Saturday, July 21, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: Poltergeist (1982)

Short Attention Span Review: Poltergeist (1982)

So often, conversations regarding Poltergeist center on alleged curses and the question of who exactly directed the picture.  These are interesting threads to tug on, to be sure, and I'll touch on them here, but what is often overlooked in these discussions is just how incredible the movie itself is.  Nearly forty years after it was released, this exciting spookshow remains one of the genre's most energetic efforts.  It has everything one could hope for, to include a great cast of performers, phenomenal effects, a fine script, an eerie score, and sound direction.  Pacing is one of its biggest assets, as it begins quaintly enough, and then the suspense and fear are continually elevated until it reaches a bombastic conclusion.  It's also a fun horror picture, with ample doses of humor and wonder sprinkled throughout what could be dubbed a master class in the art of the jump scare.  As for those pressing questions, well, I've never been a big believer in curses on film sets myself, and any doubts about who actually directed the picture don't give me an awful lot of pause.  Spielberg was admittedly on set for a lot of the production, and was far more involved than most producers would have been.  There is no doubt that his fingerprints are all over the movie.  However, there are certainly elements that remind me more of director Tobe Hooper's work, so I view Poltergeist as a most successful collaboration.  The neat thing about this partnership (and one of the key elements to this film's longevity) is the way this bridges two separate worlds.  I think those who are looking for a mysterious adventure with a lot of otherworldy delights up its sleeve and an underlying sense of wonder running throughout will find a lot to love with this one.  I also think that old school horror fans who dig ghastly shenanigans and things that creep through the darkness will be equally pleased with this frightful romp.  It may be a bit too much for the E.T. crowd and it may be far too tame for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre crowd, but there's a lot of area to cover between those pictures, and anyone who resides in that terrain is apt to peg Poltergeist as one of their favorite horror films.  I actually consider myself a proud member of both camps, and I enjoy Poltergeist immensely.  I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard.

Final Grade: A

Poltergeist remains a vivid scarefest that grows more and more exciting as it nears its stupendous climax.

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