“They’re here.” ~Poltergeist (1982)

IMDB Summary: A family’s home is haunted by a host of ghosts. (Weak. I’m sorry, but could they not do better than that?)

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 31% (Wow. A new low.)

Why I love it: It’s just an awesome, wild ride.

Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist, which means, along with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Funhouse, he’s the one guy who appears the most on this list of horror. I saw it at the huge theater in Century City across from the hotel on Avenue of the Stars. What an epic theater. It’s gone now.

Something I find odd: little Carol Anne died at 12 years old and is buried in the same cemetery in Westwood as my grandparents. I’ve seen her grave. It has her credits on it. It actually says “Carol Anne-Poltergeist I, II, III.” What. The. Hell. Marilyn Monroe is buried there. Farrah Fawcett (my idol), Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, Frank Zappa and Truman Capote are there. And none of their graves look like a freakin’ IMDB page.

The Freelings are a family of five who live in a house where groovy, spooky stuff starts happening. Chairs stack on their own. Cute little Carol Anne slides across the floor. After announcing the TV people are here, she gets taken during a freakish storm. It’s a rolling boil of scary dolls and screaming until a closet light that comes from some kind of portal with an opening to the beyond pulls her in.

She’s gone. But not really. They call some professional ghostbusters who stay there and try to communicate with Carol Anne now that she’s existing in a different sphere. Honestly, if I had never seen this movie, I wouldn’t care. It sounds stupid, but it’s not and it’s rad. One of the helpers hallucinates in the mirror and rips his own face off. The mom opens Carol Anne’s door, and it’s complete chaos—toys acting out, pandemonium. The dad finds out the house is built on top of an old cemetery that got moved. But they never moved the bodies. What did you expect would happen? A strange and unfortunate looking woman comes to extract Carol Anne for good from her alter reality. She’s supposed to go into the light, or not, when the mom ventures into the unknown and returns with her daughter in her arms with some kind of post-birth jelly all over them. Ahhh… they can put it all behind them now…

Until it all happens again, but even worse. They make a near escape without the help of the slutty older sister. (I hate to say that because she’s also dead in real life, but it’s true.) And the house gets devoured by the dark forces that act up when you fuck with a burial ground.

They just remade Poltergeist. I can’t even. The original might have dated effects, but I still get the creeps from that clown doll. And it’s got everything a scary movie should have: humor, uncontrollable evil, good thrills and heart.


Next: Dressed to Kill

Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★