Saturday, June 2, 2012


On Wednesday, June 2nd, 1982, I went to a preview screening of Poltergeist. Preview screenings were always pretty exciting to me, and I got to go to a lot of them because my father worked for a company that did t-shirts and merchandising, and they would often get passes. When you're a kid, getting to see something before everyone else does feels great. This one was at the Northpoint Theater, and I think it was preceded by dinner across the street at Caesar's Restaurant. A fun night!

I'll just state this up front: I absolutely LOVED this movie. Adored. Which is why I ended up seeing it a total of SIX TIMES in the theater that year. Six times!!

I thought it was funny, and scary, and I loved the dynamic of the family, and it even made me cry a few times. (OK, a lot of times.) Yeah. I cried during Poltergeist. Puberty! It's a crazy thing.

Since I saw it so many times, (SIX!!) I'm going to save some of my thoughts on the movie for future posts about it. (SIX!) But I can say this: In rewatching it, I'm kind of amazed that I can still basically recite all the dialogue in it. It's embedded in my noggin.

And being that I loved the movie back then, I was compelled to write a review of it right away. It's really kind of, (OK, totally), embarrassing, but I'm just gonna suck it up and include it here for your amusement. (Click the image to magnify.)

In my review, I mention how there was a bit of controversy surrounding who actually directed the movie: Tobe Hooper, or producer Steven Spielberg. This was something I had read about in the Pink Section of the Chronicle, in the following article.

Back then, I didn't really give a crap, and really didn't understand who Tobe Hooper was, or the cache he had in the horror genre, as I had yet to see his The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Eventually I did, and could understand why there was serious doubt about him directing something as clichedly "Spielbergian" as Poltergeist. I'd like to think it was just a friendly collaboration, and the movie ended up with the best (and some of the worst) aspects of both the directors, (just watch the scene where the family is doing a patented "staring into the light" Spielberg moment, but what they're looking at is the complete destruction of their house; wonder and horror at the same time), but I have a feeling Spielberg probably did most of the heavy lifting...

I'll have more to say about just why I think I fell in love with the movie in some future posts, as well as some more newspaper clippings and articles...

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