Poltergeist


1h 54m 1982
Poltergeist

Brief Synopsis

Evil spirits abduct a suburban family's daughter causing chaos and havoc.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
1982
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA; Hollywood, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m

Synopsis

In her family's suburban home, ghosts begin communicating with five-year-old Carol Anne through the static on the television screen. At first the spirits seem to be friendly, but using the television as their portal to enter the house, they kidnap Carol Anne. As her desperate family tries to rescue the little girl, they are terrorized by the ghosts and their the demonic leader, The Beast.

Crew

Jose Abel

Animator

Richard L Anderson

Sound Editor

Charles Bailey

Visual Effects

David Berry

Other

Marty Brenneis

Other

Kris Brown

Other

John Bruno

Animation Supervisor

Richard L Calkins

Animal Trainer

Martha Cargrill

Other

Sean Casey

Visual Effects

Bobby E Clark

Stunts

Donald Clark

Other

Samuel Comstock

Animation Supervisor

Jay Davis

Animator

Charles Demuth

Costumes

John Dunn

Sound Effects Editor

Richard Edlund

Visual Effects Supervisor

Judy Elkins

Animator

John Ellis

Other

Jeannie Epper

Stunts

Jane Feinberg

Casting

Mike Fenton

Casting

Rick Fichter

Special Effects

Richard Fields

Associate Editor

Stephen Hunter Flick

Sound Editor

Cindy Folkerson

Stunts

Barbara Gallucci

Visual Effects

Donna Garrett

Stunts

Steve Gawley

Visual Effects

Jerry Goldsmith

Music

Michael Grais

Screenplay

Milt Gray

Animator

Kenneth Hall

Music Editor

Toby Heindel

Visual Effects

Karl Herrmann

Photography

Robert Herron

Stunts

Alan Howarth

Sound Effects

Paul Huston

Visual Effects

Jeff Jarvis

Special Effects Foreman

Jerry Jeffress

Other

Martha Johnson

Set Designer

Dennis E Jones

Production Manager

Eddie Jones

Other

Michael Kahn

Editor

Cheryal Kearney

Set Decorator

James Keefer

Digital Effects Supervisor

Pat Kehoe

Assistant Director

Kathleen Kennedy

Coproducer

Kim Knowlton

Animator

Neil Krepela

Photography

Ann Lambert

Costumes

Dick Lasley

Production

Kathryn Lenihan

Animator

Gary Leo

Other

Matthew F. Leonetti

Director Of Photography

John Linder

Key Grip

Marci Liroff

Casting

Harry V Lojewski

Music Supervisor

Michael Mackenzie

Other

Mark Mangini

Sound Effects Editor

Jeff Mann

Visual Effects

Frank Marshall

Producer

Scott Marshall

Visual Effects

Steve Maslow

Sound

Dennis Matsuda

Camera Operator

Bill Matthews

Set Designer

Bruce V. Mcbroom

Photography

Christi Mccarthy

Other

Marghe Mcmahon

Visual Effects

Arthur Morton

Original Music

Lisa Jean Mower

Wardrobe

Bill Neil

Special Effects

Bruce Nicholson

Photography

Beth Nufer

Stunts

Kevin O'connell

Sound

Ease Owyeung

Visual Effects

Paula Paulson

Other

Paul Pav

Location Manager

Dorothy Pearl

Makeup

Gary Platek

Other

Craig Raiche

Props

Glenn Randall

Stunt Coordinator

Craig Reardon

Special Makeup Effects

Christopher Reynolds

Production Associate

Bruce Richardson

Visual Effects

Arthur Rochester

Sound

Nilo Rodis-jamero

Art Director

Bob Roe

Assistant Director

John Roesch

Foley

Tom Rosseter

Other

Joan Rowe

Foley

Michael Shannon

Photography

Felix Silla

Stunts

Grant Smith

Visual Effects

Thomas Smith

Production Supervisor

Buffy Snyder

Costumes

David Sosalla

Visual Effects

James Spencer

Production Designer

Steven Spielberg

Producer

Steven Spielberg

Screenplay

Steven Spielberg

From Story

Howard Stein

Editor

Mitch Suskin

Effects Coordinator

Larry Tan

Visual Effects

Marc Thorpe

Visual Effects

Marion Tumen

Script Supervisor

Mark Vargo

Other

Bill Varney

Sound

Jim Veilleux

Other

Laurie Vermont

Production Coordinator

Edward S Verreaux

Production

Mark Victor

Screenplay

Arthur Vitello

Animator

Toni-ann Walker

Hair

Chuck Waters

Stunts

Beverly Webb

Production Coordinator

George Wilbur

Stunts

Bess Wiley

Other

Terry Windell

Layout Artist

Mike Wood

Digital Effects Supervisor

Bob Yerkes

Stunts

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
1982
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA; Hollywood, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m

Award Nominations

Best Score

1982

Best Sound Effects Sound Editing

1982

Best Visual Effects

1982

Articles

Poltergeist


When Steven Spielberg decides to direct a movie, he directs a movie...even if he's not officially the director. Back in 1982, Spielberg, though still only 35 years old, had established himself as the most commercially astute filmmaker in movie history. He already had Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and the recently-completed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) under his belt when he decided to produce a good old-fashioned haunted house movie called Poltergeist. But Poltergeist was the first hands-on producing job that Spielberg had ever performed with another director at the helm, and he inevitably wound up behind the camera, filming portions of the picture.

Poltergeist's plot exploits all the cliches of the haunted house genre with an F/X-heavy, video-centric twist. Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams and their three kids (played by Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, and Heather O'Rourke) have the misfortune of moving into a new suburban home that happens to have been built on an ancient Indian burial ground. Eventually, the spirits are released, and they're not happy with the intrusion. It's not long before one of the children, innocent little Carol Anne (O'Rourke), gets pulled into the netherworld via a static-filled TV screen. The rest of the picture consists of creepy/violent occurrences while the house is put through the wringer by a mini clairvoyant (Zelda Rubinstein) and a parade of angry spirits. It may be slick and overproduced, but you're still guaranteed to get some well-earned shrieks out of it before it's over.

Tobe Hooper, who scared the bejeebies out of drive-in moviegoers with his nightmarish cult film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), was signed on to direct Poltergeist, although, if you think about it, Hooper's pitiless, blood-and-guts sensibility was hardly a good fit for Steven Spielberg. At this point in his career, and for several years thereafter, Spielberg had an often unfortunate penchant for getting cute and tossing magic dust in the air in his films. That certainly wouldn't work with a horror film, but there's no doubt that Poltergeist's bet-hedging commercial gloss is Spielberg's handiwork. The movie is actually more unnerving than truly horrifying.

No one has ever said exactly what Spielberg did or didn't film, but it's pretty obvious that he wasn't sitting in his producer's chair, thoughtfully smoking a pipe. The picture contains more than a few Spielbergian shots that sweep in at a low angle toward an awed character, and Williams even remembers Spielberg climbing into a swimming pool full of "corpses" with her while shooting the climactic scene. Viewers who are familiar with his work from the period won't have too much trouble finding other clues. In one particularly icky scene where a character hallucinates that he's tearing the flesh off his own face, that's actually Spielberg's hands doing the tearing!

Although they might look rickety by current standards, the special effects in Poltergeist were the film's major attraction when it was released (it ended up grossing a very respectable $40-million at the box office.) Richard Edlund, one of the original forces behind George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, created all those swirling ghosts and murderous trees. Today, Edlund is hailed by industry insiders as an F/X pioneer, and has taken home Oscars® for three different Star Wars films, as well as for Raiders of the Lost Ark. (His most recent work can be found in last year's bomb, The Stepford Wives, 2004).

Nelson and Williams, of course, have both enjoyed respectable careers in movies and television, with Nelson finding quite a high profile as the title character in the ABC sitcom Coach. There is, however, a genuinely tragic bent to the stories of two other Poltergeist cast members.

Just a few months after the picture's release, Dominique Dunne, who plays the eldest daughter in the haunted family, was killed by an enraged boyfriend. The pointless death of this promising young actress saddened movie fans across the country, and badly rattled members of the Los Angeles film community. In a twist worthy of a modern thriller, Dunne's killer would serve only three years behind bars before being released, a turn of events that her father, Dominic Dunne, a contributor to Vanity Fair magazine and other publications, would document in detail.

The other Poltergeist cast member who met an untimely demise is Heather O'Rourke. The tiny actress, whose character's supernatural predicament drove the original picture, went on to appear in two Poltergeist sequels, but unexpectedly died of an intestinal obstruction shortly after wrapping Poltergeist III (1988). That film is dedicated to her memory. (If you are interested in learning more about Poltergeist III, you might want to check out the Poltergeist III.com website.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Producers: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall
Screenplay: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Cinematographer: Matthew F. Leonetti
Editing: Michael Kahn
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Production Design: James H. Spencer
Costumes: L.J. Mower
Cast: Craig T. Nelson (Steve), JoBeth Williams (Diane), Beatrice Straight (Dr. Lesh), Dominique Dunne (Dana), Oliver Robins (Robbie), Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne), Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina), Martin Casella (Marty), Richard Lawson (Ryan), Michael McManus (Tuthill), James Karen (Teague).
C-115m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Paul Tatara
Poltergeist

Poltergeist

When Steven Spielberg decides to direct a movie, he directs a movie...even if he's not officially the director. Back in 1982, Spielberg, though still only 35 years old, had established himself as the most commercially astute filmmaker in movie history. He already had Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and the recently-completed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) under his belt when he decided to produce a good old-fashioned haunted house movie called Poltergeist. But Poltergeist was the first hands-on producing job that Spielberg had ever performed with another director at the helm, and he inevitably wound up behind the camera, filming portions of the picture. Poltergeist's plot exploits all the cliches of the haunted house genre with an F/X-heavy, video-centric twist. Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams and their three kids (played by Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, and Heather O'Rourke) have the misfortune of moving into a new suburban home that happens to have been built on an ancient Indian burial ground. Eventually, the spirits are released, and they're not happy with the intrusion. It's not long before one of the children, innocent little Carol Anne (O'Rourke), gets pulled into the netherworld via a static-filled TV screen. The rest of the picture consists of creepy/violent occurrences while the house is put through the wringer by a mini clairvoyant (Zelda Rubinstein) and a parade of angry spirits. It may be slick and overproduced, but you're still guaranteed to get some well-earned shrieks out of it before it's over. Tobe Hooper, who scared the bejeebies out of drive-in moviegoers with his nightmarish cult film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), was signed on to direct Poltergeist, although, if you think about it, Hooper's pitiless, blood-and-guts sensibility was hardly a good fit for Steven Spielberg. At this point in his career, and for several years thereafter, Spielberg had an often unfortunate penchant for getting cute and tossing magic dust in the air in his films. That certainly wouldn't work with a horror film, but there's no doubt that Poltergeist's bet-hedging commercial gloss is Spielberg's handiwork. The movie is actually more unnerving than truly horrifying. No one has ever said exactly what Spielberg did or didn't film, but it's pretty obvious that he wasn't sitting in his producer's chair, thoughtfully smoking a pipe. The picture contains more than a few Spielbergian shots that sweep in at a low angle toward an awed character, and Williams even remembers Spielberg climbing into a swimming pool full of "corpses" with her while shooting the climactic scene. Viewers who are familiar with his work from the period won't have too much trouble finding other clues. In one particularly icky scene where a character hallucinates that he's tearing the flesh off his own face, that's actually Spielberg's hands doing the tearing! Although they might look rickety by current standards, the special effects in Poltergeist were the film's major attraction when it was released (it ended up grossing a very respectable $40-million at the box office.) Richard Edlund, one of the original forces behind George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, created all those swirling ghosts and murderous trees. Today, Edlund is hailed by industry insiders as an F/X pioneer, and has taken home Oscars® for three different Star Wars films, as well as for Raiders of the Lost Ark. (His most recent work can be found in last year's bomb, The Stepford Wives, 2004). Nelson and Williams, of course, have both enjoyed respectable careers in movies and television, with Nelson finding quite a high profile as the title character in the ABC sitcom Coach. There is, however, a genuinely tragic bent to the stories of two other Poltergeist cast members. Just a few months after the picture's release, Dominique Dunne, who plays the eldest daughter in the haunted family, was killed by an enraged boyfriend. The pointless death of this promising young actress saddened movie fans across the country, and badly rattled members of the Los Angeles film community. In a twist worthy of a modern thriller, Dunne's killer would serve only three years behind bars before being released, a turn of events that her father, Dominic Dunne, a contributor to Vanity Fair magazine and other publications, would document in detail. The other Poltergeist cast member who met an untimely demise is Heather O'Rourke. The tiny actress, whose character's supernatural predicament drove the original picture, went on to appear in two Poltergeist sequels, but unexpectedly died of an intestinal obstruction shortly after wrapping Poltergeist III (1988). That film is dedicated to her memory. (If you are interested in learning more about Poltergeist III, you might want to check out the Poltergeist III.com website. Director: Tobe Hooper Producers: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall Screenplay: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor Cinematographer: Matthew F. Leonetti Editing: Michael Kahn Music: Jerry Goldsmith Production Design: James H. Spencer Costumes: L.J. Mower Cast: Craig T. Nelson (Steve), JoBeth Williams (Diane), Beatrice Straight (Dr. Lesh), Dominique Dunne (Dana), Oliver Robins (Robbie), Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne), Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina), Martin Casella (Marty), Richard Lawson (Ryan), Michael McManus (Tuthill), James Karen (Teague). C-115m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States June 1982

Released in United States Summer June 4, 1982

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States June 1982

Released in United States Summer June 4, 1982