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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Italian - Hearing Impaired, Romanian, Bulgarian
  Extras

    Poltergeist

    Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 110 mins . M15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    There's nothing better than revisting an older title sometimes. It's good to free yourself from the shackles of new feature bloated bigbudget CG completely OTT idiocy and sometimes settle in for an older film that might get overlooked these days. Today, I look at Poltergeist, or as my friends and I call it, Poltergoost.

    Once upon a time, a nice average family living in a new residential development became the victims of ghostly activity. Seems silly ol’ pop -who’s one of the people responsible for planning and building the new development- had gone and built the house on an old burial ground. Well, needless to say, the dead were a tad pissed at this blatant disrespect for the..er..dead, and started all kinds of scarey hauntery in the family house, culminating in the kidnapping of youngest child by the spirits. This doesn't sit well with the parents, who now had to find a way to get her back.

    In Empire magazine’s "The Greatest Horror Movies Ever" edition Poltergeist had a write-up claiming that the Fangoria set don't consider this one of theirs but it should be seen as more of a "My First Horror Film". I think this is a fairly apt description for the film, as it isn't straight out hardcore horror/supernatural, but a far more approachable style that is made for the mainstream multiplex crowd and works its magic a treat without going too far. The makers were going for "friendly" scares of the "well timed taps on the shoulder when the audience least expected it" type, rather than the "rip their heads off and present it to them on a bloody platter" type. But then what do you expect with Senor Speilbergo at the wheel pretending to let Tobe Hooper call the shots. Apparently Hooper and Speilberg didn’t walk away with much fondness for each other after this. I can understand how this might happen. Hooper wants to rip heads off, Speilbergo wants to make money.

    Regardless of who actually really directed the show, this still contains some absolute cracker scenes. The entire opening sequence, the parents trying to talk their kid back out of ghostsville, an evil tree and a f**king scary looking clown that rates right up there with oompaloompahs and flying monkeys in the scarey looking buggers stakes, and you have a effective film.

    Brilliant stuff!

      Video
    Contract

    Wrapped up in a 2.35:1 16:9 enhanced transfer, Poltergeist looks about as good as I expected, which is very good but not great. Considering the age and the large amounts of darkness during many scenes it comes across clear and with quite a good amount of solid clear detail. Asides from the white specks on the print throughout, there really aren't any distractions in the picture and the transfer holds up well with reasonably good colouring and a nice film like look. Perfectly suitable form for revisting this little classic, I say.

      Audio
    Contract

    Ah, while this sports a fine effort, one can only imagine what could have been if this was mixed in the modern ways of aggressive 5.1 soundtracks, like it was in the States. The audio is a 2.0 surround job and it isn't too bad as is. While everything sounds fine with only the occasion ropey foley work sounding a bit fake and flat, dialogue is clear and the mono surrounds back up the supernatural tomfoolery as good as they can when needed. Some nice bits can be found throughout that shine through the limitations of the mix by being creative in use, and this results in enhancing the overall experience of the film rather than detracting from it. Still, the U.S. DD5.1 mix would have been very very welcome indeed. Some scenes would have had noises flying everywhere around your head. Never mind though, this is fine if you can only play region 4 dvds.

      Extras
    Contract

    They're not hereee... This dvd is an Extra Free Zone.

      Overall  
    Contract

    Well, you could complain about the lack of a 5.1 audio mix and there's not an extra to be seen on the disc, but what would that get you, ya big whinger? Would you rather not watch the film at all? Fine then, but Poltergeist is still a fun film to watch. I got all the entertainment I needed from the film, so this dvd gets the thumbs up from me.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1172
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      And I quote...
    "Rather than buying that feature bloated new release that you don't really want anyway, why not take a look at this instead?"
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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