Monday, October 3, 2016

Halloween playlist #2 - Poltergeist [1982]

The first movie we did this Halloween was Wes Craven's The Serpent And The Rainbow, which I had never seen before. This one is one I have seen at least 2 or 3 times, and is often considered something of a horror classic. Does it hold up? It's not one of the most amazing horror movies out there, but in a lot of ways, yes, it really does. One of Tobe Hooper's most popular movies, this isn't as unsettling as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or as fun as its sequel (which is probably my favorite Hooper movie), but the effects and visuals still make it a very memorable experience that is still charming and exciting.

The family dynamic in this movie is as believable as virtually any horror film, which definitely makes you care more about what's going on with the characters once things start to get a little crazy. The son is annoying (also, is it just me, or does he look kind of like Raticate?), but apart from his relatively pointless presence in the movie, the family are likable, and the actors do a good job. But it's definitely Zelda Rubenstein who gets the best material, even though she's only in the movie for like 10 minutes and doesn't actually do much of anything. Seriously, she kind of sucks at her job.

Overall, I don't have many complaints about the way this story was handled, even though it's not the kind of movie I could single out as being an incredible example of how to make an effectively scary movie. But its realistic characters, somewhat ahead-of-its-time special effects, and good blend of fantasy and horror do a good job at keeping you entertained, even if a majority of the scare scenes fall relatively flat. This is a horror movie for younger audiences, but it's still fun to watch as an adult more for the fantasy elements, or even if just because it still looks really good and you can see the influence it's had in the hundreds (if not thousands) of movies that followed it.


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