It's the Booze Talkin', We don't need a carbon copy Poltergeist remake!

The very first time I had heard the line, “They’re here…” I fell in love with the classic that is POLTERGEIST. Hell, I remember one of my friends telling me quite literally all about it - he had already watched it and knew I loved horror - and it still rocked my world. That terrifying clown, that f*cking disfigured tree and a man pulling chunks of skin off of his face! Considering this flick was rated PG at the time of it’s official release way back in 1982, it was still one of the creepiest movies I had the pleasure of taking in all those years later. Next to THE SHINING, THE CHANGELING (both from 1980) and THE HAUNTING (1963), POLTERGEIST quickly became one of my favorite ghostly flicks.

With the recent release of the trailer for the upcoming POLTERGEIST remake, I decided to return to the Tobe Hooper-directed and Steven Spielberg-produced feature. From the brilliance of the opening scene with the “Star Spangled Banner” on television to the final shot at a motel, this incredible film holds up beautifully. While at times this ghostly tale was absolutely spooky, it also had a sense of fun and whimsy - something I’m more than a little certain may have been contributed by Spielberg. Even with the references of the time, like Craig T. Nelson reading a book on Ronald Reagan, or the problems of having cable TV too close to your neighbor, there is something very familiar and timeless about this incredible family and the horrors they face.

And what about that remake? What they hell are we getting with this revamped tale of terror? After watching the trailer a couple of times, my doubts are now full-fledged concerns. Many have said it, but the fact that this remake looks so completely similar to the first film seems to be a bit of a strange choice. Not to say it looks to be shot-for-shot necessarily, but judging from the two and a half minute spot, the exact same beats are seemingly covered. Unfortunately it appears that we also may be in for the added jump scare galore, with ghostly images jumping around or people lifted by an unseen force up the stairs. Add to that a heavy does of CG effects in this PG-13 haunted house tale and you have a fairly generic looking flick.

While the PG-13 rating really doesn’t bother me - the original was released as PG and both sequels were given a PG-13 rating - it does seem to lack the magic that was so appealing the first time around. It clearly was not impossible to make a PG feature work, and the fact is the original film manages to move briskly while still creating some of the most inviting characters you could imagine. And the suspense was crazy good. The gore effects, specifically the meat and the ripping off of a face, had an almost cartoonish feel but it was truly effective. To this day I get the willies when I see a piece of steak placed on the kitchen counter - that shite be disgusting!

One thing I do have a little faith in with the update is the cast. Don’t get me wrong, in my book you can’t do any better than JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson. As the pot-smoking parents dealing with unimaginable circumstances, the two couldn’t have been better written nor portrayed. There was not a single moment I didn’t root for either of these two. At least the folks behind the remake had the sense to hire both Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt. The two seem to have the talent to bring a grounded sense of realism to the very distraught couple. The one thing that stands out however is the characters names? I think that might be an interesting twist if the Bowen’s are a completely new family in a world where the Freeling family still exists.

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but we don’t need a carbon copy remake of POLTERGEIST. The original film is perfect. It is a haunted house flick that manages to frighten and thrill and still feel fresh all these years later. To be fair, we’ve only taken in the first trailer. Maybe the advertising is purposefully treating this as an all too similar remake only to add a layer on that we don’t suspect. After all, the name change seems odd considering we won’t be hearing “Carol Anne!” called out repeatedly. That particular name is synonymous with this franchise and frankly I’m intrigued that they are not using it. Here is hoping that POLTERGEIST will surprise us all and bring something original to the mix.

Extra Tidbit: Are you digging this new Poltergeist trailer or are you getting an extreme case of deja vu?
Source: AITH



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