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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

October Fright Nights: Poltergeist

Ellis watches 'Poltergeist' for the first time and documents the evidence

It's time for the second October Fright Night of the year and I'm very excited about this one! Poltergeist is one of those films that I can't believe I've never seen. It's an 80's classic and is a perfect nighttime watch. Get under the covers with a big bowl of popcorn and get ready for Fright Night Number 7.

To read the previous fright night article click here:


Fright Night Film: Poltergeist

Release Date: 1982

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne

Successful Jump Scares: 1


Kids in horror films add a whole new level of creepiness, so there's that. But in general, this is more spooky than scary, creating unique ways to show the paranormal activity. It takes itself seriously from the start and the climax is all the better for it.


Just when you think the house is clean...this subverts your expectations with the last 20 minutes being completely unexpected, I loved that narrative direction. Theres mosquitos flying about, there's fighting over TV remotes and there are families climbing into one's incredibly subtle in it's realism, and I really appreciated that.


The whole thing has an aesthetic 80's look. Plus, I'd take the 80's effects over modern-day CGI any day; it all adds to the authenticity.


Jerry Goldsmith's score is haunting when it needs to be and light and intricate when it needs to be. The man responsible for Alien, Chinatown and Mulan's scores does not disappoint here.


It has the curiosity and the terror within the characters balanced really well. Both Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams are excellent though I think it's the latter that really carries the movie. She's a strong, resilient character who fights to the very end, and doesn't let her intrigue overtake the safety of her endangered children.

Poltergeist available to rent or buy now

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