When I was a kid I watched a lot of scary movies. Some were scarier than others. Some more movies that I outgrew was an adult and now they’re not scary they’re just silly. Only a handful were so frightening that I’ve never been able to bring myself to go back and re-watch. Poltergeist is one of those it is a movie that shouldn’t have scared me as much as it did but when I was a kid this was probably the scariest movie I’ve ever seen and I had a really hard time going back to it.
But first some context. It’s not talked about because we’re primarily Christian these days but before we discovered Christianity people in my family were basically into witchcraft some of us were Pagan some of us were Wiccan some of us were just in general fascinated by the spiritual realm but not so much church and any kind of you know codified Pantheon or anything of the sort. So I was very much into the occult as a kid as a little kid. Not just movies or dressing up like Halloween but it was our family unofficial family religion it was our belief was that yes there are spiritual forces and you can’t understand them all we believe in ghosts we believed in you know I won’t say monsters but definitely some of the other types of spirits including Angels but didn’t have a clear definition.
So coming into it from that perspective this movie was frightening as a little kid who did believe in ghosts and you know and I’m talking about someone who didn’t believe in Santa Claus or you know UFOs although I’m always kind of going back and forth on UFOs very definitely believe in spirits of all time so this movie Amityville Horror ghost movies in general tend to be more you know if done well they tend to scare me more and if done to cheekily they make me barf and I’m not interested. This was one of those movies that was done well like really well but it’s also well known that it’s pretty Hollywood pretty polished.
One of my sisters was is into the occult stuff as I was took me to a cemetery one time and we walked around late at night and explored all the scary things. Another one of my sisters who was also believe in spirits and the occult her and I kind of had this you know we were kind of in tune to things she was not I won’t say psychic or medium or anything like that but I will say she heard things saucing and and me I was just sort of I felt things I’ve always been able to feel things I can feel evil. I don’t necessarily mean any Supernatural since but I do feel in tune to those kinds of things so I’ve been hesitant with certain kinds of movies because I do believe that there are things we can’t explain about that I really do think that that we go somewhere when we die as a Catholic I am leaning towards what the church teaches but you know there’s other explanations for some of these things.
The first time I watched Poltergeist the movie scared the living shit out of me. As I was watching the movie my parents reassured me that it’s only a movie but my dad was always kind of playful about things so he like to throw a little tidbits like you know this was a true story or you know that little girl died for real making this movie when I later learned that part was actually true it made this movie even more I’ve got to stay away from it.
So I’m an adult now and I’ve seen lots of movies scary movies than this for sure more disturbing movies than this. But now that I’ve faced my fears in other areas of my life recently I went out in full girl mode dress hair makeup earrings into a business did my business bought what I went in for and faced my parents and sisters and everyone else in my family and told them about me transitioning I faced my fears and so I thought Now’s the Time to revisit Poltergeist.
The movie itself well it’s really well done it’s a good acted good written good special effects for the most part believable movie as I’m watching it. Mostly good acting mostly good a story really nothing to complain about. I was immediately taking a bath cuz I had forgotten the whole movie how quickly it turned into a I’m scared that if you will it didn’t hold off it was like okay we’re starting get ready and then it just took off. For some reason I thought there would be more of a buildup. That being said it it had me hooked from start to finish it was a Thrill Ride I had to experience.
Let’s go ahead and talk about the acting Steven Spielberg knows what he’s doing so every character in this movie was a character in this movie in the story they lived they were real to me and that’s good nobody cept maybe the little girl came off as out of place in this movie. Like a lot of horror movies that involve hauntings are ghosts this movie did have a lot of Supernatural elements that coincided with natural phenomena like tornadoes and thunderstorms that were probably by design to mask what was actually happening or to give people you know and alternative plausible explanation as is often the case in hauntings and things of that nature.
The score is perfectly in tune with what’s happening so no complaints there the music sets the mood and does the job it was intended to do. I don’t really think there’s anything I can say other than again Steven Spielberg knows what he’s doing and he made sure it got done.
The special effects is one area people probably like to nitpick the most in movies from the period. What I’ll say is for the most part things look pretty believable and they definitely look dated in some ways but they look you know believable and adequate and other ways, less dated I will say. I don’t want to nitpick but the only thing that did look kind of wonky were a couple of images where the ghost didn’t look very believable but that’s expected from a movie from that time.
What about the chills, the scares, the frights did they hold up?
Do you remember how I started off saying I watched this movie because I was facing my fears that’s exactly what this was. To me the analogy is like jumping out of an airplane with your parachute and you land safely on the ground but you’re falling in your eyes are closed the whole time and you’re just like okay okay okay until you’re safe. After you’ve done it you can say all right cross that off the list I did it I don’t need to do it again. That’s how it was with this movie I watched it and I got through it and I felt like okay I face my fears but I don’t need to go back I don’t need to watch it again.
I do believe not against the documented or measurable science but I do believe that there are spiritual forces we can’t measure with physical modern technology I believe that and nothing is going to change that cuz it’s things you can’t prove and you can’t disprove. If science ever finds a way to disprove something then I might change my mind. Until then I’m going to say I do believe in spirits I do certainly believe in the afterlife and I probably believe in something akin to ghosts. Of course I believe in the Holy Ghost and so there is that.
How scary is this movie to someone who didn’t have the childhood experience I did? Unfortunately that’s a question I cannot answer. I do think it’s a legit good quality movie that I would recommend everybody experience but it’s another one of those movies that I would say hey watch at your own risk and if you get through it rate and if it dramatizes you then oh well but you know you were fair warned.
I will say that if you watch this and you didn’t find it a little disturbing then you either have no soul or you’ve been desensitized. I know now that I’ve watched it I will say I think this is probably a far more family-friendly horror movie that I thought it was but I definitely consider it a horror movie absolutely.