31 Days of Horror: Poltergeist

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In my opinion, Poltergeist is the, hands down, best paranormal movie out there. Now, you are more than welcome to disagree with me but if your argument includes the words The Conjuring, I will scream and kick you down the stairs.

There are two names involved with Poltergeist that should immediately grab your attention: Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg. Now, everyone knows Spielberg but perhaps only horror fans will recognize the former. Tobe Hooper directed such horror greats as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Salem’s Lot. Spielberg wrote it, Hooper directed it, creating horror cinematic perfection.

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The story is about the Freeling family who live in a neighborhood that Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson) helped develop. When they start to dig in their back yard to put in a pool, strange things begin to happen, mostly centered on the youngest in the family, Carol Anne. Objects start to move on their own, Carol Anne hears voices coming from the static in the television and soon, Carol Anne herself is sucked into her bedroom closet and disappears.

The Freelings call a paranormal investigator to help figure out what is happening and to get Carol Anne back. When they see the extent of what is happening, the help of Tangina (Zelda Rubenstein), a psychic, is needed to contact the spirit world and get them to release Carol Anne. But getting her back turns out to be the least of their worries as their home is built on an old graveyard that was relocated but the bodies were never moved.
There are so many terrifying scenes in the movie. Just when you think it’s over, it gets worse. In fact, I am sure that it caused many the irrational phobias with attacking trees, rotting corpses in the swimming pool, evil dolls and misty hands coming from the television. Plus, that the self-moving steak and the guy peeling his face off in chunks is enough to make anyone go vegetarian.

Perhaps the scariest thing about the film is the curse on the film series. Dominique Dunne, who played the oldest sister Dana, was strangled to death by her former boyfriend the same year the film was released. Heather O’Rourke, who plays little Carol Anne died from intestinal stenosis after filming the third film in the series. Julian Beck, who plays Kane the scary old man ghost in Part II, died soon after finishing filming. Will Sampson, the Native American in Part II, died from a heart and lung transplant after filming.

Jo-Beth Williams, who plays Diane Freeling, blames the curse on using real skeletons to shoot the film. She claims to have had some paranormal experiences while filming including her pictures at home being crooked on the wall every day when she returned home from set.

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Now, I don’t know if it’s actually a curse or just incredibly bad luck in the casting, but it’s enough to give you chills. Curse or no curse, Poltergeist is legitimately scary and is the reason my television never stays on a static channel for more than a second.

Before you pop the disc in, do yourself a favor and remove any clown objects from your sight. Trust me, you will thank me later.

Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80's action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.