Spot­light

In­ves­ti­gat­ing spooky go­ings on with the re­make of clas­sic chiller Poltergeist

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

They’re… baaack

Hav­ing been led “into the light” of devel­op­ment hell af­ter MGM went bust, the Poltergeist re­make fi­nally shook off its in­fa­mous curse thanks to Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox and – ex­cit­ingly – hor­ror- nut pro­ducer Sam Raimi. Coin­ci­den­tally, eco­nomic mis­for­tune is at the heart of this re­boot, see­ing a down­wardly mo­bile fam­ily – per­haps they worked for MGM – re­luc­tantly move out to the ’ burbs only to find them­selves pick­ing up some­thing even worse than ITV4 on their iPads.

New ten­ants

There are few cin­e­matic sights SFX likes more than Sam Rock­well danc­ing, so we’re de­lighted that he’s play­ing pater fa­mil­ias Eric Bowen, the man who comes to re­alise he’s been boo­gieing on the graves of dead In­di­ans: the new fam­ily homestead sit­ting rather dis­re­spect­fully on sa­cred burial ground. Rose­marie De­Witt ( The Odd Life Of Ti­mothy Green) is his other- half, who now dis­cov­ers a su­per­nat­u­ral affin­ity and ma­ter­nal

strength that may just come in handy when one of her brood get trapped in a closet that would even pose an is­sue for R Kelly.

Haunted helmer

The orig­i­nal movie was over­shad­owed by the con­tro­versy over who re­ally di­rected it: cred­ited helmer Tobe Hooper or al­legedly “hands- on” pro­ducer Steven Spiel­berg? There’s no such con­fu­sion this time around: Gil Ke­nan – the direc­tor of the an­i­mated Mon­ster House and City Of Em­ber – is the man charged with nav­i­gat­ing the fran­chise back from the other side.

Child’s play

As you could gather from Ke­nan’s CV, we’re not ex­actly deal­ing with Evil Dead- lev­els of gore here, or even that of the no­to­ri­ously cer­tifi­cate- cheat­ing, corpse- de­fil­ing orig­i­nal ( it got a PG in the States): this Poltergeist is aimed squarely at the fam­ily mar­ket – in 3D no less. “It’s more of a kids’ movie so I don’t know if it’s go­ing to be rated- R scary,” sug­gests Rock­well. “It’s a dif­fer­ent kind of movie. It’s more of an adventure.”

Don’t touch my baby

In fact the kids – ghoul- mag­nets for the rest­less spir­its buried be­neath them – are now even more cru­cial: “The 10- year- old boy [ Kyle Catlett’s Grif­fin] is re­ally the pro­tag­o­nist this time,” sug­gests Rock­well. “[ The mum] was the pro­tag­o­nist for the most part in the first one and now it’s re­ally through the point of view of the kid.”

Send i n the clowns

Ob­vi­ously you shouldn’t ex­pect ex­actly the same sort of bed- both­er­ing, tree- mon­ster­ing, coul­ro­pho­bic night­mares as last time but we’d be sur­prised if there weren’t “homages” aplenty: some clown- led as­sault that will hope­fully be mak­ing small chil­dren panic about what’s un­der the bed ( and hate the cir­cus) for years to come. And of course the iconic “They’re heeeere” is al­most def­i­nitely go­ing to be ut­tered at some point.

Who you gonna call?

When you’re stuck with un­wel­come vis­i­tors, you’ll need some big char­ac­ters to pro­vide mys­tic as­sis­tance. But pint- sized Tang­ina – as played by the late Zelda Ru­bin­stein – has been con­signed to a sa­tanic sink­hole. The po­si­tion of Quirky Su­per­nat­u­ral Guide is here filled by Car­ri­gan Burke, an aca­demic turned hack host of hack­ier ca­ble show Haunted House Clean­ers and played by Mad Men’s Jared Har­ris. He comes with a bit of bag­gage: a sus­pi­cious para­psy­chol­o­gist ex- wife – Jane Adams’ Dr Claire Pow­ell – who’s keep­ing a beady eye on the chaos blow­ing up at the Bowen house.

When to ex­pect i t?

They’re heeeeeere in 3D on 31 July.

“Coul­ro­pho­bic”: the fear of clowns. Natch.

Ex­pect scares, but more kid- friendly than be­fore.

At least they haven’t got a stair lift like in Grem­lins.

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