One of the greatest haunted house films that you feel the echo linger in many films today. All thanks to the collected work of both Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg.
Tobe Hooper, obviously known from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has the directing credit but that may be more due to a potential strike at the time and other issues at hand, but by all recounts of people on set of the film, Spielberg was directing more than he should have as producer. That being said, it was more Spielberg’s film that he brought to Hooper.
But that can be very noticeable even if you just watch the film, since you can feel Spielberg’s fingerprints every where you look. The style, the mood, the characters, they all feel like they could be coming out of one of his films. Regardless, together they made one of the best horror films ever.
Even 36 years after the film was released, there’s only one moment where the film feels dated – and everyone knows it – but when the dummy’s face begins to be peeled off, you can clearly tell it’s a dummy. But overall, that’s a great track record in comparison to even some recent MCU films I’ve seen.
Poltergeist does what some horror films have a trouble doing often, making us care about the characters. We are truly invested in the family as the tree torments their son.
I think what’s also fascinating is that the films comes from an idea that was supposed to be a sequel to Close Encounters, which but ended up being split into two ideas, this and E.T.. Both films being shot back to back and released in the same year, and a week apart.
The film has stood the test of time even if it had dated effects. “They’re here” with that static blaring across the room is iconic and also terrifying.