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Posted on May 27, 2015

Poltergeist (1982 and 2015): Guilt and the American Dream

Dawn Keetley

In anticipation of the remake of Poltergeist, directed by Gil Kenan, produced by Sam Raimi, and released on May 22, 2015, I re-watched the original Poltergeist from 1982, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper. It’s not the best horror film ever made, by any means, but it has a certain compelling power—and I realized on re-watching it, that the film’s power comes in large part from the fundamental innocence of the Freeling family, who become the target of the dead’s fury. The Freelings are also guilty, though—and it is this paradoxical co-existence of innocence and guilt in this paradigmatic middle-class suburban family that drives the film.

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