Its been a long time coming, but at last the digitally remastered version of the original 1982 horror movie has arrived. Tobe Hooper, the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
, teamed up with family-oriented producer Steven Spielberg to make Poltergeist
, about a haunted suburban home in a development very much like the Arizona one in which Spielberg was raised. (Because it came out the same summer as Spielberg's E.T.
, it was tempting to see both movies as representing Spielberg's ambivalent feelings about childhood in suburbia. One was a fantasy, the other a nightmare.) Spielberg also co-wrote the screenplay, which taps into primal, childlike fears of monsters under the bed, monsters in the closet, sinister clown faces, and all manner of things that go bump in the night. At first, some of the odd happenings in the house are kind of funny and amusing, but they grow gradually creepier until the film climaxes in a terrifying special-effects extravaganza when five-year-old Carole Anne (Heather O'Rourke) is kidnapped by the spooks and held hostage in another dimension. Though not nearly as frightening as Hooper's magnum opus, or the original A Nightmare on Elm Street
, which came along two years later, Poltergeist
is one of the smartest and most entertaining horror pictures of its time. --Jim Emerson
Suburbanites Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) suddenly experience paranormal activity in their home. What begins as minor excitement quickly turns into nasty ghostly encounters. The disappearance of their daughter Carol Anne (ORourke) forces the Freelings to bring in parapsychologists and a professional exorcist to exorcise their home.
Two-part documentary "They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Revealed"
Part I: Science of the Spirits
Part II: Communing with the Dead