poltergeist, the 30th anniversarry


June the 4th 1982, What a great day in movie history and this one and Star Trek II both opened at the same time.. I saw trek II first and Poltergeist second all on the 4th . I was a huge Spielberg fan and I couldn’t believe he had two movies coming out and just weeks apart. I thought I was in heaven with all that this man had going on… Tobe Hooper was the director of Poltergeist and the story came from Steven’s wild imagination.  And my oh my what a dark imagination he has!!! The premise is a ghost story set in modern suburbia. Mr.  Spielberg was at the top of his game with this one and I do miss these times when he wrote movies himself.  Needless to say this is one of my all time favorite films and I find it so hard to believe that it is 30 years old. Poltergeist is quite a flashback to the 80’s especially with the hair styles, home decor, and the way families functioned, much like my watching the educational films of the 50’s in the 80’s, is probably what it’s like watching Poltergeist by today’s teens.  One of the big changes from then in now is that in 1982 Television stations operated on a hourly basis and at the end of the broadcast day the channels would go to static till the next day.   The channels would either end with a short aviation film called “High Flight” or with the “National Anthem”.   Poltergeist could never be done today because TV stations never go off the air anymore…  Both,  Spielberg’s ET and Poltergeist were being shot very close to each other geographically and a lot of rumors at the time were that Spielberg had directed both and Hooper was only credited as the director. It took many years to show this story for what is was, A Rumor and Hooper started to receive the credit he so deserved. Back to the story, we find the movie opening in a lovely neighborhood where all the houses look identical and life outside of the city is fun and peaceful. Neighbors all get together for football games on TV and everything in the world is right,,,,or is it.. A family known as the Freelings live in one of these lovely homes and slowly but surly unexplainable things begin to happen shortly after the Nation Anthem ends the TV broadcast for the night.  Furniture moves, forks bend, vices are heard through the TV when the signal is off.  The activities continue to happen to the point where the families daughter( Carol Anne) who is the focus of the activities is pulled from the physical world and taken to the spiritual world.. This was pretty heavy storytelling at the time because what is a common topic of conversation now (the Paranormal) it wasn’t then. Moving on Their daughter is taken and the family quietly but desperately acquire the help of some paranormal experts who discover that there is something very wrong with the Freeling home. The scientist bring in a medium who puts the pieces together and discovers it is the beast himself that is holding their daughter at bay and using her to keep the departed souls from finding their way to the light and Heaven. A way is found to get their daughter back which at the moment is a good thing. But it only leads to the rage of the beast going on a full scale war against the family in his attempts to get Carol Anne back. In the process we discover that the lovely neighborhood known as (Questa Verde) has been built on top of an old cemetery. The family escapes barely and their home is sucked into vortex and taken back to Hell. Poltergeist is a wickedly fun tale and Hooper’s mastery of horror is more than evident with his exceptional work done here. Jerry Goldsmith set a new high with his incredibly disturbing music that he composed for this scary little ghost story. His use of choir and children’s voices added an uneasy element which carried a frightening mood throughout the entire film.. It is clearly one of his finest scores from the 80’s and a landmark score from his accomplished history! The casting was perfect and the performances by Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O”Rourke, and Zelda Rubinstein are incredible as well as those by the many actors making up the supporting cast. The production design by James H. Spencer is brilliantly executed at setting both a peaceful neighborhood imprisoned it the bowls of hell. James talents reach far and wide in scope and genre and he is still an active and creative force in the movie industry to this day. ILM was the place where the bewitching VFX came from and they had to create and invent a whole slew of new technologies to pull this one off. They did so with the brilliance they have become known for and I so loved the the vast array of work they did for Poltergeist. This is a great film and I hope you all have had as much fun with this one as I did,,,  So with that said Happy 30th to Poltergeist!

2 Responses to “poltergeist, the 30th anniversarry”

  1. 1 Matt Boardman
    June 5, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Carol Anne? Carol Anne!?

    “They’re here…”

    :: shudders :: Oh man, this movie gave me the creeps! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it and it’s hard to believe it’s 30 as well!

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June 2012

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