Poltergeist is a movie for the zeitgeist!
When Steven Spielberg was developing E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, his original concept was a bit darker. It involved a family being terrorized by aliens. Spielberg decided to make the alien more kind and benevolent, but he kept the family-in-danger idea and turned it into Poltergeist. Now, he didn't officially direct the movie, but he did co-write and produce, and I understand that he was so involved in the movie that he practically directed it anyway.
It's a great example of classic Spielberg and a wonderful movie to add to your customary Halloween list.
The movie follows a family that lives in a neighborhood similar to pretty much any other suburban neighborhood in America. The father (Craig T. Nelson) works as a sales rep for the development company that made the neighborhood. Their youngest daughter, Carol Anne (the very cute Heather O'Rourke), was even born there.
Strange things start to happen. Things move on their own and such. Carol Anne seems to be hearing a voice from the static on TV. Eventually, these events get more threatening, the young Carol Anne goes missing, and the family is forced to bring in a team of paranormal researchers to try and get her back.
The film has heart and will make you care. The effects they use mostly hold up well enough today but even the ones that could be done better don't matter because the effects only underscore the tone and mood of the movie.
And you just can't help but love Heather O'Rourke. She's such a cute kid with such innocence in her voice.
What a shame she died so young.
What a shame she had to be in Poltergeist 3 at all.
Anyone who was watching movies at all in the 80's has to have seen this one. The movie is one of the defining movies of a generation. Particularly when that generation's parents were trying to get them to stop watching so much TV.
For me, this one earns a nearly perfect 9 / 10.
Poltergeist is rated PG for language, disturbing imagery, a forboding atmosphere, drug use and a little bit of skin.
(It was originally given an R before the filmmakers made a successful protest, and it would get a PG-13 today, but that rating didn't exist at the time.)
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