31 Horror Movies I Own #7: Poltergeist
“You moved the headstones, but not the graves!”
Another Tobe Hooper masterpiece, Poltergeist is one of those rare horror movies that ages well. Despite its 1982 filming date, it doesn’t really feel that dated (unless you pay attention to the electronics…) and still holds up.
The story of the Freelings and their encounter with the group of ghosts living in their house could come of as campy and comical, especially with the inclusion of Zelda Rubenstein’s squeaky-voiced Tangina. But this thing is so well written and packed with suspense, that it reads as straight-up terror.
The focus of the film is the disappearance of angelic daughter Carol Anne, who joins the poltergeists by way of being sucked into a bedroom closet. Most horror films lose something in one area or another, but Poltergeist has the magic trinity of a strong script, kick-ass special F/X AND good actors.
The build-up of ghostly activity coupled with the breakdown of parents Steve (Craig T. Nelson) and Diana (a smokin’ hot Jo Beth Williams) is amazing to watch, and this is the movie that both made me afraid of large trees and ensured I would never have any kind of clown doll anywhere near me (look at that thing!), like FOREVER.
If you’ve been avoiding this because you think it might be lame, or if you’ve only seen parts of it, I urge you to get over it and rent away. This movie is so fantastic that I love it a little more every time I watch it—and the ending is perfect.
As far as the sequels go, 2 has its gross-out moments (the possessed tequila worm is pretty icktastic), and Kane is sufficiently creepy, but it’s just not as good as the original. The 3rd is so bad it’s *almost* good, in that “let’s knock back a couple of drinks and laugh our asses off” kind of way…or you know, if you happen to enjoy watching a very young Lara Flynn Boyle scream a lot. I’m just sayin’.