Spooktober Movie Review: Poltergeist (1982)

What is Poltergeist?

Life is very pleasant for the close-knit Freeling family until a host of otherworldly forces invades their peaceful suburban home. It starts with just an odd occurrence or two, but soon their house is turned into a swirling supernatural sideshow. The forces at work are anything but friendly, and if the luckless Freelings don’t clear out soon, they’ll all be swept off into nightmarish chaos. Poltergeist is directed by Tobe Hooper and stars Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and Beatrice Straight.

It’s a funny thing when you know more about the behind the scenes information about the movie than the movie itself. my only knowledge about poltergeist was that the film is perceived to be cursed for several tragedies involving the cast. Now I don’t know if I believe in curses or if films can be cursed, but the stories surrounding the making of the film are interesting, to say the least. Enough that’s all I ever hear about when I hear about Poltergeist which is a shame because Poltergeist is a great horror film. I was surprised to learn that Poltergeist is a PG horror film. I was not expecting that considering I know many people that were terrified of this film as a child watching it for the first time, so I was suspected if the film was a rated R or something, but no. It’s a PG horror film, which could have been a mistake but it works because poltergeist doesn’t rely on just being a horror film. It’s also a terrific family drama and that’s the aspect of the film that I love most.

What I say next may be controversial, but I didn’t find Poltergeist all that scary. that’s probably the worst thing you could say about a horror film, but I don’t mean this as a negative. just a testament of how time can change your perspective on things if I would’ve seen Poltergeist when I was a kid there’s no doubt this would’ve terrified me but as a teenager, I’ve seen worse and that’s ok. Who says a horror movie has to be scary to be good? In fact, I think Poltergeist is a rare horror movie that’s more entertaining than it is scary. I can’t think of many other horror movies that I would say this about. Perhaps it’s due to Steven Spielberg’s script that’s tightly written. Either way, Poltergeist is a wonderful film even if it does scare me there’s plenty of other things to love about it. The family dynamics being my absolute favorite (I know, what a shocker)!

What I have learned this past month has shown me is that I am really do love horror films that are more than just horror films. Some of my favorite horror films that I’ve seen for the first time this month have been horror films that have doubled as something else. Whether it be American Psycho as a psychological thriller into the mind of a psychopath, Us a thriller as a commentary on class, and A Quiet Place yet another horror film about the love of a family. These films are films that I love because oh they are meaningful outside of the horror genre and out of it as well. Those are the films I’ll most likely return to in the months to come. Now Poltergeist is another horror film that joins the list. I was not expecting that nor did I expect to love Poltergeist as much as I ended up loving it. A welcome surprise indeed. I hope it begins to receive more attention outside of the debate if the film was cursed or not because it’s a great film all its own merits without having that label tied to it.

4 responses to “Spooktober Movie Review: Poltergeist (1982)”

  1. If it had been made a couple years later, it probably would have been rated PG-13. Movies like this, Gremlins, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom all played a big role in the argument that there needed to be another rating for movies that weren’t disturbing or adult enough for an R but were a little too much for a PG. This movie did terrify me as a kid. Particularly the clown doll that came to life and attacked Robbie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I definitely believed the film should have been PG-13. I can’t imagine how many parents complained about the rating if they brought their children with them to go see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a coincidence. I just finished watching the Poltergeist franchise not long ago. As I rewatched the first movie, I did find it less scary than the first time. Then again, I’ve probably built up a tolerance to horror of this kind. The behind the scenes stuff still creeps me out though.

    Liked by 1 person

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