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Poltergeist - the original vs the remake

by Dana Andersen . Published Fri 30 Oct 2020 10:09

Poltergeist is a movie that splits horror fans, with half thinking its brilliantly terrifying, while everyone else seems to find it laughably ridiculous, but it seems the divide is bridged once conversation turns to the 2015 remake.

For those who enjoyed the original movie, it was likely due to the lasting fear many scenes inspire.

The clown strangling the little boy, the mans face coming off in the mirror, and the skeletons in the pool, all inspired a fear for many that still pops to mind whenever they see a clown toy, look into a mirror in low lighting, or see a pool that doesn’t quite look like it’d meet modern building standards.

Following the story of a family moving into a new home, which is inevitably haunted, is something modern audiences are highly acclimatised to.

With Poltergeist, at least we have a reason they can’t simply move out, when their youngest daughter is taken by the spirits, and must survive in between worlds as the family fight to rescue her.

The remake, although some of the most memorable scenes were recreated, was all too often followed with the modern cliche of the swell of music, and the jump scare.

Not to mention, some of the largest changes made just weren’t great. The original family pulled in medium Tangina Barrons to help them get their daughter back, and she’s fantastically other worldly.

Meanwhile 2015’s family pull in TV psychic Carrigan Burke, who has little personality outside of having been a soldier, and currently being a psychic.

It must be mentioned that 1982’s Poltergeist also had its own issues, the acting instantly gives away how much time has passed, and although the remake saw better actors, it also saw many of the positives of the original removed.

We also saw more technology utilised in the remake, which should have been expected considering the vast time difference in their releases. However, the original used the technology that was becoming integrated in daily life to induce a ‘this could happen to me’ type of fear, imagine how horrifying it must be to have your TV and childrens toys haunted by vengeful spirits?

Screens, smart phones and drones are everywhere in modern life, and thats replicated in the movie, totally losing the already understated message of technology acting as a conduit that leads to a child going missing.

As with many movies of the 80’s, its a mixture of charm, nostalgia, and expectation that have carried it through to continue being spoken about, only making it all the more apparent that the remake entirely lacks all of those things.

In all technicality it should have been a film that was better made, but some of the effects looked worse than the original, and it was clearly made with a modern audience in mind, turning it into a forgettable caricature of the movie that made children terrified of the white noise of the TV.


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