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Face-Off: Poltergeist Vs. The Ring

09.04.2012by: Mike Catalano
It looks like Mr. Willis's supporters answered the call with regard to our last Face-Off, declaring that his overall career was way stronger the Sylvester Stallone's. Seeing as how Sly barely eeked out the victory, I'd say their voices were valid. Now, as we reach summer's close, we're seeing a bit of spooky/possession vibe involving young children out at the multiplex, hence today's Face-Off concerns two classic ghost flicks where a young child was at the center of it all. Prepare for POLTERGEIST VS. THE RING!
Creepiest Kid
"They're here." I don't believe that any child actor has ever delivered a more ominous line in horror. So simple, so to the point, and the fact that it comes from a cute, tiny blond-haired girl in her pjs makes it all the more creepy. How could anything harmful happen to this little cherub? Our minds go insane with anticipatory dread. Little Carol Anne, played so well by the late Heather O-Rourke, was at her creepiest when you could only hear her voice. Watching her parents scramble with fear as they helplessly listened to her raspy tone coming through the tv set was quite unsettling.
Well, you can throw cuteness out the door when it comes to young Aidan, played by David Dorfman (forget about listing Samara here because this category is for living characters). From his pale complexion to his outward ears to his beady, black eyes, this is one kid you don't want showing up at your doorstep selling candy. He knows more about "the ring" than he lets on and appears to be hanging out with the evil ghost looking to drown all her viewers. Plus, he calls his mother by her first name, which means he clearly has some sort of deranged agenda on his mind.
Best Jolt
CLOWN!!! Who doesn't love clowns in horror movies? Me! I still remember this scene scaring the absolute shit out of me as a child. Why does the brother have to have a giant toy clown sitting on a rocking chair in his room?! The f*cking thing looks scary even before it gets possessed. The instant those stringy arms stretch out and drag the poor brother under the bed, everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs.
I'll never forget sitting in the theater at the end of this movie when Samara climbs forth from the television. The entire audience was freaking the f*ck out. It wasn't enough that she jutted out from the screen, but when she picks up her head, revealing the frightening face behind all those long, wet, black locks, the audience becomes equally as shocked as the character it's happening to in the film.
Ghost Motivation
"You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You only moved the headstones!" That right there is some f*cked up shit! It should come as no surprise that the spirits of those whose final resting places were desecrated rise up to wreak some harsh vengeance. It doesn't matter if the cemetery wasn't some ancient Indian burial ground. All final resting places are considered to be sacred grounds and should always be left at peace. The developers in POLTERGEIST got this very wrong and paid a huge price.
It definitely sucks having your own mother throw a bag over your head and attempt to suffocate you. It must blow even more to have your head slammed into the rock edge of a well when the suffocation attempt doesn't quite work out, and then be thrown down into said well. However, there is nothing worse than surviving the decent into the well, watching it get sealed off and then having to wait down there for seven days till you die of dehydration. That has to be one of the most horrible deaths imaginable and it happened to a young girl. You can bet your ass her ghost is going to be damn pissed and warranted for some major retribution.
Best Ending
Once the initial twist is revealed that getting back Carol Ann still did not clear their house of the poltergeist, the Freeling family is put through the wringer in terms of an apparitional onslaught. Amidst all the rapidly rising caskets and crazy other-dimensional specters, there was a point where I actually thought that they weren't going to make it out alive. It is such a welcome relief to see them finally escape their house as well as the immediate neighborhood (which is going to hell all around them), you almost feel like you were there fighting for your life with them. And the final shot of the tv set at their hotel room being shoved out on the balcony is just priceless.
After evil Samara's master plan is revealed and Aidan's estranged father meets his 7-days fate, there is still the undeniable leftover problem that the young boy has still seen the cursed video and his time is almost up. What's a loving mother to do? Naomi Watts is left with no other choice than to give in to Samara's demands by making a copy of the tape to hand over to someone else to see, thus passing the curse on from her son. It's a nicely subdued, dark ending although does not pack the kind of punch that the scenes leading up to it did.
Best MILF
Let's just say that as a young lad, JoBeth Williams definitely helped me through my early stages of heterosexual development. I still remember those skimpy panties she had on that got exposed as her bedtime football jersey got pushed up by some paranormal force. I truly appreciated that. She was definitely one hot 80's mama and even looked great soaking wet and covered in goo or mud. That's impressive!
Naomi Watts is without a doubt a modern day hottie and she looked fantastic in THE RING. From the nice scene with her in a bra at the beginning (that kid who played Aidan was damn lucky to be in that scene) to her sopping wet scene at the bottom of the well towards the end, she completely defies any expectations that she was actually raising a little one. Perhaps it was too much a stretch?
POLTERGEIST
Well, in terms of youthful boos that go bump, POLTERGEIST appears to have reigned supreme. I say the clown scene alone puts it clearly over the top. But what the hell do YOU say? Does Samara deserve a second chance? I'm too scared to view her video again to find out (kidding). Please, spit those bullets below and tell the horror community how you feel about this Face-Off as well as any other youthful horrors that could have appeared in this bout. And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

Tags: Face-Off

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