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Poltergeist

I grew up in a pretty sheltered lifestyle. There were so many things I wasn't allowed to do for various reasons, although the main reason usually traced back to some variation of it not agreeing with my parent's extremely Christian sensibilities. Needless to say, horror movies were towards the top of the deny list. I'm pretty sure the original Poltergeist was the first true horror movie I ever saw.

I'm not sure how old I was. Maybe somewhere around 10? I know I was old enough to have a firm grasp on reality and not get truly scared by something like this. I wanna say I started watching this because my Daddy was, but I don't remember for sure. I just know he was somehow involved, and he okayed it since he was a fan. He often ignored the rules for things he liked. I remember it was on tv, and for some reason I started watching it in the family room and then had to move it into my room, but I still don't remember how the whole ordeal started.

But now, approximately twenty years later, there's still some images from the movie that are absolutely vivid in my mind. I never watched it again since it had stuck with me pretty well (better than most movies I've only seen once). I remember things like the stacking chairs in the kitchen, the bones in the dug out swimming pool, the punchline with the hotel TV, the crazy little psychic lady, and the snow show constantly on the screens. And of course, I remember "Go towards the light, Carol Ann", a line that occassionally makes its way into my day to day slang. So why would I even want to watch the new remake? Especially when the trailer indicated that Carol Ann's name was changed to Madison (I didn't even know I was watching the trailer for this movie specifically because of that). Excuse me, "go towards the light, Madison" is not the same.

To be honest, it was mostly by default. It was one of two new wide releases in a long weekend, so I kinda had to. However, the main reason it really made the list was the cast of Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt. Seeing as how Rockwell had the lead role in Choke, one of only two Chuck Palahniuk books that have been adapted for screen (although I've heard talk of a couple others in the works now), he'll forever have a special place in my heart. He was also one of my first Broadway stage door meets, although since it was one of the awkwardest (my fault, newbie mistakes) it's the one I'd most like a redo for. That's neither here nor there.

I actually kinda liked it. I don't think it improves on the original, but it kept some of the same spirit and made for a fun watch. Does it need to exist? Probably not. Still, there are worst ways to spend two hours.

The story played out about the same as I remember it, with some creative differences. Instead of chairs stacking, it was comic books. The snow show TV was now a shiny HD flatscreen. There was a different punchline at the end that conveyed the same feeling as the first. And some winks to the original, such as when saying the development was built on a cemetary, someone said something along the lines of "at least it wasn't a native American burial ground"

I realized partway thru that yes this is considered horror because of the level of suspense and the supernatural element, but for me, this feels more like scifi. I'm pretty confident my home was not built on a cemetary, so the odds of this happening are highly unlikely. Yes there was a lot of chills and suspense, but not the kind that's going to make me double check the locks on the doors or keep the light on. Looking at it as science fiction however, it's fascinating. Instead of learning about an alien or mutant creature, we're learning about ghosts. I even realized at one point that I think my favorite episode of Sliders, "The Alternateville Horror" seems to have been based on the original (even though it's named after a different horror flick). Even further driving the scifi point home was that the team who initially came to help sort things out were scientists. It all made sense.

I did get the feeling like they were trying too hard to be scary with some of the earlier sequences. There was a quick escalation instead of a slow burn. For the record, I was at a 3D showing, but I wore my 2D glasses and I don't think I missed out on anything. And again, I don't think this necessarily adds anything to the original, but it's worth a watch if you're insistent on seeing a movie and you've already seen everything else. Am I the only one that happens to?

Poltergeist - \m/ \m/ \m/
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