The 2020 EYG Horror/Halloween Bingefest this year continued today with one of the classic haunted house movies of all time. Poltergeist inspired several sequels and filled the minds of the audience with tension and fright.
The Freeling family seemed to be the perfect family, living a wonderful life. However, strange events begin happening in the house. At first, it seemed like harmless fun, but it quickly degenerated into a life and death struggle.
One particularly stormy night lead to several horrifying situations and the abduction of young girl Carole Anne (Heather O’Rourke) from her bedroom. This led Steven (Craig T. Nelson), her father, and Diane (JoBeth Williams), her mother, to struggle to save their entire family.
I have to say, this film unnerved me quite a bit. I had an eerie feel when it ended and it stuck with with for a bit. That is a sign of an effective horror film.
The performances of Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams were fantastic. I really bought them as a happy couple, who loved their life and their family above all else. The strength of the pairing of Nelson and Williams elevated the material dramatically.
Although she was not on screen as much as the other members of the cast, Zelda Rubinstein (who I was originally introduced to on Picket Fences) was utterly brilliant as the psychic Tangina. Her arrival in the movie truly kickstarted the film into another level of intensity. Her voice and her diminutive frame demanded your attention in every scene she appeared in and she dominated the screen.
The special effects really hold up too. For 1982, these were extra special and these effects deserved the praise that was heaped upon them.
Directed by Tobe Hooper, the screenplay was written by, among others, Steven Spielberg, though rumors circulated that Spielberg’s touch on the film was more all-encompassing than just writer. In fact, the vision of Spielberg permeated much of the creative decisions which became Poltergeist.
There are several deft touches of humor in the film as well, something that you would not think would be effective. However, each moment of humor seemed to fit extremely well and helped make you believe this was a real family and real people going through these unreal events. It came across very well.
Jerry Goldsmith’s score was amazing. His music elevated the tension in each scene, highlighting the beauty in each moment.
Poltergeist is a true Halloween must.