Poltergeist is a classic. It was special when it came out and it hasn’t been tarnished by a whole mess of awful television episodes and only one sequel worth a damn. A remake has long since been discussed, argued, cursed, and met with apathy.
Now it seems as if MGM is pulling the trigger on the thing and none other than Sam Raimi is set to oversee the production.
Mixed feelings. I went to film school because of Sam Raimi. The Evil Dead films ruled over my high school years (1987-1990). He hasn’t really made any bad movies, though his Ghost House unit sure did. I love Poltergeist and still like Raimi, but… it doesn’t seem like an ideal pairing. Raimi was working in the genre when Tobe SpielHooper made the original. He was making parallel work. His sensibilities have gone from manic to deadly serious but the hidden engine of Poltergeist is warmth. The love permeating that film makes it real, and rarely has a family unit in a genre film felt so genuine. Raimi has yet to pull that off, though as a producer all he has to do is lend his big name and protect whichever director gets the gig. On that basis he’s perfect.
But I like the idea of a remake. Though some of the effects in the movie are grand, there are a few that have withered with time. And though it’s scary and fun and magical, a remake could either crank of the darkness or amplify the mythology behind it and make it sing.
Bottom line: It’s happening. Might as well give up fighting it. Remakes are the rule now, not the exception. Here’s hoping this one is a winner.