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Poltergeist then and now

A few months ago, I introduced the classic film POLTERGEIST to someone younger in my family.. She was born in the late 1990s and did not have a notion of pop culture of the 1980s or the reason the Stephen Spielberg film changed everything. I really played the movie up to her, as well. I mentioned the spooky scenes, the scary clown, the bizarre tiny psychic, and the tree that came to life during a thunderstorm. By the time she had made it through the movie she was unimpressed.. It wasn’t scary compared to the compelling gory snuff films of today. And among the horror of our modern world, you can find a few gems, don’t get me wrong. But I still find the original POLTERGEIST compelling, deeply frightening, and yet amazingly beautiful and a story about how love perseveres.

Enter into the fray the newest incarnation, or should I say reincarnation, from Hollywood: Poltergeist is back. With iPhones and flatscreens.. no fuzzy TVs in this version.

I saw the trailer a bit ago for the film. Every fiber in my being wanted to hate the remake. I wanted to loathe the trailer.. But I ended up being a little more enthusiastic about it than I imagined myself to be..



There’s a few things to contemplate here.. The 1980s’ version was amazing because it took on the ‘feeling’ of pop culture of the 1980s and made it the very essence of the film.. take for example the television set going to fuzz after the nightly NATIONAL ANTHEM played.. That scene, more than anything, constantly stuck with my as I grew up. Because I recalled the time when TV did that–when channels signed off for the day and networks would give people their Star Spangled Banner, complete with the video featuring lots of creepy subliminal messages. Beyond that, there’s the nostalgic feeling I still get when I watch the original movie.. There’s something deeply troubling, now as a parent, thinking about the loss the main characters were feeling during the film. And then the amazing miracle of love bringing them back together at the end. This movie is as much a drama as it is a horror. Spielberg created an immense classic..

So while I figure nothing will ever diminish his work with this movie, the newest trailer put me in a much different place than what I assumed I’d be in after watching it..

Let me first say, I dislike remakes for the most part. The Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN films were simply trash worthy of a garbage heap.. the newest NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET had no meaning in my life.. Sometimes there’s a score but for the most part it’s Hollywood rehashing old ideas and attempting to get some street cred with the use of modern gadgets and phrases.

While I think the new POLTERGEIST may still do that, I sort of changed my tune when it comes to this movie.

I think this generation needs that ‘pop culture’ fit .. I think it needs a film that one day, when they go back and watch, they too will become nostalgic for the 2000 teens. Maybe this movie will do it. It could, and it should.. If it sticks to the Speilberg concept of keeping a family together with love, ensuring the triumph of good over evil, and reinforcing the notion that you don’t busy yourself conjuring up demons under your bed, then it may have an impact.

There are a few notable things in the trailer. First off, the use of a flat screen TV is an obvious thing.. no more big giant boxed versions with antennas on. The is the new world.. There will be more cellphones and technology will be showcased–just as it was in the original .. What seems missing is the enigmatic 4-foot-tall psychic Tangina Barrons.. Maybe we will have a new memorable character in the latest..

There is debate within circles of fanboys and horror sites as to whether this movie will be a kids’ story or an R-rated horror.. back in January, there were rumors that this movie was going to be a 3D family friendly child abduction film *(if that is possible)*.. But the new trailer looks a bit more intense than a family friendly film.. The inclusion of a clown makes it even more worthwhile of horror..Even BLOODY DISGUSTING thinks the trailer looks ‘bonkers’ ..

Time will tell as the who will be happy seeing this movie and who will not be.
But as far as remakes go, POLTERGEIST may finally be one I deem worthy of viewing.

In the mean time, I went back in time and found the original trailer for POLTERGEIST in 1982.
I dare stay no matter what Hooper and company do in 2015, nothing will ever defeat the classic or the theme song, one of the scariest and yet most beautiful scores ever written:






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