Steve Freeling lives with his wife, Diane, and their three children, Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne, in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood. It starts with just a few odd occurrences, such as broken dishes and furniture moving around by itself. However, when he realizes that something truly evil haunts his home, Steve calls in a team of parapsychologists led by Dr. Lesh to help before it's too late.
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One of the biggest moments of my childhood was seeing _Poltergeist_ for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was _Poltergeist_.
I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, _Poltergeist_ was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again.
Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seem normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again.
Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, _Poltergeist_ is, in my opinion, the greatest ghost story of all time. Let's start with the acting. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real. Craig T. Nelson's performance as Steve is the most real dad in a movie I've ever seen. JoBeth Williams' performance as Diane is the most real mom in a movie I've ever seen. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old I've ever seen. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The performances are top-notch.
The special effects still hold up, because they still look real.
The plot is still _very_ original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father.
_Poltergeist_ is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats.
Hooper and Spielberg keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts.
_Poltergeist_ features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend _Poltergeist_ enough. _Poltergeist_ **is** a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. It's a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it.
_Poltergeist_ is my favorite movie of all time, it truly is a great classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years as its message is still relevant today. _Poltergeist_ tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. It's about never giving up hope. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. Your experience might not be exactly like this, but there's no denying that this movie is awesome. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. The violence is never gory. The occasional cursing never gets too bad. Despite everything that happens, there's a sense of hope that stays the entire movie. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.
We know it as the beast.
The Freeling family are happy and functioning perfectly well until one night their youngest daughter announces that thru the TV, the supernatural are here!
Poltergeist divides the horror crowd big time, the gore fans are simply not impressed by the events in the film, while ghostly supernatural fans such as myself see it as a wasted opportunity. But strip away the flashy production and you start to see the core joke of kids infatuation with the goggle box, so yes, the film could easily be titled under the banner of being a Black Comedy. But be that as it may, and lets not be under any illusions here that, Poltergeist is not a knowing wink wink horror film of substance, the film really could have been a truly terrifying piece of work to cater for all tastes, and I firmly believe that that was the main intention of the makers from the off.
Thus lies the chief problems with Poltergeist, it tries so hard to cover all bases it gets that confused to the point it veers from tedium to shock and back again before you have time to digest, and it kills what should have been a genre masterpiece. There are moments in the film that chill the blood, the sense of creeping menace hangs heavy during a storm, a toy clown becomes evil personified just by being lit in the stormy light, and then? Well it violently switches to something involving a tree that wouldn't be fit for Creepshow 27! On the film goes, suspense with chairs and pieces of meat, and then BAM...monster time! It just doesn't work, it's a collage of genre splicing that both director Tobe Hooper & producer Steven Spielberg are firmly to be held responsible for, because it's obvious that both their signature's clash to create an uneasy bedfellow.
Yet as uneven as it is, and as blatantly plagiarised as it is of Twilight Zone episode Little Girl Lost, I still find myself enjoying watching Poltergeist, with its slick production and some memorable moments; the clown, poor darling Heather O'Rourke saying "they're here", the first chair sequence, and the always creepy Mrs. Tuthill, all things that help to make it a frustratingly enjoyable nights viewing. 6/10
Just don't go into the light afterwards I guess...
Like most of my contemporaries, I remember as a kid staying up late at night during the AMC Halloween horror movie marathon week (or was it a complete 31 days?) and watching the Freeling family get spooked by some O. G. paranormal activity; watching their house turn into a portal for spirits, some of which abducting their youngest daughter.
Unlike some of my contemporaries, I'm very split on this film. As a fan of the genre, horror always intrigues me, even when it's done poorly/reuses the tired tropes. When rewatching _Poltergeist_ for what seems to be the twentieth time - now in my early twenties - the movie seems dated, to the point where what made it bone-chilling in the first place, seems calm and a little ridiculous. Perhaps I'm desensitized to this type of movie. Perhaps I'll appreciate it more when I do have a family, when I _am_ Craig T. Nelson. But currently, the film struggles against its pacing, unconvincing effects (see scene in the children's room where the closet tries to vacuum them up, and the "face" scene - you'll know), and the nature of it attempting to be both family friendly and a horror movie. Sustained over the years since its release, however, are the performances by the cast, specifically the parents.
Overall, it's still a fun film; but because of some considerable flaws, it hasn't aged too well. Recommended for kids? - Hell yes. How else are they going to attain the fear of clowns?