50 Years of SIFF: Poltergeist


USA | 1982 | 114 min. | Tobe Hooper

February 23, 2024

50 Years of SIFF

While living in an average family house in a pleasant neighborhood, the youngest daughter of the Freeling family, Carol Anne, seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television. New 4K remaster. DAN DOODY CHOICE.

Seattle International Film Festival 1982 selection - World Premiere.

Ticket includes admission to both the 6:30pm screening of Poltergeist and the 9:00pm screening of The Babadook.

Related Event

POLTERDOOK: Festival Fright Night

Celebrate the Seattle International Film Festival’s upcoming 50th birthday with this one-night-only double feature of two frightful masterpieces from the Festival archives–Poltergeist (SIFF 1982 World Premiere) and The Babadook (2014).

“When one thinks of a haunted house, the image that most often comes to mind is an isolated, abandoned mansion of either Victorian or Gothic design, ancient in its construction. Poltergeist flipped that genre trope on its head: the Freeling family home is a brand new piece of suburban tract, cookie cutter in its design. And yet, it is home (pun intended) to one of the best horror films from the ‘80s. Of course, countless rumors have swirled around the film for years, most notably the question of who was the chief creative force behind the camera: producer Steven Spielber or director Tobe Hooper. For me, Poltergeist is the perfect synthesis of the two, combining the gleeful terror found in Hooper’s best work with Spielberg’s sense of wonder and the fantastic. It is, also, one of the most iconic films to have premiered at SIFF.”--Dan Doody, Seattle International Film Festival Programmer

“They’re here….” Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson) lives with his wife, Diane (JoBeth Williams), and their three children, Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne, in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood. It starts with just a few odd occurrences, such as broken dishes and furniture moving around by itself. However, when he realizes that something truly evil haunts his home, Steve calls in a team of parapsychologists to help before it's too late. Steven Spielberg, as producer and screenwriter, joined forces with director Tobe Hooper and the special effects wizardry of Oscar-winner Richard Edlund to create a suburban nightmare, dealing with the reality of ghosts. In Poltergeist, they cross a frightening new threshold, encountering forces which baffle science, defy reason .... and turn the once peaceful lives of a normal American family into an experience that must be seen to be believed - making contact with the other side.

  • Director: Tobe Hooper
  • Principal Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Heather O’Rourke, Oliver Robins, Dominique Dunne
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1982
  • Running Time: 114 min.
  • Producer: Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg
  • Screenplay: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor
  • Cinematographers: Matthew F. Leonetti
  • Editors: Michael Kahn
  • Music: Jerry Goldsmith
  • Filmography: Eggshells (1969), Peter Paul and Mary: The Song Is Love (1970), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Eaten Alive (1976), The Funhouse (1981), Lifeforce (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Spontaneous Combustion (1990), Night Terrors (1993), The Mangler (1995), Crocodile (2000), Toolbox Murders (2004), Mortuary (2005), Djinn (2013)
  • Language: English

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