Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist is a supernatural horror/thriller directed by Tobe Hooper, and released in 1982. Steven Spielberg was heavily involved in the production and writing. It is one of those 80s horror classics that should not be missed by any serious movie fans.

So as a serious movie fan, growing up in the 80s, I missed Poltergeist, and this is the first time I’ve actually seen it. Sure, I’ve seen one or two of the sequels, and I knew alot about the film, but I never got around to actually watch it from start to finish. 

Apart from Poltergeist being a part of film history (or at least that warm, fuzzy, nostalgic 80s feeling), my interest in the film also comes from my passion for special effects. I have a couple of books about Industrial Light & Magic, and in one of them, Poltergeist’s special effects are described in depth. Fun fact: when the house implodes at the end of the movie, it was dont with a model, metal wires, a modified vacuum cleaner and a pump action shotgun! 

ILM building the house (Poltergeist, 1982)

But what about the film? Poltergeist centers around a suburban family, living in 80s America. Things take a chilling turn when their youngest child begin hearing voices from the static in the television set. The house is soon infested by mischievous spirits, moving furniture and loose objects around, before kidnapping the little girl into their own spiritual plane. A struggle begins to find the little girl with the help of a team of ghost hunters, who later brings in a strange old medium. 

The story is both heartwarming and chilling, and despite the 80s practical effects (that were top notch at the time), there are some nice scares. I love the creativity that went into many of these effects. For instance, the demon creature guarding the door to the children’s room at the end of the movie is a physical prop suspended in a glass water tank with a and lit in a ghostly light to give it that ethereal look. 

The demon in the water tank (Poltergeist, 1982)

I really enjoyed the film. Of course, it wasn’t very scary, but Poltergeist is one of those iconic horror movies from the 80s that shouldn’t be missed.

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