I remember three things from the summer of 1982: the music, my camp boyfriend and the movie
Poltergeist. I still listen to some of the music and I retain fond memories of the boy. But I recall Poltergeist as the catalyst for a family melodrama that involved me tearfully declaring that I would never be able to sleep or watch television again. (I’m still an insomniac!)
Twenty-five years later, I’m having flashbacks. On Thursday, Oct. 4 (for one night only),
250 theaters will screen a digitally remastered, HD print of
Poltergeist, complete with a 15-minute feature on paranormal activity.
To refresh your recollection, here’s the original trailer:
The question for me is whether I should go see it. The obvious answer is "of course not" because I don’t really like scary movies, and this particular one scared the bejesus
out of me (and not only me). In fact, I only saw it because (a) my aforementioned boyfriend was independently seeing it the same night, and (b) my brother lied and said it was not that scary. (This was revenge for my almost sending him into cardiac arrest by throwing a slipper at him when he was watching
Halloween.) But I’m considering seeing it because I don’t like being that scared by anything. The Wizard of Oz
scared me as a kid but I watched it again and got over that. Now it’s one of my favorite movies.
Of course, unlike Poltergeist,
The Wizard of Oz didn’t have a small child getting abducted by ghosts in a television, a man pulling off chunks of his face, a bottomless throat appearing in a wall or the most malevolent toy clown in movie history.
Like Poltergeist, though, it did have a scary tree.
Some of Poltergeist‘s creepiness was bigger than the plot. Both of the daughters in the movie died (in unrelated incidents), which led to rumors that there was a
Dominique Dunne, who played the older daughter (on the right) was murdered by her ex-boyfriend a few months after
Poltergeist was released. She was only 22. And Heather O’Rourke (on the left) died six years later (at age 12) from a bacterial infection. The other female member of the family,
JoBeth Williams is alive and well, and still lovely.
And then, of course, there was Zelda Rubinstein as Tangina, the paranormal expert who has been described as the "true star" of the movie. During a photo shoot for Poltergeist III, Rubinstein felt a “jolt,” and shortly thereafter, she learned that her mother had died. The photo taken at the moment of the jolt turned out hazy. Creepy.
There’s one thing I keep wondering about this anniversary screening: Will this movie have as much impact now that almost everyone has cable television? Who sees a TV with snow anymore?
If you’re less of a wuss than I am, and want to make definitive plans to see the
Poltergeist 25th anniversary screening, click here for theater and ticket information.