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as of: 7/25/05




out of 10


Tobe Hooper


JoBeth Williams .... Diane Freeling
Craig T. Nelson .... Steve Freeling
Beatrice Straight .... Dr. Lesh
Dominique Dunne .... Dana Freeling
Oliver Robins .... Robbie Freeling
Heather O'Rourke .... Carol Anne Freeling
Michael McManus .... Ben Tuthill
Virginia Kiser .... Mrs. Tuthill
Martin Casella .... Dr. Marty Casey
Richard Lawson .... Ryan
Zelda Rubinstein .... Tangina Barrons, Clarivoyant


First off let me state that unlike a lot of other people my age (26), I had never seen Poltergeist in its entirety until now. Oh, I've seen bits and pieces here and there around Halloween, but I've always resisted watching it on TV (with the obvious commercial breaks and cuts for time and content). I thought the movie was a very solid ghost / haunted house story, and I thought it did a good job of ratcheting up the "fear factor" as the ghosts went from playful to malevolent in a hurry. The acting wasn't great, but it was definitely solid, and the idea behind the movie was a good one. There have been a lot of questions as to how much influence Spielberg (as executive producer and writer of the story and screenplay) had on this movie, and how much (or more precisely how little) Tobe Hooper had. It definitely has the feel of a Spielberg film, and for obvious reasons. It'd be pretty tough for Hooper to NOT make it feel like a Spielberg film, since the screenplay was written by Spielberg. Enough of the background, on to a quick summary. Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams play an upper middle class husband and wife happily raising their three children in suburban America. Things seem to go fine at first, but after a storm, little Carol Anne (played beautifully by Heather O'Rourke) announces that now-famous line, "They're heeee-ere", and the weirdness is on. Chairs start stacking themselves and moving around the kitchen, and at first the family is amused. They soon find out that these supposedly playful forces aren't at all what they at first appear to be. One other thing to note is the supposed "curse" on the Poltergeist franchise. Dominique Dunne (who played the oldest daughter Dana Freeling) was strangled to death not too long after the movie came out. Heather O'Rourke died of a bowel obstruction after making the third film (she was only 12), and two actors who appeared in Poltergeist II died after making that movie. I don't really believe in curses, but like The Exorcist before it and stretching back to ancient Egypt, sometimes events make you wonder. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and it is one of the better ghost stories of the past 30 years. While it might not be considered a classic by everyone, it comes awfully close. I'd recommend a buy for Poltergeist, and I'd give it an 8/10.


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