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Monday, May 19, 2014

"Poltergeist" (1982) - Movie Review





My Lord, this movie is loud! Two hours of nonstop noise that you are thankful is over, when it's finally over. This movie signified the end of Spielberg's filmmaking magic. It was the beginning of his making brainless, soulless fare like this and "E.T." It was at this point that he became more a manufacturer of "entertainment" than a creative director of it.

"E.T.," also in 1982, is essentially a dumbed-down version of "Close Encounters" for children or for those who want all the edges polished away. No need for characters you could believe exist in the actual world. Instead they're replaced by mannequins who have little to no dimension.

The 1980's was all about that, following the Reagan call to give up on humanity, give up on dreams, and just crank out lifeless stuff and make the most money possible.

And so, "Poltergeist" is one of the most perfect examples of this. It is sort of entertaining in its thoroughly stupid way, but that's about it. Tobe Hooper, who had directed "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," went on to direct something much closer to his fairly perverted sensibilities with the great, and thoroughly nuts, "Lifeforce" in 1986. Here, he's more gun for hire, technically being the director, while it is said that Spielberg was on the set more than Hooper, and shot most of the movie. You can tell!

If this movie accomplishes anything, it is an accomplishment for the Visual Effects and Practical Effects teams. Creating an atmosphere of horror is out of reach to a vast majority of those who worked on this.

The one person in the cast who hits the mark is Heather O'Rourke, who out acts everyone else by a good margin. Jerry Goldsmith, as expected, turns in an excellent score, and contributes what is easily the most artistic component to the film.

** (2 Out of 5 Stars)

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