So I promised the “Poltergeist” story.
Between 1980 and 1985 (somewhere in there) we had HBO. One of the big releases that hit HBO was “Poltergeist“. My parents, being the protective, viewer-micro-managers that they were, did not want us to be subjected to such scary material and thus have nightmares. When you tell a person they can’t have something, they want it most (and cannot stop thinking about getting it until they do; human nature).
Well, I remember the day we finally watched “Poltergeist“, my sister and I were both home sick coming off a bout of the flu (I want to say it was day 2 of 3 that we would both be home sick. My mom cleaned homes for some elderly people around town and was out for approximately 2-3 hours on the second day. My sister immediately looked in the guide in the hopes of finding a viewing of “Poltergeist” while mom was out–I think this is a good thing to note: at some point in the 80s HBO caught a lot of slack for playing “adult themed” films during the day and later made it their in-house policy to play those films after 9pm (I like to think that my sister and I had something to do with that law). I caught my sister watching that and tried to remind her that mom did not want us to watch that. She simply stated, “Mom’s not here.” I shrugged it off and started watching. I was distracted as I was keeping an eye out for mom the entire time. Even though I was the “look out” I still had enough time to catch the big scenes that TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT OF MY GOURD!
There are four big ones in particular that I remember:
1. Dad and mom swimming around in the muddy/bloody swimming pool
2. The man’s face “peel off” that turned into hamburger
3. The effing toy clown that ends up jumping on the kids back while maniacal laughter ensues, and
4. The damn tree
Being that I was distracted through a lot of the film and going in-and-out while checking to see if mom came back, I still watched enough of the movie to get disturbed (I think I was 6 at the time). The worst part about these nightmares or difficulties falling asleep at night–I couldn’t tell my parents about it. If I ratted, my sister would never trust me again. So I had to endure my fear alone and try and keep it down when I did it because I shared a room with my 2 year old brother. I had a street light right outside my bedroom window that always cast a shadow of our two huge elm trees we had in our front yard. I just stared at those shadows–wide-eyed–until I passed out with total exhaustion. Did I mention the “damn tree” up above? Watch the movie and picture yourself as a 6 year old child of the 80s that has the shadow of two elm trees cast over your windows all night and get back to me. Again, OUT OF MY GOURD!
The film doesn’t hold up over time. For those of you reading this thinking that it might be a good movie to rent on Halloween or what not, don’t bother. It is more campy now as special effects have gotten WAY BETTER over the years. Watching it again however without any distractions, did help me gain a better understanding of the story, as it was no longer fragmented for me.
I was still scared a little in some scenes–I think that was more PTSD than anything. I’m still glad that I watched it again if nothing but for the nostalgia of it all.
I appreciate that it is extremely challenging to get any kind of “static channels” on the tv with digital signals now.
Please join my email list.
I would like to give a “shout out” to some of my loyal followers that share similar interests. These bloggers follow me and I follow them. They have great content that is informed and are great critics. I read them and feel that they have a great ability with their criticisms of film and I trust them when they both recommend and do not recommend a film:
Also razorbackwriteraus.wordpress.com puts out a TON of material that is both entertaining, educational, and informative. Please check out their stuff. It’s worth your time.