This movie takes the classic haunted house/ghost story and brings it back from the dead with dazzling surrealism. Building on the legacy of films like The House on Haunted Hill (1959) and The Haunting (1963), Poltergeist (1982) utilized the latest advancements in special effects to enhance the story. However, it is really the cast that sells the terror in this film, which is driven by the characters more than anything else. The credits may say Directed by Tobe Hooper but writer/producer Steven Spielberg's fingerprints are all over the celluloid. By hiring a name proven in the genre (Tobe Hooper directed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)), Spielberg was able to capitalize on the marketing appeal while still experimenting in a new genre. The score was also placed in the hands of a seasoned professional in the horror field, Jerry Goldsmith who composed the score for The Omen (1976). The subsequent legacy of the film series is still highly controversial - with several of the main actors dying tragically after their involvement with the films.
Check back tomorrow for the next installment of the Horror Alphabet.