The disaster comes from the telly, of course – as shown in the now 40-year-old film “Poltergeist” by Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg. The TV pulls little Carol Anne into the afterlife.
Los Angeles – “They are here,” the little girl says to her mommy – but who does she mean? “The ones from the TV”. The American spooky film “Poltergeist” was a groundbreaking screen horror four decades ago and is now a classic.
In it, a supernatural house spirit terrorizes a typical middle-class American family. The film plays with children’s fright symbols – flickering screens, evil dolls, spooky trees, lightning and thunder. He concentrates on the fears of the target group that is actually excluded from the film (16+).
40 years ago the paranormal special effects fireworks started in the cinemas, nowadays you can stream them at home. The fantasy film is currently available as a subscription to Sky Go and Wow.
Old special effects still impress
Strange things are happening in the new home of the Freeling family (as parents Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams). Little Carol Anne speaks to the flickering television picture after the end of the broadcast (older people may remember what that used to be). Chairs stack themselves, things fly through the air, toys come to life, a tree in the backyard wakes up and wants son Robbie.
Despite the 80s technology, the special effects are still impressive today, and some sentences from the film have become legendary.
When the poltergeists kidnap little Carol Anne into an intermediate world, the Freelings have only one hope: the medium Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein). “Finally leave my baby alone,” the mother tearfully demands of the evil spirits. “Go into the light, Carol Anne,” she says imploringly to her little daughter (Original: “Run to the light, Carol Ann. Run as fast as you can.”). With a long rope it is possible to bring the girl back from the other side.
The apparent calm that followed did not last long. The spirits retaliate with a storm of disasters. In the end, a gorge opens up in the children’s closet and the house collapses. Decayed and skeletal corpses rise from the ground.
Theatrical release was shortly before “ET”
The house stood in a cemetery and had become the gateway to the spirit world. Profit-hungry entrepreneurs built the entire suburban Healing World settlement on graves. Only the tombstones had been moved. The buried souls were therefore out for revenge.
The horror film is based on a screenplay by Steven Spielberg. Where it says Spielberg, there is Spielberg in it. Because Hooper – known for the film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, which in Germany is also known as “Blutgericht in Texas” or “Chainsaw Massacre” – was probably only the director of the world success on paper.
Producer and co-writer Spielberg was officially filming ET at the time. Hooper was his frontman for parallel production. After shooting Hooper was out, Final Cut was a matter for the boss.
In the original trailer, the work was marketed as a Spielberg film: “This time Steven Spielberg has crossed the threshold into a terrifying world to be found within ourselves.”
In the USA the film was released on June 4th, ’82, one week before “ET”, in the Federal Republic of Germany on September 23rd, eleven weeks before “ET – The Extra-Terrestrial”, as the film was called here.
The myths surrounding it seem more frightening than the film itself. Because “Poltergeist” is considered by some to be a cursed strip. There were tragic deaths among the crew.
Dominique Dunne, who played Carol-Anne’s older sister, was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1982 at the age of 22. Carol Anne actress Heather O’Rourke died in 1988 at the age of 12 from complications of an intestinal obstruction. dpa