Poltergeist (1982) Poster

(1982)

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10/10
Better than a 7.1
tornado-1025 October 1999
Horror films often do not get their do, and the 7.1 rating for Poltergeist shows that this trend will most likely continue. Clearly an influential film by Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist reached for, and achieved, everything that the earlier Amityville Horror failed to be; namely, scary, credible, and well acted.

Poltergeist, in a nutshell, is a story of suburban California family that discovers the darker side of the American Dream when their youngest daughter, Carol Ann, makes contact with evil spirits through the family television set. "They're here", never fails to send chills down my spine as I recall seeing this film for the first time as a teenager.

Perhaps 10 to 15 more years will finally lend the credibility to this film to finally place it among the classics in modern horror cinema.
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Good Scary Fun!!!
cairn68 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I am not going to go into all the controversy surrounding this movie...everybody knows about the various deaths of cast members, as well as questions over who actually directed "Poltergeist". What I will decribe in this review are my feelings concerning the movie.

"Poltergeist" is a good scary picture which will not only entertain you, but will make you wonder what originally occupied the land where your home is currently standing. This movie makes good use of foreshadowing and building of tensions to move a viewer to believe what they are actually seeing is really happening. While giving the "funeral" for the pet bird, Robbie asks if they can later dig it up so they can "see the bones". At the end of the film he is indeed treated to seeing "dug up bones", only they were not ones he had in mind.

Great movie, great acting, great scary fun! A+
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8/10
One of the best horror/thrillers of the decade
gregsrants3 March 2004
In 1982, Steven Spielberg pulled off an incredible feat. In June of that year, Spielberg released two films only weeks apart that were both highly successful yet diversely different in both subject matter and their target audiences. One went on to become the highest grossing film of all-time (E.T.), the other spawned a franchise (Poltergeist).

Poltergeist had a screen credit of being directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but history has revealed that it was Spielberg's vision, editing and overall command of the shooting that was really behind the making of this extraordinary film. Poltergeist brought back the traditional haunted house genre that lay dormant and restless since The Amityville Horror in 1979. The story surrounds a family's house that has been punctured by the spirit world that seem keen on the youngest daughter of the clan – Carol Ann Freeling, played by newcomer Heather O'Rourke. At first, the family meets the strange happenings in the home with playful pleasure, but in an instant the poltergeists intentions turn against the Freelings, and their daughter is captured and taken back to the supernatural world where communication is possible only through the bedroom television.

The Freelings waste little time and soon contact a paranormal group, well over their heads, to help them rescue their daughter from the unseen captures. It becomes clearly evident however, that the group is over matched, and they call in a poltergeist expert, Tangina Barrons (played with relative enthusiasm and wit by Zelda Rubinstein) to assist with the phenomena. Tangina then leads the Freelings through the unknown, both calming their fears and eventually finding a portal that may be the key to retrieving their daughter.

Poltergeist works as both a horror and a thriller. The cast, lead by O'Rourke, Jo-Beth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Oliver Robins have real chemistry and are believable as a family unit, and unlike most horror films, they make sound judgments and know their limitations. When Carol Ann's bedroom becomes overtaken by the ghostly spirits, they lock the room and keep away rather than trying to fight something they cannot contain. And when things begin to look bleak, they call for help and look for experts in the field. This is an intelligent horror that doesn't have people running up the stairs when they should be running out the door.

Put together with a modest budget of less than $12 million, Poltergeist stretched it's dollars to provide us with an incredible array of special effects that still hold up well after 20 years of viewing. Sure, the scene where a scientist literally pulls his face off or when the bedroom is opened and we see items flying at random as if in a ghostly tornado, might be better served with CGI if made today, the effects still keep the story progressing with a sense of credibility.

Probably what keeps things so rooted in acceptability is how simplistic some of the special effects were in the larger scenes. A closet full of strobe lights are all that is required to convince us that it is a portal to another world and a fan gently blowing the hair of mother Williams' is believable as the spirit of her child flying past her. Simple plausible.

Whatever the reasons, Poltergeist works. One of the few screenplays written by Spielberg from one of his own stories, Poltergeist has all the elements that we now associate with the master director. There is a strong family unit, a child as the central character, above average production values and most notably, not one fatality in the entire film despite all the jilts and jolts. The closing scenes of chaos including a pool of skeletons (later revealed to be authentic), is pure movie magic with frantic pacing and edge of your seat suspense.

Since it's release, a lot has been made of the back stories and the curse surrounding the production of the franchise. Heather O'Rourke tragically died at a young age due to an internal infection and Dominique Dunne (who played a smaller role as her sister) was murdered the same year as the films release. The subsequent sequels have also included characters that died shortly after their films completion. Truth or fiction, lore or legend, these stories add to the mystique and mystery surrounding the film. Having knowledge of the ‘curse' makes it even scarier and gives it kind of a feeling like Naomi Watts' character must have experienced in The Ring, as if just by watching, you are contributing to the ongoing haunting.

Like most movies successful in the late 70's early 80's, there were sequels that were made with considerably higher budgets but less than stellar results (Superman III anyone?). Neither of the Poltergeist sequels or subsequent television programming could come close to capturing the essence of the original. Besides, how can you top what is now one of the most famous movie tag-lines of all time `They'rrreeee Here'?

Strong recommendation.
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10/10
One of the best horror films of all time.
TruPretender2 February 2005
What do you get when you put Steven Spielberg, Tobe Hooper, Jerry Goldsmith, and Beatrice Straight in a big budget MGM motion picture about a haunted house? You get "Poltergeist" a top of the pick, no holds barred, roller coaster ride through the supernatural world and back to ours. "Poltergeist" explores the side affects of a haunted house and it's effects on a normal suburban family who inhabits the house.

Steve Freeling is a successful realestate agent who has a nice house and a loving wife, with a family to die for. There is the spunky, rebellious eldest daughter, as portrayed gloriously by the late Dominique Dunne, may she rest in peace. The sporty young son, and the cute, innocent youngest daughter, Carol Ann, of whom the story is based around. The Freelings' are a happy American family whose lives are turned upside down when they realize their house in 'haunted' and the 'poltergeists' kidnap the youngest member of the family. In the film that pursues, Steve and his wife Diane do everything in their power to get her back, with the aid of Dr. Lesh, played out Oscar worthy by Beatrice Straight, and her assistants. Horrors and traumas ensue.

Enough power to knock you out of your dreams for long time, this film, was said to be directed by Tobe Hooper, whom had previous fame with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But when one watches this film, it is anything but Hooper. Hooper's trademarks include hysteria and screaming by a young female in the finale of his films(remember 'Eaten Alive?') and have no real substance or depth in their plots, what you see is what you get. Whereas this film, said to be produced by Spielberg, was so obviously directed(on the side anyway)by also, as his trade marks include psychological P.O.V. shots(Diane Freeling in the hallway scene) and wide range of character development(all characters except for Dana are developed to fruition, but Dunne does such a great job as Dana that you can't really tell.)There was even controversy over who directed the film, and still stands so today, although Spielberg came forward a little after the film was released, and exposed himself as only producer and assistant to the director, still, rumor is still hovering over the memory of the production.

The music to the film is superb, with Goldsmith clearly at one of his best moments, nominated but did not win, although he should have. His theme for the Freelings' is a calm, gentle one that compliments his theme for Carol Ann, which is quite possibly one of the prettiest themes he ever concocted. His score for the ghosts consists of structured, spiritual themes and rough orchestral brass woodwind, accompanied by a grand chorus. All other themes he came up with were just as stand out-ish as the above mentioned.

The acting is top notch, by conflicted Steve Freeling, who is so confused he self destructs into a pale maelstrom in his mind, and Diane, the mother and star of the film, Jobeth Williams is at her finest as she deals with the stress of trying to find her daughter, and keeping her family afloat amidst the chaos. The children are all really good under Hooper's(Spielberg's?) direction, particularly Dominique Dunne, who shines through in all scenes she is in, even though her character has got to be the most underdeveloped! Robbie is fun to watch, as all little boys will be boys. And who could forget the cute Carol-Ann...They're Heeeeere! Enough said. But my personal favorite was the late Beatrice Straight, as the sympathetic Dr. Lesh, who with every facial expression, the audience can see what exactly she is thinking, about to say, and still manages to surprise the audience with her spontaneous acting skill. The supporting cast are just as great.

Special effects make this even more of a thrill ride of the ages, as Industrial Light and Magic was first starting out, and makes this one of the biggest special effects fest of cinema. Nominations for those also.

So in full circle, this family, this film, the most extraordinary horror film of the eighties, still has the power to ring every chill out of it's script, while still managing to keep the audience calm with it's realism, and relief.

And about the curse that is said to follow the series' past, all just tragedies and coincidence.

May Dominique Dunne, Beatrice Straight, Heather O' Rourke, Jerry Goldsmith, all rest in peace.

10/10
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10/10
My favorite film experience
ray-28020 March 2007
I noticed that IMDb lists the release dates for films, and laughed here because I could never forget Friday, June 4, 1982, my last day in tenth grade, and about my tenth date with the exceptionally pretty and wonderful young lady I dated throughout most of high school. The weather was perfect, and I took my ladyfriend out for a nice lunch and a walk down Broadway in search of a movie. ET had been the hyped Spielberg film of that summer, but this one was already out, and the thought of a horrified hottie clinging to me for dear life (or vice versa) was irresistible. Poltergeist it was.

Like all Spielberg films, one will not find many weaknesses. The plot will be engaging, the visuals stunning, the acting excellent, and the overall experience first-class. This film did not disappoint.

The restrospectively amusing casting of Craig T. Nelson in the lead. Notable supporting cast include the late Dominique Dunne and the late Healther O'Rourke, both of whom would die tragically in 1988 and 1982, respectively, the earlier by domestic violence and the latter by illness. The loss to Hollywood is still felt to this day as each would likely have Oscars by now. The cast of competent, moderately known talents provided a strong yet muted substance to the special-effects stylings for which Spielberg became so famous.

As I settled in with my date to watch the film, I was equally enthralled both by her touch and the screen. From the moment O'Rourke uttered the to-this-day-chilling "They're here!!," through the amusing plot twist that explains the hauntings (a certain home developer forgot to do something with the gravesite that had previously existed on the land and apparently ticked off some spirits), though the death, destruction, and absolute terror experienced by the hapless protagonist family.

I will never again be fifteen, never again experience the deep cuts to the heart that come with teenage desire, never again wonder if maybe those horror movies could happen in real life, never again will experience the thrill of not having school or any other responsibilities for the next three months, and will never again be as vital or physically capable as I was so effortlessly back then, but to have had that even once, all at the same time, in the greatest city in the world, was absolutely awesome.

Whatever might have been wrong with my life at that age simply did not exist in that theater, during that film, with that date. Anything less than a perfect film would have spoiled what was literally a perfect day. It didn't.
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10/10
Steven Spielberg's ghost story
ITTMovieFanatic2 June 2004
"Poltergeist" is Steven Spielberg's vision of a ghost story, and a great one at that. This is an outstanding movie in every way possible. It has terrific acting, a good story to tell, a nice sense of humor, and astonishing special effects. Plus when I first saw this film, it was pretty scary.

"Poltergeist" tells the story of a suburban family living in a small town in California who's home is abruptly invaded by supernatural forces who are anything but friendly, and proceed to terrorize the entire clan. This is a movie that plays like a roller-coaster ride, and once it gets going it never stops.

Tobe Hooper, who directed the original 1974 cult classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", was picked by Spielberg to direct "Poltergeist". He does a fine job of creating scares and tension, even though rumors were floating around that writer/producer Spielberg actually stepped in and directed some of the film (Spielberg went on to say that Hooper was the director of "Poltergeist" even though Spielberg was very much involved with this film from start to finish). To me, it doesn't matter who directed it. This is still an excellent horror movie. Spielberg did a great job as writer/producer, and even if he had directed the whole movie it would still be as good. JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are wonderful as the head of the Freeling family, with Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, and Heather O'Rourke equally good as their kids. The late Oscar-winning actress Beatrice Straight ("Network") scores points as a parapsycologist investigating the hauntings, and Zelda Rubinstein steals scenes as the mysterious clairvoyant brought in to "clean house". The acting is great, but it's the Oscar-nominated special effects that dominate. Wow! This horror film is a must-see!

***** (out of five)
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8/10
Now THIS is a horror movie!!
SmileysWorld6 October 2001
There are two types of "horror" films:There are the scary ones, which is what the word "horror" means in the first place,and then there is the bloody,gory kind.Perhaps the latter kind should be categorized under another name.At any rate,Poltergeist is a good horror film.It goes beyond the idea of typical ghosts in sheets jumping out of nowhere and saying "boo!".Most of the adventure takes place in their world rather than ours,although we cannot see what is going on there.This is a very thrilling movie.It has great special effects and all of the scare elements that make a horror film what it is supposed to be.The clown in the chair at the foot of the boy's bed was a particularly tense moment for me.This is the only movie I went to see 4 times at the theater,partly to watch others' reactions.I have often heard that the film,and it's two sequels,were the victim of some type of curse,as after each film was released,a member of the cast passed away,including Heather O'Rourke,who played Carol Anne, after the 3rd film.She was only 10.Curse? Coincidence? Who knows? I guess anything is possible.All in all,this is one of the best films ever for the horror genre.
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They're Here.
tfrizzell15 March 2002
Truly spooky and disturbing horror film from the early-1980s that will make you jump from your seat. Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams seem to lead a normal life. He is a successful real estate agent and she is a loving housewife. They have three beautiful children, but one night all that slowly changes. The youngest child (Heather O'Rourke) starts talking to unseen spirits through a scrambled television station. The parents don't think much of it, until furniture starts to move on its own. However, the real terror does not start until O'Rourke is taken to another dimension by "the TV people". Now paranormalists led by Beatrice Straight must come in and try to get O'Rourke back to her family. Tobe Hooper, who is best known for the highly over-rated "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", does an admirable job here with the film's direction. However, it is rumored that Steven Spielberg came in during his "E.T" days and did the bulk of the work. This makes more sense as the film is really frightening and disturbing. The special effects are also impressive and "Poltergeist" ends up being one of those films that just sticks with you for a long time after you first see it. 4 stars out of 5.
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8/10
Eerie
zaremskya-2376112 October 2017
This movie was eerie to watch. Spielberg is usually about big, dramatic things and loud noises but this movie was subtle, creepy, and disturbing. He did it all very well too.

A house is haunted, and a little girl and her family are harassed by malevolent spirits. Pretty standard horror, but Spielberg adds his own style to the mix and the result is pretty good.

The family element adds a lot to the film too. In lots of horror films, it's usually just one or two people being haunted. Here it's a whole family. Maybe that does happen a lot, but Spielberg makes movies for the whole family quite a bit so maybe that's why it works well here.

Horror fans should like this. Haunted house fans too. Spielberg fans will enjoy the auteur working outside his normal range.
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5/10
Vastly Overrated
Chucky_Smith3 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Poltergeist is a tremendously overrated movie. I watched it again the other day for the first time in 20 years and had the exact same reaction as the first time. The plot simply doesn't hold together.

There are too many elements introduced in the story, or hinted at, and many of them are never explained properly or "paid off" later. It's classic mediocre scriptwriting. Steven Spielberg is a terrific director, but a middling writer. He wrote this story, about some of his childhood fears and recollections, and the movie plays like a disjointed series of set pieces, which are only partially related by a poorly thought-out framing story.

First it's about unsettled ghosts. Then it's hinted in one scene that Satan is involved somehow. This, and how it relates to the ghosts, is never explained. Then corpses start breaking through the ground. So why now, some 6-7 years after the house was built over the graves? Where have all these spirits been for 7 years?? Again, this is never explained. And why only in this one house, if the whole subdivision was built over the graves? And what's the deal with the tree that grabs the son and tries to devour him? Can anyone tell me what the hell this has to do with the rest of the story as it plays out, because I sure can't! Just another action set piece.

And in classic bad script fashion, the characters suddenly start acting clueless in order to further the action. After all that's just happened, the family decides to spend one more night in the house and the mother lets her children sleep in the same room which was the center of all the evil?? OH, PLEASE! Even Tobe Hooper's direction is slow and plodding, and many of the scenes just don't pack the wallop they should. IMDb states that Spielberg held Hooper back, so this may not have been his fault, but it's still a problem with this movie.

I'm sorry if these complaints seem nit-picky, but I don't think they are. Any good movie, including a good horror one, needs to be coherent and have things make sense and be understandable. Poltergeist simply has too many irons in the fire and it comes off as disjointed and unsatisfying.
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10/10
Similar to Twilight Zone Episode
jmars409-121-2902976 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a classic movie. One thing I want to point out is that the disappearance of the little girl into another dimension was the premise of a classic Twilight Zone episode aired in 1962 entitled "Little Girl Lost". If you come across it in reruns, check it out. Many of JoBeth Williams' reactions are seemingly taken from this Twilight Zone episode about a little girl who disappears into another dimension during the night. Poltergeist has many more elements to it( the poltergeist, of course, the monster, the tree outside, and the appearance of the Indian burial ground), but the initial disappearance of the little girl is straight from this Twilight Zone episode.
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10/10
"Poltergeist" - Horror for middle-class America
dee.reid17 October 2016
"They're here," and they're ready to stay.

1982's "Poltergeist" is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of the last 35 years, and certainly one of the most popular and widely imitated. I've caught "Poltergeist" many times over the years, but I have never actually sat down and watched the whole thing in its entirety. It's a gripping film, with a great cast, great story, high production values, and great direction.

"Poltergeist" is one of those great cinematic collaborations that everyone dreams about: it was directed by horror veteran Tobe Hooper (of 1974's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), but it was produced and co-written by Hollywood director Steven Spielberg ("Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Raiders of the Lost Ark"). I've read that there's been some debate over who was the true director here - Hooper or Spielberg - but there's no denying that the film bears the marks of both of its principal creators: Hooper's unique ability to shock the viewer and make people physically ill with what they're watching, and Spielberg's eye for human drama and ground-breaking special effects (courtesy of George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic - ILM).

"Poltergeist" involves an American middle-class suburban family's battle with malevolent spirits. But this film was like no other haunted-house movie before it. While films concerning themselves with evil spirits haunting human protagonists in isolated locations like large foreboding castles and mansions, or small cabins in the deep forest are all too common in the horror genre, "Poltergeist" brought that very same ghost story to middle-class America - forcing the film's protagonists (and the audience) to confront a supernatural horror right in their own homes. You can probably read all sorts of socio-political subtexts in this story - like the idea of how people escape to the suburbs to free themselves of the dangers prevalent in the bigger cities, only to find themselves the victims of something far more dangerous than anything there (in this case, ghosts, or "poltergeists").

We're introduced to the Freeling family, who live in the picturesque suburban Southern California community of Cuesta Verde. There's Steven Freeling (Craig T. Nelson), his wife Diane (JoBeth Williams), their oldest daughter Dana (the late Dominique Dunne, who was murdered by her boyfriend a few months after this film's release), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (the late Heather O'Rourke, who tragically passed away six years later from septic shock caused by intestinal stenosis, while filming this movie's second of two sequels).

Like William Friedkin had done on "The Exorcist" (1973), Hooper takes his time in introducing us to the Freelings so that we get to know each of them as people and see them going about their daily lives. But soon, strange occurrences begin happening around the house. At first, they're benign, even if understandably unsettling. Eating utensils appear bent out of shape. Chairs move by themselves. And Carol Anne can hear voices talking to her through their living room television set.

This strange phenomena soon starts to turn terrifying, and violent. Robbie is nearly eaten alive by the old tree outside his bedroom window. And tragically, Carol Anne is abducted by the ominous forces that seemed to have taken up residence in the Freeling's house and dragged her off to the spirit realm. Steven and Diane waste little time in contacting professionals - in this case, university parapsychologist Dr. Lesh (the late Beatrice Straight), who regards her profession as one with little reward but who soon sees that what the Freelings are dealing with is the real deal, and Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein), a medium who explains to everyone that the Freeling house is haunted by a malevolent supernatural entity known only as "The Beast" that is holding Carol Anne hostage on the "other side."

"Poltergeist" is a bold marriage of talent and special effects. For a film that was released 34 years ago (as of this writing), its practical special effects still stand up to the test of time and beat out many of its more modern-day CGI-laden counterparts. Only someone as gifted as Steven Spielberg and Lucas's ILM could have been capable of doing this.

"Poltergeist" is one of the great modern ghost stories. The unique collaboration of director Tobe Hooper and producer/co-screenwriter Steven Spielberg is one of the great collaborative efforts in the history of film.

10/10
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7/10
Likable family is suddenly horrorized by otherworld spirits in its house of terrors
ma-cortes16 March 2009
This known story deals about the suburban Freeling family(Craig T Nelson,JoBeth Williams,Heather O'Rourque and Dominique Dunne,Griffin Dunne's sister) that encounter its house invaded by weird ghosts who abduct their six years old little girl named Carol Anne(Heather O'Rourke). The parents hire a psychics(Beatrice Straight, Richard Lawson and Zelda Rubinstein) to resolve it.

Excellent terror story plenty of screams,chills,thrills and a little bit of humor. God and dazzling though primitive special effects by Richard Edlund. Suspenseful, frightening musical score by the master Jerry Goldsmith. Colorful and appropriate cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti.This hight budgeted movie is surprisingly written and well produced by Steven Spielberg. Director Tobe Hooper puts accent on suspense and atmosphere as in terror happenings. What transpires in the two hours longtime is a thriller that will leave you physically and emotionally drained. Horror fans should be entertained.

Followed by two inferior sequels with little common sense and coherence, as Poltergeist II(1986) by Brian Gibson with similar casting and Poltergeist III(1988) by Gary Sherman with Tom Skerrit, Nancy Allen, Lara Flynn Boyle and Heather O'Rourke who died after the movie's release at 12 age, while his sister Dominique Dunne died at 22 years old killed by her boyfriend.
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7/10
A Classic of the Horror Genre
claudio_carvalho22 September 2015
In the Cuesta Verde suburb, in California, the real state agent Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson) lives a comfortable life with his wife Diane (Jobeth Williams) and their children Dana (Dominique Dunne), Robbie (Oliver Robins) and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke). Now Steve has decided to build a swimming pool for the family. One night, the Freelings witness Carol Anne talking to the static in their television set and telling that they are here. On the following days, the family witnesses weird events in their house and Carol Anne vanishes. Steve and Diane visit the parapsychologist Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Straight) from the university and she goes with her team to the Freelings' house. Soon she realizes that the family is living a poltergeist phenomenon. Further, Steve has a conversation with his chief Mr. Teague (James Karen) and learns that the community was built on a former cemetery. Will they be capable to retrieve Carol Anne from the demon that is holding the little girl?

"Poltergeist" is a horror movie written and produced by Steven Spielberg but directed by Tobe Hooper due to the contract of Spielberg of exclusivity while making "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial" film. "Poltergeist" can be considered a classic of the horror genre, with an original story of haunted house. There are two sequels and one remake of this movie but none of them comparable to the original film. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Poltergeist: O Fenômeno" ("Poltergeist: The Phenomenon")
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3/10
Vastly overrated
writetoappleseed9 December 2005
This film is not without merits - but it certainly is no classic. It's aged badly, the characterisation is poor, and there are at least a dozen things about it that really grate, e.g.; the fact that the whole film is an excuse to use special effects; the fact that everyone blindly accepts the existence of ghosts and attributes any strange happenings to them without considering any other explanation; the cheesy horror clichés; the annoyingly sickly suburban family; the odd moral of the tale (treat those corpses with respect or else!); the American-dream-gone-wrong theme which doesn't quite work (given the fact that this is a 10 on the daft scale); and, last but not least, the fact that one of the paranormal investigators is scared half to death by the crawling meat scene; and yet ten minutes ago, he was happily documenting dozens of levitating objects flying around a bedroom.

That said, the special effects are quite good for the time, and the acting does it's best with such a daft story. At this point, you may be thinking; "this guy just doesn't like the genre". Not true; but in my opinion, effective, truly scary horror is created by the maxim "less is more" - not the more is more approach that Spielberg has employed successfully in other films, and less well here. A disappointment; go watch Ring instead for truly creepy television antics.

One last thing; it's appalling this got a PG in the US. One particularly disgusting scene involving peeling flesh is clearly unsuitable for kids, and I can imagine this giving young children nightmares, as hokey as it is. I suggest your kids should be at least twelve before you watch this with them.
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7/10
"They're heeeere!"
pzivojinovic21 January 2017
Sometimes to judge a film fairly you really need to consider the time at which it was made and what film-making technology existed at that time. This was the first big budget film to really tackle the subject of paranormal investigation, and at the time it was made it was seamless and sleek. It would be easy for people today to put it down for some of the early 1980's effects, but let's flip this perspective around and consider that no CGI what-so-ever was used. But at the same time, "Poltergeist" has a strangely family-friendly vibe. It was directed by Tobe Hooper, but it has the unmistakable fingerprints of producer/writer Steven Spielberg all over it. It focuses on an ordinary, harmless suburban family living their usual lives (their biggest problem is the death of a pet bird), which is suddenly thrown into chaos by outside forces. And unlike most horror movies, there isn't even a lot of violence... well, except for one grotesque hallucination.

Don't expect the usual gore and typical shocks you see in all modern horror films these days, Poltergeist is not about that. With all of the elements of visual effects, sound, acting, directing (Tobe Hooper) and writers (Steven Spielberg) this is one film that achieves everything you want to see in a motion picture. Anyway, Jo Beth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are great in this film. They have real chemistry. You believe they love each other and are a team. The kids are pretty great, too. It's actually quite a thoughtful movie and even has an odd warmth to it. Though there are a few scary moments. The final fifteen minutes are played out to such effect, that one could call it pure horror.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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8/10
Spielberg's dark side
Mr-Fusion7 November 2015
A few aspects of "Poltergeist" have become iconic by now, but one thing's for certain: it gave new meaning to TV snow.

And talk about snaring your audience with a false sense of security, this movie opens with that classic Spielberg suburbia - nice family, great neighborhood, somewhat idealized life - and then stuff quickly takes a turn for the dark. Possessed trees, swimming pool skeletons, free-roaming kitchen chairs . . . and those Goldsmith strings aren't doing anybody any favors. There's surprising emotional weight to this movie, and save for the face scene, it plays the psychological horror to tremendous effect.

This is beyond spooky. But still decides to go out on a lighter note. I love it.

8/10
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9/10
And don't forget the tree...
michael-32048 July 2015
Iconic '80s horror movie that eschews the traditional spooky tropes in favor of bringing avenging spirits to a contemporary California housing development. Without putting too fine a point on it or preaching, "Poltergeist" critiques relentless, consequence-free Reagan-era American optimism, in which past sins and omissions can be ignored and replicated because Profit!!, until the overlooked decide they've had enough. The movie only leaves the ticky-tacky, sunny and stormy suburban setting for two brief scenes, which helps it build a blandly claustrophobic atmosphere. "Cuesta Verde" is a place where, as one minor character observes, the houses all look alike, where people are so packed in that your neighbor's remote can change your TV channel, and where the phased planning aims to corral past, present and future residents in a manner that extracts maximum value. A lot of factors have helped enshrine "Poltergeist" as a modern classic, from the back-and-forth exhortations about going into the light (or not!) to Zelda Rubenstein's memorable turn as a psychic to the sad tale of Heather O'Rourke (who utters the film's most famous line, "They're here..."), but beyond all that it remains as gripping, entertaining and watchable as it was when it debuted. And for those of us of a certain age, it provides a reminder that networks used to go off the air and that sometimes the best idea is to turn off the TV.
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10/10
Monsters in the Closet and Under the Bed
NintendoExpert8919 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS POSSIBLE**

What is a poltergeist? It is a ghost, which announces its presence with loud noises and the creation of disorder. But the poltergeists in this movie go far beyond that. Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Speilberg, "Poltergeist" is (in my opinion) one of the scariest movies of all time. The plotline is very original (written by Speilberg), on how nasty ghosts invade a family home, kidnap the 5-year-old daughter and bring her to the other side, and her parents must battle the ghosts to get her back. Although filmed in 1982, the special effects in "Poltergeist" are very astounding and are done very well (my favorite being the beast esophagus, which manifests grusomely in the children's bedroom closet). Some people who have seen the movie still have nightmares about it two decades later, esspecially the incidents with the malevolent clown doll, and the swimming pool. "Poltergeist" is definately worth watching, for those in neat of excitement.

10 Stars.
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10/10
A magic carpet ride for the senses
Robskit622 August 2013
Some films really take you on a ghost train ride and this film does it with style. This is obviously the main reason for watching it. The other reason for watching is that it so much more than just a ghost train ride. This film is actually beautiful. From Jerry Goldsmiths wonderful score, I.L.M's SFX still looking good after thirty years and still better than some things out now. Mathew F Leonetti's photography and last but not least, the cast; especially JoBeth Williams, Craig T Nelson and Beatrice Straight. These actors prove themselves as dramatists and make us believe what we see.In my humble opinion they all do a great job of bringing the drama. For me, these are the reasons to watch this film again and again. This film brings to life the horror comic book story's I loved as a kid like Tales from the Grave and The Nightcomers. Unlike a lot of tales of the supernatural on film lately,it is not spending an hour watching a door open slightly due to perhaps an unseen presence or maybe subsidence. This is seeing the door being ripped off its hinges by a force that has dropped the veil and allowed us to glimpse the howling twisted monster that awaits us on the other side and all in Metrocolor. Rather than a remote old mansion in an over gloomy setting, we are placed within the sun-kissed California hills, in a valley under a cobalt blue sky with an ordinary family whose youngest child Carol Anne becomes the conduit for the souls of the dead propelled by a terrible evil enabling them to escape the world of the dead and break through roaring, laughing and screaming into the world of the living with CarolAnne exclaiming Their heeeeeere!!!. Craig T Nelson is just superb as Steven Freeling being the man-in-the-sketch and JoBeth Williams as the enthusiastic mother and brave matriarch is just fantastic. The whole movie has a Steven King quality and style to it with the slow build reaching to a draw dropping finale.All of it laced with humor and some scenes played for laughs which are very funny. I do believe that this is a classic film and a must see. For me,the film delivered everything I ever wanted from a story of the supernatural.If you haven't seen it yet, then get it! Then get the beers in,the chips n dips, turn down the lights and enjoy. Rob H
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10/10
A Horror Classic
clyclone_5051 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Poltergeist is a creative piece of Hollywood gold. To say that this movie is good is an understatement; it is a wild ride through the world of the supernatural. I recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a good scare on a Saturday night. After literally hundreds of views, i still find this movie to be an exciting adventure for anybody who is looking for a creep-fest. The part with the steak and the maggots is sheer genius. It is very unfortunate that a couple of the cast members died, and they will be missed; especially Heather O'Rourke, who died (matter subject to debate) either after or during the shooting of the third and final Poltergeist.

Veya Con Dios, Heather.
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An amazing piece of work!!! Horror at it's best.
thewizardofoz17 July 2000
This movie has been one of my all time favorites for more than ten years. Like many other people in the '80s, the first time I saw this movie it scared the hell out of me.

I compliment on the fact that there is no bloodspilling or graphic violence or even a single killing in the movie to make this movie sensationally scary. It relies on those trendy '80s special effects to make the movie truly frightening.

I still think this movie is scary, because I have always found supernatural forces and things that are out of the ordinary in this world to be more frightening than some idiotic blond woman being chased by an ax-wielding maniac. The script is so well written, the acting heartfelt and wonderful, and the direction and production techniques are top-notch. I have never seen horror movies embody all those elements since "The Exorcist."

For those of you who have not seen this movie, SEE IT! It may not scare you like today's modern horror flicks, but it will sure entertain and enlighten you. Has a horror movie ever done that????????????
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10/10
Classic
mitzistallard21 July 2018
One of the creepiest movies of all-time, Poltergeist is a classic. It comes from a decade which saw the production of many horror films that still make our October movie playlists. It has all the features of a movie that you just can't watch alone like thunder, lightening, clowns, and corpses.
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7/10
Good For Movie Night
NerdBat10 February 2018
I watched this movie as a kid and only recently rewatched it recently. I love the monstrosities that it creates, obviously being something different than just ghosts. It makes me feel bad for the family, and depending on how much you believe in this kind of stuff, it can be a problem people really experience. The ending however leaves you somewhat unsure of what will happen to the family, and if their reputation will rebuild itself. Great effects for its time though, really can give you a good scare if you're fragile enough, haha.
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6/10
More a fun spookfest than a horror movie
alfCycle26 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is a fairly fun, entertaining movie. It has lots of memorable moments that many will have seen referenced throughout pop culture. I did not see this film as a kid. If I had, I probably would have been pretty freaked out by it. However, watching for the first time as an adult, I can't really say that any part of this movie was particularly scary or creepy to me. It came across more like a fun spookfest than a horror movie. I would say this is closer in tone to something like Beetlejuice than it is to The Exorcist. I guess it's somewhere in the middle, which probably makes me give it a lukewarm review. Not creepy enough to be that scary. Not goofy enough to be that funny. I felt the beginning had that sense of wonder that you get from a Spielberg film. I know he didn't direct it, but you can definitely notice his influence on the direction of this movie. However, that feeling seemed to disappear along with the daughter. Overall, this is a pretty good movie that you can have fun with. Just don't go in expecting something scary.

6/10

************SPOILERS************

Recommended for those that enjoy creepy children, creepy clowns, creepy trees, creepy tvs, creepy meats, creepy self stacking furniture, spontaneous face melting, spontaneous grave popping, spontaneous house folding, inter-dimensional closet portals, giant closet heads, ectoplasmic mud baths, remote control feuds...

...but that's just like, my opinion, man

# Of Times Watched: Once
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