Poltergeist title

Tag Line : They're here

Poltergeist One of the most bizarre and unlikely collaborations of all times also happened to produce one of the most popular and entertaining ghost stories of all times. Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper and mainstream producer Steven Spielberg (who at the time was best known for his family pic E.T. the Extra Terrestrial), teamed up to bring us this entertaining story of a suburban Californian family being terrorised by ghostly apparitions.

Steve Freeling (Craig Nelson) works for a real estate company and has recently moved his wife Dianne (JoBeth Williams) and family into one of the houses on his company's latest building project. Everything seems fine at first, that is until they get an unwanted visitor of the supernatural kind.

Chairs and household objects start moving around the room for no reason, the kids hear voices in the TV, the old tree outside appears to come to life and tries to grab their young son through the bedroom window and finally their young daughter Carol-Anne (Heater O'Rourke) disappears and can later be heard calling for help from their TV set.

Uncertain of who to turn to for help (Ghostbusters where not available at the time), they call in a group of psychic investigators who at first think the story might be a hoax, but after being struck dumb by what they see, call in a spiritual medium named Tangina Baron (Zelda Rubinstein) to try and vanquish the poltergeists and get Carol-Anne back.

Whilst it is very difficult to find certain parts of the story believable, overall this is still a very enjoyable film, even though some of the special effects look a little dated now. The zombies that pop-up at the end are excellent and add a neat twist to the story, but don't go expecting blood-an-gore in this film as there isn't any, only good old fashioned thrills and chills which puts movies like the 1999 version of "The Haunting" to shame!

Overall marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The budget for the movie was $10.7million, to date it has grossed in excess of $76million in the USA alone.

  • The film is very similar to an old Twilight Zone television episode called "Little Girl Lost", in which a young girl falls through a porthole to another dimension in her bedroom and is later heard calling to her parents for help from different locations in the house. It has been suggested that this episode may have provided the inspiration for this film.

  • One of the films being shown on the Freeling's TV during the movie, was the old 1943 film "A Guy Named Joe" about a pilot who returns to the world as a ghost. Producer Steven Spielberg remade this film in 1989 under the title "Always".

  • Actor James Karen, who plays Steve's boss Mr Tegue also starred in "Return of the Living Dead".

  • The special effects sequence at the end, where the house disappears into a black hole, was achieved by using a 4 foot model, placed in front of an industrial vacuum cleaner, which the special effects guys pulled to bits with wires and blasted with pump-action shotguns. Fortunately they got the sequence right first time and so didn't have to re-stage it. Spielberg had the leftover parts of the model encased in Perspex and currently has them displayed on top of his piano.

  • The film spawned 2 rather dull sequels, "Poltergeist 2 : The Other Side" and "Poltergeist 3", as well as a spin-off TV show entitled "Poltergeist - The Legacy" in 1996 about an ancient secret society who accumulate knowledge and artefacts to help fight against evil spirits from around the world.

  • One of the most bizarre pieces of trivia surrounding the Poltergeist films are the deaths of the cast members that have followed each production. Dominique Dunne, who played the Freeling's teenage daughter Dana, was strangled by her boyfriend in 1982. Julian Beck, who played the ghostly preacher in part 2 died in 1985 during filming and Heather ORourke, who played the young daughter Carol-Anne in all 3 movies, died of intestinal stenosis in 1988.

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