Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 055: Poltergeist (1982) vs. Poltergeist (2015)

VS Poltergeist

We’re here! Welcome to HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies… This is Episode 055. In this special VERSUS episode, Jay of the Dead, Dr. Shock and Dr. Walking Dead review the original Poltergeist from 1982, and then Jay and Kyle bring you an in-depth review of the new Poltergeist remake from 2015.

This episode may be the most extensive film analysis ever recorded about “Poltergeist,” clocking in at more than 3 hours! We talk a little bit about what Jay of the Dead calls “Nostalgia Bias,” and Dr. Walking Dead discusses the fascinating, parallel relationship between “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and the original “Poltergeist.”

But be warned: We reveal major plot spoilers for both “Poltergeist” movies, as well as the 1986 sequel. Join us!


Horror Movie Podcast is now a weekly show that’s released every Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


I. Introduction

[ 0:03:01 ] II. Feature Review: POLTERGEIST (1982)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Must-See / Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 9.5 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Walking Dead = 10 ( Buy it! ) — his all-time favorite horror movie…

[ 1:25:46 ] III. Feature Review: POLTERGEIST (2015)
Jay of the Dead = 5.5 ( Rental )
Dr. Walking Dead = 4 ( Low-priority Rental / Stream it )

[ 2:48:57 ] IV. Important Addenda
— This upcoming Monday, June 1, listen to a very important episode of BillChete’s HORROR ON THE GO audio broadcast with special guest Jay of the Dead
— Also be sure to check out “The Soylent Green of Science Fiction Podcasts”
— Kyle teases next Friday’s episode!

V. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

JOIN US NEXT WEEK ON HMP: Episode 056, when we review “Maggie” (2015) and hear a “State of the Zombie Address” with Dr. Walking Dead!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

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Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
Dr. Walking Dead on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead
Dr. Walking Dead’s books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead

Listen to Mattroid, STATION and Kill Bill Kill on The SciFi Podcast (A must-listen!)

Dr. Shock’s DVD Infatuation is now on Facebook

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Wolfman Josh on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Wolfman covers movies streaming online on: Movie Stream Cast

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dr. Shock’s daily movie review Web site: DVD Infatuation.com
Dr. Shock on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Dr. Shock’s other horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

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Doc Shock Doll
Dr. Shock’s evil doll!

78 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 055: Poltergeist (1982) vs. Poltergeist (2015)

  1. The Dead Bird. Carol Ann’s bird “Tweety.” I remember one of my older uncles telling me that the dead bird is similar to when miners would send a canary down into mines to see if there was methane or carbon monoxide and the dead bird is telling the family that the area isn’t safe.

  2. Holy hell in handbag! How does Doc live with that thing in his house. I only looked at it briefly but even here in the hard light of day I can feel its after-image burning into my retinas so that it’s vacant, murderous stare can burrow deep into my psyche, it’s pendulous jaw clattering as it dances in my nightmares.

    • Ha! I bought it in 1979 with my birthday money (For about a week or so, I had dreams of becoming a ventriloquist). I held onto it all this time strictly because it creeps the hell out of family & friends!

      BTW, the mouth is now perpetually open. The mechanism controlling it broke about 15 to 20 years ago. Also, he used to have a hat… no idea what happened to it.

      He’s still sitting in that chair in my upstairs office. At least I THINK he is… I did hear mysterious footsteps up there about an hour or so ago….


  3. a fascinating listen gentlemen. i really appreciated hearing Kyle on this episode. something he said peaked my interest. it was in reference to Poltergeist being Gothic. it brought me back to college and an assignment in my critical analysis literature class where we were asked to analyze the novel Jane Eyre using an approach of our choosing. i chose a Gothic approach as i found an interesting article (Margaret Homans “Dreaming of Children: Literalisation in Jane Eyre”). Homans is dissecting the Gothic and its tendency to use women/children relationship and childbirth as a source of unease and supernatural tension. i’m curious if Kyle has put any thought into this approach when analyzing the original Poltergeist? as you guys pointed out, women characters are the forefront in this film, and the movie is laden with themes of child birth (the tv as a “portal”, Tangina (name association game anyone…) as a spokeswoman of sorts for the “other side”, rope as an umbilical cord, folks being covered in goo when they come back from the other side). to this end i also have a reading in to the film that’s pretty heavy, but i think i’ve written enough… great listen guys.

    • Exactly, Chris. Poltergeist is overtly Gothic in the classical sense–big time. While the house is new, the site is antiquated (and US Gothic narratives have a slightly truncated idea of “old”), and the haunting is certainly tied to a secret that is revealed over the course of the story (these are Jerry Hogle’s protocols for the genre). Your observations about the fear of the feminine manifesting in Poltergeist as part of the Gothic tradition are also correct. Fear of women, of female bodies, of the reproductive processes, etc. have LONG been loci of male fear–mostly out of ignorance, but also because they manifest some of the few things men can’t do and can’t control (all of this dates back to medieval “vagina dentata” rhetoric). Now, traditionally “female Gothic” narratives reveal the hauntings to be rationally explainable, which is NOT the case in Poltergeist, but as the feminine is both the monstrous AND the heroic, the film can be read as a nice postmodern revision to the feminine Gothic. Which is why the remake blows to bad! :)

  4. Two friends and I were the only people in the theater last Monday (the 25th), so we held pretty much an open discussion of the remake, comparing as it happened, IMDb-ed all the actors and crew, and even took pictures of ourselves with the screen in the back ground. I had way more fun in the audience with my friends and the ability to hold conversations without disturbing others, than I did watching the actual movie. I’m just at the beginning of Dr. Walking Dead’s critique of the remake, 1:33:56, so I’m pretty sure he’s going to have some real choice comments.

  5. Doc, your doll reminds me of this guy:


    He’s a Mexican clown that I have very fond memories of. He put out a few albums that I listened to a lot as a kid. To this day I still hum some of those songs unconsciously haha. I think he’s still alive. Perhaps it’s my familiarity with that look, but I just don’t find your doll to be that creepy haha. Anyway, I thought you’d find that interesting.

    • Thanks, Juan. I’ll definitely check that out.

      And I’m with you… I don’t find it all that creepy, either. It’s those around me that are freaked out by it.

  6. That was a great listen, with some great insight. I’ll be honest and haven’t had a chance to go check out the remake, but im sort of torn. Part of me wants to go see it in theaters, but the other part of me is sort of “i’ll just stay home and watch the original”.
    Hopefully I get a chance, if I don’t well i’ll wait.

  7. Listening right now! Love this episode, huge fan of this movie! Agreed yall have to see the clown at Plenet Hollywood in Vegas. The wife and I went a couple years ago and of course I HAD to go to Planet Hollywood. The food was delicious and they had an amazing array of horror props. For instance. The original Good Guy Chucky doll. Clearly the one used for the shots of the doll in the box, not mechanized in any way. The complete Jason costume from Friday the 13th VII. Of course the clown doll, which is located in the gift shop. The “Deadite” general from Army of Darkness, along with the flying Deadite from AoD hanging from the ceiling! If you get a chance GO. Of course don’t do like I did and go complete film geek in there lol, as soon as we walked in I saw a blaster that the display card said was from Star Wars, and I look at that poor waitress and said “ummm that’s from Empire Strikes Back” and the wall sized model of Christina Ricci where she was painted like the wall trying to hide in her camouflage that said “Addams Family” and of course I said “Nope that’s from Addams Family VALUES” lol so of course my wife just says “just eat your burger and enjoy looking at it” lol. The worst one though was in PH Honolulu where they had the Freddy puppet from NoES 3: Dream Warriors that transforms into full sized Freddy and creates a puppet out of Phillip before killing him. Well the card said, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, of course that just went all over me and I said “no no no, that’s from part 3 not part 1” lol but anyway go see it rant over

  8. I love the idea of Jo Beth Williams playing a grown up final girl protecting her family. It is always a pleasure to hear Dr. Walking Dead’s film analysis. If a haunted house book does get written, please let us know.
    I have always had a sort of knee-jerk reaction to movies I love being re-made, but I was considering seeing the “Poltergeist” remake as part of my attempt to be more open minded. Thanks to this review, I think I will wait to see it. I haven’t really enjoyed any of the other horror remakes I have seen in the past fifteen years, and I tend to think if a movie was great to begin with it should be left alone.
    You guys have been knocking it out the park with episodes this year. Thanks!

    • “I have always had a sort of knee-jerk reaction to movies I love being re-made, but I was considering seeing the “Poltergeist” remake as part of my attempt to be more open minded.”

      I really empathise with this statement. I do try to not always be that guy who cringes and curses at the news of another classic film being remade but it’s hard. There seems to have been a kind of backlash against remake-naysayers of late and I’m still not sure how fair that is because I do think that, with a few notable exceptions, modern remakes are inherently lesser films than their source material. To me the main impetus behind most of these remakes seems less to do with reinterpreting something great in a new and interesting way and more to do with exploiting an established title to make a bunch of money. Surely that’s the reason why studios don’t do what so many folks suggest as being a preferable alternative to the remaking of classics: remake movies that sucked to begin with and improve upon them. That just wouldn’t generate the same amount of revenue as a brand with an established stamp of quality and pre-existing fanbase, though. I think when the accounting executives have more interest in making a movie than actual artists you’re almost always going to have a compromised product.

    • Thanks so much, Allyson! I’ve wanted to write about Poltergeist for years, but it took this discussion to give mean idea worth pursuing.

    • I’m pretty open-minded about remakes and reboots. I find myself liking (mildly, at least) many of the ones that have come out in the last 15 years or so, even those based on originals that I love – movies like Friday the 13th, Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Fright Night, for example.

      I’m not a huge fan of the original Poltergeist movie, but think the story had some great potential. So, I went into the remake (yesterday) with absolutely no strings attached to the original. That said, I was completely underwhelmed.

      I still have about an hour left in this episode, so I’m not exactly sure where JOTD and Dr. Walking Dead stand. My guess, though, is that lovers of the original (as they both are) will probably dislike the remake even more than I did.

      • The town that dreaded sundown was a fun remake. Also, My bloody valentine. Carpenter’s the Thing is kind of a remake. I’ll agree with Dr. Walking Dead, though. Poltergeist is an unnecessary remake. After seeing it in the theaters I still think it’s unnecessary. I wouldn’t mind seeing White Zombie remade, or The Old Dark House (1932). Though there was a comedy remake of this in 1963 (William Castle).

        • I agree that THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN and MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D were excellent remakes/reboots. Personally, I don’t like the original TOWN and am only lukewarm on the original VALENTINE, which is why I didn’t mention them.

          For what it’s worth, I think POLTERGEIST is a movie that was ripe for a remake since I’m not a huge fan of the original, but think the story is good… I know that won’t be a popular sentiment. That said, this remake missed the mark.

    • Thanks, Willis.

      This was a “Versus” episode, where we compared just the original film with its remake. We didn’t really cover any of the sequels to the original, though Kyle references the second one a few times.

  9. Just finished the episode absolutely LOVED it, so much so that now I’m watching Poltergeist and will probably watch part 2 after it’s over lol. Dr Walking Dead your analysis was superb. I would LOVE to sit through the just one of your classes. I was seriously furious when I first saw the trailer, thought about it a while and thought well maybe I could give it a chance. After hearing your reviews I’m sad to say my darkest fears concerning the remake have come to life. I’ll just continue looking forward to Insidious ch: 3 like it or not at less it’s an original film lol.

  10. You can definitely see Spielbergs input. Am I the only one who thinks this suburban area looks just like the one in E.T.? The scene of the kids with the remote control car causing the guy to drop all of his beer is definitely from Steven, along with the tv remote debacle Steven has with his neighbor. ok back to the movie I’ll be quiet now

  11. What happened to the “Horror Movie Answer Men” concept becase this episode made me realise that “Does a movie need a body count to be classed as horror?” would be a great question/topic of discussion.

    Personally, I think it absolutely doesn’t. Again taking the roots of the genre back to the literature that inspired it I feel as though there were far higher body counts in mystery thrillers than classic horror stories. I’m working off the top of my head but I’m sure there’s a bunch of stories by the likes of M.R James, Algernon Blackwood and maybe even Lovecraft that don’t actually feature the death of any character. The BBC adaptation of James’ “Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come to You My Lad” is one my favourite ghost stories put to screen and I find it pretty terrifying in spite of its zero body count. Movies like “The Sixth Sense” and “Stir of Echoes” are also fairly low when it comes to a body count yet still extremely effective.

    To me the actual portrayal of a character shuffling off their mortal coil is ultimately less scary than the peripheral elements; the suspense building up, the half glimpsed possibilities of horrors, the sense of indefatigable threat, the psychological impact of seeing something otherworldly or entirely macabre. I think all those things have more of a profoundly troubling effect on my psyche. I mean how many people die in “The Day After Tomorrow” and that movie’s about as effective as a scientists computer that’s supposed to print out predictive time-scales of natural events but instead produces pages emblazoned with context-less numbers bereft of any indicator as to what exactly they’re supposed to be measuring. WHO THE HELL WRITES THIS STUFF!

  12. And do any of you guys know why my homemade attempts at Chinese food are just never anywhere near as delicious as what I get from the takeaway?

        • This talk of delicious Chinese cuisine is making me regret the Taco Bell I splurged on…. :) Taco Bell, a Pepsi, and my Poltergeist Blu Ray… Livin’ the dream.

          • We don’t have Taco Bell in the UK (actually that’s a lie, I believe we have about 5 or 6 of them. In the whole country.) so had that option been available to me I very well might have gone in that direction too.

            My crispy shredded beef and Singapore fried rice was undeniably delicious though, even if it was laced with MSG.

  13. Excellent podcast. I completely agree with Dr. Walking Dead’s gender breakdown of the original. As stated there are so many layers to Poltergeist. I see a deep political dimension as well. Early in the film Steve is reading a bio of Reagan. Reagan’s rhetoric like “city upon a hill” and “It’s Morning Again in America” recalled a pristine past that never really existed. The Freelings learn the past can literally come back to haunt them. The whole idea of America being exempt from the laws of history was so much a part of Reaganism. While his speeches sounded great there was a lurking uneasiness to it all and the film brilliantly captures the cultural uncertainty of Reagan’s America – dealing with the past by ignoring it. After all, what is buried beneath that hill?

    • This is a wonderful comment, Eric. Excellent thoughts indeed.

      I think it’s also worth noting that the policies of “Reaganonimcs” favoured lower corporate taxes and an emphasis on the importance of business to the economy. Although “Poltergeist” was released pretty early in Reagan’s presidency it could be considered a criticism of his approach to such issues. The lack of respect for the dead shown by the housing company for the sake of cutting costs could be construed as highlighting how the priorities of big business are often much less to do with the best interests of society than with the maximising of profits.

    • Thanks, Eric, and great insights into the politics of the original film. The remake has ZERO political or even cultural depth, IMHO. 😉

  14. I’m giving this episode a second listen and I’ve got to say that, in spite of Wolfman’s unfortunate absence, it really is excellent. I just love hearing Dr. Walking Dead’s insightful analysis. I’d never even thought about the feminist elements of “Poltergeist” before but now that they’ve been pointed out to me it seems a real shame that the remake didn’t follow suit. I also thought the thematic parallels brought up between this movie and E.T. were fascinating. They even share the device of technology acting as a conduit of communication between worlds; the T.V in “Poltergeist” as mentioned in the episode and E.T’s intergalactic “phone” fashioned from then contemporary household technology.

    Maybe I missed it but I didn’t notice you guys mention the most recent victim of the “Poltergeist” curse in your discussion; Lou Perryman who was murdered with an axe by a recently released convict in 2009.

    Anyway, this episode has really made me want to go back and revisit “Poltergeist” because it’s been a few years. Conversely I absolutely do not want to see the remake now. Lame CGI instead of practicals, reversal of progressive gender politics, removal of the last act. It just sounds to be a lesser film in all respects. So what was the point? From this review it seems that this is exactly the kind of pointless remake that only fuels my curmudgeonly cynicism with regards to the format.

  15. The discussion about the original Poltergeist has made me realize that even though I’ve never been a big fan of the film, I was terribly wrong. I love Spielberg and Hooper but the film never scared me, even when I was young. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t great.

    In regards to the clown doll, my wife and I went to Vegas with some friends two years ago and had lunch at Planet Hollywood. The food was not good, but the props were amazing. I had no idea that there were a number of horror props to see all in their own room, and it was GREAT. Not only do they have Jason Voorhee’s full outfit from Jason Takes Manhattan, but the flying deadite witch from Army of Darkness is suspended from the ceiling.

    My wife and I were taking everything in when I saw the clown doll sitting up high on a shelf. I nudged her and said, “Look, it’s that clown doll from Poltergeist that scares the crap out of everybody.”

    IMMEDIATELY, a woman on our right blurted out, “Ohmigod, it’s that clown from Poltergeist that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid!”

    The power of film, man. I love horror movies!

    • Hate to hear that, our burgers were pretty good. Might’ve been because we were literally the first people there that morning so maybe they were more fresh idk. But yeah the horror props were AWESOME as well as some others, Maltese Falcon, Karate Kid etc. I love PH just for the props alone lol

  16. Great stuff, today guys. Love to hear the great analysis once again. Looks like you guys confirmed my suspicions about the “Poltergeist” remake. Sound like the creators missed out on some key points about the characters from the original. I think maybe the 1982 “Poltergeist” fit those early 80’s times well, and the idea belonged then, not now.
    I liked the original “Poltergeist” a lot; it has so many strengths. I will offer a complaint however. This was something Kyle and JOTD touched upon briefly. The performances of the younger children (Robbie and Carol Anne) to me were not so effective as they could be. You guys noted how Carol Anne was kind of innocent and playful with the ghostly behavior at first, and the boy was a little older and had more a sense of fear. This was on point, but I think it was a major weakness of the film.
    I think these kids were cute, funny, and likeable, but unrealistic in the terror they should have felt. I feel the movie would have been stronger and the parents (Jobeth and Crag T.) would have been more affected if we saw shots of the kids screaming/crying and in more distress. They didn’t seem scared enough to what would be a HORRIFIC experience. It wasn’t enough to be powerful.
    I look at a movie like “Child’s Play” (1987) or even “Cujo” which were both not as beloved as “Poltergeist.” There was pure realistic terror in the children in those movies. A lot of people make fun of the kid in “Child’s Play’s” acting, but I felt those were VERY real emotions which most kids would have felt if their doll came alive and was evil and creepy like Chucky. Same with the “Cujo” boy.
    We forget what it is like to have “kid fear” as opposed to grown-up fear. I just don’t think a kid like Robbie in “Poltergeist” would be trying to fight/destroy the clown doll or Carol Anne being okay with sliding around the floor by some force if these were real kids. If these kids had been coached to be more afraid and maybe cry and scream some more like real kids, the adult characters would be more effective and we’d root for them so much more. I guess maybe that’s sort of unethical to put the kid actor through that, but it would have made this more like a horror film.
    As a parent I can see when my kid cries to get attention. Then I can see when she is REALLY terrified or hurt about something. There is a huge difference that I think Spielberg either is too afraid to show on screen or doesn’t understand. Yes, he puts kids in all his movies, but they are always too “Hollywood,” too smart, too mature. You can see this in “Jurassic Park” with those kids. No way they’d handle what was happening with the grit they showed.
    This is a problem I have with many of the movies where a kid is placed in danger. It’s a wasted idea. It’s not just a Spielberg thing, it’s a Hollywood thing. Not that you have to KILL or traumatize the child character, but my point is make the kid actor more effective and the reactions of the adults become more real and effective. Plus the monster/ghost/antagonist seems more cruel and the danger way more powerful.
    Jay, you pointed this out in the “Friday the 13th” podcast, how our most daunting fear as parents is to not be able to help/save our children. This is very true! This is shown some in “Poltergeist” as you’ve stated. It helps us understand the movie and root for this family. But I just think it could have been soooo much better.

    Sorry for the extended rant, I don’t hate the movie or Senore Spielbergo, but I feel like there’s tons and tons and tons of love for this movie (and for “Jurassic Park) in the horror circles, and part of me likes to examine “the other side” and try to find flaws in greatness. No movie is perfect. I’d love to see “Poltergeist” with more of an edge. Maybe more Tobe Hooper touch and less Spielberg touch? Ha! keep dreaming, Greyimp!
    The Grey Imp

    • Gotta say I complete agree about Andy from “Child’s Play”. I’ve heard so many people complain about him but when he’s reaching through the bars at the asylum and says “But Chucky is here! AND HES GOING TO KILL ME” and starts sobbing was so good. The way he screams ” No, STOP STOP!” when the dr is electrocuted is PERFECT child like terror for me. Even Miko Hughes in New Nightmare gives a terrific performance. I do agree Carol Ann could’ve been more frightened on screen but I thought she did a great job at that innocent little girl and some of her line delivery was very chilling, especially when The Beast begins to come after her during their communication to the other side. I used to dislike Robbie but I’ve grown to really love the fear (and remember what it felt like to be so frightened) when they’re all looking for her and he is just barely able to speak until finally screaming “MOM MOM MOM, CAROL ANN!!” I think it was mainly more of what was required of the kids, because Spielberg doesn’t seem to mind getting that response. He never mistreats them or traumatized them but we know what Drew Barrymore went through during E.T. Very interesting post. I love the movie too and agree sometimes it can be fun to go the other direction and find flaws.

  17. I was surprised to hear both of you say that Mad Max:Fury Road doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of story when the general consensus on Rotton Tomatoes says “a surprising amount of narrative heft”.
    And though I love what you do on the show I’m getting really tired of the word ‘narrative’. It’s become a buzzword for reviewers in the past year. It’s mostly just shorthand for them to say that a movie didn’t have enough fat in it to make it taste good for their specific palette. It reminds me of most music reviews 10 years ago that overused the phrase ‘tongue in cheek’. If you didn’t like that particular record, it was because you didn’t understand it because it was ‘tongue in cheek’.

    • I totally agree. Mad Max: Fury Road had a ton of story… what it didn’t have was a lot of dialogue and exposition. They showed you everything you needed to know in order to push the story along. And that’s precisely what they should do in a movie… show, not tell. I didn’t need to hear Furiosa tell us about why she wanted to escape being an Imperator- they showed us why when they gave showed us the alternative. I didn’t need a whole lot of time devoted to a verbal diatribe regarding Nux’s disillusionment because it was all there on the screen- I didn’t have to hear about Furiosa’s history because it was written in scar tissue. If you thought that the whole movie was “nothing but action” then you missed so much in what is very basic about movies as a medium.

      • I think a huge part of what makes all of the Mad Max movies special (although I’ve still yet to see Fury Road) is how almost every character and vehicle, battered and filthy as they are, tell their own very visual tale. “The Road Warrior” is pretty minimalist compared to most movies of its type when it comes to exposition, plot and dialogue but just the visual details tell us so much about the world in which it’s set. Similar to the Cantina scene in Star Wars, your imagination can run wild just getting a look at any background character. Story is something that movies are free to wield in their own unique way. Some films are suited to lengthy exposition and dialogue scenes, complex structures and narrative devices. Others are at their best when such things are minimised in favour of storytelling that is more abstract and visual, the story is there and can be just as strong, but it isn’t highlighted or signposted in a way that makes it as obvious or evident. Look at the six word short story often attributed to Hemingway: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Just six words can communicate just as much tragedy as the lengthiest of novels. Not all “stories” need excessive “narrative” to be effective.

        • I personally find that story to be terrifying, along with “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…” I love terrifying little snippets like that where you can’t help but fill in the blank with the most horrifying imagery available.

          I sincerely recommend “Fury Road” as an amazing example of telling a story with an economy of dialogue. But everything in the story, all of the visuals, the quick cuts, tell you everything you need to know to keep the story moving along.

  18. I’m a huge fan of The Shining and an equally big fan of Saul Bass. For those who care about either, I think this is a nice insight on how the final poster came to be or rather a small portion of the process. I personally love 1,3, and 5. Those would make some amazing t-shirts. The stippling technique is so underused nowadays. It needs to make a comeback!


    • I actually like a lot of the rejections better than the final product which, though undeniably iconic, has always looked like a poster for a broadway musical to me.

    • Good stuff, Juan!
      I really love the one with the maze. It gives so much mystery. At the time I think people would have been real intrigued by that poster. Interesting to see the hand-written notes on here – this is awesome!

    • I really liked the one with the family entering the maze. I think it represents the unknown: they had no idea what was waiting for them in the maze, nor did they know what they would find in the Overlook. Very nice, thanks for that link.

  19. First of all, can I say it’s amazing to meet another female horror fan on here? And named Alyson?! That’s great stuff. So after I heard this episode I immediately purchased the original “Poltergeist”, not sure why it wasn’t already in my collection. I very much enjoyed hearing Kyle’s input and would kill to take a course from you! (Mwahaha). I am usually slow to come around to a classic that’s been re-made, so I imagine this will be no different. I boycotted Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” remake for a long time. I still don’t love it, but at least he stayed true to the original story and gave his own twist on Michael’s history. This one may be a Netflix stream for me.

    • Hey Allison, it’s good to find you here too! Incidentally, I had a similar reaction to Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. I love the original and avoided his version for a while until a friend had rented it. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t do much for me. I am not generally anti back story, but I prefer Michael Myers to remain the Shape.

  20. Just finishing up the episode today. I appreciate the shout-out, Dr WalkingDead, but I think you’ve conflated our conversation with one you had with someone else. We discussed the score, not the ideological content. I haven’t seen the remake to be able to speak to the ideas of the film. For the record, however, I do agree with you on the wonderful intellectual content of the original (feminism, capitalism, etc). If they neutered those ideas, then I will be in full agreement with you on the remake, as well.

    One thing that struck me during the remake review was your discussion of how Sam Rockwell’s character is now unable to support the family and how this is perhaps a reflection of today versus the early eighties. Considering the economic downturn, this may have actually been a conscious decision (which from the sound of it is very rare in terms of the ideas of the movie).

    If Steve Freeling was complicit in the greed-based transactions that caused the problems in the original (fear of the capitalism-at-all-costs mentality), perhaps Eric Bowen is the result of the free-for-all capitalism (both of society and himself). There is a growing body of evidence correlating the recent increase in stay-at-home dads/non-primary breadwinners to a rise in psychological and physiological issues in men (depression, erectile dysfunction, etc). Since our media has largely catered to men, perhaps (consciously or unconsciously) in making Eric Bowen a failing husband who becomes the hero, the new Poltergeist is massaging the egos of men who fear their financial and domestic impotence.

    Again, though, I haven’t seen the remake, so I can’t speak with confidence on the issue. I’m just posing a theory based on what I heard in the podcast.

    For everyone else, please hit me up on twitter (@BigSpoonyBard) and my website (BigSpoonyBard.wordpress.com). I’ve become motivated to do some writing again after a long period of nothing, and I’ve decided to become more active around horror, so please give me feedback and conversation.

    • You are absolutely right, Eric–you and I discussed the score. I was refering to an exchange I had had with Adam Lafferty about the plot details. Whoops–that’s what happens when I go off script.

      But great insights into the new film–even though you haven’t seen it! Having an out-of-work dad rise to the level of hero would certainly appeal to many right now.

  21. Loved every minute of this episode; even sans Wolfman. As a big fan of Poltergeist but hesitant to see the remake, this was a necessary step in my decision process. I’ll wait for Netflix.

    Keep up the great work, fellas.

  22. Guys, I loved this episode. I went back rewatched it for the 1st time in maybe 20 years. I watched with my 15 yr old son. He has only watched two other horror movies ( The Woman in Black and The Sixth Sense). He really enjoyed the original version. He liked the story and thought the characters were well done. However, he didn’t find it very frightening, which surprised me given how little horror he has been exposed to. After we talked about it, we decided it was the score that made Poltergeist less scary. The music was very Spielberg like. It conveyed to us a sense of wonder and not dread. It felt like the score should have been in E.T. or Jurassic Park. Because of the music, when they do the tennis ball thing, we felt like “wow this is a doorway to another world!” I think we are supposed to feel a sense of horror that the girl is trapped on the other side.

    On a side note, I LOVE this podcast. I don’t watch that many horror movies, but I listen to this cast a lot. I feel like you guys breakdown movies at a high level. As a fan of story in all of it’s forms, I enjoy that a lot. Thanks for all your work.

    • They also shot heather walking backwards up the stairs & played it in reverse in the beginning of the film when carol anne walks downstairs to talk to the tv

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