For some reason I chose to watch Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist on Halloween night.
I don’t watch many movies; I’d rather read books. I can’t even sit through many movies because, as I just mentioned, I’d rather read a book. A scary book, a funny book, or a literary book.
I don’t care which, but a book is preferable to a movie. Reading a book ‘fires up’ one’s imagination, requires thought. Reading a book initiates the reader’s thought process, and requires the reader to ‘dive’ into the text and create meaning from the words. You can’t just stare at words and get something from them.
But you can just stare at a movie, with your mouth hanging open, and you will get a story out of it, but the blood will pool in your rear end, you will zone out, your eyes will glaze over and, if you’re American, you will be satisfied with that.
I broke my own tendencies and decided to watch a scary movie for Halloween. I chose Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist. Why? I don’t know. It looked…scary. And I like scary, so I thought I might enjoy it.
But, I’ve never seen a more terrible movie. And to think of all the artistic films out there, and I picked something so farcical and laughable. And offensive.
The Poltergeist‘s back DVD cover boasts that the film “…is a fantastic example of two brilliant filmmakers (Spielberg and [Toby] Hooper) combining talents to create a lasting and memorable horror show.”
And I agree. The movie was horrific. Poltergeist was so terribly rotten and not well done that I fast-forwarded the movie to see how ‘stupid’ it could get. The back cover also boasts of how frightening it is when a tree attacks the movie’s beloved family.
A tree? That was when I stopped watching. A giant tree turned into a monster and started eating the family’s young son. A tree! In the rain. With Craig T. Nelson as the father, shouting and rushing to save his son…from a monstrous tree.
Throughout the ages there have been endless reports of demon possession, reports of poltergeist activity, ghost sightings, hauntings, creepy, unexplained voices picked up on audio recordings, serial killers, psychopaths, mothers who drown their babies in the bathtub because God told them to do so, and Spielberg’s ‘poltergeisting’ a family with a giant tree?
The only reason I’m writing about this is because I’m so offended by how poorly this movie was made, and how unreasonably stupid it was. I might have a problem suspending my disbelief, but to suspend one’s disbelief over a giant tree! Attacking a young child! Reaching its branches through the child’s window! To eat said child! Opening its trunk as if trees have mouths! To swallow the child!
I’ve never really respected Spielberg, anyway. And I don’t care to know who Toby Hooper is. Spielberg isn’t Terry Gilliam, or P.T. Anderson, or Jim Jarmusch, or Federico Fellini, or Daron Aronofsky, but he also shouldn’t even be Steven Spielberg. He should be George W. Bush Jr. for having made a film like that. Or Richard Nixon.