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George At 

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"They're here........"

It was a lot of fun to revisit the original POLTERGEIST last night and remember how groundbreaking the special effects were back in 1982.

The Freeling family led by Craig T Nelson and JoBeth Williams as husband and wife, Steve and Diane, have it all. A great home in the suburbs, Steve's job as leading real estate salesman in Cuesta Verde Estates, three great kids.

Early on, youngest daughter Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) hears the voices of "TV people" when stations go off the air at night (how quaint that now seems) and strange things begin to happen with their furniture.

Pretty soon that escalates to some terrifying events and Carol Anne disappears in the unseen grasp of those folks in the TV.

There are so many classic fun moments here, including Robbie's least favorite tree outside his bedroom window, his clown doll at the end of the bed and lots and lots of unhappy folks beneath the Freeling's home.

There were major controversies at the time, including major pushback on the PG-13 rating. The scene where the paranormal investigator eats some nasty chicken and then begins to pick at his face in the mirror certainly pushed the boundaries at the time. It was also rumored that Steven Spielberg actually directed quite a bit of the film when director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) ran into trouble and delays on set.

Beatrice Straight (Network) is very good as Paranormal scientist Dr. Lesh and her quiet moments with the family are some of the best in the film. Zelda Rubinstein nearly steals the film as diminutive house exorcist Tangina, spouting faves like "Go into the light Children, All are welcome....." and "This House is Clean" which ends up being a bit premature.

It's a great thriller and still remains one of the best haunted house flicks of all time. The entire sequence in which Diane "goes into the light" to save Carol Anne is excellent and the new Blu-Ray with True Dolby HD sound mix really spotlights all the sound effects and Jerry Goldsmith's fantastic music score, one of his all time best. Great cast, great frights, classic moments.

POLTERGEIST still scares up an A+ decades after its premier. A scary, fun entry in my all-time Top 100 films.

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