I have to admit, however, that this canine Elvis did merit a chuckle:
I will have to start considering what I'm planning to wear to the Hallowe'en party I'm going to on Friday evening. I'll be honest, I've been so wrapped up in The Early Mixes that I haven't given it any thought whatsoever.
I took a gander at the new Blu-ray edition of Poltergeist last night. I was surprised at how little the film has aged since its release. Sure, some of the optical effects look a little dodgy nowadays (although the money shot of the Beast confronting Diane (JoBeth Williams) towards the end still looks phenomenal, no pun intended), but the emphasis in this movie has always been the intrusion of the supernatural on a normal suburban family home, and to that end, the film still works for the same reasons it always did, because Williams and Craig T. Nelson totally sell the idea that that they are a family.
Another reason for the film's success is that the fears it plays on are ones that are so familiar. Who as a child hasn't been frightened by a big, scary tree or something as innocuous to the adult world as a toy clown? What is more harrowing to a parent on a primal level than a missing child? The plot is essentially B-movie territory — indeed, the film can be seen as a big-budget remake of the Richard Matheson-scripted Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost" — but the execution is first class, and the cast imbues these characters with a familiarity that makes their plight feel all the more real, no matter how outlandish it becomes.
The Dolby TrueHD track is a superior presentation to anything I've heard accompany the film before, although it does show the age of the original source material. There are several discrete rear effects, usually conveying ambiance, but for the most part the audio remains primarily front-oriented, perhaps a consequence of the original matrixed effects in the original sound mix.
The track does a fantastic job, however, of conveying Jerry Goldsmith's masterful score. 1982 was a banner year for film scores, with Basil Poledouris' Conan the Barbarian, Maurice Jarre's Firefox, John Williams' E.T., Brian May's The Road Warrior, James Horner's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Vangelis' Blade Runner, Wendy Carlos' Tron and Trevor Jones' The Dark Crystal. Goldsmith himself had a fantastic one-two-three punch with First Blood, The Secret of N.I.M.H. and Poltergeist, with the latter nominated for an Academy Award.
It is no wonder that the score got its nod; it is very prominently featured in the film and has a lot to do with both how the audience relates to the family and the perverse intrusion of the other world. Steven Spielberg's liner notes for the original LP of Poltergeist warn the listener not to get too comfortable with any of his melodies, because you can't trust that they won't go somewhere absolutely terrifying. Indeed, one of the most intense film/music interaction moments in Goldsmith's career occurs in this film, during Tangina's (Zelda Rubinstein) explanation of what's going on to the Freelings:
WORK SAFE BUT VERY UNSETTLING!!!
If you're not scared, you should probably move towards the light yourself...
Something that really struck me this viewing was that, no matter how dazzling the effects in Poltergeist may be, the movie isn't relying on them to unsettle the audience. Instead, the film aims for an unsettling tension, a nauseous fear eating away at the inside, feelings which Goldsmith's score intensifies. And yet, the rush of that strings heard as Diane and Steve kiss before she rushes into the closet is as glorious a romantic moment as any in the composer's career. Truly a brilliant score, a perfect fusion of the visceral terror of The Omen films with the same sense of wonder that would imbue his scores for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Secret of N.I.M.H.
The disc supplements are crap, two mini-documentaries using the film as a point of departure to promote more pseudo-scientific parapsychology nonsense. I'm willing to suspend disbelief for a movie, but not for disc supplements, and while the film's production may be a sore spot for some of its participants, it has been over twenty-five years already. It's high time for people just give up trying to keep a lid on the Steven Spielberg/Tobe Hooper question — I mean, it's one of the best-publicized "secrets" in the industry — and just address it directly, the way that Twentieth Century Fox allowed for the supplements on Alien³ in the "Quadrillogy" box set.
marinshellstone has posted the international theatrical trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: