Poltergeist (1982)

   
Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Written by:
Steven Spielberg, Michael Gras & Mark Victor

Story by:
Steven Spielberg

Starring:

Craig T. Nelson .... Steven Freeling
JoBeth Williams .... Diane Freeling
Beatrice Straight .... Dr. Lesh
Dominique Dunne .... Dana Freeling
Oliver Robins .... Robbie Freeling
Heather O'Rourke .... Carol Anne Freeling
Martin Casella .... Dr. Marty Casey
Richard Lawson .... Ryan
Zelda Rubinstein .... Tangina Barrons, Clarivoyant

Special Appearance:

James Karen .... Mr. Teague

Release Date: Theatrical: June 4, 1982

*Images courtesy at: www.thefleshfarm.com

 

Rating:

 

A five year old girl named Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O'Rourke) wakes up late at night and noticers that the TV in the family room is still on as programming was finished for the night so the screen was fuzzy and her father Steven (Craig T. Nelson) is asleep on the couch. She starts talking to it making out that it is replying to her.

The next day a storm is about to occur and when its night time Carol Anne and her older brother Robbie (Oliver Robbins) are scared of the thunder so they sleep with their parents as they leave the TV on.
Suddenly the programming is off the air for the night and the TV is fuzzy again but this time it's whispering and Carol Anne watches it. A spirit of a hand comes out of the TV and shakes the bed and wakes up her brother and parents. Carol Anne says "They're Here!"

The next morning Carol Anne's mother Diane (JoBeth Williams) asks her daughter what she was talking about that night and tells her mother about the TV people.
Suddenly there are supernatural powers happening in their house as at first they think it's fun and amazing.

Then at night another thunderstorm occurs and a tree comes to life and tries to swallow up Robbie to distract the rest of the family while Carol Anne gets sucked into a closet by a force and is trapped inside the fuzziness of a TV screen.

The family brings over a group of scientists to try and rescue Carol Anne as Steven later on discovers that their property has a dark secret.

 

A real impressive beginning when the TV is left on late at night and is signing off the air and then going fuzzy with everything still and silent in the dark house along with the family man Steven Freeling sound asleep in front of the TV along with the family dog wandering around the house and seeing others asleep and then little Carol Anne waking up and going down to spot the screen and trying to talk to what's on the other end as this for sure is an impressive start for a horror story and making things truly mysterious.
A good setting on the next morning when a friend of the family is rushing with a case of beer and some kids try to wipe out his bike as well as him rushing to watch a football game as it makes you want to join in on the fun as well as their neighbor having a similar remote and their TV changing to a children's channel along with them having a dispute about it adding some decent humor into all of this.
A nice sad moment when Carol Anne and her Mother Diane bury their dead bird as this draws you in feeling sad and then this little girl suddenly gets over it quickly asking for goldfish which can offer the odd chuckle as well as a good moment on Robbie being scared of his own tree and then climbing it to see a distance away that a thunderstorm is approaching which leaves a nice creepy feel to a horror story suggesting something creepy will be approaching soon.
Nice moments when Steven and Diane are getting ready for bed and start being goofy and flirtatious as this looked like a belieaveable couple enjoying themselves at night.
Great shots on Robbie being scared of his toy clown at night and trying to cover it up as well as being too scared to go to sleep during the thunderstorm as well as his Dad trying to get him to lose his fear on counting after a lightning on the thunder going away which works in well as things looked good and still.
Nice shot on all of them fast asleep in the bed and the TV station signing off playing the american anthem and then the fuzzy screen as this looked spookier hearing sounds from the TV as well as spotting sparlking things and Carol Anne waking up and approaching the screen as well as ghostly hands coming out of the TV and shaking the bed as this looked suspenseful to watch and then her saying "They're Heeere!" This stuck in my mind greatly and was a famous quote that was used alot in which it originated in this flick. Total classic moment indeed.
Good and natural setting with three siblings having their breakfast before school teasing one another in a happy way which looked perfectly uplifting as well as a good surprising moment on Robbie's milk glass breaking and his older sister Dana getting ticked which worked in well.
Perfect mysterious scene when Diane asks Carol Anne about what she meant last night telling them they're here and she replies saying the TV people which leaves a nice spooky feel to her answer in which you get a sinking feeling that these are unhappy spirits that came to the home.
More good suspenmseful and cringing situations when the family dog barks at a wall and Diane wonders as to what's up with that as well as seeing what the chairs happened in the kitchen as this offered great timing too.
Fun uplifting scene when Diane shows Steven the kitchen floor with how it pushes Carol Anne in which this was enjoyable to watch thinking that the family has friendly poltergeists as everyone reacts naturally to it all.
Things really pump up when there's another thunderstorm but it's a crazy one as we see Robbie trying to count it's distance and then his worst fears of the tree in his yard coming to life which if course looked terrifically well done and can scare any little kid's worst nightmare on what this object plans to do as well as a zany moment in the thunderstorm a tornado coming along as this psychs you out.
Powerful moments when the family brings in the paranormal investigators to shows them the bedroom as this looked effective with things flying around the room even if in today's standards the special effects look a bit phony.
Nice effects on when researchers spot a spirit shining through and coming down a staircase and suspenseful happenings occur.
I really enjoyed a pleasant conversation between one of the head researchers Dr. Lesh and Robbie when they were talking about the pleasant and horrible experiences these spirits are doing and explaining that some are nice and some are nasty like people which always sticks in my mind as this was perfectly written in.
More good humor when Steven talks to his landlord Mr. Teague and tries to get him out of the home before he sees strange happenings occuring. Plus a good moment when they both walk to a cemetary discussing on how they moved them to another location which leaves a chill down your spine thinking that this is the cause of the poltergeists.
A great peaceful moment when the head activist comes to the home Tangina Barrons and assures the family that Carol Anne is going to make it as this leaves a nice happy moment in the story.
Perfect situations when the parents try to talk to Carol Anne who is only heard on the fuzzy TV screen and the investigators try to tell them to not let her go to what she sees as a light due to dangerous situations as this is a good cringing moment as well as hearing this child screaming at times as this makes you wonder what she is spotting.
The excitement adds up big time when they go into the bedroom and the plan to rescue Carol Anne with wind and a bright light flashing in fron of everyone as well as their loud actions on what has to be done as all of this was done in terrific style. Plus later on we see a monstrous looking face coming through this bright light as this was done in great horror style.
Great peaceful and still moments the next night when they think the terror is all over in which there's a well concentrated moment on Diane taking a bath with camera shots focusing on her lying there relaxed as I was watching in fear wondering if something is going to happen as well as Robbie in his bed spotting his clown is not on the chair that it was placed with nicely concentrated moments on him trying to look under his bed which also gave me the chills thinkiing that it will leap at him but there is a nice jumping and scary moment after he checks it all out.
A great creepy special effects when we see some spirit of a monster glaring at Diane blocking the bedroom door with her screaming at it adding great horror timing.
Another perfect horror situation when she falls into a muddy swimming pool and skeletal corpses start bobbing up and attacking her. This was a total horror pleaser.
Perfect special effects on what happens to their home which will always leave a chilling memory for me when I first watched the flick but won't give it away. It was necessary for a near ending of the story.
Bottom line is that this is an overly enjoyable film packed with plenty of suspense and extremely original too. This is a great look at a normal everyday family thinking that they live in a quiet normal neighborhood but the house is haunted with spirits and you imagine it all starts with a TV when programming is off the air and a little girl is staring at a blank TV screen. It shows every child's fear of thunderstorms and the dark too.

The acting is terrific and superb which the casting was done in marvellous taste. Leading man Craig T. Nelson (Steven Freeling) lived to play a family man in which he does well in the living room enjoying a football game as well as showing his frusterations with his nextdoor neighbor as this all came natural to him. Plus he was good acting flirtatious with his onscreen wife acting goofy as this also looked realistic before going to bed. Shows a natural sympathy to his onscreen kids when he tells them on how to lose their fear of thunderstorms talking kindly which looked well paced too. Shows nice shocked reactions as well as revealing excitement and frusterations when the terror starts. Plus knew on how to act depressed in other spots. He was a great choice.
JoBeth Williams (Diane Freeling) was the next great choice as the family woman in which she does great with her motherly behavior. Shows a perfect warmness to her personality. Also was great laughing and enjoying herself while smoking a joint before getting ready for bed with her onscreen husband. She really studied this part superbly. ALso does well screaming or acting emotinally upset or frightened too. Also does well shouting out towards the nasty spirits too. Really brought it in with a punch to all of this.
Beatrice Straight (Dr. Lesh) was wonderful as one of the head paranormal investigator's showing a nice calm speaking in her voice as well as doing a good job being firm by telling others about what or what not to do. Also was terrific and natural when talking to a child about good and bad spirits along with an afterlife. She really showed a believeable kindness and good hearted nature onto the screen as well as having the perfect looks and appeal too.
We get to see the late Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling) as a typical teenage girl and is a shame she was murdered as she had a promising career and this film would've been a great leap for her. Does a good job teasing at the breakfast table and acting full of life as well as getting turned off later after some spilt milk on her binder. Also does a good job getting fresh with some constructive workers next door which is an attention grabber. She also does well freaking out or crying when she is caught in the middle of the terrors.
Michael McManus (Ben Freeling) really had the knack as a kid with fears of thunderstorms or creepy looking surroundings. Shows off great wide eyed fearful expressions on stuff. Plus was great screaming or freaking out. Does great with his choked out screaming too after what he hears through a fuzzy TV screen. Was perfect going in a rage while tearing apart a clown figure.
We can't forget the late child star Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling) as at her age she was amazing with her lines making them very chilling when she talks about the TV people which were the poltergeists especially her first words when she says "They're Here!" In the beginning does well trying to talk to the TV screen and revealing her frusterations as well as speaking calmly too. She really knew on how to act believeably curious. Shows a nice quiet type of behavior as well. Also shows a nice upsetting behavior too.
We most of all can't forget about Zelda Rubinstein's (Tangina Voyant) role as the short and powerful minded one who is truly a hero in the film and reprised her role in the sequels too and still does superbly well. Had a nice high speaking voice which is the total drawing card to her performance. ALso shows a good kind behavior when she assures the family about their little girl. Also does a great job shouting out her words during the near final moments on rescuing the child. She was a real piece of dynamite.
All in all I give all the cast members two thumbs up for their effort and hard work in this one.

In the special edition a man is hallucinating in a mirror and tears off his face.

Jerry Goldsmith has some nice sounds with the scenes of the TV and composes well with other scenes too but however his music sounds too common with the mainstream films. Yet there's some nice peaceful flute playing as well as children chanting for the theme song especially for the ending. Also odd harp playing too. Good strong violin and trombone playing for the suspense and terror in the story. Also nice brief high pitched screechy sounds and some mild low drumrolls for when we spot the fuzzy TV which worked in greatly to make this moment sound genuinely spooky.

[first lines]
Carol Anne: Hello? What do you look like? Talk louder, I can't hear you! Hey, hello! Hello, I can't hear you! Five. Yes. Yes. I don't know. I don't know.

Diane: [the canary has died] Oh... Oh shit, Tweety, couldn't you have waited until a school day?

Carol Anne: They're here.

Diane: Sweetheart, last night, when you said "They're here.'...
Carol Anne: Can I take my goldfish to school?
Diane: Sweetheart, do you remember last night when you woke up, and you said "They're here.'?
Carol Anne: Uh huh
Diane: Well, who did you mean?
Carol Anne: The TV People.
Robbie: She's stoned.
Dana: Oh yeah? What do you know about it?
Robbie: More than you. Ask Dad

Diane: TV people?
Carol Anne: Uh-huh.
Diane: Do you see them?
Carol Anne: Uh-uh. Do you?
Diane: Uh-uh.

Diane: We were wondering if you had experienced any... disturbances?
Ben Tuthill: What kind of disturbances?
Diane: Oh, you know... dishes or furniture, moving around by themselves.

Diane: Bastards. She's just a baby. Help her. Help her. Can you hear what's happening? Help her.

Diane: Ahhh... this is probably going to be seem a little strange. We hear better on this channel. Don't ask me why. Well... ah... I guess I will call her. Carol Anne. Ah... i t's mommy, sweetheart. Ah, we want to talk to you. Please answer me baby. Please answer me. Please talk to me, bunny.
Marty: Look at the dog.
Diane: Are you with us now? Can you... can you say hello to daddy?
Carol Anne: Hello, daddy.
Steve: Hello, sweetpea.
Diane: It's mommy, sweetheart.
Carol Anne: Hello, mommy.
Diane: Hello, baby. Can you see me? Can you see mommy?
Carol Anne: Mommy? Where are you? Where are you?
Diane: We're home, baby. We're home. Can you find me? Can you find a way to us, baby?
Carol Anne: Mommy, where are you? I can't find you. I can't. I'm afraid of the Light, mommy. I'm afraid of the Light.

Diane: Carol Anne - listen to me. Do NOT go into the light. Stop where you are. Turn away from it. Don't even look at it.

Diane: She just moved through me. My God. I felt her. I can smell her. It's her. It's her. Smell my clothes. It's her. She's all over me. It's her. She's on me. It's her. I felt her. It's her. It is. It's... it is... it's my baby. It's my baby. She went through my soul.

Dr. Lesh: Some people believe that when you die there is a wonderful light. As bright as the sun but it doesn't hurt to look into it. All the answers to all the questions you want to know are inside that light. And when you walk to it... you become a part of it forever. Now, some people die, but they don't know they're gone.

Robbie: I got beat up once by three kids. They took my lunch money. Maybe they got hit by a truck, and they're upstairs right now.

Tangina: Help me tie this around my waist.
Diane: What do you think you're doing?
Tangina: I'm going in after her.
Diane: She won't come to you. Let me go.
Tangina: You've never done this before.
Diane: Neither have you.
[pause]
Tangina: You're right. You go.

Tangina: This house is clean.

Diane: DON'T TOUCH MY BABY.

Diane: Get away from my baby.

Dana: WHAT'S HAPPENING?

Steve: You son of a bitch. You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the head stones. You only moved the head stones. Why? Why?