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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Tobe Hooper

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

It's been 40 years since young Heather O'Rourke uttered those two famous words, "They're here".

And 40 years later those words aren't softened. Like JAWS, THE SHINING and THE EXORCIST, Tobe Hooper (yes, despite years of contention it is considered Steven Spielberg's foray into horror) has not only gifted us one genre masterpiece but here gives a turn at something more family centric but no less terrifying.

If THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was the antithesis of mainstream horror, providing gut wrenching special effects and genuine terror of what humankind is capable of (after all it was based on Ed Gein) then here is a film that would be suitable for mainstream cinema goers with a friendlier face to suburban life.

Written and produced by Spielberg, it's no surprise that the tone here is perhaps something a little paler to Hooper's résumé but it gels and works so well blending animation and physical effects to give us a fully fleshed body to a poltergeist not willing to play around. It's great to see such a film still stand tall and that's to great testimony of Jobeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson's lovable couple who really make this home invasion something to fear.

Over time, the genre has gotten harder and it can be forgiven for being a tamer entry by today's standards but those scenes of skeletons in the mud, the poltergeist entity and the haunting visual of the passing souls still prove why this remains as one of the most important films in Hollywood history, let alone horror.

POLTERGEIST is back in cinemas nationwide from 21 October and screens as part of IN DREAMS ARE MONSTERS, a major BFI UK-wide film and events programme celebrating the horror genre, in cinemas and venues across the UK until 31 December 2022.

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