Horror Films have long been taking place in minimal locations. The producer hat thinks it's solely because horror films are created on shoe string budgets and creating horror in one place is well, cost effective. Oren Peli's "Paranormal Activity" is the most recent example, but the list is endless: "The Strangers," "The Others," "Evil Dead," "House," "Quarantine" and of course the Steven Spielberg production of "Poltergeist" (no matter what it says in the credits, Tobe Hooper did not direct this, it's obvious).
To say "Poltergeist" excels on multiple levels is not exactly a leap of faith. Made for under $11 million and grossed $122 million, kickstarted Craig T. Nelson's career, continued Spielberg's amazing run of making quality films, the "Poltergeist" franchise flourished amidst its very own supposed curse (four cast members died during the making of the three films).
What left a lasting impression on me from my latest viewing of this film is the different styles of "scares" that were created comparing the first half of the movie to the last half hour. The beginning starts off with silverware bending, chairs moving, and subtle tricks to make the audience feel uneasy. The last 30 minutes, however, is an absolute funhouse! (SPOILER ALERT) From clown dolls strangling children, skeletons popping up in the unfinished pool, coffins coming out of the ground, explosions, the Beast rearing its ugly face, etc. Spielberg feeds both the "gross out fans" and the "not seeing it is creepier" fans. He mixes humor (Craig T. Nelson's performance) and the mundane family living with extreme horror. He is after all, Steven Spielberg (who had another movie come out the same year "Poltergeist" was released. A little film called "E.T.").
Needless to say, I'm ready to rent the sequels...