Craig T. Nelson
Whereas most "ghost" horror films involve teens going off to haunted houses and the like, this film works because it avoids these kinds of clichés. It's merely about a normal suburban family in their normal suburban home, which just so happens to be buried on top of dozens of desecrated corpses. Whoops. Naturally, the lingering spirits are the vocal type, and all hell breaks loose. In other words, it's like a cheerful and cutesy family film that's been had its way with by THE HAUNTING.
Hopefully you're fond of kids, because most of the events that take place in POLTERGEIST involve the two youngins in the family (the little blonde girl in particular—"They're heeere..."). Between this, E.T., and WAR OF THE WORLDS, it would appear Spielberg has an affinity for screaming children. Not that I'm implying anything.
Despite this being my first experience watching the film, POLTERGEIST's place in cinema history has given way to so many imitations and pop culture references that seeing it now gave me déjà vu. From the tree attacking little Robbie to the mom entering the spirit realm to save her daughter, there are an endless amount of memorable sequences. It's the type of movie you sit back and admire, quietly thinking to yourself, "Well that's cool." I wouldn't say it's earned itself the ranking of a classic, but it's definitely one of the earliest films (next to GHOSTBUSTERS) to handle the "ghosts and ghoulies" premise in such an enjoyable way.
They are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Revealed (31:00): This 2-part featurette is nothing short of laughable, though still amusing for that very reason. It features "real-life" psychics and ghost hunters discussing their professions and occasionally the film (which apparently delivers a realistic interpretation of what they do! wowzers!).
I speak to you not as a diehard fan of POLTERGEIST, but as somebody who cares enough about their DVD collection to know when they're being swindled by a half-assed "Special Edition" release. There's so much rich background to this film, the lack of extra material is obscene. Maybe next time you'll try a little harder giving consumers more bang for their buck (on top of just improved video/audio). For now though, kindly go f*ck yourselves.