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Sunday, May 15, 2011


       I was ten years old when I first experienced "Poltergeist".  I went to a friend's house to watch it because it had just hit HBO.  I was told that I must see this movie immediately.  I was dying to see it anyway.  Needless to say, I was completely blown away by what I was seeing on the screen in front of me.  "Poltergeist", directed by Tobe Hooper (although let's be fair here- this movie has Steven Spielberg's stamp all over it...), literally scared the hell out of me.  But it was so much fun- a non-stop roller-coaster ride that never lets up for one second. It's completely entertaining on all levels.  Besides being a top-notch thrill ride, it has the added bonus of some great writing and even greater acting.

     Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and the kids are sensational in their roles- they're 100% believable and even though the film boasts some astonishing special effects, the acting is what makes "Poltergeist" work. On top of the great family, we're treated to the wonderful Beatrice Straight and Zelda Rubinstein.  This was every family I knew in the 80's.  I lived this.  I completely identified with every single frame of that movie.  I was Robbie- terrified of the shadow on my closet door by the tree outside my window at night.  I also had a super scary clown, I just chose not to keep it.  "Poltergeist" was the second, big haunted house movie I had seen- the first being "The Amityville Horror".  As much as I enjoyed "Amityville", "Poltergeist" seemed real to me at the time.  It really made you think that it could happen to anybody, at anytime.

       "Poltergeist" is hands down one of the greatest haunted house movies ever made.  Besides having the talents of  Tobe Hooper and Spielberg involved, we get the delicious and chilling score by Jerry Goldsmith and one of the most well-known and parodied lines from any movie... "They're heeere.....".  "Poltergeist" is Steven Spielberg's vision of a haunted house/ghost story, and a great one at that.  For some reason taking the haunted house out of the gloomy, cobwebbed mansion and bringing it into contemporary suburbia only made it all the more scary.  It became the standard for haunted house movies to come. The film is making a comeback of sorts, it seems.  I see it talked about more and more on horror blogs in the past couple of years, and next year (2012) will be the films 30th anniversary.

     "Poltergeist" was one of the biggest and most influential movies of my youth, and it's impossible not to think of this movie when you talk of the 1980's.  I know I had never seen anything like this before.  It quite literally blew my mind.  Sadly I did not get to witness this on the big screen, so I can only imagine the effect this had in that environment.  Just watching it on a dark, rainy afternoon on a reasonably large tv as I did was extremely powerful.  It was like "E.T." sort of... only scary.  And as unbelievable as it all is- Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Oliver Robins, Dominique Dunne, and Heather O'Rourke firmly make you believe every second of it.  They're very believable, and my mother actually resembled JoBeth back then.  This movie, like so many from the 80's, never fails to entertain me.  It's just such a huge part of my childhood.  Luckily, I've never outgrown it, because it's still a hell of good movie.  Maybe slightly dated because of the whole channels signing off at midnight thing, but overall it's still as sharp and witty as always, with the banter between Nelson and Williams priceless.

     "Poltergeist" was so successful and popular it would start not only a franchise, but an undying urban legend about the so-called "Poltergeist" curse that is slowly and methodically killing off all involved with the films.  The film would garner 3 Academy Awards, and ranked # 80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments and #69 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes for "They're Heeere...".  "Poltergeist" would gross over $78 million dollars and become the highest-grossing horror film of 1982.  It has become a bona fide horror classic, and well deserved at that.  This was some serious nightmares for many kids my age, and I know of a few who are deathly afraid of clowns because of it.  But overall, it's still such a fun movie to watch.  I love this movie.  Dearly.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Let Me In


      So I finally got around to seeing "Let Me In".  And can I just say FINALLY a vampire that is NOTHING like "Twilight".  This was a spectacularly creepy vampire movie in my eyes, and I found it more violent and suspenseful than the original Swedish version.  I can't even remember the last time a vampire movie has impressed me so much.  What's great about "Let Me In" is it's kind of hard to pinpoint exactly which genre this movie is.  It's mostly a horror movie, but also touches on bullying, loneliness, love, trust, and family drama.  And calling it just a vampire movie is rather disrespectful, because there's far more going on here than just vampires sucking blood.
     I honestly couldn't find anything to complain about after watching "Let Me In".  I know that many fans of the original blogged themselves into a frenzy about this Americanized version, but just like the complaints for "Quarantine" as opposed to "REC"- I found it all silly.  This is an extremely well-done movie and it's extremely watchable.  It doesn't rely on a lot of special effects or over-the-top gore like a lot of horror movies out there today, and transcends the horror genre, instead offering depth, emotion, and a great story.  And the acting!  The two child leads are nothing short of sensational and most definitely help sell the film.  With lesser talents, the movie would not have worked.  But the children make it work.
      I really enjoyed watching "Let Me In", and it gave me hope that the "Twilight" fever is almost over.  I think the last, good vampire movie I've seen was "Interview With the Vampire"... and how long ago was that?  Normally I don't like modern vampires- give me Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, or some "Salem's Lot" anyday.  THOSE are vampires- not Robert Pattinson or Wesley Snipes.  Movies like this don't come often in horror, and they are a welcome retreat from the mindless Zombie films or pallid re-makes of classic movies.  I give this one a thumbs up.

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