Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Poltergeist
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on October 18, 2008
I've been a fan of this film for over 20 years. My parents had the VHS and before that it was taped from TV. I own the 25th Anniversary edition, which I had not yet watched. I know Blu-Rays often are criticized for the lack of extras, but I must specifically comment here on the PQ and AQ.

I absolutely love this film, for its storyline, characters and visual accomplishments achieved for its time period. I did not expect a quality transfer such as this one, when I popped the disc in. I purchased this at Target yesterday which had it at a price comparable to Amazon's, after tax, and with a temporary price reduction.

I use a 42" Panasonic Plasma, Onkyo 605 receiver, Panasonic BD30K Blu player and Paradigm Speakers, on this particular set up.

The picture is amazing! There are some areas where there is a bit of noise in the sky shots over "Cuesta Verde", the housing development. However, other than that, for a film that is 26 years old, the picture and sound are stunning. The colors really pop in this edition, and the sound during the paranormal phenomena is spectacular. Blacks and detail are very rich and the sound is thunderous when it should be, but even throughout the film, as it needs to be.

The Digi-Book packaging is a neat little perk, as it adds some history, production notes and intewresting little tidbits. Although these can be found on the net, as well, for the same price and even cheaper than some other Blu-Rays, the packaging adds an extra incremental value.

If you love this movie, the transfer is absolutely worth picking this up! If you just like it, give it a rent. I have 100's of HD DVD's and Blu-Rays, and this is one of the best transfers I've seen, of those films I have viewed. PQ: 4/5 AQ: 4/5. I am taking 1 point off, for the few instances of grain (sky, and one scene where there was a black line going up and down the picture in the film, not my tv), and the fact that the sound was not quite as powerful, as it could have been. Highly recommend!
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Now that DVDs are way down in price, I've ended up with literally thousands--I think. I have a tendency to resist the earlier releases, the ones that are obviously "cheapies" with no special features--I know that better editions are just around the bend for most films! But I recently had to make an exception for "Poltergeist". Now I had originally seen this film in a theater on its release. I have always considered it one of the best in its genre. I've seen it a couple of times since, but probably not at all in the last ten years (and for the record--all the sequels were terrible).

What amazed me was that I still thought it was a terrific movie! Now, some people will think a couple of the effects are cheesy--and for today's standards, maybe they are. But they are so well integrated into the film that I don't think the modern viewer will mind. And I believe films are historical documents--I hate that George Lucas, for example, has corrupted his films with constant CGI updates. It's as sacrilegious as colorization was!

"Poltergeist" succeeds as a great film due, in large part, to it's unrelenting suspense--but, in equal measure, it relies on us to care about the family involved. I think the movie endures because it has heart and characters to actually root for. Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams are great (and believable) as the parents affected. Their love for each other and their family, and their willingness to sacrifice anything for the safety of their kids is well presented and acted. Williams, in particular, has never been better. At first, she is your typical suburban Mom--but as strange things start happening, you see her confusion, her delight, her fear, her horror, her desperation and her heroic side. It's a very nice underrated performance. And Beatrice Strait and Zelda Rubenstein both give richer, more fully realized performances than I remembered.

Who'd have thought--all these years later--that it's the characters of "Poltergeist" that have distinguished it in my mind?

It's time now! We need a Deluxe Version DVD. It's hard to believe 2007 will mark 25 years--that seems a fitting opportunity to honor a film that has stood the test of time. I'll be first in line to upgrade. KGHarris, 9/06.
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VINE VOICEon November 2, 2004
Every since "Poltergeist" was released there has been debate about who influenced the final result more, Director Tobe Hooper or Producer Steven Spielberg. I personally think the answer can be discovered by comparing Poltergeist to their previous works: I ask you, is it closer in style to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Raiders of the Lost Ark"?

All that aside, "Poltergeist" is a rippin' good ghost story. Craig T. Nelson and Jobeth Williams play the parents of a family that unfortunately lives in one wicked suburbia haunted house. The movie develops slowly, giving us time to care about this family. Mr. Nelson and Ms. Williams are dream parents - cool, funny, smart and devoted to the family and each other.

The kids are pretty typical movie kids and their performances don't detract.

Initially, there are just a few unusual and creepy goings-on. Chairs move by themselves. The youngest daughter, played by young Heather O'Rourke, makes out voices that come through the television late at night after everyone else has gone to sleep.

At about the midway point of the film the owners of the "voices" start some serious shenanigans in the house and in the confusion, take little Carol Anne hostage. You're on the edge of your seat the rest of the movie.

Some academic ghost-buster types move in and set up cameras and recorders. Next thing you know, weird things are happening to them as well.

Made before the CGI age, "Poltergeist" nonetheless has some impressive special effects. The story tries to get under your skin. It doesn't just pick one thing to be scared of. There is no 25 foot shark or machete-wielding madman. Instead it succeeds over and over again at creeping you out at everyday objects. The old oak tree in the back yard becomes a menace. Toys in the kid's room turn sinister. The kitchen becomes a fright-hall.

When everyday objects are suddenly turning against you, what can you do? These are the things the family and the ghostbusters have to deal with while they try to figure out if they can get Carol Anne back.

My first experience with "Poltergeist" wasn't watching the movie. I was in a multiplex, next door watching something else, but through the walls WE were listening to the audience watching "Poltergeist" next door shrieking and screaming. I know I wasn't the only person thinking "What in the WORLD are they WATCHING next door?" We stepped out of our movie at the end to see the overhead sign. We knew this was something we HAD to go see.

We weren't disappointed.
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on October 12, 2007
This is one of my favorite movies, and I've reviewed the earlier DVD issue elsewhere. My review this time is purely for the new DVD reissue which is one of the biggest disappointments I've come across. Let's start with this "25th Anniversary." The only mention of the anniversary is a haphazardly placed sticker on the outer sleeve. The fact that it was just slapped onto the box gives the buyer an idea of how much thought went into this new DVD.

Then there are the extras. A documentary about true-life hauntings. Okay, that's not bad. But wait - where's the original trailer for the film that was on the earlier DVD? It's been removed. Did the trailer get sucked into Carol Anne's closet and is being held captive by the Beast? What purpose did removing the trailer serve?

This is a pointless release. My advice is to hang onto the earlier release which is anamorphic AND has the trailer and skip this one; there will be another, hopefully better, release someday. Warner Brothers should be ashamed.
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Wow, what a classic! Amazing buildup, great scares, great acting. This is a really well written horror movie, and while it does show at times, it is hard to believe it's over 25 years old. Especially when you watch it on Blu Ray!

No matter how many times you've seen the movie before, it'll be like the first once you've seen this amazing 1080p transfer. The image is crisp and sharp without looking digitized. There's fantastic background clarity that gives you that feeling of 3D depth that make Blu Ray fanatics giddy with delight. And the best part is the audio! Throbbing bass and delicious thunder, groans from the closet that sound like they are literally lurking behind you. Sometimes you run across a poor transfer with low budget horror movies, but you can tell Spielburg and Hooper made sure this was filmed right. Thankfully, this fantastic blu ray release is a proper representation of how the movie was meant to be seen.

Overall, if this is a favorite of yours or even if you own the DVD, I can safely recommend the upgrade. If you've never seen the 25 year old classic, there's no better time to than with this amazing release. You'll be able to experience this movie at home like no generation has gotten to do before, isn't blu ray great!
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on July 6, 2015
Instant classic horror film.

Many scary scenes, and thoughts, to fill your dreams at night.
Agoura Hills, Ca. May be a normal Suburb, with a burial ground relocated.
Now watch the ghosts come inside, to stay the night.

Scare meter 3/3
review image review image
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2009
It seems like a typical suburbs with the Freeling family in California, the young 5 year old daughter Carol Ann (Heather Rouke) seems to be communicating with people in the TV. The parents named Diane and Steve (JoBeth Williams and Craig T.Nelson) are skeptical about the odd behavior going on at the house such as chairs moving by themselves, lights turning on and off on their own and plenty of other weird things, even the son Robbie (Oliver Robins) and teenage daughter Dana (Dominque Dunne) are weirded out by strange things in the house. It seems the house does have secrets from the past left untold including being near the cemetery as these ghosts seem friendly and playful at first. Later it turns out they abduct little Carol Ann into a vortex inside the house trapping her in as they purposely terrorize the family. They hire some paranormal experts (Beatrice Straight, Martin Casella and Richard Lawson) including a dwarfish psychic named Tagina (Zelda Rubinstein) to bring her back and clean the house of spirits.

Terrifying and original supernatural horror drama from writer-producer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It's based on Spielberg's old childhood fears even of ghosts then turned into a screenplay that got approved by MGM then directed by Tobe Hooper as it took nearly a year and a half to make, in June of 1982 along with Spielberg's phemeoneal ET sweeping the box-office by storm this movie came along and also became one of the highest grossing and most critically acclaimed movies of the year. Brilliant acting by the cast that even launched the career of Craig T. Nelson, excellent special effects that hold up today, a memorable score by Jerry Goldsmith and jolts galore in this non-stop rollercoaster ride of pure thrills and scares.

This Blu-Ray offers one hell of a transfer with terrific sound as it's in a book with a mini-behind the scenes look at this remarkable motion picture with a 2 part Documentary on actual poltergeists and the trailer.
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on June 23, 2012
This is another one of those films that came out when I was in the Air Force at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. To me, all the very best movies were released in the eighties because we finally got past all that cheesiness of the campyness of the seventies, and this was before computer animation and CGI started to reduce the integrity of special effects that made more recently films look so cartoonish.

What really gives me the chills about this film is, although I came from some pretty frightening, nightmarish neighborhoods of Detroit, while I was in Hawaii, I started to see the beauty of the modern day home design and construction, and when I finally got stationed in Northern California, this development of Cueste Verde looks a lot like the neighborhoods of Vacaville, California (about 50 miles from San Francisco), so watching this film again since I've been in California, has given this film a whole new sense of terror to me.

The classic "haunted house" of film's past usually look more like some hundred year old house. But this film makes the modern day house look like it can be haunted too. Whenever I drive through Vacaville, I am reminded of this film.

It is also amazing that even though this film is only 30 years old, it's interesting how so many of the actors and actresses in this film are already dead and gone. Even Heather O'Rourke (who played 4 year old Carol Anne), is dead and gone.

Yeah, I'll have to say that this film has some stronger means of terrifying me more than just being a haunted house film. I feel like this can happen even in my own neighborhood. Thank you Steven Spielberg for putting classic horror in a modern day reality setting.

But, because this film came out in the early eighties, it remains one of my favorites to remind me of my wonderful military days.

When I think of "Poltergeist", I think of Hickam Air Force Base, and the black haired beauty I took to the theatre with me when I first saw this movie.
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on November 9, 2002
Poltergeist is one heck of a fun movie ride. Steven Speilberg and Tobe Hooper undoubtedly created the best ghost movie, and made it extremely hard to beat. Although recent ones have almost succeeded (e.g. The Others, The Sixth Sense), Poltergeist still remains number one.
Speilberg, co-writer, tells the story of a normal, suburban family who begins to notice their house is becoming a little haunted. When their youngest daughter disappears into the house, they call upon a group of psychologists to help them with finding their daughter and relieving their house of the evil inside. This story is amazing on film as we watch the Freelings see the ghosts do tricks with chairs to becoming more sinister with clown attacks (Personally, one of the creepiest scenes in the film).
What made Poltergeist even better is the chemistry that was found in the entire cast. The family of the Freelings seemed so real. It's not hard to believe that they are an actual family. Jo Beth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are actually lovely (Weird choice of word, but it fits) as the loving parents, and their show of emotional range was right on. Heather Rourke, who played Carole Anne, is an amazing actress for her age, and handles everything with quaint little charm. The remaining of the cast were all wonderful, fairly developed, and you cared about their outcome in the movie. I must mention Zelda Rubinstein. She played the little, creepy psychic and her part added some nice humour while adding creepiness to the film.
Sadly, WB has given us a bare DVD. Only the trailer is present within the dvd. There were rumours that a special edition was coming, but they were scratched as WB denied them or either scratched their idea. But I'm happy with the movie on DVD as it is one of the best.
The best, indeed. Poltergeist is my #1 pick for ghost / haunted house movie. If there is ever one that succeeds it, then it's going to be mighty darn good.
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on May 3, 2001
Forget the controversy over who REALLY directed this movie (Hooper or Spieldberg). All that matters is that this one is a classic! If you really think about it, the premise is as hokey as they come (a girl gets zapped into the other-side through a TV and the best route to saving her is through her bedroom closet). But somehow the goofiness is made palatable thanks to brilliant directing and a memorable score by Jerry Goldsmith. I always remember this movie more for the music and it's quotable, sing-songy dialgoue ("Cross over children...all are Welcome...all Welcome"...), especially from Tangina.
The brilliance in the directing shows through in the movie's ability to put such a breathless adventure inside a house. What should have felt claustrophic and flat is instead a movie that's fun, energetic and touching. The performances are top-notch, and the viewer really feels the characters are taking this "crisis" seriously.
As good as the directing, acting and special effects are, I recommend seeing this movie more for the music. Never, in my opinion, has Goldsmith been better. He perfectly captures both the innocence and horror of the movie, weaving the two together into a truly memorable score. The tornado scene ranks as one of the hokiest moments every featured in modern horror cinema, but it sure is a wild ride thanks to Goldsmith's urgent scoring of the scene and great editing.
I would forget the two sequels. Part 2 takes itself way too seriously and Part 3 is just plain bad.
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