MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 515 this week

Poltergeist (1982)

 -  Horror  -  4 June 1982 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 79,217 users  
Reviews: 291 user | 171 critic

A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 24 Dec 2011
 
a list of 27 titles
created 31 Mar 2013
 
a list of 42 titles
created 18 Jun 2013
 
a list of 24 titles
created 10 Aug 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Poltergeist" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Poltergeist.

User Polls

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

The Freeling family have a new house, but their troubles with supernatural forces don't seem to be over.

Director: Brian Gibson
Stars: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

Carol Anne is staying with her aunt in a highrise building, and the supernatural forces that have haunted her previously follow her there.

Director: Gary Sherman
Stars: Heather O'Rourke, Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen
The Exorcist (1973)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Five friends visiting their grandfather's house in the country are hunted and terrorized by a chain-saw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the dreams of his victims, a spectral child murderer stalks the children of the members of the lynch mob that killed him.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
The Omen (1976)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the anti-christ? The devil's own son?

Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens
Halloween (1978)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his sister, escapes and stalks a bookish adolescent girl and her friends while his doctor chases him through the streets.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
The Evil Dead (1981)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
Gremlins (1984)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A boy inadvertantly breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton
Pet Sematary (1989)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Behind a young family's home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.

Director: Mary Lambert
Stars: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
The Ring (2002)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox
Poltergeist (2015)
Horror | Thriller

Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying ... See full summary »

Director: Gil Kenan
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris, Rosemarie DeWitt
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Diane Freeling (as Jobeth Williams)
...
...
...
...
Michael McManus ...
Virginia Kiser ...
Martin Casella ...
Marty (as Marty Casello)
...
...
...
Lou Perryman ...
Pugsley (as Lou Perry)
Clair E. Leucart ...
Bulldozer Driver (as Clair Leucart)
...
Jeff Shaw
Edit

Storyline

A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The first real ghost story. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Juegos diabólicos  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,896,612 (USA) (4 June 1982)

Gross:

$6,896,612 (USA) (4 June 1982)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints) (as Dolby Stereo)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in which Marty hallucinates in the bathroom was the last to be filmed. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie the dog is roaming around the house. Just before he enters Dana's room we can see a member of the crew through the gap of the door. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Carol Anne: Hello? What do you look like? Talk louder, I can't hear you! Hey, hello! Hello, I can't hear you! Five. Yes. Yes. I don't know. I don't know.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits and the logo of the MGM lion is shown, we hear children laughing. Fans of the film have assumed that the laughing children are those who have been released from the beast and have crossed over the threshold into the next life. See more »

Connections

Featured in Citizen Steve (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star-Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music based on "The Anacreontic Song" by John Stafford Smith
Played as TV sign-off music several times
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the best horror/thrillers of the decade
3 March 2004 | by (Oakville, Ontario) – See all my reviews

In 1982, Steven Spielberg pulled off an incredible feat. In June of that year, Spielberg released two films only weeks apart that were both highly successful yet diversely different in both subject matter and their target audiences. One went on to become the highest grossing film of all-time (E.T.), the other spawned a franchise (Poltergeist).

Poltergeist had a screen credit of being directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but history has revealed that it was Spielberg's vision, editing and overall command of the shooting that was really behind the making of this extraordinary film. Poltergeist brought back the traditional haunted house genre that lay dormant and restless since The Amityville Horror in 1979. The story surrounds a family's house that has been punctured by the spirit world that seem keen on the youngest daughter of the clan – Carol Ann Freeling, played by newcomer Heather O'Rourke. At first, the family meets the strange happenings in the home with playful pleasure, but in an instant the poltergeists intentions turn against the Freelings, and their daughter is captured and taken back to the supernatural world where communication is possible only through the bedroom television.

The Freelings waste little time and soon contact a paranormal group, well over their heads, to help them rescue their daughter from the unseen captures. It becomes clearly evident however, that the group is over matched, and they call in a poltergeist expert, Tangina Barrons (played with relative enthusiasm and wit by Zelda Rubinstein) to assist with the phenomena. Tangina then leads the Freelings through the unknown, both calming their fears and eventually finding a portal that may be the key to retrieving their daughter.

Poltergeist works as both a horror and a thriller. The cast, lead by O'Rourke, Jo-Beth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Oliver Robins have real chemistry and are believable as a family unit, and unlike most horror films, they make sound judgments and know their limitations. When Carol Ann's bedroom becomes overtaken by the ghostly spirits, they lock the room and keep away rather than trying to fight something they cannot contain. And when things begin to look bleak, they call for help and look for experts in the field. This is an intelligent horror that doesn't have people running up the stairs when they should be running out the door.

Put together with a modest budget of less than $12 million, Poltergeist stretched it's dollars to provide us with an incredible array of special effects that still hold up well after 20 years of viewing. Sure, the scene where a scientist literally pulls his face off or when the bedroom is opened and we see items flying at random as if in a ghostly tornado, might be better served with CGI if made today, the effects still keep the story progressing with a sense of credibility.

Probably what keeps things so rooted in acceptability is how simplistic some of the special effects were in the larger scenes. A closet full of strobe lights are all that is required to convince us that it is a portal to another world and a fan gently blowing the hair of mother Williams' is believable as the spirit of her child flying past her. Simple plausible.

Whatever the reasons, Poltergeist works. One of the few screenplays written by Spielberg from one of his own stories, Poltergeist has all the elements that we now associate with the master director. There is a strong family unit, a child as the central character, above average production values and most notably, not one fatality in the entire film despite all the jilts and jolts. The closing scenes of chaos including a pool of skeletons (later revealed to be authentic), is pure movie magic with frantic pacing and edge of your seat suspense.

Since it's release, a lot has been made of the back stories and the curse surrounding the production of the franchise. Heather O'Rourke tragically died at a young age due to an internal infection and Dominique Dunne (who played a smaller role as her sister) was murdered the same year as the films release. The subsequent sequels have also included characters that died shortly after their films completion. Truth or fiction, lore or legend, these stories add to the mystique and mystery surrounding the film. Having knowledge of the ‘curse' makes it even scarier and gives it kind of a feeling like Naomi Watts' character must have experienced in The Ring, as if just by watching, you are contributing to the ongoing haunting.

Like most movies successful in the late 70's early 80's, there were sequels that were made with considerably higher budgets but less than stellar results (Superman III anyone?). Neither of the Poltergeist sequels or subsequent television programming could come close to capturing the essence of the original. Besides, how can you top what is now one of the most famous movie tag-lines of all time `They'rrreeee Here'?

Strong recommendation.


40 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I hated the music alexander-niketic
Seriously Folks.... Argyle302
Pink jelly stuff all over Diane and Carol Anne JackForrester
goof? teebabes25
1988 Superbowl Poster in Movie Nina_Noir
Bad Edit during kitchen scene wstock70
Discuss Poltergeist (1982) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?