Poltergeist is an American horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper and was released on June 24, 1981. The plot centres itself around the haunting of a suburban family home with the suspected cause being poltergeists. In the beginning we see Carol Anne, a five year old girl, communicating to the spirits through a television set with no signal. As the story progresses, an earthquake occurs, which only the family feel, and the spirits begin to play harmless tricks. What happens next is not so benign. During a rainstorm we witness a tree coming to life and grabbing Carol Anne’s brother, Robbie, through a window. However, this is just a distraction, by the spirits, to leave Carol Anne unattended. A shining light appears in her closet and sucks Carol Anne into the other dimension, controlled by the poltergeists. As the parents pull Robbie from the tree that tries to swallow him, they soon find out that Carol Anne is missing and later find that they can communicate to her via the television set. They decide to bring in a team of parapsychologists in an attempt to get their daughter back. As the team investigates the case further and further they uncover more paranormal activities and establish that they are being tormented by poltergeists. With the help of a spiritual medium, they realise that the entrance to the other dimension is in the closet and in the latter stages of the film we witness a terrifying sequence in which the mother ties a rope around herself and crosses over, bringing her daughter back with her. However, that’s not the last we hear of “The Beast” which is the mastermind behind Carol Anne’s captivity, in a last ditch attempt, it again tries to suck the children into the closet. But the family manages to escape, finally watching The Beast implode the house into the other dimension. The final scene shows the family staying at a Holiday Inn, where the father puts the television set outside of their room.
I enjoyed watching Poltergeist because of the intensity that it provided throughout the film. For me, it is another example of a successful Spielberg film and i'm quite suprised that i hadn't seen the film prior to this. As i said before it was the intensity that kept me hooked and it definitely had a Spielberg feel to it. One of the most intense parts was in the latter stages of the film where the mother attempts to bring Carol Anne back, the pace seemed to be just right and it kept me right on the edge of my seat. However, i feel the special effects, including the Beast and the clown, let this film down, i don't even feel that it was a necessity to even show these as living beings. i feel it's strong factor was the element of the unknown, we as the audience don't know what they are dealing, but we can only imagine. as soon as we see physical attributes though, i feel our attention is taken away from the unknown and i didn't like that. A couple of examples were the tree scene and the clown, which could have easily been scary without it actually moving; similar to the ventriliquist's dummy. I feel The Haunting was a greater success in that sense because it leaves that element of the unknown throughout the film and we never truely know what we are dealing with. Excluding that, i found the film to another great representation of suburban neigjhbourhoods gone wrong. For some reason i seem to find it amusing watching their "happy lives" tormented. i especially liked the end shot with the tv out side there room; for me there was definitely something uncanny about it. i was expecting something to happen.