POLTERGEIST. 1982. DIRECTED BY TOBE HOOPER. STARRING CRAIG T. NELSON AND JOBETH WILLIAMS. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is a terrific horror film from one of the best time-periods for horror films, the early ‘Eighties. It put me in mind straight-away of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, another cracking film from almost the same time-frame. Let’s take a quick peep at the plot, shall we?
Steve and Diane Freeling are an ordinary all-American couple bringing up their three kids on an ordinary all-American housing estate. Well, they smoke pot too and let their kids run wild, but hey, judge not lest ye be judged, isn’t that what they say?
Some strange stuff is going down at the old Freeling homestead. Five-year-old Carol-Anne appears to be communicating with a bunch of ghosts who’ve taken up residence in the family’s television. At first, her dope-smoking Momma thinks the whole thing is hilarious.
When Carol-Anne disappears into her bedroom closet on the night of a giant twister, however, Momma Freeling ends up laughing on the other side of her face…
The family enlist the aid of a team of ghostbusters to get their daughter back. The ghostbusters are shocked at the sheer scale of the psychic phenomena they observe in the house. So much so, in fact, that they in turn call in a super-ghostbuster, a woman called Tangina Barrons whose ballsy demeanour belies her squeaky voice and petite frame.
Does Tangina gets the kid back in one piece? And, assuming she does, do the Freelings then get their asses out of the goddamned haunted house immediately, or do they stupidly linger while they’re waiting to get themselves sorted out? And, having lingered, are they then forced into a ghostly showdown the scale of which even gutsy Tangina could not have envisaged? Man, these people are so dumb…
The ending is fantastic. The ending is pure Tobe Hooper, I was informed by the friend with whom I watched the film. She’s a big Tobe Hooper fan. I think the ending, when we find out exactly why the house is so messed-up psychically, might be the best and scariest part of the movie.
I enjoyed seeing Craig T. Nelson, aka COACH, in such a good meaty role. The film has a great musical score by Jerry Goldsmith and the special effects are pretty nifty.
Overall, I’d give this film top marks. It’s just such a shame that this era is gone for good. Films today, though I’m not denying that some of them work really well, couldn’t capture that early ‘Eighties America-feel if they tried for a month of Sundays.
Still, at least we’ve got films like this and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and HALLOWEEN and Freddy and Jason. They can’t take that away from us.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: