15 July 2024
Poltergeist (1982)

114 min.
Directed by Tobe Hooper.
With JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight, Heather O'Rourke, Oliver Robins, Dominique Dunne, Zelda Rubinstein, James Karen.
Remarkably produced roller coaster ghost journey courtesy of director Tobe Hooper.

Suburbanites Steve (Nelson) and Diane Freeling (Williams) find that life in peaceful Cuesta Verde is good for their family...that is, until the television set sucks their young five-year old daughter Carol Anne (O'Rourke) into an otherworldly void filled with restless spirits!

Turns out some disenfranchised ghosts have a bone to pick...and this all American family just happens to be in the way.

It doesn't take the Freelings long to discover their house is haunted.

But by whom exactly? And what do they (it?) want? And how do they get Carol Anne back to the land of the living?

Everything behind Poltergeist could have foretold its commercial and critical success. A killer screenplay courtesy of Steven Spielberg. Direction by Texas Chainsaw Massacre Tobe Hooper.

Chilling music from Jerry Goldsmith. The spectacular visual special effects from George Lucas' wunderkind Industrial Light & Magic.

But it's really the homegrown performances here that steer Poltergeist into classic territory. Williams and Nelson are first rate as the beleagured Freelings, and they (nearly singlehandedly) keep this glossy well timed shockclassic floating along at a quick clip.

On the supporting side, Straight is a welcome sight as the paranormal investigator brought in to dish with the shadows, and Rubinstein is terrific as the diminutive psychic Tangina.

Sequel: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986).

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