With JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight, Heather O'Rourke, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Zelda Rubenstein
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Reviewed by JL

TV is bad for your children      On rare occasion, a special-effects-thrill-ride of a movie can become a classic simply on the basis of being a special-effects-thrill-ride of a movie.  If POLTERGEIST just misses classic status, it's because of its somewhat hollow core and illogical construction.  But you'll be too white-knuckled and swept away by the sheer audacity of it all to care about any of that.  A film that stops at nothing in its attempt to give you the creeps and the heebie-jeebies, POLTERGEIST bears all the stops-out trademarks of a Steven Spielberg film.  (Tobe Hooper is the credited director, but producer Spielberg micromanaged the production and directed some scenes himself.)  Unlike most haunted-house films, it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination and gets away with it.  Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams give some substance to their rather underwritten roles as the suburban couple with a houseload of spooks, flying lampshades, and gaping vortexes in bedroom closets that suck in small children and spit them out covered in Jello. 4 - JL 

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