I watched this again while digging through old VHS tapes. Every time it comes on TV I can’t help but watch it. So, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, here you go. I don’t do it justice but I still feel like writing a quick little overview. You are welcome. That’s when you come in with the thank you, by the way. I kid.
Today’s pick is a movie that made me fear spoons, closets, clowns, trees and empty swimmming pools. This movie is responsible for a hike in the electric bill from leaving the hall light on and sleepless nights counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder. By now most can guess what movie I am talking about but if not, I believe it is one of the best classics Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper could have accomplished. It’s Poltergeist.
Yep, this movie really didn’t convince people they were possessed or caused miscarriages like The Exorcist did but damn did it pop in the head around 10:00 at night. Set in the early eighties in a perfect suburban neighborhood, (just like the one in E.T) the Freelings were the envy of any family striving for the American dream; three kids, hot wife, huge house and a wood-panel station wagon. The only strange thing is their three year old daughter talks to the TV when it is tuned to UPN. Oh yeah, and the dog barks at the wall, the silverware bends, glasses break, funiture stacks by itself on the kitchen table and there is a 6.5 rickter scale earthquake that only effects their bedroom. Besides that everything is ship-shape. All I have to say is if I saw bent forks and spoons and my child was playing 20 questions with TV static I would move. No shit. I would move. Well they didn’t and of course things went from whimsical to pure evil.
That’s right! While Diane and Steven Freeling were smoking pot and practicing the three meter board jumps from the bed, Robby is eaten by a tree, Carolann is eaten by the closet and the oldest, Kristiane is eating…..and screaming. Actually she eats and screams through out the whole movie. When Steven and Diane’s mellows were harshed they sprung into action to wrestle Robby from the mouth of the evil tree and tornado. I know…tornado.
Can you imagine reading this screen play? Earthquake in the bedroom, tornado in the backyard, trees swallowing kids! I think if this movie was in production today it would be doomed to be a TNT original. But thanks to Speilbergs touch and Tobe Hooper’s macabre twist it’s a winner.
Were was I? Oh yeah, so they are coming to grips that they have a paranormal something or other happening in their house and they need to get help because their youngest daughter, Carolann has been sucked into the closet and is now only audible on TV. Try explaining that to Bill O’Rielly. So Steven goes to the local University, looking pretty rough, and invites paranormal investigators to help out. I enjoyed this part the best. Their professional demeanor was so cocky until they saw the kid’s bedroom. I would imagine most egos of that profession would deflate when you see he-man riding a horse, the bed flipping and a flying record being played by a compass. Or was that a protractor? Anyway… You can almost hear the old lady shit herself. Great scene.
With out telling the whole movie word for word, the situation proves to be too much for this team to handle after the the nerdy white guy, Marty gets bit by something after the dumbass trys to go into the the kids room, they find out there is a port hole to the next demention, 10,000 ghosts walk downstairs and through the den and poor Marty gets fucked with again after a great Chee-tos advertismentand, halucinates eating maggots and tearing his face off. Long sentence. By the way…..why would you tear your own face off?
So in final desperation they bring out the big guns and hire a medium-pshycic-cleanser-dwarf to bring Carolann back from the clutches of dead people and clean the house. I must say that whoever cast this lady did a bang up job. Steven Freeling is sceptical of her abilities but she soon proves her talent by putting him in his place. I wonder if she is someone’s grandmother? That would fuck you up. “All children…come in for supper…alllll are welcome.” sheesh…
So now it is time for battle and armed with tennis balls, rope and a bath tub full of water they go to the closet of “by location” to grab Carol Anne from the clutches of the pissed off dead. With coaching from the midget/cleanser, Dianne and Steven “rock, paper scissors” to see who would eneter the closet and Stevens rock smashes Diane’s scissors, so in she goes. While supported by rope held by her husband the midget pulls a 180 and starts to chant for all to enter the light. Without suprise, Steve-o flips out thinking the phycic is fucking up and starts to pull too early. And he reeled in a paper-matche head. I guess it was a skullish demon, but to me it was art class circa 1987. It was ok because Diane made a winning grab and with Carol Ann in arms, fell out of the portal covred in pink after-birth. For a moment there is tention because because the two were unresponsive and worst yet not breathing. So into the tub and wouldn’t you know it? That was the trick! With a gasp of air the family was reunited and the midget cleanser had to declare, “this house is clean.”
You remember when President Bush declared victory in Iraq a few years ago? Yeah, same thing here. The house was far from clean. Like all great horror movies, the Freelings seem to be back to normal. No need for intense psycho therapy. In fact they deside to spend one more night in the house that less then a few days ago tried to kill them. It seems like the normal thing to do but E.Buz the dog knew, don’t take a bath or sleep without the closet light on in a house that has a history of haunting. And for God sake, don’t have a freaking clown doll that everyone knows will come to life. Well, the shit hit the fan and the ghosts really gave it their all. Diane was strapped to the cieling, the closet became a suck hole again, the toy clown tried to eat Robby, caskets jumped from the ground and Steven is at the bar telling his “no shit, there i was” stories while the bar tender cut him off. Steve comes home to shit twice and scream while kicking his boss repetedly in the balls yelling, “you moved the head stones but you didn’t move the bodies!”
Well, they escape. Sorry to ruin the movie but they drive away just as the house crumbles into an erie sustained light while all the gossiping neighbors come out to watch. The Freelings find shelter at the local Holiday Inn. Without possessions they retire to the room only to end the last scene with Steve pushing out the TV and shutting the door. Que the credits.
I’m not saying that this is the best movie in the world but when I first saw it I was seven and it stuck with me since. Actually I saw it during a church retreat. Only the Catholics can host a weekend full of churchy stuff then flush it all away on “scary movie night.” It was this or Gondi. I got more out of “Poltergeist.”
I’m tired. That’s all I have to say about this. I think i am going to jabber about Chevy Chase’s “Vacation” but for tonight I am done. I will leave you with me drinking tea.