Poltergeist (1982)

Tobe Hooper directs JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Beatrice Straight in this blockbuster horror, produced and written by Spielberg, where a suburban family finds their house taken over by other worldly spirits.

There should be whole semesters at film school about Poltergeist, auteur theory and which scene bears whose imprint most dominantly. The neighbourhood set-ups of duelling remote controls and moving kitchen stools is pure Spielberg… see also: the lightshow. The moments when the spirit plane is crossed and the family unit is put through the wringer, suffering wounds of Exorcist worthy existential dread… well, you gotta wonder what else Hooper… director of Texas Chainsaw and The Funhouse brought to the party, even as a hired gun. Poltergeist has a nasty core, far nastier than anything Spielberg has ever really dabbled in (and I know the man has made masterpieces about the Holocaust and slavery). It is just cosseted in the everyday ruffles of an Amblin movie. On the big screen this still pops… and we rarely lose sight of the two storey house so the spectacle is all in camera in more ways than one. The effects are of their time – and look as exactly how I want my trick photography to look. The much spoofed “They’re Here” moment still is pleasingly eerie. “This house is clean” though is now laughable, especially when you know we still have 30 minutes of bad road ahead. This was my Halloween / Birthday movie trip for 2022 … so anyone following this blog now knows what a backlog of movie posts I am currently ploughing through.


Perfect Double Bill: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/


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