Written by: ejaculine
Most of you have probably seen or at least heard of this movie. The title pretty much sums it all up; this is a movie about poltergeists. Made in 1982, it was co-written and co-produced by Steven Spielberg. It was directed by Toby Hooper, the man who brought us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I haven't seen many good ghost movies but this one is an exception. Starring Graig T Nelson (TV's Coach) as Steve Freeling, a real estate developer , JoBeth Williams as his wife Diane, Dominique Dunne as the oldest daughter, Oliver Robins as the son and Heather O'Rourke in the leading role of 5 year old Carol Anne. The Family is living in Cuesta Verde Estate,a neighbourhood, which Steve himself, helped develop.
It all begins when Carol Anne is awakened by the sound of static coming from the living room television where her father has fallen asleep. She goes downstairs and stares at the static on the screen and after a minute or two, she starts answering questions as if someone or something were communicating with her through the television set. Her parents wake up to find her conversing with the television but think it must be nothing more than sleepwalking and simply decide to go back to sleep. Over the course of the next few days more and more strange things start happening. First Carol Anne's beloved pet bird dies, then an earthquake apparently only affects their house during which the five year old child, standing at the foot of the bed in front of the staticky television screen, declares "THERE HERE". If that's not creepy enough, the next day chairs start moving by themselves and Carol Anne informs her mother that all of this is the T.V. people's doing. I will not go into further details at this moment as to not ruin the movie for those seldom people who have not yet seen this film. Let's just say the rest of the movie involves a freaky tree, corpses, burial grounds and a team of para-psychologists. This is a classic folks. If you like ghosts, this is definitely a must see. Of course, the special effects are dated but if you can look past that, you will enjoy this movie. The acting ranges from descent to pretty good but with child actors that is quite understandable. The pacing is good, the dialogue is believable and actors seem to have a good chemistry together. This movie has become a staple of it's kind and has been spoofed in cartoons such as Family Guy (Poltergeist episode) and The Simpson's (the fist Tree house of Horror episode).If you like Amityville Horror and the Changeling, do yourself a favour and check this one out!
Just to add to the creepy nature of this film, there are rumours of a curse attached to the Poltergeist motion picture series and it's stars. Allegedly, real human skeletal remains were used as props in the first film, causing the angry spirits of the deceased to wreak havoc. Sounds crazy right, oddly enough four cast members have died in the span of 6 years after the movie's release, one of which was in that first year. The first victim was 22 year old Dominique Dunne, choked to death in her own driveway by her 26 year old ex-boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney just nineteen days before her 23rd birthday. Next was Heather O'Rourke, the star of all 3 Poltergeist movies that played the role of Carol Anne. She died at the tender age of 12 from possible Crohn's disease in 1988. Julian Beck, who played Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died in 1985 of stomach cancer and finally, Will Sampson, who played Taylor the Medicine Man in Poltergeist II, died of post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems in 1987. Other strange occurrences happened either during or after the filming of each of the 3 poltergeist movies.