The reboot of Poltergeist is finally on track and moving forward, but can it really measure up to the original? Poltergeist was one of the few horror movies in the 80s to achieve mainstream box office success. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.
It also had a lasting effect on the horror genre and has been named as one of the top 20 horror movies all time. It’s hard to imagine that the reboot will be able to inspire the fandom that still reveres Poltergeist even though the original film was made more than 30 years ago. The whispers about the curse that impacted the crew and stars adds to the mystique of the film and has kept audiences interested in the film and the people who worked on it for decades.
The original film told the story of the Freelings, a typical 80s family who moved into a swanky new housing development because the patriarch of the family worked for the developer for the property. But the family didn’t know that their home and the other homes in the development had been built on a cemetery. The developer didn’t want to pay the huge costs to move all the bodies that were interred on the property so the company only paid to move the headstones. Almost immediately after moving in the family begins to experience paranormal activity, presumably because the spirits of the people who were never moved are angry.
The effects used to simulate paranormal activity in the film are the same ones that films like Paranormal Activity still use to scare audiences. Using simple item movement and the power of imagination the film managed to scare audiences even before the real plotline of the story took off. The Freeling’s youngest daughter Carol Ann is kidnapped by a ghostly and creepy preacher’s spirit. The family enlists the help of a medium and a team of paranormal researchers to get her back. Ultimately they manage to get her back but before she is returned the entire family is attacked by unseen forces and has to deal with terrifying activity in the home. Once their daughter is returned the parents pack all the kids in the car and leave as the neighborhood erupts with bones and coffins that appear out of cracks in the ground after a minor earthquake. They never return to the house.
There have been several sequels to the original film but none managed to capture the success of the original film. Part of the reason why the sequels didn’t do as well is that the adorable little girl who played Carol Ann died suddenly from pneumonia while still a child. Her death has sometimes been associated with a curse that is supposed to have affected the entire crew and cast of the movie. The actress who played the Freeling’s oldest daughter was murdered just a week after the movie came out. There were also other deaths and near deaths that happened to the crew who worked on the film.
The reboot is giving the story a modern update. The family is different, and has a much more modern lifestyle. Just as the family in the original Poltergeist perfectly represented the average family in 1982 the family in the reboot film is pretty typical for this day and age. The divorced father moves his two kids to a new house after his divorce. The youngest daughter is kidnapped, and the father gets help from both his ex-wife who is a parapsychology researcher and his current wife who is a medium to get her back. The team of a paranormal reality show called Haunted House Cleaners is also brought in to help get rid of entities in the home and help the father get his daughter back.
Fans are divided in their opinions about the new film. Many are willing to give the reboot a look but as an original film and not as part of the Poltergeist legacy. Other fans are loyal to the original film and say that there is no way the new reboot will compare to the original. The film is slated for released in February of 2015 so then fans will get to see the film and decide for themselves.