31 Days of Horror 2014 – Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist Movie“They’re here…” – Carol Anne

You’ve got to love the early 80’s. At the time of Poltergeist’s release, there was no PG-13 rating so instead this film received a rating of PG (along with other childhood nightmare-inducing releases of the time including “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Gremlins”).

Was I immediately scarred for life after viewing this at the age of 7? Sure…but I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything; even if it means to this day that I still check under the bed at night!

 

Summary:

A family living in the peaceful suburbs of California has their world turned upside down when their youngest daughter, Carol Anne, is contacted by a spiritual presence within their home. What starts out as a few lightweight ‘super natural” occurrences quickly escalates into a series of terrifying events that places their entire family in danger.

Starring: 

Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist II, The Incredibles), JoBeth Williams (The Big Chill, Poltergeist II), Heather O’Rourke (Poltergeist II & III)

Watch the Original Theatrical Trailer: 

My Review:

Poltergeist is one of those movies that you’ll never forget. I was terrified watching it when I was a kid and it still got under my skin when my wife and I recently viewed it to kick off our Halloween season. Whether it’s scary old trees, demonic toys, or ticked-off spirits, this movie pushes everyone’s ‘nightmare button’ in some way or another. Not only does the movie feature the creative writing / directing / producing talents of Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Steven Spielberg, it also benefits from a solid cast and some great special effects, most of which still hold up after more than 30 years.

Bottom line: Poltergeist is a classic horror film that should be featured on every “Top 100” Horror movie list, and, with it’s new PG-13 rating, it is still a much more family-friendly horror film than many others in the genre. Perfect viewing for post trick-or-treating endeavors on Halloween night after the little ones are asleep.

Best Scene:

I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it, but you’ll know why I still check under the bed at night after you’ve watched the movie.

Scare Meter:

8 ‘chills’ out of 10 (10 out of 10 if I’m rating it back when I first watched it). Poltergeist has mild gore and only a few ‘gotchya’ scenes; however, the after-effects of assimilating what you’ve just seen will hang around in the back of your mind for a very long time to come.

Best Place to Find:

I admit, I paid the ridiculous fee of $3.99 to stream the HD version on Amazon (the quality was amazing though). You can also purchase the DVD on Amazon for $5 (yes, that probably would have been the better move in retrospect) or rent / stream the SD version for $2.99 on Vudu, Amazon and Google Play.

If You Like This Movie, Check Out:

House on Haunted Hill (1999), The Ring (2002), The Amityville Horror (2005), Insidious (2010)

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