Sinister Screens

Poltergeist (1982) ★★★½



It knows what scares you.

Upon realizing that something truly evil haunts his home, Steve Freeling calls in a team of parapsychologists to help before it’s too late.


I first viewed Poltergeist as a ten-year-old in 1984. Almost forty years later, I’ve rewatched it for the first time in about a decade. And, man, has this movie changed!

Ten-year-old me was scared shitless of the monster tree, the creepy-ass doll and the maggoty meat man ripping off his face. None of this had much of an impact on the fifty-year-old me. In fact, it brought about an eye roll and a few chuckles. Instead, fifty-year-old me found disturbing the buck toothed kid-brother Robbie’s profile in one scene where he appeared somewhat rat-like. The little pale sister, Carol Anne, was just as creepy in most scenes.

Ten-year-old me felt a weird stirring attraction to oldest sister Dana who was sorta of a bad girl in this. Fifty-year-old me can’t believe I missed the fact that the mom Diane (played by JoBeth Williams) looks really good in short-shorts and that #65 sports shirt!

Where has my life devolved to? Poltergeist is no longer impactfully scary and JoBeth Williams is a hottie! If my ten-year-old self would have been told these things, he would have been very disbelieving and disappointed.

There was a semblance of nostalgia rewatching Poltergeist, but I have to say it doesn’t hold up very well in my mind as an all-time classic. Still, it gets a decent rating for the writing, concept and scaring the shit out of the ten-year-old me.

Rating: ★★★½ (out of 5)

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