Monday, February 9, 2009

Poltergeist (1982)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, James Karen, a few kids that get the shit scared out of them

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They're here.

Plot: A young family is visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter.

My Rating: 9/10

Would I watch it again? Yup

I remember seeing this as a kid when it first hit the theaters and it scared the shit out of me. It's been at least 20 years since I last saw it and it holds up remarkably well. I'm long since desensitized to horror and it's rare than anything on screen creeps me out even just a little bit. This still has it but to a lesser degree.

This is NOT a result of smoking weed.

It's the storytelling that does it. The effects are top notch and hold up nearly 30 years later (well, except for the face-ripping scene - that one shows its age more than anything). The images and scares hit the right beats.

This is NOT a result of smoking weed.

One nice touch was Nelson & Williams relaxing in their bedroom smoking weed before they retire for the evnening. It's good to show two responsible parents enjoying themselves, retaining a part of their life before the children came into the picture. It's no different than if they were drinking wine or having a couple of cocktails so it's nice to see it handled so well.

And I can't go without mentioning Jerry Goldsmith's fantastic score. Goldsmith had been knocking out great scores since the early 60s (SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964), THE BLUE MAX (1966), OUR MAN FLINT (1966), A PATCH OF BLUE (1965), PLANET OF THE APES (1968)), and the 70s (PAPILLON (1973), CHINATOWN (1974), THE OMEN (1976), THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL (1978), ALIEN (1979) and STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)). Every one of these scores is top notch and are among the best ever written. Go to IMDB and check out his credits. I'd be willing to bet that you've seen 30 of this guy's films and probably remember the music to much of those). Anyway, POLTERGEIST is another in a long list of accomplished works that stay with you after you've left the theater or the living room.

This child IS a result of smoking weed. Don't take drugs to start a family, OK?

If you haven't seen this then you need to make this a priority. It's a fantastic ghost story that is still one of the greats after nearly 30 years. When you have kids you may have to explain to them what the hell TV static is and how sad is that? In a few years we'll be waxing nostalgic about the good old days when the TV fuzzed up after a big storm. Goddamn now I feel old.


  1. I love this movie! I have seen it so many times. I just rewatched it with Skylar (when she was 13), and it scared the shit out of her. She is still mad that I made her watch it. But I thought it was not nearly as scary as it used to be.

  2. Yeah, definitely not the horror movie for anyone under 16. It's too well done and the scares are the kind of scares that most kids can't handle. Chopping Mall is one thing, this is another.

  3. I did not think it was that scary when I was a kid. And I'm a big scaredy-cat!