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Poltergeist [Hardcover]

James Kahn

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; First Edition edition (Sep 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0246119357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0246119353
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 873,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie was good, the book is better ... 3 Nov 2006
By Schtinky - Published on Amazon.com
Rarely does a book written from a screenplay turn out better than this. Kahn's imagination expanded and expounded on what was a visual treat with the movie into something mind numbingly surreal in the written word. This book stands on it's own in so many ways.

Steve and Diane Freeling live an ideal life, Steve with a good job in a booming real estate economy and Diane a stay-at-home mother of three. But there's something they don't know about their property, something that came with the house, until Carol Anne, their five year old daughter, goes missing.

By chance, through a dream that dwarf-medium Tangina Barrons experiences, Dr. Martha Lesh and her team of parapsychologists get involved with the Freeling's dilemma. Dr. Lesh, and Tangina, have never encountered such a powerful presence as what resides in the Freeling's home. Tangina is determined to bring Carol Anne back from the netherworld she is trapped in.

Here is where the book shines above the movie. James Kahn takes us through these alternate dimensions of shadow, shade, arid wastelands, cloudiness, and sludge; and introduces us to the mystical creatures that dance within these realms. Here are creatures of shadow, fire, earth, plant, and demonic prescience. When Tangina encounters The Beast, she knows in her heart that she must save Carol Anne.

Kahn's description of these dimensions is worth the price of looking up a copy of this book, they are fascinating and inspired. The book haunts me in ways that the movie could not. A great deal of imagination and talent went into the novelization of this movie, and becomes a piece of written work that you shouldn't turn your nose up at. The book gives the impression that the movie was based on it, not the other way around. It's well worth your effort, should you be a horror or Sci/Fi fan, to pick up a copy. Enjoy!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly tight read! 8 July 2002
By Jeff Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Unknown Binding
Strobes, creepy voices, and crawling steaks were fun on-screen. But much was missing (or just badly acted by secondaries).
Much is explained in the book, and more detail is given as to the nature of the attacks on this fictional family. Taking nothing away from the awesome acting of the primaries JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson, the book lends more depth to the little girl, Carol Ann, the midget psychic who comes tot he family's rescue, and the paranormal investigation team who stays at the house. Each incident is deepened and expanded, providing more true fear material and less photographic shock.
More robust than the movie, and classically chilling, Poltergeist is a must-have for horror enthusiasts.
Just shut the closet door before you read!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film... Creepy book. 19 Oct 2000
By XKAL - Published on Amazon.com
Books are usually better than movies. The same can be said for this one, but not by much. The book added some much needed depth that the film should have used. Another level of creepiness, this time seen from the other realm and it's ghosts.

The film did a great job of keeping it's viewers creeped out with all the horror, ghosts and kidnapping of a Carol Anne. Good special effects, even for an early 1980's film. The crawling meat, the guy ripping the skin off his face, and the climactic ending were very well done. Poltergeist is one of my all time favorite horror films.

I enjoyed the acting immensley. Heather O'Rourke was such an extremely cute child. I can still see her cute image in the Rams football helmet as she slides across the kitchen floor, as she is asking for pepperoni pizza. Fun stuff. JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson played the distraught, frightened parents. Their chemistry together was very believeable.

Tangina plays a huge part in the book, unlike the film where she appears only at the very end, and is only there because she was asked by the ghost hunters. The book has Tangina constantly dream about the "other side" and it's ghostly occupants. She eventually sees 5 year old Carol Anne lost in this other realm, and the dreams takes on another level of realism for her. She know understands that the little girl must be rescued. To make matters worse, she knows that she must confront the guardian of the realm; the beast. A creature who wanders the Freeling family home regularly without being seen. Very cool creepy visual.

I was freaked out on many occasions reading "Poltergeist". The part with the beast and describing it's thoughts and how it is filled with a venomness hates really got to me. The battle between the beast and the psychic Tangina in the other realm is epic. There is even a part in the book where the beast buries his horns in Tangina's eyes. Wow! It would have been great if the film, even slightly, delved into the other relam.

Bottom line, both book and film are great. Both are highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even if You Have Seen the Film Multiple Times, You Will Find Many Surprises in the Novel 22 May 2013
By E. Valero - Published on Amazon.com
** Contain Spoilers **

I have been a fan of the film Poltergeist for 2 decades now and consider it one of the best, if not, the best ghost movie ever filmed. It is somewhat surprising that it took me this long to read the novelization of the film. The book is a fantastic read and as expected, differs a lot from the motion picture although the basic plot remains the same.

The Freeling family is terrorized by unseen forces in their new suburban home. Their youngest daughter, the angelic Carole Anne, begins to talk to the television set and is discovered (in a scene not in the film) during a visit with a therapist, that she is also having dreams, visions of other-worldly spirits. After a terrifying assault on the family, Carole Anne is whisked away to another dimension. A world filled with wondering and lost souls, malevolent prancing demons, a benign spirit - "The Lady in Waiting" and a monstrous demon referred to as "The Beast".

Meanwhile, miles away, Dr. Lesh, a parapsychologist and her team, are conducting tests, and one of her subjects is a psychic dwarf, Tangina Barrons, who approached the doctor because she is being plagued with dreams. During one of these dreams, Tangina see's a little girl, lost in an other-worldly plain, surrounded by the undead. Tangina realizes that this little girl needs to be rescued and leads Dr. Lesh and her team of parapsychologists to the Freelings. While Dr. Lesh begins her investigation and tries to rationalize the paranormal activity in the Freeling's home, a determined Tangina, in a self imposed trance, confronts the monstrous entity and tries to weaken it to prepare for the final confrontation when Carole Anne will finally be saved.

It is no surprise that a film almost always differs greatly from the novelization and this book is no exception. In parts, the book remained loyal to the film, in other instances, it is a completely different animal. The character of Tangina for example, is given a much meatier role in the novel. In the film, she receives no more than 15 minutes of screen time and she is introduced almost towards the end, when Dr. Lesh brings her to the Freeling family to cleanse the house of the invading spirits. In the book, her character is given a lot more depth and history spread throughout various chapters. The "other side" is given a lot of focus here as well and unlike the film, is visited and visualized several times. The confrontation between Tangina and the Beast in the other-worldly realm, is fantastical (but would have been hard to visualize on film).

The character of Marty is also given more attention and in the novel we understand why he did not want to return to the Freeling's home. In the film, we get that gory and delightful scene of the crawling steak, the maggot infested chicken and Marty's horrific hallucination of self mutilation. The book offers a bit more carnage in a sinister scene involving hungry spiders, rats and worms and in a final encore, Marty himself becomes overcome by the Beast in an insane metamorphoses which has him eating chards of broken mirror off the bathroom floor. There are moments when the description of events in the book are chilling - Marty's mental decent during his various hallucinations, the various dream sequences of the other side, the dancing demons etc. With so many great set pieces, it kind of makes you wish more had been visualized in the film. Although, as mentioned previously, it would have been hard to visualize in 1982 and several of the more morbid scenes would have guaranteed an "R" rating, which is something the makers of the film did not want.

Despite the same basic premise, the book offers many layers and depictions that are not in the film. It is a creepy and bone-chilling read, rich in imagination and dread and is recommended, even if you have seen the movie multiple times.

But I must warn you ... the day I got the book from Amazon.ca, on a Friday night, I started reading it immediately. Two hours later I decided to put the book down and go for a cigarette. When I returned, my sister, looking terrified, asked me if I had somehow programmed the TV remote control to change the channel. Of course, I was a little confused "program the remote?" and seeing the look of dread on her face, I asked why she was asking me this. Well, it turns out the TV started changing channels on its own. When my sister, got up to look for the remote control, she found it resting, next to my new "used" copy of the book "Poltergeist", A novel by James Kahn. True story... yikes... Now, I may have placed the remote next to the book but I cannot explain the channels changing on it's own and I won't even get into "The Mystery of the Open Front Door", the event that occurred the following week because I still have to live in that house.

Read the book but beware the poltergeists.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very scary read. Much better than the movie. 8 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a big fan of "Poltergeist" the movie but the book is even better. So scary. The book goes even deeper than the movie ever could. We actually know what "the beast" is thinking throughout the story. He actually does battle with the little psychic lady before the final confrontation and many more new scenes that the movie doesn't have. Very well written and hard to put down. I found myself looking over my shoulder a few times to make sure I was alone. Read "Poltergeist". You won't regret it. Trust me.
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