Eight words. Sometimes that’s all it can take to ruin a day. The headline ‘Poltergeist to be remade as 3D Kids’ movie’ is all over my Facebook timeline. Unfortunately I’m not dreaming a nightmare. These eight words may as well be some sinister curse written on ancient parchment deciphered from Cthulhu for the insanity this is surely unleashing within horror fans and across the Internet.
I may as well cast my ire into the cauldron and stir it in.
‘Poltergeist’ is one of my top 10 movies. It’s my go to Halloween horror film. It’s creepy, fun, and scary. This film has so many smashing set-piece moments; the tree, the TV static voices, the haunted whirlwind of paranormal activity, the face ripping, ‘They’re here’, Tangina ‘stay-away-from-the-light’ Barrons, the rising graves, and the clown. The f***ing terrifying clown that’s fueled countless nightmares. For years I couldn’t watch this film alone.
In my mind it’s a classic horror. Despite the title, it trips us into comfort with the warm family chaos that is life with the Freelings. It feels like an 80s family movie. Hell, it may be Tobe Cooper in the directing chair (or not, depending on where your thoughts lie on that) but it’s written by Steven Spielberg. That’s ‘ET’ and ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ in my head–and if Poltergeist is remade I may well kickstart that mash up myself and give it to children in retaliation. This union of creatives makes for an awesome bait and switch in ‘Poltergeist’ when family events become a little less than regular.
Even when we get the seed of paranormal sown into ‘Poltergeist’ though, this film doesn’t dial the scares up to 11, it keeps its horror cards close to its chest. When the mother realises something peculiar is happening she treats it as a game, a fun curiosity, while we sit watching, knowing they need to stop playing with the paranormal and get the f*** or of there, but can only be drawn in by the game she makes of it. It’s like playing I spy something beginning with ‘I’ on board Titanic. A fun game that’s not going to end well.
After this the film unleashes the terror. Not in one onslaught, oh no, that might be to easy to cope with. It comes in waves of malevolence often married with humour and wonder, getting us to marvel at the afterlife, laugh with the absurdity of the situation or the Freelings’ need to relieve the tension, and soiling ourselves at poltergeist activity, often with mercilessly little time between these differing emotive moments.
It is a film of its time, the direction, the music, the effects, that huge remote control, the massive glasses, the retro Star Wars stamped through this like a watermark, yet it’s a film that evokes the normality of the era specifically to give it a place in our world, to serve the creeps and the scares as they stalk and jump us in or comfort zone. In my mind it’s a perfectly paced and balanced movie, that builds from a sedate family weekend into a ride through Hell and back.
In fact, it’s not the 3D that upsets me with this remake, I think this film is actually deserving of the 3D for the enhancement of the ghost house scares, it’s that some f***wit wants to remake another classic movie instead of making the original 3D (still horrible, but bearable). It’s just we all know that if it isn’t broken you don’t go at it with a monkey wrench, and that this is being remade as a kids film. A kids film. My mind just can’t get around this. Remake the dire ‘Haunted Mansion’. A kids’ horror for kids. Make a kids film called ‘Poltergeist’ if you must, just don’t connect it in anyway to this 80s classic horror. If this happens then I want ‘The Nightmare on Elm Street Before Christmas’.
I don’t hold with the ‘Poltergeist’ curse, but if such a thing can happen, then this is surely tempting fate along with riling pretty much every horror fan with an internet connection. You may as well build your house on an Indian burial site.
May this film be dragged into the ground by the dead before it can be finished.
What do you think? Although if you think it’s a good idea you are wrong and I’ll curse you too. Otherwise feel free to express your opinion…