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Poltergeist at 40: Spielberg’s haunted house hit brought horror home

Who saw Poltergeist in its initial release and what were your opinions of the movie at the time? Have your opinions changed over the years, after repeated viewings?

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by Anonymousreply 181April 3, 2024 3:56 AM

It was more of a thrill ride than horror. Satirical as well.

by Anonymousreply 1June 4, 2022 1:16 PM

I saw this opening weekend in 1982 and thought it was a blast. I’ve seen it many times since and it never fails to thrill. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate it more for its accurate and poignant portrayal of a family and it perfectly captures the dynamics of that time.

A few months ago, I saw a screening at the new Academy Museum theater - on film - not a digital projection. It was kinda perfect.

Jobeth Williams is astonishingly good.

This movie holds up.

by Anonymousreply 2June 4, 2022 1:17 PM

I was a teenager at the time and I loved it. The domestic scenes at the beginning, and all the special effects, were exactly what I expected from Spielberg and very enjoyable.

One scene in particular was shocking to see in the theater -- the "my face is falling off in the utility sink" scene was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and really not appropriate for a PG movie. In retrospect, you can see that it is fake, but in my young mind it was too real and I think this is very disturbing for children.

The best scene is the whole suspense sequence with the clown doll.

by Anonymousreply 3June 4, 2022 1:18 PM

Knowing I was frightened of dolls when the clown disappears from the chair, my mom whispered, "Here we go!" to my dad.

by Anonymousreply 4June 4, 2022 1:21 PM

I was eight when this movie came out and it was terrifying. It didn't stop me from watching it over and over again on tv.

by Anonymousreply 5June 4, 2022 1:24 PM

I saw it in the theater with a few friends as part of a birthday sleepover. Scared the CRAP out of us. The laugh at the end was cathartic, and quite genius. I still enjoy watching it for nostalgia. The plot holes are gigantic, but it’s fun anyway.

Notable moments: “Hey, that’s the Pathmark guy!” and seeing adults smoke a joint.

by Anonymousreply 6June 4, 2022 1:50 PM

Some of the special effects are piss poor and unnecessary. The 'haunted bedroom' scene- see clip, with the toy horse and rider which comes to life was so ridiculous, it entered cartoonish territory. The more subtle horror such as the chairs stacked on the table was closer to the concept of a poltergeist. The 'scares' are ramped up to an extreme extent- very like The Exorcist was but became really hammy.

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by Anonymousreply 7June 4, 2022 2:02 PM

I was 16 years old in 1982 when I saw this movie with my friends. We all enjoyed it- definitely more than it's sister movie ET which was an even bigger hit in 1982.

by Anonymousreply 8June 4, 2022 2:11 PM

Loved Beatrice Straight in the scene where she reassures JoBeth that she’s coming back.

JoBeth’s performance was worthy of an Oscar nomination. And Craig T. Nelson was hot.

by Anonymousreply 9June 4, 2022 2:12 PM

R9- Our Lucy would have been perfect in the Beatrice Straight role. Someone even suggested she could have played the female midget -

This house is CLEAN!- announced in her signature CIGARETTE voice.

by Anonymousreply 10June 4, 2022 2:13 PM

I think it's almost a perfect horror movie. The little ladie's histrionics take me out of it, though.

by Anonymousreply 11June 4, 2022 2:22 PM

E.T. was a child's dream, r8, and Poltergeist a child's nightmare.

by Anonymousreply 12June 4, 2022 2:26 PM

I recall not being impressed, and even then I found the suburban lifestyle espoused in the film to be vile. I was 18 years old and I am a New Yorker. By far the most noteworthy thing to me was the murder of Dominick Dunne's daughter, who appeared in the film.

by Anonymousreply 13June 4, 2022 2:29 PM

There are some triggering scenes for those of us who needed a nightlight to get to sleep. The scariest part for me were the skeletons popping up next to JoBeth.

by Anonymousreply 14June 4, 2022 2:29 PM

Weren't they real skeletons? I read that somewhere...

by Anonymousreply 15June 4, 2022 2:32 PM

Ever the callous sophisticate, r13!

by Anonymousreply 16June 4, 2022 2:32 PM

How I usually feel after finishing up housework.

by Anonymousreply 17June 4, 2022 2:37 PM


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by Anonymousreply 18June 4, 2022 2:38 PM

[quote]JoBeth’s performance was worthy of an Oscar nomination.

As I recall, there was definitely Oscar buzz for JoBeth's performance in the film, but given that the Academy rarely recognizes work in horror films, it's no surprise she was passed over. But I agree, she was quite deserving.

by Anonymousreply 19June 4, 2022 2:51 PM

Watched this movie probably 50 times as a kid. Great comedy.

by Anonymousreply 20June 4, 2022 2:52 PM

THANK YOU for remembering my movie, Poltergeist. I came here to Datalounge to see what you mean bitches were saying.

I observed carefully and can declare that: THIS HOUSE IS QUEEN!

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by Anonymousreply 21June 4, 2022 2:55 PM

We have a few JoBeth Williams fans here. I was 4 when this came out and its ones of my favorites of all time.

She deserved an Oscar nomination.

This film actually has 3 of my favorite scenes in film history- all of which have her in it.

My favorite is when Carol-Ann "goes through" her mom. I also found Beatrice Straight excellent in this. And Craig T Nelson too.

Just a really great chemistry with the actors-

by Anonymousreply 22June 4, 2022 3:01 PM

The chairs on the table thing still scares me.

by Anonymousreply 23June 4, 2022 3:05 PM

When this came out I was 13 and we were building a pool in our backyard, which was still at the dirt hole stage--no concrete yet. It freaked me the fuk out when JoBeth was surrounded by all of those skeletons! And when we came home from the theatre, it was raining. I thought the big tree in our backyard was going to come alive and eat me too!

by Anonymousreply 24June 4, 2022 3:05 PM

R2, it is interesting to see the family dynamics.

I also liked that the family comes to almost accept the weird happenings as their new normal. The researchers are shocked or scared, and the family is just like “Oh, yeah, that happens sometimes…”

by Anonymousreply 25June 4, 2022 3:10 PM

The score is also incredible. I probably watched this movie over 100 times as a kid. Then again, I remember when cable tv would play the same blockbuster movies pretty much on a loop. The maggot/steak scene used to make me wanna hurl.

by Anonymousreply 26June 4, 2022 3:12 PM

I was 11 and it scared the shit out of me.

by Anonymousreply 27June 4, 2022 3:15 PM

R26- I forgot to mention that score. Its on Youtube!

The score is 10/10.

by Anonymousreply 28June 4, 2022 3:17 PM

Even though the first sequel wasn't as good, that creepy preacher scared the crap outta me.

by Anonymousreply 29June 4, 2022 3:20 PM

R29- Its so sad- he looked so skeletal because he was actually dying of cancer..

I enjoyed the 2nd film a lot. For a sequel it was not bad, and I really enjoyed the Native American gentleman who was in Cuckoos Nest. He had a great chemistry with Craig T Nelson.

by Anonymousreply 30June 4, 2022 3:23 PM

June 4/1982 - The movie Poltergeist is released. Starred: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Heather O'Rourke & Dominique Dunne.

by Anonymousreply 31June 4, 2022 3:26 PM

I've loved this film since childhood. If asked what film epitomizes the 80s, my answer will always be Poltergeist.

JoBeth gave the film a dramatic heft that is usually absent in the genre. Great performance.

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by Anonymousreply 32June 4, 2022 7:09 PM

Zelda Rubinstein’s Wikipedia:

[quote] Rubinstein became active in the fight against HIV/AIDS in 1984. She appeared in a series of advertisements, directed towards gay men specifically, promoting safer sex and AIDS awareness.[4] Rubinstein did so at risk to her own career, especially so shortly after her rise to fame, and admitted later that she did "pay a price, career-wise." "I lost a friend to AIDS, one of the first public figures that died of AIDS," the actress said in an interview with The Advocate. "I knew it was not the kind of disease that would stay in anybody's backyard. It would climb the fences, get over the fences into all of our homes. It was not limited to one group of people."[12] She attended the first AIDS Project Los Angeles AIDS Walk.[13]

by Anonymousreply 33June 5, 2022 12:20 AM


by Anonymousreply 34June 5, 2022 12:25 AM

[quote]commercials promoting movies such as Lady in the Water

Featuring the beautiful, delicate, elegant...


by Anonymousreply 35June 5, 2022 1:05 AM

Was it rated R? I thought it was PG-13.

by Anonymousreply 36June 5, 2022 1:10 AM

I remember them well, r33. There were also billboards.

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by Anonymousreply 37June 5, 2022 1:25 AM

It was R rated. I was 14 and saw it with my older brother who was 21. I remember we weren’t sure the theater would let me in.

by Anonymousreply 38June 5, 2022 1:29 AM

R36, it almost earned an R rating. There was a "spider" scene that never made it into the final cut which heavily implied the mother, Diane, getting raped - ala The Entity.

by Anonymousreply 39June 5, 2022 1:30 AM

I was 4 when this came out so I must have seen a few years later when it aired on TV. TV static scared me for YEARS. As well as the doll/clown scene since my mother thought it was a great idea to decorate my room with CLOWNS. Everywhere.

by Anonymousreply 40June 5, 2022 1:32 AM

I saw it and looooooved it. It wasn’t until I was thinking about it for a while in the days that followed that I realized how little sense it made.

by Anonymousreply 41June 5, 2022 1:32 AM

From Wikipedia:

"Poltergeist initially received an R rating from the MPAA. Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper disagreed with the R rating and succeeded in having it changed to PG on appeal."

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by Anonymousreply 42June 5, 2022 1:35 AM

Oh I must be thinking of another film. My bad!

by Anonymousreply 43June 5, 2022 1:36 AM

[quote] the suburban lifestyle espoused in the film


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by Anonymousreply 44June 5, 2022 1:37 AM

R33, forgive me, but Zelda Rub rubbed me the wrong way . There was a hostility there .

by Anonymousreply 45June 5, 2022 1:41 AM

R43, I was not right either. I said PG-13.

by Anonymousreply 46June 5, 2022 1:43 AM

I saw it during its opening week, and it wasn't as scary as I had hoped. The satirical points went way over my empty little head.

by Anonymousreply 47June 5, 2022 1:46 AM

I can now relate to the grown ups. I was really into Heather O’Rourke and Oliver Robbins.

by Anonymousreply 48June 5, 2022 1:50 AM

It holds up better than ET

by Anonymousreply 49June 5, 2022 1:55 AM

PG-13 wasn't created until 1984, after the Temple of Doom and Gremlins controversies (though Poltergeist was certainly part of that trend of films that led them to realize they needed a rating for films that were really more than PG and less than a R).

by Anonymousreply 50June 5, 2022 1:59 AM

Best Actress was highly competitive that year. Who would you take out and replace with JoBeth?

M (Sophie’s Choice)

Jessica (Frances)

Sissy (Missing)

Debra (An Officer and A Gentleman)

Julie (Victor/Victoria)

by Anonymousreply 51June 5, 2022 2:03 AM

You can easily scratch Sissy and put in JoBeth.

by Anonymousreply 52June 5, 2022 2:06 AM

Years ago someone on Datalounge pointed out that you know how brilliant JoBeth Williams is in this film when she freaks out with rising terror looking for Carol Ann after the tree attack--"The swimming pool... the swimming pool, the swimming pool, MY GOD SHE'S IN THE SWIMMING POOL!!!"--to the degree that you're terrified too, even though you know for a fact at that point Carol Ann is NOT in the swimming pool.

by Anonymousreply 53June 5, 2022 2:09 AM

R51, that's a tough choice but if I had to choose, I would replace Jessica with JoBeth since, out of the 4 non-winners, she took home a consolation prize that year for supporting actress for "Tootsie." JoBeth obviously would not have had a chance either against Streep but at least the nomination would have been nice.

by Anonymousreply 54June 5, 2022 2:16 AM

Is that you, Dominique Dunne troll @ OP?

by Anonymousreply 55June 5, 2022 4:57 AM

There's NO WAY Tobe Hooper directed it. It's so Spielberg all the way. Was Spielberg afraid his directing was glutting the market and paid Hooper to put his name on it?

by Anonymousreply 56June 5, 2022 4:58 AM

I do love Poltergeist and it holds up great. My absolute favorite scene is when Jo Beth Williams is thrilled beyond belief, just giddy with joy and awe about the moving chairs in the kitchen while Craig T. Nelson has a look of pure bewildered dread on his face as he slouches. The team of paranormal scientists is well cast and balance each other nicely. And then there's the not preachy lesson about greed causing harm. Still a lot of fun to this day.

by Anonymousreply 57June 5, 2022 5:06 AM

The third movie was dreadful. Alternate footage (including an ending where you can actually see Heather O'Rourke's face after Carol Anne is rescued) does exist and the whole film deserves to be recut and re-released.

by Anonymousreply 58June 5, 2022 5:19 AM

I loved it and still do. I really enjoy suspense and paranormal rather than slice and dice. I enjoyed the2nd one too.

by Anonymousreply 59June 5, 2022 5:24 AM

Beatrice Straight, who played Dr. Lesh, had a fascinating life. Her father died in Europe in 1919 of the great influenza — he was a career soldier in the US Army and had served in France in WWI.

Her mother, a Whitney, remarried an Englishman, and Straight was educated at Dartington Hall in Devon, one of the finest surviving examples of a late 14th century estate.

She took up acting and studied at the original Actors Studio, her classmates including Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Jerome Robbins and Sidney Lumet. She acted mostly on stage and on television. She won a Tony award for her role in “The Crucible” in 1953.

Straight won an Oscar for her role as the betrayed wife of William Holden’s character in “Network.” It was a devastating performance. To this day it remains the shortest onscreen performance ever to win an Oscar, just over five minutes.

Straight had married the prominent French anti-fascist (and rumored communist) Louis Dolivet during the war and had a son with him. Dolivet and Straight were close friends with Orson Welles, who was a frequent guest at their Old Westbury home. They divorced in 1949. A few years after the divorce, their young son died by drowning at Straight’s home in Armonk. Dolivet was in Europe when their son died, and he wasn’t able to get a visa to enter the USA for his son’s funeral because of his suspected communist activities.

I met Straight through a mutual acquaintance, Squire Bozorth, in the early 90s. She was very witty and kind, but I was surprised by how very forgetful she was. It later turned out that she had Alzheimer's. She died of complications of that disease in 2001.

by Anonymousreply 60June 5, 2022 5:25 AM

Thanks to this film kids in the 80s/90s around the world can hummed to the Star Spangled Banner.

And it stuck in your head forever.

by Anonymousreply 61June 5, 2022 6:04 AM

Craig T. Nelson’s son is a successful TV writer/producer.

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by Anonymousreply 62June 5, 2022 6:28 AM

And to think all of these shitty 1980s tract homes are now probably selling for millions.

by Anonymousreply 63June 5, 2022 6:40 AM

Scared the crap out of me watching it as a kid on cable. I ran to my bed but felt little relief from the screams coming from the television. This is one movie I definitely have to rewatch now, especially since any and all satire went over my head.

by Anonymousreply 64June 5, 2022 6:45 AM

Hollywood don't make them like this anymore.....and hasn't for a long time either.

by Anonymousreply 65June 5, 2022 6:47 AM

Dominique Dunne's role is pointless and unnecessary

by Anonymousreply 66June 5, 2022 6:51 AM

Someone had to scream "WHAT'S HAPPENING??????" R66

by Anonymousreply 67June 5, 2022 6:53 AM

The debate about whether Tobe Hooper directed it or Steven Spielberg directed continues to this day.

But the OP's title clearly shows that many see this as a Spielberg film. ET came out a week later I believe so 1982 was the year of Spielberg. I love the film's family drama mixed with horror feeling. The deteriorating face scene is disturbing but adds some grit to the film, as does the skeletons in the pool scene.

There is hope that the film will be reissued in 4K for the 40th anniversary, but some think it won't happen because the Hooper vs. Spielberg debate will pop up again.

I watched the sequel a few months ago and it's okay. It seemed like they didn't know what to do so it seems all over the place. But I do like that they address how Tangina has basically been blacklisted because she was wrong about the house being clean.

I actually love Poltergeist III. It's silly and over the top but I love the use of mirrors and the idea of a Trump Tower-like building being haunted. Plus all the characters saying or shouting "Carol Anne! Carol Anne! Carol Anne...

by Anonymousreply 68June 5, 2022 6:53 AM


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by Anonymousreply 69June 5, 2022 8:26 AM

When the film gets to that scene where Dominique Dunne is dropped off in front of the house and the family is all packed into the car, this is what I imagine should happen next.

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by Anonymousreply 70June 5, 2022 9:34 AM

I have the DVD signed by Jo Beth Williams.

by Anonymousreply 71June 5, 2022 10:08 AM

I remember Zelda more as the church lady in Sixteen Candles who clanked and sloshed like stashed liquor bottles when she walked.

by Anonymousreply 72June 5, 2022 11:24 AM

Saw it in the theater several times at age 13, and loved it. I was terrified and intrigued by it. I've seen it a few times recently, and it holds up on all levels. The message (without preaching) of suburban sprawl raping the land and the land fighting back was lost on me then, but it's an interesting takeaway now.

by Anonymousreply 73June 5, 2022 11:40 AM

R58, do you have a clip of that footage? I read that Heather had died before the final shot and it was a body double and that’s why we never saw heather’s face

by Anonymousreply 74June 5, 2022 12:40 PM

I saw both ET and Polterguiest first theater runs. Both were excellent and they set a higher standard for movies at that point

by Anonymousreply 75June 5, 2022 4:18 PM

R70, you just slayed me. Slayed. MURDER!

by Anonymousreply 76June 5, 2022 4:54 PM

I always remember Rerun as being much fatter and jiggly.

by Anonymousreply 77June 5, 2022 4:58 PM

Dominque had one more pivotal scene in which she flips the bird to the construction team.

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by Anonymousreply 78June 5, 2022 5:23 PM

Dominque’s role is to bring the audience into the story. It’s not uncommon to use a character like that in a film.

One example is when the parents are talking to Carol Ann to demonstrate the phenomenon to the investigators. The parents’ emotions are wrapped up in communicating with their daughter. The investigators are stunned that something they’ve been seeking for so long is finally being so clearly demonstrated.

Dana is there to remind us how incredibly fucked up this is.

by Anonymousreply 79June 5, 2022 5:30 PM

A really excellent horror film. It gets what makes the best horror films work and that's relatable characters and this movie has some of the best. It's a family that truly loves each other and that love is used to fight against the evil. The most surprising part while rewatching it was that the effects are better than any of the CGI used these days. I really expected them to cause me to laugh, but besides a few shots of the face being ripped apart, they're really solid.

I'll echo that JoBeth Williams' performance is astounding and something very rare for a film of this type. Your heart breaks for her.

by Anonymousreply 80June 5, 2022 6:15 PM

What is this DL fad of revisionist history "Jobeth Williams was astounding". Please. She was serviceable. Zelda Rubinstein or Beatrice Straight were the special performances.

by Anonymousreply 81June 5, 2022 6:21 PM

Poltergeist also has the theme of whitebread WASP-y type people pretending a problem doesn't exist because they have the perfect suburban life (on the surface). If my kid was sliding across the floor and chairs being stacked up, I would've gotten the hell out of there. (See also Amityville Horror)

by Anonymousreply 82June 5, 2022 6:51 PM

JoBeth (capitalize the B, please) was MAGNIFICENT.

by Anonymousreply 83June 5, 2022 6:52 PM

White families in horror movies...

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by Anonymousreply 84June 5, 2022 6:56 PM

Well, smell R81. Sorry some of us were moved by a performance than you weren't.

by Anonymousreply 85June 5, 2022 7:12 PM

Saw it at The New Beverly in LA. It’s even more spectacular on the big screen.

by Anonymousreply 86June 6, 2022 2:05 AM

I think it’s crap that Spielberg has stolen so much of the credit for this movie from Tobe Hooper. TH was a great filmmaker. I think Spielberg’s suburban setting was an influence for sure, but Hooper knew how to make a scary ,damn movie!

by Anonymousreply 87June 6, 2022 2:59 AM

The remake lacks the satire that made this original so great, and wasn't even scarier.

by Anonymousreply 88June 6, 2022 3:13 AM

Heather would be nearly 50 now.

by Anonymousreply 89June 6, 2022 3:14 AM

Heather would be 45

by Anonymousreply 90June 6, 2022 4:14 AM

Can we give some credit to Tobe Hooper, who directed? Spielberg co-wrote the screenplay, but Hooper's the one who pulled it off.

by Anonymousreply 91June 6, 2022 4:33 AM

Oliver Robbins insists that Hooper directed film.

by Anonymousreply 92June 6, 2022 4:37 AM

The Freelings are living the American Dream. A beautiful new home in an LA suburb, a stay at home mom,3 kids,and a pool in the backyard. All of this before they're forty. Then their perfect life becomes a nightmare.

by Anonymousreply 93June 6, 2022 4:51 AM

Good looking family too

by Anonymousreply 94June 6, 2022 4:58 AM

When I was a kid I found the family kind of trashy. The parents had their first child very young which usually meant (in those days) that they had no higher education, not to mention that they were potheads, and smoked up while their children were feet away. Also, they had all that money for a house with a pool but they didn't bother getting their buck-toothed son braces!

by Anonymousreply 95June 6, 2022 5:03 AM

You forgot to mention the house was a mess even before the poltergeists invaded.

by Anonymousreply 96June 6, 2022 5:07 AM

Yes: if only Diane Freeling had read Joan Crawford's "My Way of Life" to learn a few pointers about keeping homes tidy.

by Anonymousreply 97June 6, 2022 5:10 AM

He had braces in part 2, R95.

by Anonymousreply 98June 6, 2022 5:11 AM

R67 true and that's the only thing I could think of

by Anonymousreply 99June 6, 2022 5:21 AM

Let's face it R95, the Freelings would be MAGAts.

by Anonymousreply 100June 6, 2022 3:15 PM

Well Craig T Nelson was on food stamps and welfare and nobody helped him. Idiot.

by Anonymousreply 101June 6, 2022 4:24 PM

[quote]What is this DL fad of revisionist history "Jobeth Williams was astounding". Please. She was serviceable. Zelda Rubinstein or Beatrice Straight were the special performances.

Oh shut it.

by Anonymousreply 102June 6, 2022 7:03 PM

[quote] You forgot to mention the house was a mess even before the poltergeists invaded.

[quote] Yes: if only Diane Freeling had read Joan Crawford's "My Way of Life" to learn a few pointers about keeping homes tidy.

The Ghosts were mad at the dirt.

by Anonymousreply 103June 6, 2022 7:05 PM

R46- They didn’t have PG-13 yet in 1982.

by Anonymousreply 104June 6, 2022 8:03 PM

That movie made me wonder why ghosts only go for white people in big houses. I never heard of ghosts pulling thier shit in apartments or double wide trailers.

by Anonymousreply 105June 6, 2022 8:36 PM

I saw it when it first came out. I thought it was hokey. It was just so over the top. I didn't find it scary, although the swimming pool scene was beyond gross.

by Anonymousreply 106June 6, 2022 9:09 PM

I think the pot smoking and reading bio on Reagan was a mocking juxtaposition. And there are conservatives who smoke pot.

by Anonymousreply 107June 6, 2022 9:28 PM

R106, yea using real skeletons can have that effect.

by Anonymousreply 108June 6, 2022 9:29 PM

The Freelings were hippies turned Reagan Republicans.

by Anonymousreply 109June 6, 2022 9:30 PM

I also thought it was stupid and trashy when JoBeth's character was going to flush the canary down the toilet.

by Anonymousreply 110June 6, 2022 9:30 PM

True- she seemed kinder than that . But Spielberg wrote script

by Anonymousreply 111June 6, 2022 9:32 PM

I liked the skyscraper setting of Poltergeist 3 but it was a campy mess. I still prefer it to Poltergeist 2 (which was just plain boring) and thought Laura Flynn Boyle was a real beauty.

I know I watched the remake from a few years but don’t even remember anything about it. Completely forgettable.

by Anonymousreply 112June 6, 2022 9:44 PM

Poltergeist 3 was terrible! How many times did someone in the film shout, "Carol Ann! Carol Ann!"?

by Anonymousreply 113June 6, 2022 9:46 PM

The little doughy midget jew was my favorite part. This house.........is clean. Fucking love that doughy lil Semite.

by Anonymousreply 114June 6, 2022 10:15 PM

JoBeth Williams did so many big movies all in a row in the early 80's. Poltergeist, The Big Chill for the big screen. The Adam Walsh movie and The Day After for TV. I wonder why her momentum stopped.

She did wind up getting nominated for an oscar.

by Anonymousreply 115June 6, 2022 10:37 PM

The remake was boring. Surprising, too, since Sam Rockwell was in it and he's usually pretty good about picking projects.

by Anonymousreply 116June 6, 2022 10:41 PM

Was Diane's age supposed to be a mistake, or was she not Dana's biological mother?

Diane is said to be 32 in the film, but Dana is clearly about 16. Were the Freelings teen parents?

by Anonymousreply 117June 6, 2022 10:58 PM

[quote] I also thought it was stupid and trashy when JoBeth's character was going to flush the canary down the toilet.

Yeah, why waste the water when you have a cemetery in your back yard

by Anonymousreply 118June 6, 2022 11:03 PM

R115 She hasn't been nominated for shit. Her career petered out because she isn't good. She wasn't even good in Poltergeist. Just a dull actress, no good performance in her.

by Anonymousreply 119June 6, 2022 11:07 PM

Steve seemed like a guy who started out in construction and moved into sales and that's the only reason they had that house in such a neighborhood. Remember, they lived in Phase 1 from 5-6 years earlier, with a "lived-in look." They lived but they also "worked there." That was my read.

That's why the ending is so shitty for them. They're never going to get another life like that. Poltergeist II bears that out, right down to being unable to collect on their property insurance and Steve becoming an unemployed drunkard.

by Anonymousreply 120June 6, 2022 11:12 PM

[quote] That movie made me wonder why ghosts only go for white people in big houses.

I wanted to postyou've obviously never seen the classic 2002 Japanese ghost film "Dark Water" set in a rundown apartment building (nor any of the many other fine East Asian horror films about ghosts, like the Korean "A Tale of Two Sisters"), or the superb 2020 British horror film "His House," about a Sudanese refugee couple trapped in a haunted shabby small house.

But then I realized you likely HAVE heard of them. You just wanted once yet again to make a thread all about race, because that's what you always, always do.

by Anonymousreply 121June 6, 2022 11:16 PM

In Poltergeist 2 we find out the Freelings song is "If I Fell" by The Beatles. They must have started dating when Diane was 14-15 and Dana was an oops baby.

by Anonymousreply 122June 6, 2022 11:25 PM

By today's standards, Poltergeist is the mid-twentieth century story of a young couple of white people who fell in love when they were in high school, got married and pregnant when they were still very young, and could skip college and still live in a trendy suburban neighborhood on a single income even though they were both regular mediocre people.

The hidden "horror" of this story is that by the 1980s, the old straight white male expectations of men being the kings of their domain were being threatened by women's liberation.

The man of the family has his ego diminished by the fact that he can't protect his family from supernatural forces and his wife has to step in and save him. Notice that all of the men in the movie are either villainous (the boss), ineffectual (the dad), fearful (the boy) or secondary to the story (the research associates). At the heart of the story are the relationships between women, who work to make sense of the horror and save the family. The movie may be considered a horror fantasy, but it really is a reflection of the angst men were feeling at the time.

by Anonymousreply 123June 6, 2022 11:26 PM

That fucking staircase was ghastly! They deserved to be haunted by some ghost architects or interior designers.

by Anonymousreply 124June 6, 2022 11:33 PM

That fucking staircase was ghastly! They deserved to be haunted by some ghost architects or interior designers.

by Anonymousreply 125June 6, 2022 11:33 PM

Glitchy internet, I apologize for the multiple posts Mein Fuhrer.

by Anonymousreply 126June 6, 2022 11:34 PM

R124/25/26 (it's ok, I love you AND your glitchy internet), that staircase was just waiting for one of those damn kids to fall down it and break their neck. Design flaw!

This is a fun thread, btw, Poltergeist is my favorite movie. I'm going to find the novelization on my shelves and see if it yields any interesting additional details about the family/Cuesta Verde/etc. While I haven't looked at it in ages, it definitely had a little more exposition: for example, the story is set in November and I think they give a better idea of where Cuesta Verde is actually located.

by Anonymousreply 127June 6, 2022 11:51 PM

This is DL and not one of you bitches has pointed out that Richard Lawson, Beyonce's step-daddy, plays one of Beatrice Straight's assistants.!

by Anonymousreply 128June 7, 2022 12:28 AM

Junior Nelson in R62's pic is dreamy!

by Anonymousreply 129June 7, 2022 1:13 AM

Will There be a commemorative blu ray released this year?

by Anonymousreply 130June 7, 2022 2:00 AM

While you're bitching about race, r121, how about a mention for asshole r114?

by Anonymousreply 131June 7, 2022 4:18 AM

[quote]that staircase was just waiting for one of those damn kids to fall down it and break their neck. Design flaw!

You say design flaw, I say missed opportunity!

by Anonymousreply 132June 7, 2022 4:32 AM

R132, I still don’t know how Heather was able to walk down the stairs without holding onto anything the rest of the cast held onto the banister

by Anonymousreply 133June 7, 2022 4:58 AM


[quote]And to think all of these shitty 1980s tract homes are now probably selling for millions.

Whoever was living there during the filming is likely still the owner (or a descendant) as the house last sold in 1979 for $143.5k ($511k in 2020 dollars). It's valued at just over $1M today.

by Anonymousreply 134June 7, 2022 5:16 AM

Anyone believe in the curse?

by Anonymousreply 135June 7, 2022 5:39 AM

I always wondered if the older daughter was supposed to be pregnant. In practically all of her scenes she's shown eating something. One time it's a giant pickle and a bowl of something (ice cream like the old cliche?) Even in the opening scene with the dog padding through the house he discovers a hidden bag of potato chips under her pillow.

by Anonymousreply 136June 7, 2022 5:42 AM

R136, I know they tweaked the script a lot . I believe Dominique’s role was diminished.

by Anonymousreply 137June 7, 2022 5:47 AM

Dominique should have been strangle by her psychotic boyfriend in the movie. That'd have been hilarious.

by Anonymousreply 138June 7, 2022 2:45 PM


by Anonymousreply 139June 7, 2022 2:48 PM

r138 is also:

[quote]The little doughy midget jew was my favorite part. This house.........is clean. Fucking love that doughy lil Semite.

by Anonymousreply 140June 7, 2022 3:09 PM

[quote] JoBeth Williams did so many big movies all in a row in the early 80's. Poltergeist, The Big Chill for the big screen. The Adam Walsh movie and The Day After for TV. I wonder why her momentum stopped.

My theory is that her film American Dreamer was a film that she had to carry and it was a flop. I think it's a cute movie but it didn't help her career. Teachers was another film from 1984 that didn't do too well, which slowed down her momentum.

She's also excellent in Desert Bloom.

by Anonymousreply 141June 8, 2022 12:26 AM

Dominique was a good actress

by Anonymousreply 142June 8, 2022 12:37 AM

I'd love to see JoBeth get a great role on a streaming series. So many actresses have been able to do great work recently.

by Anonymousreply 143June 8, 2022 12:59 AM

I was so obsessed with this movie. I was 10 when it came out and saw it opening weekend and the audience was so "in" it, screaming, laughing, freaking out. One of the best movie-going experiences I've ever had. I ran out and bought the book and read it over and over that summer. It's still in the basement of my mom's house.

"the superb 2020 British horror film 'His House,'"

Agreed. Excellent movie. Really disturbing and genuinely scary.

by Anonymousreply 144June 8, 2022 1:14 AM

The opening scene showing the neighbourhood reminds me of Rush's "Subdivisions."

by Anonymousreply 145June 8, 2022 2:04 AM

I thought JoBeth was great in the original but not nearly as good in the sequel. Not entirely her fault because the script was pretty bad but she definitely has some hammy over the top moments.

by Anonymousreply 146June 8, 2022 2:07 AM

No real passion r146

by Anonymousreply 147June 8, 2022 2:22 AM

So where the hell was Carol Ann?

by Anonymousreply 148June 8, 2022 2:48 AM

JoBeth was nominated for The Oscar for co-directing a short in 1995.

by Anonymousreply 149June 8, 2022 2:58 AM

While I like the movie a lot, I also felt a lot of it was over the top. It was very Spielberg-esque. There were many effective parts, the chairs, the parts with Carol Ann and the TV, and a lot of of fun satirical nods. But then there was the guy ripping his own face off., or the part with all the skulls in the pool. Just too much. It was typical of Spielberg at the time. He's grown a lot.

by Anonymousreply 150June 8, 2022 3:20 AM

It's interesting that Poltergeist seems to be remembered more fondly than ET, which was more successful. I don't think ET aged as well, and films like Blade Runner and John Carpenter's The Thing, which were flops at the time, have become classics and more revered than ET.

by Anonymousreply 151June 8, 2022 5:25 AM

I think JoBeth Williams chose projects that spoke to her rather than what would be considered hugely commercial. Years ago in L.A. I saw her in a play called The Fall to Earth that involved her playing a mother coming to terms with the death of her gay son. The play was okay but JoBeth was very good. I mostly saw because she was in it and the fact that it had a gay slant was a bonus.

by Anonymousreply 152June 8, 2022 6:50 AM

Dominique should have been strangled for real on Poltergeist. I always hated that cunt.

by Anonymousreply 153June 8, 2022 1:12 PM

R153, is John Sweeney

by Anonymousreply 154June 8, 2022 11:56 PM

Nazi baddies John Saxon and Charles Frank must have been gay since they couldn’t distinguish Debra Winger from gorgeous Lynda Carter.

by Anonymousreply 155June 9, 2022 12:36 AM

R155 is lost

by Anonymousreply 156June 9, 2022 1:30 AM

R155 is demented.

by Anonymousreply 157June 11, 2022 1:53 PM

R155 smells like piss.

by Anonymousreply 158June 11, 2022 1:53 PM

R155 fingers himself to pictures of Linda Carter AND Nell Carter.

by Anonymousreply 159June 11, 2022 1:54 PM

Dominique Dunne would have been a star

by Anonymousreply 160June 11, 2022 3:46 PM

Dominique Dunne deserved to die for being such a cunt.

by Anonymousreply 161June 12, 2022 1:42 AM

Bump And strangle r161 dick until It is flat . It’s useless anyway .

by Anonymousreply 162June 12, 2022 3:18 AM

Just watched it and was disappointed. The domestic build up was flat, characters were not well defined and it frankly just wasn't scary or engaging.

by Anonymousreply 163October 17, 2022 3:35 AM

We can discuss the movie but just don’t mention the hushed rumors of certain Hollywood elites (including a well known director), who allegedly passed around a certain innocent person and did unspeakable things to them and allegedly inserted something somewhere and ruptured something leading to a bad outcome. Just don’t mention any of that.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 164October 17, 2022 3:47 AM

r164 You're repulsive. DL, ban this creep.

by Anonymousreply 165October 17, 2022 3:55 AM

r165 He's that way all the time, I had him blocked for a reason. Allegedly Donald Trump tied a 13-year-old to a bed at Jeffrey Epstein's house and raped her. Allegedly it's true.

by Anonymousreply 166October 17, 2022 4:02 AM

r165 I take such allegations against Trump with a grain of salt. I have a difficult time believing it. Accusers have a lot to gain and there are some specious gold diggers out there. But Trump's association with Epstein makes the story a legitimate one.

In contrast, the comments about O'Rourke with no back-up whatsoever amount to child abuse and cannot be tolerated. Let the little angel rest in peace.

by Anonymousreply 167October 17, 2022 5:30 AM

r166 See above. Sorry, I screwed up my tag.

by Anonymousreply 168October 17, 2022 5:32 AM

[quote]Dominique Dunne deserved to die for being such a cunt.

That was incredibly cruel.

by Anonymousreply 169October 17, 2022 9:31 AM

One of the best comedies I’ve ever seen

by Anonymousreply 170October 17, 2022 9:45 AM

R169 This is the DL, stupid cunt.

by Anonymousreply 171October 17, 2022 10:19 AM

[quote]The most surprising part while rewatching it was that the effects are better than any of the CGI used these days.

No, they're not, but they could have been worse.

by Anonymousreply 172October 17, 2022 11:08 AM

[quote]I'll echo that JoBeth Williams' performance is astounding and something very rare for a film of this type. Your heart breaks for her.

It took the shitty remake - which gives the mom's role in the story to the brother - to make me fully appreciate both the character of Diane and Williams' performance. It would be easy to dismiss Diane - teen mom, housewife without education, pothead. But in the end, her strength and determination are what saves her family. She's the one who declares she's going to the other side to get Carol Ann, and no one and nothing will stop her, not even 'the beast'. The dad loves his family but he doesn't have her ferocious will.

Horror gets dismissed all the time too, but in the right hands it can truly be an actor's genre. Williams is an example of that.

by Anonymousreply 173October 17, 2022 11:38 AM

[quote]This is the DL, stupid cunt.

I know ass wipe, been here since the beginning, but the girl was murdered by her boyfriend. Saying she deserved it isn't, witty or even bitchy, it was just cruel.

by Anonymousreply 174October 17, 2022 7:00 PM

R174 I repeat, this is the DL, stupid gash cunt.

by Anonymousreply 175October 18, 2022 12:06 PM

Wonderful, awesome film that does still hold up today, as mentioned upthread. I loved the part where they're all talking in soft whispers, and the musical score is fantastic. I give that it's a movie that really highlights that Spielberg had a true "1939 'Wizard Of Oz'" directorial complex, b/c there seem to be so many homages to that film in various scenes and action. But it was another one of his movies that definitely influenced and accelerated the vibe of Hollywood filmmaking from the cheesiness of the 1970s to the blockbuster high-octane quality of the '80s, IMO.

by Anonymousreply 176October 18, 2022 4:37 PM


by Anonymousreply 177October 18, 2022 7:26 PM

I could not finish the movie as a small child, so I decided to watch it again for Halloween. Great movie! But with obvious care not to earn the "R" rating. (Spoilers) No one died, unless you count the bird. Not even the sleazy boss, who could have plausibly been killed by the imploding house and who would have saddened no one by dying, fell victim.

Apparently, earlier scripts were darker. Carol Anne was to have died and haunt the house!

by Anonymousreply 178November 1, 2022 6:57 PM

I liked the director's cut of Poltergeist where Dom Dunne's character gets strangled by her boyfriend who was stalking her.

by Anonymousreply 179November 2, 2022 1:53 PM

I remember some time ago reading that Spielberg had to take over directing because Hooper lost his way or something to that effect. I think that I may have read that in the Julia Phillips book You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again.

by Anonymousreply 180November 2, 2022 2:51 PM

[quote]This is the DL, stupid cunt.

r171 Bullshit. Stop using that same tired excuse for your boorish behavior. We homos are supposed to be the pinnacle of sarcasm and cutting humor. GTFO.

by Anonymousreply 181April 3, 2024 3:56 AM
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