Monday, October 13, 2008

HORROR EPICS: Poltergeist

POLTERGEIST (1982)
The last time I saw Poltergeist was probably fifteen years ago, and I’ll admit that I absolutely HATED it. But the same rings true for a lot of horror movies I first saw as a teenager, and then revisited many years later. I’m talking about movies like Re-Animator and the original Dawn of the Dead, both of which now occupy a comfortable space in my DVD collection. Times have changed and so has my taste for horror movies; and I think it’s probably obvious already that my opinion on Poltergeist has changed too. I can’t imagine that there are very many people reading this who haven’t seen this suburban horror classic at some point during their childhood. Most kids I knew weren’t even ten years old the first time they saw this movie, and it scared the everlovin’ SHIT out of them. Like Gremlins and Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, Poltergeist also has the distinction of being yet ANOTHER movie with the name “Steven Spielberg” in some way attached to it that gave much credence to the necessity of the PG-13 rating, which had yet to exist at this time. What happens when you let the TV raise your kids, and your planned community rests on a burial ground? Ghosts take over your house, cause trouble, and suck your youngest daughter into the otherworld. Craig T. Nelson (from TV’s “Coach”) is perfect in his role as the suburban father, as is JoBeth Williams playing the hot young mom. Oh, and am I the only person that noticed the not-so-distant age difference between Mom and the oldest daughter? Poltergeist is great for the little Halloween horror marathon we’re having here. It doesn’t get much better than watching the suburban dream turn into a nightmare at the hands of the supernatural. I’ll definitely be adding this one to the collection soon. This movie is also notable because Heather O’Rourke, the little girl who is the central character in Poltergeist, died at the ridiculously young age of twelve in 1988 under controversial circumstances. Poor kid.

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