At the end of June, MGM and Twentieth Century Fox announced they will co-finance and distribute a remake of the 1982 horror classic, Poltergeist, causing fans all over the globe to let out a howl of collective agony.
Any movie that can send practically an entire generation into therapy over a stuffed clown and television static should be left entirely alone.
But of course Hollywood cannot seem to keep its hands to itself.
Gil Kenan (Monster House) is set to direct from a screenplay by writer David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz: The Great and Powerful) and the film is being produced by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and Rob Tapert (The Posession) via Ghost House Pictures.
Okay, the credentials had made us feel only slightly better before the synopsis sent us right back into a tailspin.
A family man called Eric Bowen (rather than Steve Freeling – GC) moves his wife and kids to a new town in the hopes of a fresh start, a plan which goes horribly wrong when his daughter, Madeleine, is abducted by evil forces.
In addition, Zelda Rubinstein, who played the unforgettable psychic Tangina in the original Poltergeist trilogy, sadly passed away a few years ago, so thankfully her character at least isn’t going to be revived in the new version; instead, Tangina is being replaced by a number of new experts in the field of the supernatural.
Dad Eric Bowen’s wife, Amy Bowen, has the ability to communicate with the dead and his ex-wife, Dr. Brooke Powell, works as a parapsychologist at the local university, more or less filling the original Dr. Lesh role by bringing in a team of researchers to investigate the house. The final new addition is Carrigan Burke, host of a TV show called Haunted House Cleaners, who is apparently unfazed by the manifestations of the supernatural.
What? No Zak Bagans?
This info made the film sound like a reboot of the 1982 original rather than a straightforward scene-for-scene remake, which is a small comfort. But this week, Moviehole posted additional plot details which point to Kenan and Lindsay-Abaire’s take being more of a sequel rather than a remake and inspired at least some of us to come out of our fetal positions.
According to the site, the upcoming movie will be set in the same universe as previous Poltergeist installments, with the Freelings’ old house serving as a connection.
In one scene in the new film, the kids’ find some things behind the sliding panel in the attic. Yep, you guessed it – they find some of the Freeling’s possessions, intentionally left behind. There’s the Star Wars bed sheets from Robbie’s room, a black-and-white TV set and some Christmas decorations.
Although the new film possesses different characters and an alternate storyline, there are apparently multiple nods to the original Poltergeist films. There’s the scary tree that proves a looming threat, the freaky clown that sits upon a rocking chair in the corner of one child’s bedroom (for the love of God, not the clown again), and of course there’s phone trouble. In this case, older sister Kendra’s cell phone gets possessed by unseen forces.
And then there’s the little girl – Madison – who makes friends with ‘The Lost People’ that nobody can see.
Never mind the fact that the Freeling house was sucked into a supernatural worm hole at the end of the first film – the writers will make short work of that inconvenient plot element. And then there’s the question of what the technology advances which have occurred since 1982 will do to the static-y tube television. Will Madison get sucked into a malfunctioning iPad?
Sorry, pardon my sarcasm…
Poltergeist is scheduled to begin production this fall at Pinewood Toronto Studios, meaning it will probably arrive in theaters sometime in 2014.
So what do you think? Welcome resuscitation or DOA? Post a comment or drop a line to email@example.com.