I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this movie almost ten thousand times. Granted, I might never have actually seen the whole thing start to finish, well, ever, but it had seen it in pieces quite a few times. I guess it was good to sit down and actually watch it start to finish, because I knew how it started and knew how it ended, as if it had been a mystery. I guess just all the times I had seen it in pieces on HBO, I figured I could fill in the gaps. And boy, was I wrong! Not really all that wrong, but I still had never actually watched the whole thing. I also had known about the “Poltergeist Curse”, which has to do with the fact that four principal actors of the first two films died within six years of the first film being made. Turns out that it was only two people from the first film, and not having seen the other films in the franchise, the curse is certainly underwhelming. There’s always next time!
I had always just figured it was the ghost of Anne Frank trying to take her revenge on the Aryan nation.
Craig T. Nelson, also known as “Coach”, is living with his family in a nice little neighborhood, where he also happens to sell property. Strange things start happening around the house, which coincide with Coach’s youngest daughter, Carol Anne, played by Heather O’ Rourke, claiming to see “TV people”, as well as uttering the famous line “they’re heeeere”. Along with a big scary thunderstorm and a huge tree coming to life and grabbing Coach’s son from inside the house, Carol Anne also goes missing. The family can hear her through the television, so the members of the local university’s paranormal psychology department starts to investigate. Apparently the house is a victim of a poltergeist, which is supposedly ghost-type shit that is centered around a house or other location, rather than specifically centered around a person. Anyways, crazy ghost ship happens, they call in this weird tiny lady who apparently knows everything about ghosts. They are able to recover the little girl from wherever the ghosts are being held, and everyone’s happy. Until Coach has to work late one night, and the paranormal activity continues! It is then revealed that the neighborhood was built on an old cemetery, which was moved to build the house. Only problem? The bodies weren’t moved, just the headstones! So I guess their spirits were pissed and made all this shit happen. But then Coach and his family leave and everything is better…well except until two of the actresses died in real life.
That thing was scary as shit. No time to make jokes about it, or I might wake up next to it. Oh wait, I already do! Hahaha! Take THAT, Rampaige!
How did this shit have a fucking PG rating?! Not saying I was losing my mind, but there is a scene with a guy ripping his own face off….RIPPING HIS OWN FACE OFF. There were ghosts, and loud sounds, and lots of screaming and ghosts and scary shit, but it was only PG. I guess it’s excuse was that it was 1982, and PG-13 didn’t exist. I’d say that this movie does for ghosts what Close Encounters of the Third Kind did for aliens. It tried to take, maybe not a realistic, but a more scientific approach for the characters as a response to what was going on. Maybe that’s how it was able to get away with just the PG rating? And the fact that this was directed by Tobe Hooper was pretty surprising, considering he broke onto the scene with a movie like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which focused on gritty brutality, compared to this film, which dealt with a family encountering paranormal events. The practical effects in the film were also pretty convincing, and this movie was right on the cusp of using technology to get their scares, but the good side of the cusp.
Wolfman Moon Scale