While living an 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.
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In '82 this well told mix of family story and horror film delivered both jolts and a moving story about the power of familial love. 30 years on the effects are pretty damn creaky but the tale is still enjoyable despite all the copycats and parodies since. Jobeth Williams was spectacular here and interesting turns by Straight and Rubinstein were fun as well. Less successful were the child performances.
Whether Spielberg was the secret director or just an extremely helpful producer, this is still an important entry in his canon, a B-side to E.T. that captures childhood fear as much as E.T. did childhood loneliness. And if you pay attention to the little details (and you really should), you get a pretty bitchin' satire of the advent of Reagan's America. One last thought: WHY DIDN'T THEY LEAVE THE GODDAMN HOUSE!?!
The baby boomer generation's horrified acceptance that they must shed their pot-smoking hippie teenage ways and buckle down with a good mortgage, with attempting to preserve a shred of integrity!
Lots of anxious allegorical stuff about the American Dream with weird, stilted dialogue galore! A haunted house movie chaperoned by the ghost of Ronald Reagan.
This is the only film of the ''self-aware" Spielberg '80's Patented-Formula that I can really get behind. I think Tobe Hooper helped make it more digestible for me. This movie absolutely traumatized me in my childhood. That mother-@#$%ing clown-doll!!! Christ on a unicycle!!! The special FX were pretty damned amazing and the scares kept a-comin' ... in a "PG" movie that had no business being "PG!"