HMM Day 28 – Poltergeist

Ok I will admit it, moving to Barrow, Alaska obviously was not a good idea. It is quite possible that moving to a place that has thirty straight days void of sunlight can welcome in… some unsavory company. That I can admit, was a big mistake. But this time! This time, I have found the perfect place for my family and I. A place that is new and developing. A place where a family can feel safe and welcome. A place… a place of the American community; full of beautiful prideful Americans that all look out for one another. Where a home is more than just four walls and a roof. It is a sanctuary of fellowship. A portal if you will, for… for people to come together and reach across the divide by means of a home owners association. This place does exist my friends and that is why we are packing our bags and leaving the frozen tundra of the wild north and headed for a lovely location in Cuesta Verde, California!

It’s all coming together perfectly. We found ourselves a real estate agent named Steven Freeling. He’s this great guy that has it all. The loving beautiful wife, three kids and a golden retriever. The perfect icon for the modern American family. In fact, Steven is selling me a house that resides just one mile west of his! From what Steven has told me, it’s part of his companies phase five plan for the community and we will be one of the first families to move in! Well that is, right after the company does a little excavation, land replacement, exhumation thing that Steven told me about. Not a big deal I assure you!

My wife and I are so happy. Sure the home is an exact copy of the others but we know it will be the ideal place for a family of five. Steven even gave us an idea of putting in a pool in the backyard! We might just take him up on that offer! You know, it’s good to be moving into a place like this. It’s not overly crowded and let’s just be honest, you can’t be as bad as blood sucking vampires, am I right!? I mean how can anyone in the world, have a problem with a place like Cuesta Verda, California? Mr. Freeling said it right, the grass does grow greener… on every side here.

Poltergeist is a 1982 horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein. It was originally going to be directed by Steven Spielberg but since he was doing E.T. he gave the movie to Hooper who up to this point had only done a little film that know body ever saw called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film was a commercial success and was considered the best movie of 1982… wait! 1982? Hold on just a fucking second! 1982 was also the year John Carpenters The Thing was released! Any who, the film went on to spawn two sequels. One in 1986 called Poltergeist II: The Other Side and 1988’s Poltergeist III. Poltergeist II would reprise the rolls of most of the cast members and would go on to receive fairly positive reviews. To this day I believe Poltergeist 2 is a great sequel. The third movie wouldn’t fair as well with it only having O’Rourke and Rubinstein returning to their rolls. Unfortunately Heather O’Rourke would pass away four months before the release which caused marketing problems with the studio. The film would go on to have a 2015 remake which was a load of shitty puss filled garbage!

The Story

When the Freeling family start experiencing strange and paranormal occurrences in their beautiful home, events take a turn for the worse as their young daughter Carol Anne seems to vanish. With no clue as to find the missing girl the family turn to paranormal investigators to help search for their daughter. The Freeling family are pushed to the limits as danger begins to the threaten their search.

Poltergeist is one of those films where it stands as what I call entry-level horror. The kind of horror you would let your kids watch or wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in watching with your Grandma. Compared to other horror of that year like John Carpenters The Thing or Slumber Party Massacre, the film is pretty tame. Some people argue that it shouldn’t even have “horror” as it’s genre! It does have a PG rating but only because it was either that or an R. PG-13 had not happened yet until Gremlins and Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. But still, there are no deaths in this movie and if you’re someone that is into hard core gore and jump out scares then I can see why Poltergeist might not be for you.

But for me, Poltergeist is a favorite and will remain a film I often think about. I actually own a copy of the book “Reagan the Man, the President” by Hedrick Smith that Steven is reading while getting high with his wife Diane. I’ve never read the book and merely own it as a keepsake to the film. I don’t know why but out of all the things from that movie, seeing Steven wrap a joint and then flipping open a book about Ronald Reagan always makes me laugh. There seems to be a sense of irony or making a statement about the yuppies of the 80’s.

The entire film is actually kind of a statement about America as well. Here we have the Freeling family that are living in their nice home in a newly developing residential area. This was the rise of cookie cutter home developers that exists today. Home developers gobble up tons of land and place a shit load of cheap homes real close together. The Freeling’s home is an exact replica of the other thousand homes in the area. But that’s not the real problem. The problem is there is no responsibility for this development. The Freelings weren’t told that the house was built over an old cemetery! Soon the Freelings experience some crazy stuff that starts off subtly and then gets nuttier. Their daughter is sucked into the world/dimension of the dead and the family undergoes some serious haunted house shit! The entire thing could have been avoided if the greedy company had not done what they did. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with the sentiment and I don’t buy into that anti-Capitalist bull shit some douche lefty who loves their iPhone and car would spew. But there it is. You can watch this movie and not give a shit about any political message.

Poltergeist is a movie that keeps you entertained from beginning to end. The horror doesn’t reside in brutal gore but in the unknown. That unknown starts off small and gradually builds in a way that can make a skeptic of ghosts seem believable. But then Tobe Hooper comes in and it becomes more fun in moving everything into the purely bizarre and insane. What seems like a normal ghost movie becomes a straight up horror flick about pissed off entities with a mean demeanor.

I feel like the movie mixes a good blend of Spielbergian fantasy/mystery with that awesome Hooper grossness. You can feel the ET and Close Encounters kind of vibe that made Speilburg the biggest director of all time. There’s a shifting approach in this film that creates a great balance. At times the film is insightful and endearing. The Freeling family is relatable. The kids argue and the parents smoke weed and bang. But then some crazy shit happens like a giant skull pops out of a closet. If you’re watching this for the first time then it feels like a roller coaster ride of unsuspecting turns that calms down to then drop you. When Zelda Rubinstein comes in, things become insanely outlandish. I love this movie and think the effects and scares still hold up today. You can probably blame this movie for the fear of dolls, especially clown dolls. So check 1982’s Poltergeist out and enjoy day twenty eight of my Horror Movie Marathon!

Thanks For Reading!

Check out other day twenty eight posts from past marathons.

and if you’re new to the marathon and would like to see the others posts, then check these out.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. rdfranciswriter says:

    I rewatched this yesterday, after many, many years. Just WOW. I forgot how GOOD this film is. Jobeth rolling around the walls and ceiling via in-camera tricks. When all the tombstones start popping up. The swimming pool scene. Just stellar.

    The sequels and remakes just do not compare. The remake was — as with The Poseidon Adventure — one of the most boneheaded, “green lights” remakes of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nscovell says:

      I actually love the sequel the other side a lot. It has some pretty intense scenes. I for one freaked over the braces scene and the tequila worm was amazing. I think the third one is the one that most people don’t care for.

      Like

      1. rdfranciswriter says:

        Yes. You’re right. I forgot the braces and the worm! As with 30 Days of Night: let me pull this out of the moth balls and rewatch it. (This is the one with the Tallman preacher dude wanting Carol Ann, right?)

        I was talking about this just the other day. My buddy felt it was the best sequel since Aliens, in that it built on the original, yet stands on its own — and it’s not just a retread of the film, as are most sequels.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. nscovell says:

        Best sequel of all time is gremlins 2

        Like

      3. rdfranciswriter says:

        Now, I’ve seen and that was a good sequel. It ain’t no Troll 2, thank god.

        Liked by 1 person

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