Poltergeist


They're he-ere!

From Poltergeist 1982

The 1982 film, Poltergeist was nominated for three Oscars - Best Effects: Sound Effects Editing, Best Effects: Visual Effects, and Best Music: Original Score. This movie was written by Steven Spielberg but directed by Tobe Hooper. It was one of the best horror movies of the 1980s and still holds up today as an excellent suspense thriller.

The movie begins with a normal middle class suburban family enjoying their new home in a typical community. They are a loving couple with three charming kids. Everything is going splendidly for them until the youngest daughter, an adorable little blond girl who is around the age of 5, goes up to the static filled television and places both hands on it before announcing one of the most memorable movie lines ever, “They’re here!” From that point on the house begins to go from eerie to downright full on psychotic.

Things start slow with a few bumps and noises that cannot be explained, then continue to build until before long it looks like a full on lightning storm within this single house. The youngest daughter continues to be closely associated with the haunting, and she appears to be a target of growing attacks and needing medical scrub uniforms to stay safe, until at one point she goes missing. At this point the family brings in a trained psychic (with one of the most memorable voices in movie history) to try to understand what is going on within the house. The family does war against the psychic forces within the house, at one point even entering a portal to try to find their daughter and bring her back to them.

The reason this movie is so successful is that it combines a lot of the best classic elements of a great horror story. Everybody is fascinated with the idea that their house could be haunted, because who does not have a few random unexplainable sounds here and there. Add in the fact that the adorably cute daughter seems to be the most in tune with the haunting and is abducted by ghosts. Then throw in a classic psychic with a crazy voice and you have cinema gold.

The movie starts out with a normal looking family. The new family on the block move into their new home with everything seemingly perfect. The parents (Steve and Diane Freeling) and their three children (Dana, Robbie and Carol Anne). The paranormal part of the movie starts when the serenity comes to a stop when their daughter Carol Anne hears voices on the TV after programs for the day of ended.

She sits in front of the TV apparently talking to someone but to the family it is unknown who or what since all they see and hear is static. She sleeps alongside her parents the next night after a violent storm, which needed some good home backup generators to get power back. Here is where things get interesting in the movie.

It is after Carol Anne wakes up and goes to the TV as she did before that things start up. This time soft voices are heard and light shines within the static. A part of that light jolts out and floats around her momentarily and hits the wall. It is then she says to her family and mommy when they woke up in fright "they're here..." with a creepy smile.

As things escalate from furniture moving around without any explanation to life threatening scenarios such as a tree branch that seemingly grabs Robbie the family enters a state of hysteria. The tree grabbing the boy turns out to be a diversion so that Carol Anne will not be the main focus of the family. As that happens a closet door swings open and a light engulfs everything in the room, it all seems to be swallowed in a destructive fury.

The family becomes hysterical as they try to find their daughter only to hear her voice on the TV. This is where the real action starts with children playing when they call for help from paranormal investigator Dr. Lesh along with her assistants Ryan and Marty in hopes of getting their daughter back.

Other than the actual storyline the performance of all those involved is simply superb. The feeling viewers get is that these actors are a real family draws viewers in. The special effects, in particular when the house gets sucked in (the scene where the girl disappears), are truly amazing especially when tied into great background music. Lastly, the music sets the mood by highlighting each scene spectacularly.

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