February 25, 2015 | by Kimberly Fletcher
Trailer Whore: Poltergeisting Our Childhood

Some films just stay with you forever. There is an emotional connection made between the viewer and the screen which creates a bond that will follow us through life. There are a myriad of reasons why these images and stories stay with us and most of them are very personal. This is why people have such strong feelings about cinema- I mean I often question how my husband and I are married because of his taste (or lack of) in film. While amazing characters, compelling story, and dynamic cinematography often draw me to a film and  bond me to them as well, I find that a strong emotional reaction to a film can make a mediocre  motion picture as memorable as that Academy Award winning one.

Fear is one of those emotions that create an irrational connection to a movie that even the most rational person can’t understand. When I was young I learned that my Father, who wasn’t afraid of anything was terrified by Howard Hawk’s 1951  The Thing From Another World. This black and white Horror/Sci-Fi flick spawned remake after remake. My Dad would have been about 9 when the film released. While I don’t know the circumstances of his viewing the film, I envision it similar to Stephen King’s description in Danse Macabre where he talks about when he heard about the Russians launching Sputnik into space (1957) while watching Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. If you haven’t read the book and you’re a movie fan – you should. I know it’s about the Macabre and that’s not for everyone, but still it’s a great book – one that I listen on audio over and over again. For whatever reason this film, The Thing From Another World scared the living life out of my Father and it stayed with him until he had kids of his very own. My Mom said he would have nightmares of the alien when he was young and they periodically came back to haunt him in his mature years.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Hollywood has decided to remake one of those films which I have an emotional connection to. Tobe Hooper’s 1982 film Poltergeist.

The original film which spawned (an appropriate word) two sequels and a rumored curse still plagues me to this day. This with all my knowledge of special effects, film history and adult rationality. I have actually found myself yelling at my husband to stop the children from counting the beats between the thunder and lighting for fear that “the tree” outside will attack our family. These are the types of things that your kids will remember you saying when they are older – and yet not understand why you were so adamant in your convictions. We won’t even begin to talk about the clown.

The new trailer sets the tone very quickly, with the haunting music and carefully paced voice over. In this incarnation Carol Anne has become the updated trendy Madison (or Maddie), she is the one that notices the strange and possible magical things (from a child’s eyes) that happen in the Bowen’s new house. The fun ends when the family moves in to this perfectly priced fixer-upper. Toys start to turn on in the middle of the night (who hasn’t had that happen in their house), electronics glitch and closet doors open on their own. It’s only when Maddie goes missing (or is taken) what things get serious. I wonder in this updated version if the media frenzy around a child who goes missing from her home will be worked in – or are we playing on the old don’t worry about that it has to be paranormal? Is the father, Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile) suspect number 1? Of course you can’t call the cops because “what are you going to tell them?”

Enter Jared Harris (Mad Men) as Carrigan Burke as the amazing Tangina (played in the original by Zelda Robinstein who died in 2010), who can help this struggling family get their precious Maddie back. While we’re looking at an updated flat screen TV and not a huge Zenith or RCA consoles of the late 70’s and early 80’s the filmmakers have paid full homage to the ghosts of the original film, by keeping iconic images such as Maddie sitting in front of a static filled screen, the dreaded clown and the rope lifeline which can pull Maddie back from the other side. Speaking of the horrible clown – yes he’s back (stupid thing is worse then Pennywise) and this time he is after The Following‘s Kyle Catlett who plays Griffin Bowen (Robbie is just so 80’s it has to go). This poor child has moved from being haunted by the cult to being attacked by a clown doll (who has these in their house?!?) and a goddamn tree!

Based off the trailer, fans of the first film should be happy with the update, they seem to have hit the heartbeat of the original, lets hope they were able to avoid the curse of the original film. Somehow I’m guessing producer Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) knows not to use a real human skeleton in the pool screen – at least we hope so. (Release: July 24, 2015)

Kimberly spent years as an agent for MI-5, a consultant for Fringe Division and an adviser for the Torchwood Institute in London before walking away for a quieter life. A Master of the Art of Google-Fu she now spends her days being un-extraordinary in a field of cube farms creating magic with her black-box. Kimberly settled in the Northeast region of the United States with her tinfoil hat husband, Mad Dog, to raise their family of Super Villains. With a degree in film-making, a love of photography and art she fights the evil Stepford-wife urges to become an ordinary soccer mom.

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