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.
To rate this film, visit the original review of POLTERGEIST