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Poltergeist (25th Anniversary Edition, DVD)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Poltergeist (25th Anniversary Edition, DVD)
Advantages: Freaky scary!
Disadvantages: Silly ending
Diane: Sweetheart, do you remember last night when you woke up, and you said "They're here.'?
Carol Anne: Uh huh
Diane: Well, who did you mean?
Carol Anne: The TV People.
(Quote care off the Imdb.com quote alphabet)
After yet another unexpected wet Saturday night wash in I found myself without the will to go out and rent a movie in that unseasonable and now regular downpour, which means it was Dads Army repeats on BBC2 first and then delving into my special DVD collection (no, not that special DVD collection!) for the primetime, draw the curtains 9pm slot! The days of drawing the curtains for anything else seem a distant memory. Like that myth that's called man-made global warming!
The first hour of Poltergeist (translation from the German word "rumbling spirit") is really really scary, up there with the Exorcist, for me. And that's why it's in my movie cabinet. The last half-hour does get a little silly but still a great film in spite of that bit when the ghosts come into the real world. I'm a huge fan of Spielberg and although Tobe Hooper is supposed to have officially directed this on his behalf this has Spielberg's behind the lens eye all over it and that's why it's so good. Let's face it, we have all heard of Stephen Spielberg today but few know who Tobe Hooper is. That's why we know Spielberg probably directed it. When Variety Magazine later asked Stephen what his contribution was on the film he replied...
"Tobe isn't... a take-charge sort of guy. If a question was asked and an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, I'd jump in and say what we could do. Tobe would nod agreement, and that become the process of collaboration."
(Variety Magazine, 1984...)
Spielberg was actually making the equally mesmeric E.T alongside the Poltergeist production and edit and its generally accepted Spielberg directed both, Poltergeist by de facto. Both movies were released around American Independence Day in 1982.
Craig T. Nelson ... Steve Freeling
JoBeth Williams ... Diane Freeling
Beatrice Straight ... Dr. Lesh
Dominique Dunne ... Dana Freeling
Oliver Robins ... Robbie Freeling
Heather O'Rourke ... Carol Anne Freeling
Michael McManus ... Ben Tuthill
Virginia Kiser ... Mrs. Tuthill
Martin Casella ... Marty (as Marty Casella)
Richard Lawson ... Ryan
Zelda Rubinstein ... Tangina
The Feelings are living a nice comfortable middle-class life in a cozy California suburb, dad Steve (Craig T Nelson) a successful realtor, mum (JoBeth Williams) a successful mom! But that's all about to change when strange things starts to happen in their family home. While dad is at work, mom and their smallest daughter Carol-Anne (the impossibly cute Heather O'Rourke), are witness to extraordinary paranormal goings on inside those four walls. But, rather refreshingly, they are not cowering in the corner and don't see this invasion as a threat, but reveling in their newly discovered playful phenomenon. Chairs are stacking themselves, lights are flickering on and off to the music, the girls are having a wale of a time.
Dad is soon in on the discovery and equally shocked and bamboozled in equal measure on what the hell is going on, the parents keeping it from their other two kids for now, Dan (Dominique Dunne) and Robbie (Oliver Robins). But things really get freaky when the extremely scary TV people turn up and little Carol-Anne is no longer on this particular spiritual plain.
Going to the cops and filing a missing persons report isn't quite the solution here so dad literally calls in the Ghostbusters. Mum and dad know roughly where Carol-Anne is so let's keep it in the family. The paranormal scientists, of course, have never seen anything like it, also scared witless and amazed at the same time at what's happening to this family and them, but in seriously short supply of solutions. That is, until, the queen Ghostbuster herself, Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein), is called in.
-The curse of Poltergeist-
All big movies that lose someone on set are usually awarded a curse to help hype the later DVD release, the recent Batman film currently going through the same hype. Heath Ledger topped himself during post-production and they lost a stuntman and a lighting technician during filming, Morgan Freeman's recent near death experience in the car smash pumping the myth. Well with Poltergeist there is some chicken on the bone when it comes to that curse as far as its actors bad luck goes. Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol-Anne, died of intestinal stenosis some six years later at just 12 years young, just after the third and awful sequel, and Dominique Dunn, who played her older sister, was strangled into brain death by her then ex-boyfriend just three months after filming finished from the first film. The reason the curse had legs was because director Tobe Hooper used real skeletons for the final swimming pool scene, something the actors didn't know about until the scene was shot and in the can. Heather and Dominique are buried in the same cemetery in Westwood near Beverley Hills. To further the myth the 1994 Northridge earthquake fault line ran directly under the actual house used in the film, duplicating the final scene, just failing to bring it down during the 6.8 Los Angeles quake.
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(C/O Imdb.com trivia alphabet)
The hands which pull the flesh off the investigator's face in the bathroom mirror are Steven Spielberg's.
The shot of the chairs that position themselves in the amazing balancing act on the table was all done in one take. As the camera panned along with JoBeth Williams, who was getting some cleaning materials, several crew members quickly set an already organized pyramid of chairs on the table, then took the single chairs away before the camera scrolled back.
Both of the terrors that plague young Robbie in the film came from Steven Spielberg's own fears as a child - a fear of clowns and a tree outside his window.
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- - -More quotes from the movie- - -
(Again C/O of the IMDB.com quote aphabet)
Tangina: Help me tie this around my waist.
Diane: What do you think you're doing?
Tangina: I'm going in after her.
Diane: She won't come to you. Let me go.
Tangina: You've never done this before.
Diane: Neither have you.
Tangina: You're right. You go.
Watching this again reminded me very much of the Kate and Gerry McCann case. You know your beautfiul daughter is missing but you cant touch or hold them where they are right now, yet the child is crying out for their mommy somehwere unknown. If you tell the cops where your think your kid might be they aint going to believe you and find you the chief suspect because your kid is not where it should be and now were you when she was abducted, in both cases the parents enjoying their favourite vice more than that relentless responsibility of a child. Kate and Gerry were supping a good wine in a Portuguese Tapz bar with friends, the Freelings were toking a good joint in the movie. But as parents knowif you take your eye of the kids for one minute your world can collapse. Whether the McCanns did what nine out of ten parents do when a child dissapears without trace in their parental home is neither here nor there but that helpless emotion of a child not with her mother when she really needs her really comes through here. That is the core emotion of the film as the helpess father looks on unable to change that situation. Craig T Nelson absoltely nails that moment when the father knows the maternal link is stronger then the paternal one and has to step aside and so be distanced from events.
Im not a huge fan of horror/ghost movies but theres a lot more to that simplistic genre in this film, a genunie scary mood piece that affects you when you are least expecting it. At the time it came it was geninuly creepy to be aprt of and even today it makes the hairs stand out on the back of your neck when the kid goes towards the TV. Coupled with the fact this is tradtional Spielberg family fanasty project combined with the guy who directed the original Texas Chansaw Masasacre, you really do end up with a scary cocktail here. If you feed in that visceral fear we all have of dying young then it really is something unique and still after all these years earns the dooyoo five stars. If you havent seen this film then it's the Goodfellas of supernatural horror flicks. Quite simply awesome.
- Special Features-
The re-release has digitally remastered picture and sound, and a two-part documentary: "They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists." It makes extensive use of clips from the film. For a premium priced rereleased DVD theres not much extra features here to justify this disc, again an excerise in vanity by the director (who ever that maybe) to touch up his masterpice and make yet more royalties.
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RuN-TiMe 114 minutes
Imdb.com scores it 7.4 out of 10.0 (23,546 votes)
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Summary: The 80s were the greatest era for movies...