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Tobe Hooper
Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight
Writing Credits:
Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor

A host of otherworldly forces invade the Freeling family's peaceful suburban home.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6,896,612 on 890 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (Remastered)
English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (Theatrical)
Castillian Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 2.0
German Dolby 2.0
Italian Dolby 1.0
Castillian Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $33.99
Release Date: 9/20/2022

• “They Are Here” Documentary
• Vintage Featurette
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Poltergeist [4K UHD] (1982)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 15, 2022)

1982’s Poltergeist provides nearly as much intrigue off-screen as it does on. Foremost is the so-called "Poltergeist curse", named that because of the premature deaths of young actors Heather O'Rourke and Dominique Dunne.

However, don't forget that Craig T. Nelson went on to play Coach for years. That has to have been part of the curse, doesn’t it?

The Freeling family lives in a “cookie cutter” suburban development. However, their house comes with a feature absent from the other homes: a supernatural infestation.

Odd occurrences pile up until five-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) gets sucked into an alternate realm via a TV. Spearheaded by mother Diane (JoBeth Williams) and father Steve (Craig T. Nelson), the family embarks on a strange journey to rescue the young girl.

In addition to the “curse”, one other intriguing concept involved in Poltergeist relates to who directed the film. The credits say Tobe Hooper, so end of story, right?

Well, no. For years, stories have persisted that Steven Spielberg actually directed much of the movie.

The rumors state that Hooper wasn't getting the job done. Since Spielberg was already there as screenwriter and co-producer, it wouldn’t have been tough for him to take over the reigns.

Spielberg consistently denies that this occurred, but when I watch the film, I find it hard to believe otherwise. From top to bottom, Poltergeist looks like a Spielberg film.

Yes, as producer and writer he obviously played a strong role in the production and his influence would have been felt even if he never stepped on the set. However, this case goes beyond that.

Too much of the movie simply resembles and moves like a Spielberg-directed film. The framing, the camerawork – checkout the frequent use of Spielberg's trademark zooms in on characters - the pacing, the treatment of the environment… if Spielberg didn’t direct this sucker, then Hooper sure did a great impression.

Well, whoever actually helmed Poltergeist did a very good job. The film works well on many levels. Some might view it as "horror lite" since it lacks the graphic violence and high body counts of most horror films. Indeed, the flick contains zero deaths.

However, I disagree with the assertion that it’s a kiddie version of a horror movie. Films don't need buckets of blood and multiple decapitations to provide some scares.

Poltergeist offers thrills, shrieks, and creeps galore, all while maintaining a "PG" rating, though it would probably be a "PG-13" these days. That rating didn't exist in 1982.

For example, take the scene in which youngest child Carol Anne first gets sucked into the afterworld while the rest of the family attempts to rescue middle child Robbie from a tree that tries to eat him. The latter aspect of the scene provides a high level of excitement and agitation, which briefly dissipates until the family members discover that Carol Anne's missing.

A frantic search for her ensues until they hear her distant voice call to they and they find out she's gone - way gone! Man, that part of the scene gives me the willies every time.

All of Poltergeist works very well. Even with its “PG” rating, it never feels like a dumbed-down piece of horror. It presents a lively, involving tale that continues to entertain after 40 years.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Poltergeist appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The transfer made the movie look very good.

Sharpness usually seemed positive. A few wider shots exhibited some light softness, but those instances stayed reasonably minor, and they seemed to stem from the source photography. The majority of the flick came across as accurate and distinctive.

I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement created no distractions. With a good layer of grain, I suspected no overzealous noise reduction, and print flaws remained absent.

Colors excelled, as the hues looked vivid and lively. The movie went with natural tones that seemed dynamic and full, and the disc's HDR added heft and range to the colors.

Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed good clarity. The low-light shots presented nice delineation, and HDR gave whites and contrast extra punch. Everything here satisfied.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Poltergeist provided a fine piece of work too, as the soundfield gave us a nice setting. Music showed solid stereo imaging, and effects broadened the spectrum well.

Elements like thunder roared from all around the room, and pieces such as spirits also cropped up in logical spots. Despite some fairly “speaker-specific” material early in the film, the components blended together in a smooth manner to create a fine sense of action in all five speakers, though the forward area dominated.

I thought the audio seemed strong given the age of the source material. Speech occasionally was a little stiff, but the lines usually seemed natural, and I noticed no edginess or concerns.

Music seemed vibrant and dynamic, and effects also demonstrated fine power and clarity. Bass response sounded very solid and added real heft to the package. Though the mix wasn’t quite good enough for “A”-level consideration, I really liked this age-defying soundtrack.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The 4K’s DTS-HD MA mix seemed virtually identical to the BD’s Dolby TrueHD track.

Visuals showed considerable improvements, as the 4K looked better defined, cleaner and more dynamic. While the BD worked fine on its own, the 4K easily topped it.

No extras appear on the 4K disc itself, but the included Blu-ray copy offers a 31-minute, four-second documentary called They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Revealed. This show includes interviews with psychic mediums Laurie Johnson and Reese Christian, cultural anthropologist Paul Draper, paranormal investigators Patrick Burns, Barry Conrad and Dr. Barry Taff, ghost hunters Karen Zimmerman and Richard and Debbie Senate, author/ghost expert Alexandra Holzer, Poltergeist! A Study in Destructive Haunting author Colin Wilson, Ghost Hunter author Hans Holzer, Ghost Trackers Organization founder Gloria Young, home owner Jacqueline Mason, psychic Roberta Tavassoli, producer Frank Marshall, magician Misty Lee, hypnotist Vickie McDonald, photographer Jeff Wheatcraft, solo climber Michael Reardon, and actor Richard Lawson.

“World” gives us some thoughts about poltergeists, ghosts and the supernatural. We watch the work of investigators and psychics and see how they delve into their jobs.

I didn’t care for “World”, though I’m not sure how much of that feeling came from the program itself. For one, I was a little bitter that we didn’t get anything about the film’s production.

Also, since I don’t put much stock in the supernatural, the program’s fairly unquestioning embrace of ghosts and that culture became off-putting.

If I separate those emotions from my take on the show, does it seem more engaging? Ehh, probably not.

It’s mildly interesting to learn a little more about the whole phenomenon, but it all feels pretty puffy. Again, it’s the lack of critical examination. The show tends to take the supernatural as a given and buys into that scene so heavily that “World” feels more like a promo piece for psychics.

Even worse, it’s clear that the disc’s producers chatted with some members of the Poltergeist team since we hear from Marshall and Lawson. So how come we get virtually no information about the movie?

Marshall comments that they wanted to base the scares in Poltergeist on real research – and that’s all we ever hear about the film from anyone involved. He and Lawson fill about 30 seconds of the program’s running time.

What a disappointment! We don’t learn much that I’d call revealing or intriguing in this uninspiring show.

In addition to the movie’s trailer, we find a vintage featurette called The Making of Poltergeist. It spans seven minutes, 18 seconds and provides notes from Marshall, producer Steven Spielberg and actor Craig T. Nelson.

We get a few notes about the production along with shots from the set. Nothing great emerges, but at least we get a glimpse of the flick’s creation.

By the way, the featurette adds fuel to the “Spielberg actually directed Poltergeist” fire. He seems omnipresent and highly involved on the set, whereas credited director Tobe Hooper barely registers along the way.

Note that the Blu-ray included with the 4K offers a 2022 remaster and does not simply duplicate the original BD. As of September 2022, Warner only offers the updated Blu-ray as part of this 4K package, so it currently enjoys no solo release.

Poltergeist delivers an innovative, clever horror flick. It continues to engage after 40 years. The 4K UHD provides very good picture and audio but fails to give us much in terms of useful extras. This is easily the best reproduction of the film to date but I wish it came with superior supplements.

To rate this film, visit the original review of POLTERGEIST

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