Monday, October 06, 2008
31 Days of Halloween - Day 6 Movie 2
When it was first released, I must have seen "Poltergeist" (1982) a dozen times, then countless more times on video and cable over the next few years. Obviously I loved this movie. I'm guessing the last time I saw it was in the very early 1990s. I think in the years leading to now, I've been afraid to watch it because so many beloved movies of the past have let me down on later viewings, and I wanted to keep my fond memories pure. I need not have worried.
A family living in a modern, recently built, home suddenly find themselves invaded by paranormal forces who attack them and whisk their 5-year old daughter. Carol Anne into the world between ours and the afterlife. Aided by a team of paranormal investigators, the family fights to bring Carole Anne back and discovers a terrible secret about their housing development in the process.
"Poltergeist" was produced and conceived by Steven Spielberg and, according to the credits directed by Tobe Hooper. I've lost track of the back and forth arguments and documentation concerning the true director identity on this movie, but everything about it beginning with the family dog's nighttime foraging which introduces us to each family member down to nearly every composition and camera move (not to mention a scene where "A Guy Named Joe" is being shown on television. This is a movie that Spielberg later remade as "Always") screams Steven Spielberg.
It's a very well conceived movie. The actors who make up the family are very convincing in their relationships, the paranormal investigators are liekwise well conceived. The strange phenomena builds gently at first, each moment being a "wow," and then suddenly crashes in as a full on assault with hit after hit without ever getting stale. I know a lot of people who found this movie to be really scary, even though it is rated PG, and would now most likely be rated PG-13 because of one brief scene that takes place in a mirror over a sink.
All in all this movie is still a lot of fun.