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The Poltergeist trilogy - Page 2

post #51 of 108
Thread Starter 

Out of respect for Hooper I'm sure.

post #52 of 108
Of course.

There's also interviews back during the opening of the film where Spielberg bluntly admits that Producing the film the way he did, he'd never do it again. I even think he suggested that Tobe was in a unique position and didn't envy him.
post #53 of 108
Thread Starter 

this site is essential on the subject:

 

http://www.poltergeist.poltergeistiii.com/really.html

post #54 of 108

Shouldn't even be a question at this point - zero disrespect to Tobe. The discussion shouldn't be "Did Spielberg direct Poltergeist?" but "WHY did Spielberg direct Poltergeist?"

 

Two different takes going back and forth over the decades:

 

1. Tobe was simply a front for Spielberg to wiggle around his Universal contract/DGA regulations and he went along for the ride. Something the most recent public confession alluded to. 

2. Tobe couldn't physically handle directing Poltergeist (due to his substance abuse problems) and Spielberg was forced to take over. There has been much indication of this as well.

 

Count me among those who back the latter. Spielberg produced films before and since Poltergeist and this was the only time where the role of the director was ever called into question. There is a reason for that. The former's explanation is overly complex to be a real thing, for my money, and Spielberg has always been supportive and respectful of his fellow filmmakers, especially those under his employment.

post #55 of 108
If Tobe had ever directed ANY other movie that felt even remotely like Poltergeist, I'd be more inclined to believe that he did a substantial amount....but that movie feels SOOOOO MUCH like Spielberg. So much so that I just lump it in with the rest of Spielberg's filmography just like I do with Halloween II and III and Carpenter and V for Vendetta and the Wachowskis. I cannot imagine that the Tobe Hooper of TCM 1 and 2, Eaten Alive and Lifeforce would be able to make a movie that felt so much like the work of someone else. Hearing all the stories over the years...it's seemed pretty easy to piece together what likely went on on that set unless someone comes out with some bombshell about it that has never been made public before. Just watch Poltergeist and Jaws back to back one day. You cannot convince me that that is the work of two different people..
post #56 of 108

Re-reading that website, I'm starting to wonder just how out of depth Tobe may have felt in Spielberg's presence, collaborating together. I mean, if it came down to me fighting my own idea with Spielberg's, it'd be hard to even consider my idea to be worth a damn compared to his mastery. I'm sure there's a lot of that going on and was probably pretty stressful - and may have even made his "substance abuse" worse. Poltergeist was also a huge undertaking as a film, and Tobe was used to much smaller productions. 

 

I think now I'm more interested in hearing what Tobe's contributions really were to the picture. 

post #57 of 108

Rubinstein's comment about Hooper having a substance abuse problem doesn't surprise me. I've heard he had similar issues on EATEN ALIVE, and that other people had to step in and direct most of that movie. Drugs probably also had something to do with Hooper being fired from both THE DARK and VENOM.

post #58 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post
 

Re-reading that website, I'm starting to wonder just how out of depth Tobe may have felt in Spielberg's presence, collaborating together. I mean, if it came down to me fighting my own idea with Spielberg's, it'd be hard to even consider my idea to be worth a damn compared to his mastery. I'm sure there's a lot of that going on and was probably pretty stressful - and may have even made his "substance abuse" worse. Poltergeist was also a huge undertaking as a film, and Tobe was used to much smaller productions. 

 

I think now I'm more interested in hearing what Tobe's contributions really were to the picture. 

 

Probably a combination of being overwhelmed by a bigger production, his coke problem, and Spielberg wanting to keep the ship afloat.  It's likely Hooper left to his own devices would've made something mediocre/forgettable and the beard wasn't having his name on something like that.  He also wrote the initial script, so probably (understandably) felt protective of his work.  

post #59 of 108

I always found it a little odd that Hooper was even hired to direct POLTERGEIST. Who decided that the guy who directed CHAINSAW MASSACRE would be a good fit for that material?

post #60 of 108
Cocaine should've actually made him undaunted by the production.
post #61 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malmordo View Post
 

I always found it a little odd that Hooper was even hired to direct POLTERGEIST. Who decided that the guy who directed CHAINSAW MASSACRE would be a good fit for that material?

 

Spielberg said he was very impressed by Chainsaw and wanted to work with him.  Hooper suggested a ghost story/haunted house and Spielberg had the Poltergeist script by some other writers and wrote it more to his taste, which was probably mistake number one.  Spielberg is probably the last guy Hooper should've been hanging out with.  They couldn't be more different, in both style and temperament.  

post #62 of 108
Thread Starter 

Spielberg has a big dark side, I know he loved ALIEN.  E.T. started out as a horror movie about invading aliens.  I just think his optimism wont allow him to go too far down the gutter with stuff.  Jaws is terrifying but it's still good fun.  Actually Poltergeist is equally terrifying and scared me more as a kid, because you can't blow up ghosts like a shark.  I think the dude ripping his face off is about as dark as Spielberg got, but that's pretty damn dark.  Horrific really.

post #63 of 108
The guy ripping his face off and the nasty writhing steak are a couple instances that feel like they might have actually come from Hooper rather than Spielberg..
post #64 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post

The guy ripping his face off and the nasty writhing steak are a couple instances that feel like they might have actually come from Hooper rather than Spielberg..

 

That was Spielberg's assistant from '79 to '83. Did a great two-part episode of I Was There Too! (sadly covered by paywall now) and delves into working on Raiders and Poltergeist


Edited by FilmNerdJamie - 8/28/17 at 6:06pm
post #65 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

Spielberg has a big dark side, I know he loved ALIEN.

 

I just love the implication the Freelings are pot-smoking Reagan Republicans who took their small kids to shit like Alien.

post #66 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmNerdJamie View Post
 

 

I just love the implication the Freelings are pot-smoking Reagan Republicans who took their small kids to shit like Alien.

 

That reminds me.  I did several extensive breakdowns of Poltergeist years ago.... I think I'll repost here (and I do address the "Reagan issue"):

 

BREAKDOWN 1:

 

There are many many aspects to Poltergeist that make it a classic, so I'm going to start simple with the opening moments of the film and explain why it's a brilliant piece of visual storytelling. The best films are meticulously and deliberately crafted to present a theme, a feeling and a cathartic experience via storytelling. Filmmakers prey upon audience emotion, intelligence and use subconscious trickery to manipulate the viewer in certain ways. Poltergeist does this masterfully:

 

 

 

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One of the first thing the movie does is introduce every member of the Freeling family, while expressing Spielberg's pervasive theme of absentee fathers and inadequate males. The filmmakers cleverly use the dog to motivate our movement through the house to each member of the family. First up is the father, Steven, asleep in front of the TV as the dog laps up his leftovers.

 

 

 

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Then the dog heads off. Two things to notice here... the filmmakers deliberately hide Steven's face and have placed him downstairs in front of the TV rather than in bed with his wife. These two seemingly inconsequential choices are the foundation of the "absantee father" motif. With his face hidden, he is given cinematic non importance as just some any-guy in front of a TV, just like the many any-guys who father children but become absantee.

 

 

 

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Now the dog moves upstairs in search of more food.

 

 

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The second person the dog visits is Steven's wife, Diane. She is sleeping alone and we actually see her face. In cinematic terms, this immediately gives her importance over Steven as the rock of the family. In the most basic terms, she is being a responsible adult by being in bed and not vegging out in front of the TV.

 

 

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Then the dog visits the eldest teenager daughter, Dana. Her face is also shown, like her mother's.

 

 

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Being disturbed by the dog, she rolls over revealing a bag of half eaten chips. There are many scenes in the movie where Dana is eating, far more than anyone else, and people have theorized that she was pregnant.

 

 

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Next the dog enters the children's room and first visits the young son, Robbie. Notice that while Robbie's face is onscreen, it is obscured by his baseball cap, a subtle trick to obscure the only other male in the household... like his father.

 

 

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And lastly the dog visits the youngest daughter, and the one who is eventually kidnapped, CarolAnne. Her face, like the other women, is seen, but even more fascinating is that she is the only person who's face we can see clearly. Everyone else is either offscreen, or turned to the side, or obscured by something. This immediately sets up CarolAnne as the most important person in the house.

 

 

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To hammer this point home, the camera slowly glides toward her as the dog leaves the room, and she eventually sits up. So in just a minute or two we have established everyone in the house in a clever way via the dog, have the theme of male/female dynamics (which will play out in the film) setup, and have been shown who the main character is. All having been done without dialogue. It is pure visual storytelling, which most films struggle with...this is one of the many reasons why Poltergeist is one of the best horror films ever made.

 

 

NEXT, PART 2....

post #67 of 108
Good analysis, Ambler!
post #68 of 108
Thread Starter 

POLTERGEIST breakdown pt.2 (children as superior beings).

 

One of the major themes of Poltergeist is that children are far better at perceiving abstract phenomena, are more perceptive of the world around them, and are better at solving problems than adults. In this breakdown, I will explore that theme.

 

 

 

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One of the first things you'll notice, especially in the beginning, is that CarolAnne, a child, has more of a deep connection to this unseen, hidden world than anyone else. She speaks to the TV as if it's alive, baffling her family. This is later paid off when she is sucked into the otherside, via the portal in her closet.

 

 

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During the opening credits, we see kids riding their bikes in circles...

 

 

 

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in a very trick like fashion, displaying a distinct sense of exploration and fun.

 

 

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We immediately cut to an adult on his bike, riding in a boring, predictable straight line. The juxtaposition of these two shots is deliberate to show the contrast between the kids and the adult.

 

 

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Next we see this man, who is actually riding a kids' bike, lugging a case of beer, but failing to use the kids' bike the way the previous children were, and carrying an adult beverage. This is deliberate.

 

 

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In the next shot, a group of kids have remote control cars.

 

 

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They use the cars to chase down the adult. Cars are an adult vehicle, which is also a deliberate choice.

 

 

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The kids use the adult styled vehicles to trip up the adult who is using the kids' bike improperly. It is a clever switch of roleplaying that is used to hammer home a theme of children dominating adults. This will continue throughout the film.

 

 

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A bit later, when the children are asleep with their parents in bed, CarolAnne gets up as she is beckoned to the flashing TV, when ghostly entities stream out of it. This also happened in the beginning, when she was the only one to wake up and start talking to the TV. Now she is the only one awake and witnessing this phenomena as her parents sleep, totally unaware of what's happening in their own house. Once again, a child is shown to be superior to the adults.

 

 

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Later, when the chairs in the kitchen magically form themselves together, Diane is baffled, and asks CarolAnne, "TV people?", and CarolAnne confirms by nodding. CarolAnne knows what's going on while Diane is completely frightened and clueless.

 

 

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After the tree attacks the house and CarolAnne is sucked into the closet, the family desperately searches for her. The next youngest, Robbie is the only person who knows CarolAnne is somehow inside the TV....

 

 

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and calls for his mother, Diane to come and investigate. Once again, a child is more perceptive and clever than the adults.

 

 

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This is a key moment in the film that many people miss, but subconsciously it's successful in hammering home this theme again. Robbie relates something to his mother and Dr. Lesh (the paranormal investigator)...that if he died, they could tie a rope around him and he could be rescued along with CarolAnne. This is exactly the technique Tangina (the psychic) uses later in the film to rescue CarolAnne from the otherside. It is a subtle bit of foreshadowing as to what is going to occur and once again relates the theme I've been discussing.

 

 

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A bit later, Ryan and Marty, the other two paranormal investigators, stare at the bright apparition coming down the stairs toward everyone. This is actually a clever bit of role reversal to hammer home the theme. Out of all the people staring at this apparition, Ryan (the black guy) and Diane are the only ones who don't look frightened, but in fact, look curious and comforted.

 

 

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Dr. Lesh looks terrified.

 

 

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So does Steven.

 

 

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And Robbie.

 

 

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But not Diane.

 

 

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Ryan and Diane embrace their child-like sense of wonder, while everyone else (including Marty in the background of this shot), reacts in horror. This is key, because Marty ends up leaving and never coming back, while Ryan is the one who stays to help rescue CarolAnne (and is the one who is there to greet them when they fall out of the portal)

 

 

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Earlier, Ryan displays child-like traits. Here he is seen drawing a picture, which a creative, imaginitive activity, which is child-like. And the picture coincidentally looks very much like Tangina, the short statured psychic who appears later in the film. Earlier, Ryan also talks about filming a child's toy rolling across the floor with a time-lapse camera. Notice his preoccupation with a child's vehicle. These are all things that may seem inconsequential, but pile onto the theme.

 

 

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Later, Tangina the psychic is introduced. She is the expert and compleyely dominates this part of the movie. Her small child like stature and child like voice are completely deliberate by the filmmakers. She is, for all intents and purposes, a grown up child who is very powerful. She is the one who knows all about this world CarolAnne is trapped in and comes up with the plan to rescue her, which is coincidentally the same plan that Robbie subtly devised earlier.

 

 

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Here you notice the rope idea in play. There is also a subtle bit of thematic play in this scene....

 

 

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Tangina specifically told Steven only to pull on the rope when she tells him. But after Tangina tells the beings on the otherside to "cross over" and "go into the light", Steven freaks out and yanks on the rope, fearing for Diane and CarolAnne...directly disobeying Tangina's instructions...an adult disobeying the superior surrogate child. For this Steven is punished by getting a glimpse of a horrible beast that crosses over...

 

 

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and gives Steven a terrible scare. This theme of children being superior in observation, intelligence and problem solving is a constant theme in Poltergeist.

 

 

NEXT UP, PART 3...

post #69 of 108

Always felt bad for that poor bastard with the beers. Why were those kids fucking with him? Who did he bother to warrant such dickishness? And couldn't he have sprung for better alcohol? 

post #70 of 108
I'm totally on board with the "Dana is pregnant" theory. She's eating all the time, and you argue it's the last step out of childhood, which, apart from her not being around much, explains why the spirits leave her alone; there's no innocence for them to exploit.
post #71 of 108
I woulda never thought of the pregnant angle on that...but yeah, I think I'm on board with that too. It was obvious that the eating was deliberate...I just thought it was a random character quirk they gave her and the furthest I thought about it was it seemed like something to have her do to amplify her kinda slightly tomboyish demeanor. But the eating coupled with the repeated hinting at her fooling around with some boy (or boyfriend) that we never see (I don't think) really drives that home.

Now I'm trying to think of some kind of correlation between her possible pregnancy and her mother and sister being sort of symbolically reborn (complete with umbilical cord) later in the movie..
post #72 of 108
She was actually ghost-acted by Brad Pitt.
post #73 of 108
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

POLTERGEIST breakdown pt.2 (children as superior beings).

 

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Nice work on these breakdowns!

 

1. When I was a child, I loved that part with the kids and the remote control car.  Now as an adult, I feel sympathy for the adult.  That said, look at that neighborhood in the establishing shots.  Where the hell could the nearest liquor store be, anyway?  Certainly not within what I'd call emergency biking distance.  Maybe the guy lives in Phase Two and grabbed the beer from his house?  Also, why not maybe use a car to bring back the beer?  Maybe he's had a few and nobody would give him a set of keys?  (Irresponsible drinker = immature child behavior.)

 

2. That shot of Robbie freaked me out as a kid because for a long time, I thought that reddish mud on his face was actually all Robbie's blood.

 

3. I like that Dana pregnant idea.  That could also ret-con into POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE.  In that film, Dana's away at college.  In some alternate universe, her character could've had the child, too, and went on to a more safe life, far from the Freeling family madness.  Sadly, MGM made that less-than-inspired POLTERGEIST remake in 2015...  The Dana's Child angle might've made for a more interesting jumping-off point, in terms of character, for something. 

post #74 of 108

Not only is Dana pregnant, she's repeating a cycle started by her mother:

 

STEVEN (O.S.) (monotone) Diane, my wife, she’s 31. Uh.. 32. My oldest daughter, Dana, 15. Robert, my son, he’s 9. And Carol Anne...

 

Notice Diane must've been 16 when she got pregnant, and the substantial age gap between Dana and Robert. 

post #75 of 108
There's also a heavy implication that Dana may have been an "accident" and the reason Steve and Diane got married. She's much older than the other two kids, who are only three years apart. As if Steve and Diane weren't sure about their marriage and having more kids, then something clicked and they went off to the races. Which might also explain Diane's strong bond with Carol Ann; apart from being the youngest, she's the daughter they actually planned for.
post #76 of 108
See....all of this stuff. ALL of it is just more evidence that this is almost 100% a Steven Spielberg film. These kinds of "on the periphery of the story" character details are played out with almost the exact tone and feel of other Spielberg movies, especially Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I mean....it can't just be the time period (77-82) that makes it feel so much like Spielberg's other "something extraordinary invades boring SoCal suburbia" films like Close Encounters and ET. Ok...it's been so long since I've seen Close Encounters that I couldn't remember if Roy Neary lives in Southern California or not...but it sure feels like he does. I need to rewatch CEOT3K again real soon.

Also....I need some damn closure on that creepy Superbowl '88 picture that's on the wall in their son's room..
post #77 of 108

The Nearys are in Indiana.  So are Barry and Jillian.

post #78 of 108
Ah...ok. I don't know what it is about Spielberg movies (or really most movies) from that period that makes me think "Anaheim."
post #79 of 108

It's also interesting to look at the parallels between Poltergeist and ET.  Aside from coming out within a week of each other, each acts as a sort of mirror of the other.  In E.T., the otherworldly seems frightening at first, but is revealed as friendly; in Poltergeist, it's the opposite, seemingly just playful and pranksterish at first, then turning malevolent.  In E.T., the family is broken (the father has left) but brought together by the otherwordly, whereas in Poltergeist, the family is together but broken apart by it.  In E.T., the outside scientists are an ominous presence; in Poltergeist, they are understanding and sympathetic.  The suburbia of E.T. is this comforting place, complete with its Halloween rituals and pizza deliveries and kids riding around on bikes.  The suburbia of Poltergeist is an invader, paving over what was there before.  Even the respective finales move in opposite directions: E.T.'s soars upward while Poltergeist's implodes in on itself.

 

EDIT:  It just occurred to me that you could look at Poltergeist as essentially the Bachman book to E.T.'s Stephen King book.  

 

EDIT 2:  I know Keys in E.T. is ultimately sympathetic, and that much of the menace of the science team is due to Elliot's perspective on them, but for the most part, they're definitely played as interested in E.T. as a thing, not a person.  That first shot of the team marching up the street with that pounding drum beat is a far cry from Dr. Lesh's team sitting down and having coffee with the Freelings.

post #80 of 108
Damn....that's good..
post #81 of 108
I actually prefer Starman greatly over E.T. Does that make me a bad person?

Though I probably should watch E.T. again. Of all the Spielberg movies I like or love, that's the one that I watch the least often. I probably haven't seen it in a decade..
post #82 of 108
I wonder what compelled Spielberg to create these two stories at the same time? Was he trying to live out different scenarios? One could say ET was about his fantasy (and it was) of needing a friend to get him through his troubles of a displaced family home, and Poltergeist was the reality nightmare of how it really felt to be trapped into it, covered over by ordinary life. The skeletons were literally in the closet.

I also don't think it's a coincidence that the Freeling dad played by Craig T Nelson is also named Steven. He's the one that actually figures out what the whole haunting was about from his boss. Is this Spielberg's revelation of seeing his family life for what it was? Notice the dead bodies rising to the surface, the jewelry that they can't take with them teleporting from the ceiling and into the living room rug. Is this commentary on the ills of a material life keeping families apart and still grasping for immortality by taking the manifested spirit of an innocent child that couldn't take anymore?
post #83 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post

See....all of this stuff. ALL of it is just more evidence that this is almost 100% a Steven Spielberg film. 

 

The biggest giveaway is the staging of individual scenes.  They are shot like Spielberg shoots.  Using the frame in multiple dimensions and moving the actors around like chess pieces.  Hooper really doesn't do that.  It's really all the evidence that's needed.  The blocking of scenes is primarily the director's domain. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

I wonder what compelled Spielberg to create these two stories at the same time? Was he trying to live out different scenarios? 

 

E.T. and Poltergeist started out as one movie, Night Skies... the alien invasion movie on a farm, but one of the aliens befriends the kid.  You can see both movies kind of presenting themselves in that idea.  Spielberg kept the friendly alien idea for E.T. and the invading force terrorizing the family idea for Poltergeist.

post #84 of 108
Thread Starter 

POLTERGEIST breakdown pt.3

 

Another theme in Poltergeist is the rejection of the individualism and consumerist mindset of the Reagan 80s with the programming from television being its most effective method of control. There are several moments in Poltergeist that suggest television is a sinister device that is not to be trusted.

 

 

 

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The first thing we hear in Poltergeist, (before we even seen anything), is the star spangled banner playing over a totally black screen and then a couple of credits...the sound quality of the music is good, loud and clear.

 

 

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But then we cut to an extreme close up of a TV screen, us being so close to the screen that we can't make out what we're seeing. At this point the music becomes more hollow and obviously filtered through the bad speakers on the tube television. The juxtaposition of these two very different sound qualities and the switch to the fuzzy, bad image on the the television suggests that the American values that the star spangled banner represents have become corrupted and cheapened by the technological, consumerist mindset the United States has chosen to adopt... which is represented most strongly by television.

 

 

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The opening scene also includes the father Steven, having fallen asleep in front of the TV, suggesting it is responsible for the laziness and disrespect of absantee fathers (which I touched on a little in my first post), leading to the breakdown of households.

 

 

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It is infered that the spirits that abduct CarolAnne originate in the TV, since in the opening sequence, she is communicating with them through the device.

 

 

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And phantasmagorical spirits come out of the TV in a later scene. So, metaphorically and almost literally, CarolAnne is abducted and held prisoner by television itself

 

 

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Like many children who's minds are held captive by television and it's hypnotic images. If you notice, the flashing static image from the TV even feels hypnotic.

 

 

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In the first sequence, CarolAnne's family even stare at her as she seems quite unaware they are even in the room, another common trait of children who are glued to the TV. When CarolAnne is kidnapped, she can still talk to her family, suggesting she is still "there", but she is not really there... it is as if her mind has been kidnapped... as many children seem to be who become zombified by a television set.

 

 

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Early in the film, Steven and his buddies are enraptured by a football game on TV.

 

 

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The set suddenly starts to malfuction, switching to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

 

 

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Steven fights with his neighbor, who's own remote seems to be controlling Steven's television.

 

 

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This also advances the theme of inadequate males (as I talked about in an earlier update), as Steven can't even seem to control the television in his own house... later he loses his daughter to the TV, again making him an inadequate father.

 

 

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It's important to note that Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is a show that teaches children important life lessons and instills family values without insulting the intelligence of its audience. It is one of the few shows to do this. The fact that it is battling for the attention of Steven and the men in his household is significant, symbolically showing that these important values are becoming lost in the Freeling household.

 

 

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This next shot later on is interesting. It accomplishes several different things at once. First, Steven is reading a book called "REAGAN, THE MAN, THE PRESIDENT". I mentioned earlier the theme of Reagan era consumerism corrupting American households. The book is a pretty blatant visual cue, almost literally in our faces. But what hammers the point home is Diane can be seen rolling a joint in the background and wearing a flower print top, suggesting a very 60s era, hippie mindset. Second, the Reagan book and the joint are about as far away from each other as can be in the same shot, creating tension in the image (with the Reagan book given clear dominance). Third, both parents are separated by this deliberate decision, with Diane rolling the joint, which implies she is more of an altruistic flower child/hippie, and Steven is more of a yuppie, 80s era consumer.

 

 

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with Steven also being much closer to the TV

 

 

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These two diametrically opposed mindsets are represented in a very striking image. It's one of the most effective shots in the movie. Also important to note is that when CarolAnne is kidnapped, her mother (the hippie), is the one who saves her, implying the only thing that can fix the household is the dissolution of the consumerist, television driven, Reagan era mindset. This pays off in the final image of the movie (which I will get to).

 

 

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The Reagan era consumerism aspect is also expressed in the subplot about Steven's boss and his company removing headstones from the land they developed for the housing suburb the Freelings live in, but leaving the bodies in order to save money.

 

 

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It is this decision that directly leads to the kidnapping of CarolAnne and the absolute pandemonium that destroys half the neighborhood and swallows the entire Freeling house in the 3rd act.

 

 

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The very last scene completes this "television is evil" motif, when the Freelings, now homeless, check into a motel

 

 

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But immediately remove the television set. They essentially are saved as a family by getting rid of TV. A very simple, but effective thematic decision by the filmmakers.

post #85 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

 

E.T. and Poltergeist started out as one movie, Night Skies... the alien invasion movie on a farm, but one of the aliens befriends the kid.  You can see both movies kind of presenting themselves in that idea.  Spielberg kept the friendly alien idea for E.T. and the invading force terrorizing the family idea for Poltergeist.

 

Then combined both for Gremlins!

 

I also think the kernel for the idea of Poltergeist was setting a "modern" ghost story in a "modern" setting, this being in a relatively new suburban house which, to my knowledge, had never been done before? They had always been relegated to old mansions and such. 

post #86 of 108
Thread Starter 

The suburbia thing was definitely unique as far as I know.  Spielberg's invention.

post #87 of 108
Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post
Though I probably should watch E.T. again. Of all the Spielberg movies I like or love, that's the one that I watch the least often. I probably haven't seen it in a decade..

 

Just in case anybody didn't know, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is hitting theaters again this weekend for it's anniversary.  And E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL is doing the same in mid September!  I missed the POLTERGEIST limited reissue when it played three years ago but caught a subsequent showing and it was amazing.

 

It's always fun to revisit E.T., but POLTERGEIST and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS really, really benefit from a big screen.  

 

https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/26/close-encounters-of-the-third-kind-4k-remaster-theatrical-release/

https://www.fathomevents.com/events/et-the-extra-terrestrial

post #88 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

 

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That movie is A Guy Named Joe, which, in addition to eventually being remade by Spielberg as Always, is itself a kind of ghost story.

 

It's always fun to watch the opening of this with people who grew up in the age of 24-hour cable television and see their confusion when the anthem plays and the station actually goes off the air.

post #89 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer View Post
 

 

Just in case anybody didn't know, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is hitting theaters again this weekend for it's anniversary.  And E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL is doing the same in mid September!  I missed the POLTERGEIST limited reissue when it played three years ago but caught a subsequent showing and it was amazing.

 

It's always fun to revisit E.T., but POLTERGEIST and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS really, really benefit from a big screen.  

 

https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/26/close-encounters-of-the-third-kind-4k-remaster-theatrical-release/

https://www.fathomevents.com/events/et-the-extra-terrestrial

 

Damn, I have yet to see CE3K or Plotergeist on the big screen.  I heard bad things about the Poltergeist screenings though... apparently they literally just projected a copy of the DVD, which obviously would look horrible on a big screen and there were tons of complaints.  I don't remember there being any film prints or digital HD restoration showings, but maybe I'm wrong.  All I remember hearing about were the laughable DVD showings.

 

E.T. thankfully I did see theatrically on initial release, which was obviously EVERYTHING... it was really the movie that made me want to do film.  I also saw the 20th anniversary theatrical re-release, with the CGI additions, which I hated.  But it was nice seeing it at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

post #90 of 108

Kind of odd that Spielberg didn't release a statement on Hooper's passing. He did in recent years for Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Roger Ebert, Richard Attenborough, Ray Harryhausen etc.. 

 

I thought they might have had a falling out after Poltergeist, but he did hire Hooper to direct an episode for his Amazing Stories TV Series. 

post #91 of 108
Thread Starter 

I could mixing up the Poltergeist screenings though... I think the DVD nonsense was for the 20 anniversary a long time ago.

post #92 of 108
Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post
Ah...ok. I don't know what it is about Spielberg movies (or really most movies) from that period that makes me think "Anaheim."

 

For me it was the scenes of open space and trees.  Even though I was originally raised in an area that was a combination of rural and suburban, it was in about 1985 - I think when BACK TO THE FUTURE took over my world -- that I got really jealous that all my favorite movies took place or were shot so very far away in towns that didn't look anything like mine.  E.T., POLTERGEIST, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, EXPLORERS, BTTF, the Endor parts of RETURN OF THE JEDI...     Towns with giant redwood forests and pines everywhere and rolling suburban hills with lots of kids and mountains at the edge of town.  I wanted to be there so much.   The world of these films jelled in my heart and mind in a way that only New York City, Chicago and later Coastal California ever have. 

post #93 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer View Post
 

 

For me it was the scenes of open space and trees.  Even though I was originally raised in an area that was a combination of rural and suburban, it was in about 1985 - I think when BACK TO THE FUTURE took over my world -- that I got really jealous that all my favorite movies took place or were shot so very far away in towns that didn't look anything like mine.  E.T., POLTERGEIST, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, EXPLORERS, BTTF, the Endor parts of RETURN OF THE JEDI...     Towns with giant redwood forests and pines everywhere and rolling suburban hills with lots of kids and mountains at the edge of town.  I wanted to be there so much.   The world of these films jelled in my heart and mind in a way that only New York City, Chicago and later Coastal California ever have. 

 

Same here.  Those movies' locations were as much part of their success as the stories.  The thing about E.T. is some of that is a cheat.  The forest scenes take place literally in their backyard, but were shot in northern California, far away from the valley in South Cali.  I remember driving up there to Crescent City once, and the exact same forest trees and ferns were there as if nothing had changed.

post #94 of 108
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

Damn, I have yet to see CE3K or Plotergeist on the big screen.  I heard bad things about the Poltergeist screenings though... apparently they literally just projected a copy of the DVD, which obviously would look horrible on a big screen and there were tons of complaints.  I don't remember there being any film prints or digital HD restoration showings, but maybe I'm wrong.  All I remember hearing about were the laughable DVD showings.

 

E.T. thankfully I did see theatrically on initial release, which was obviously EVERYTHING... it was really the movie that made me want to do film.  I also saw the 20th anniversary theatrical re-release, with the CGI additions, which I hated.  But it was nice seeing it at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

 

I was fortunate enough to have caught POLTERGEIST on 35mm.  There are two really great rep places near me that do this stuff on the regular. 

CE3K you should definately go if you can.  I just saw a 4K restoration at the Yonkers NY Alamo Drafthouse of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and it looked really solid.

 

For me, I'd agree with the Spielberg Effect on wanting to be in film.  I was all about Spielberg as a kid and largely still am.  In film school, though, I directly referenced both GHOSTBUSTERS and BACK TO THE FUTURE as my inspirations.  By that time, Steven's work was already a part of me.  The whole aesthetic.  To this day, everytime John Williams releases a new score, I consider it a national holiday.

post #95 of 108

I know a lot of Fathom and TCM events are just a projection of the Blu-ray or a digital copy; Jaws in particular had a lot of artifacts like you'd see from a disc.

post #96 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by User_32 View Post
 

Kind of odd that Spielberg didn't release a statement on Hooper's passing. He did in recent years for Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Roger Ebert, Richard Attenborough, Ray Harryhausen etc.. 

 

I thought they might have had a falling out after Poltergeist, but he did hire Hooper to direct an episode for his Amazing Stories TV Series. 

 

I'm not sure how much of the Hooper hire was an apology for Poltergeist or not.  I also think Hooper did an episode or two of Taken for Spielberg as well?

 

But I don't imagine Hooper and Spielberg were close friends, as opposed to his relationships with the others... makes sense to acknowledge people you are close to.

post #97 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

 

I'm not sure how much of the Hooper hire was an apology for Poltergeist or not.  I also think Hooper did an episode or two of Taken for Spielberg as well?

 

But I don't imagine Hooper and Spielberg were close friends, as opposed to his relationships with the others... makes sense to acknowledge people you are close to.

 

I mean Spielberg dropped all connections to John Landis after Twilight Zone and yet 10+ years later offered him Men in Black. Can never say "Never" in this business.

 

Regarding Spielberg and a public statement on Hooper's passing, any remark from him would be dissected to shit by Social Media (something Spielberg is clearly no fan of, rightfully). So he just didn't bother or most likely as Ambler stated, they were just never that close in the first time to warrant one.

post #98 of 108
Thread Starter 

Are you guys enjoying the breakdowns?  I've got one more coming.

post #99 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

Are you guys enjoying the breakdowns?  I've got one more coming.

 

I'll put it this way. I have never been a Poltergeist guy (and Spielberg is my favorite filmmaker). In fact... I've only recently come around to E.T. (a film I always acknowledged how well-made it is but never "connected" to me for the longest time).

 

Reading those breakdowns makes me want to re-watch it ASAP.

post #100 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

Are you guys enjoying the breakdowns?  I've got one more coming.

I'm enjoying the breakdowns immensely! I've even hired a guy to ghost-read them for me.
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