Isaacs Picture Conclusions

POLTERGEIST (1982) FOUR TOP HATS

For some reason, the other weekend was a total 80s revisit at Isaacs House with a viewing of THE TERMINATOR, RED DAWN and this. The Term still stood out as a pretty good movie – as did this – but Red Dawn pretty much sucked it. The acting was terrible, the dialogue wasn’t so great, they changed locations (and costumes) in the same scene quite often, blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. Like I wrote in LOGAN’S RUN (which is very dear to me) some things are due for an update and Dawn is totally ready. Oh wait – there’s a new one coming out soon with Thor in it that looks pretty good! Sweet! As for Poltergeist, everything really worked for us again – it didn’t look dated, the story was pretty good to revisit and aside from some choppy looking hand drawn special effects, everything was – well – bueno (and it still scared the crap out of The Wife).

theyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy’re here……

So, who hasn’t seen this, right? Well – I guess some people might not have – as in: I just watched The Exorcist for the first time the other day (there’s a story behind that that I’ll get to when I get to writing about it). I suppose, if you haven’t seen this and, for some reason, aren’t familiar with it, this will likely contain spoilers. I don’t usually do spoilers because their kind of a drag when you’re not expecting them. Speaking of drags – you know what’s a fucking real drag??? When you drag the Cheesecake Factory leftover bag with your chocolate cheesecake in it to bring to work for a delicious yet unhealthy breakfast and you open it up and it’s NOT THE CHEESECAKE BUT THE LEFTOVER CHICKEN AND IT RUINS YOUR WHOLE DAY!!!!!!!. wah.

“Who’s here?” / “The TV people…..”

Here’s one of those dodgy special effects I was talking about. You’d think Spielberg would have updated this by now… Anyway, if you’re from the jungle and never been around a TV, a poltergiest is terrorizing  the Freeling family headed by Coach Craig T Nelson. JoBeth Williams and their three kids, Dominque Dunne, Oliver Robbins and Heather O’Rourke. Oh – and we can’t forget E. Buzz, the dog.

“Did the TV people do this, honey?” / “Yes.”

One night a huge, creepy storm rolls in and scares the son shitless. “It’s just a storm,” soothes the dad and teaches him the lightning / thunder counting thing we’ve all done since we were kids. That night, while the two youngest are sleeping in the bed with their parents, Carol Anne (O’Rourke) hears voice from the static on the TV and that hand (above) comes out and then zaps a hole in the wall. Everyone snaps awake and she whispers the line that everyone’s heard most of their lives: “Theyyyyyyyyyyyy’re here……..”

WHO would have one of these in their room?????????? WHO??? WHO????

I would like to stop for a second and ask if anyone besides us remembers when TV had sign off messages and then actually “signed off” to static? Do you remember? Huh? Huh? Anyway – so the ghost seems a little playful for a while and steals off with Carol Anne, taking her to “the other side” and all sorts of shit hits the fan before the dad calls in a team of paranormal investigators. Do you remember the scene that I was almost unwilling to watch? The one where the guys peels his own face off?? Well – that scared the beejeezus out of me when I was a kid and when that was coming I was like, “I’ll go get a beer, need anything?” and as I walked off, The Wife was like “this is SO fake!” so I checked it out:

not as gross as i remember….

and boy it sure was. Well – that guy never shows his face again (hahahahaha) but they do bring in Zelda Rubenstien as The Medium You Will Never Forget and they Do What They Must and get Carol Anne back from the other side all covered in goo and everything’s gonna be just fine, right? They say “Fuck this shithole” and plan on moving out but they have to spend one last night before the moving trucks show up and that night is not very fun for anyone.

sorry, i couldn’t resist, i had the hots for jobeth for a number of years….

That night the Poltergeist is going to Do What It Must to try and secure Carol Anne’s angelic innocent-ness by all means possible. Before too long, while all hell is breaking loose inside the house, the dad shows up with his boss and, upon seeing a bunch of light effects through the windows, he grabs his manager and shakes him around a little bit and screams “YOU MOVED THE HEADSTONES BUT NOT THE BODIES!!!! YOU MOVED THE HEADSTONES BUT NOT THE BODIES!!!!” and now we know what all those corpses in the pool were all about.

BOO!!!!! I’M A BAD MOTHER FUCKER FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION Y’ALL!!

Eventually, and without some big “savior moment”, the family escapes by simply running away and the house implodes into another dimension. In one of my favorite parts of this movie, they end up checking into a Holiday Inn back when Holiday Inns were fun (we would always stay in one of these when my grandparents and I went out of town for something).

I liked Poltergeist a lot as a kid and I liked it just fine I watched it the other week. I have never seen any of the sequels and I tried to get The Wife to watch 2 with me but she refused so now I am on my own looking for that on NetFlix. Speaking of sequels, this had 2 and a spin off TV series that I never watched but also spawned the legend of “The Poltergeist Curse”. I present the story of that to you here as my sign-off message, straight out of Wikipedia:

The “Poltergeist curse” is a rumor of a supposed curse attached to the Poltergeist trilogy and its crew, derived from the fact that four cast members died in the six years between the releases of the first and third films. The rumor is often fueled by the fact that real cadavers were used as props in various scenes of Poltergeist and Poltergeist II.  The rumor and the surrounding deaths were explored in a 2002 episode of E! True Hollywood Story entitled “Curse of Poltergeist. Dominique Dunne, who played the eldest daughter Dana in the first movie, died on November 4, 1982 at age 22 after being strangled by her abusive former boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison, but was paroled after serving three and a half years.Julian Beck, 60-year-old actor who played Henry Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died on September 14, 1985 of stomach cancer diagnosed before he had accepted the role. Will Sampson, 53 years old, who played Taylor the medicine man in Poltergeist II, died as a result of post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems on June 3, 1987. Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three Poltergeist movies, died on February 1, 1988 at the age of 12 after what doctors initially described as an acute form of influenza but later changed to septic shock after bacterial toxins invaded her bloodstream. At the time, she had suffered acute bowel obstruction, initially diagnosed as Crohn’s disease, which may have been the cause of death.

E. Buzz

15 comments

    • theipc

      I did! I hope to have something up about it sometime soon!

      Thanks Mark and – yep – neither of us had seen this since the 80s. It was still pretty entertaining. Did you ever see the sequels? Can you convince the wife to watch number 2 at least???

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  1. I like this movie so much I would invite it to my birthday party. Either this or The Changeling is the first horror movie I saw. I dug those Holiday Inn signs as a little kid. I wonder if there are any left that are in operation. Also, if Spielberg updated the effects in Poltergeist, do you think people would be mad at him the way they are at Lucas for constantly tinkering with the Star Wars movies?

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  2. I first saw this at a big party when I was about 10. We all slept over in a friends huge bedroom, and it was full of mirrors. Despite trying to look cool, I didnt sleep all night due to my fear from this movie!! Creeped the hell out of me. I honestly havent seen it since because some memories are best left alone 🙂

    Great write up as always Eric

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