may love it. I can't count the number of films I've watched once and hated and then watched again and really liked.

      With the 1001 project, I'm finding that watching all of these movies is really refining my tastes; kind of like running your movie preferences through a water filter. I've found that I'm liking movies that I wouldn't have liked three years ago and starting to slowly dislike things that I used to love.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment and I hope that answered your question.

  2. Good and funny review :).
    For me, it was also hard to watch this,
    it's so silly.


    1. Way too silly. I need to be able to believe that whatever is happening to these families in horror movies, COULD (even if it's barely plausible) actually happen...I just need a smidgen of doubt. Thanks again for the comments Sandra.

    2. You're welcome. I really like your blog. -Sandra


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