Any chance of a SE of 'POLTERGEIST'? It sure could use one.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Inspector Hammer!, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    After watching this classic again recently, I couldn't help but notice that this film/dvd could really use a new transfer and extras.

    I realize being from WB that a DTS track is probably out of the question, but a new 5.1 EX track would be cool as well.

    This film scared the hell out of me growing up and is one of the defining staples of the 80's, it deserves some new attention IMO.
     
  2. Dave Gorman

    Dave Gorman Supporting Actor

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    I agree. This film is one of my favorites. It's been a long time since I've seen the DVD, but I remember thinking it could use some work...
     
  3. Sergio Z.

    Sergio Z. Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree, one of my all time favs as well. I have the LD deluxe edition that has a Making Of and some stills.
     
  4. Patrick H.

    Patrick H. Second Unit

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    It seems like there have been rumors about an SE for years, but it's never come to pass. As there's still some debate about who actually directed the majority of the film (Steven Spielberg vs. Tobe Hooper), I could see where new documentaries could be a touchy subject. Plus there's all that supposed "curse" crap, since a couple of the cast members are no longer around due to tragic circumstances.

    Still though, it's a shame something wasn't done before the sad loss of Jerry Goldsmith last summer, since the movie had one of his most legendary music scores. It would've been particularly interesting to hear what he had to say about working with Spielberg, as this was one of the rare instances where the director hired a composer other than John Williams.

    The current disc is watchable, but it could definitely use a little work (the dialogue on the 5.1 remix could really use a boost). The movie itself, though, is friggin' GREAT. For some reason I still don't fully understand, my parents took me to see this when I was two...yes, TWO YEARS OLD! And I STILL remember the corpses rising from the swimming pool! (And they wonder where all the years of night terrors came from...) [​IMG]
     
  5. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    The semi-annual "where is Poltergeist SE" Thread! [​IMG]

    #1

    #2

    #3

    #4


    I long for an SE as well...
     
  6. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    As there's still some debate about who actually directed the majority of the film (Steven Spielberg vs. Tobe Hooper), I could see where new documentaries could be a touchy subject. Plus there's all that supposed "curse" crap, since a couple of the cast members are no longer around due to tragic circumstances.

    As much as I love Spielberg's work, and I've studied it extensively, I'm left at the end of the day with some queasy churns in my stomach with regards to how he handled the Poltergeist controversey.

    Yes, at the end of the day, the true goal of everyone on the set should be to make the best picture possible. No one would ever argue that point. But - and this is a big but - there is indeed a degree of decorum and politics involved when it comes to suggesting these ideas. Spielberg was a 9000 lb. gorilla on the set of Poltergeist, Tobe Hooper was guy who had been fired from his last gig, had directed a great horror mini-series Salem's Lost and a famous horror indie film. Spielberg was God. And God was on set lobbing ideas with great force and conviction, and then turning to to Tobe and saying, "Is that okay?"

    And poor Tobe...he could just stand there and nod, overpowered by Spielberg's charisma, overpowered by Spielberg's status as everybody's boss. This is where the questions about who was directing the film came from -- because producer and story writer Spielberg was a firecracker on the set, and he (perhaps naievely) thought he wasn't rubbing anybody the wrong way.

    Well, he did. There were words exchanged via published letters in Daily Variety. Spileberg staunchly defended himself and took great pains to praise Tobe Hooper. They've gone to work with each other since, most recently with the miniseries Taken, but in my heart of hearts, I think Spielberg learned a great deal about what the relationship should be between a producer and a director on that film, how both positions have their roles and it is painful for everybody to try mix up those roles.

    His intentions were pure on the set of Poltergeist, but the road to Helll...you know the rest.
     
  7. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Yeah this needs a special edition: My Wish List for this would include

    New HD Transfer
    Tobe Hooper Commentary
    Cast Commentary
    Writer Commentary

    3 commentaries is alot so I would probably settle for an edited commentary of all of the above. I think also a commentary or featurette with real paranormal psychologists (if there is such a thing) would be neat.

    Feature Length Documentary on the making of the film (new and/or ported over from laserdisc?)

    Tributes to Heather O'Rourke and Dominique Dunne
    Tribute to Jerry Goldsmith/Featurette on Score
    Cast/Crew interviews
    Deleted Scenes (Including the alternate face ripping scene used for television broadcast in the 80s)

    As crude as it may seem, some material about the supposed curse (which made for one of the more interesting E! True Hollywood Stories)

    It seems like a lot, but this film and the series as a whole has a ton of interesting history behind it and should be a prime candidate for a major special edition.

    As far as the reasons for it being held back I have a couple of theories:

    1. The who really directed theory. It's been well documented that Spielberg was very omnipresent on the set, but I think that's probably the case for many producer/director relationships. Also, Spielberg has gone on record crediting Hooper as the director of the film as well as the cast. So I'm not sure what the holdout would be as far as that goes. Besided, I'm sure Spielberg has the clout to veto any offending material anyway, so I don't think he has to hide from this.

    2. Spielberg does not want a product that would possibly exploit the notion of a "curse" which involved the violent death of a young woman. This, I think may have some merit. I have noticed a small pattern about Spielberg involved films and death. One example would be "The Twilight Zone: The Movie" We all know what happend there. Spielberg was Executive producer and co-director and we have yet to see this on DVD despite numerous requests. The reason for the last "Duel" delay was heavilly rumored to be because of the incident at the Farmer's Marker in L.A. a couple of years back where a runaway truck claimed the life of Dennis Weaver's Daughter. And then, of course, there is Poltergeist with no SE despite requests for many years.

    Now, W.B., I believe said in the last chat, that a Poltergeist SE would be made eventually, but no immediate plans.

    I do hope we get one eventually.
     
  8. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    Well, there's another WB chat coming up on Tuesday...
     
  9. Rolando

    Rolando Screenwriter

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    Never heard about those details, would you mind sharing?
     
  10. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Long story short, Vic Morrow and two children were killed in an accident with a helicopter in John Landis' TZ story.
     
  11. Rolando

    Rolando Screenwriter

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    OMG! I think I remember now. Could it be covered in some E tru Hollywood story or something?

    It was a WW2 story right? Footage was not used in the movie though right?
     
  12. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Right. The footage wasn't used in the final film. I have a hard time watching that one knowing what happened, it was one of the most terrible film accidents on record.
     
  13. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    There's a worse helicopter accident during the making of a film: Boris Sagal (The Omega Man) walking into the tail rotor during the making of the 1982 TV movie, World War III. The next day he was replaced by David Greene (Roots). He wasn't killed straight away, though; he died a few days later in hospital.

    As far as the whole Spielberg vs. Hooper debacle on Poltergeist goes, I see it as Spielberg giving 150% on the set, which is something a producer should refrain from doing. I'm sure the late Andre de Toth would agree. Spielberg at this point was on fire with ideas and Hooper has an amazing natural ability when it comes to horror-suspense, as long as he has the right material and Poltergeist was most certainly right up his street. I think that the rumours are exaggerated as to how much control Spielberg exerted over the shooting. At the end of the day, the movie is brilliantly executed and has a very unsettling, yet beautiful atmosphere throughout. Every technician excelled themselves on this film. Had the movie turned out clunky and boring, there would be reason for controversy, but the film turned out great and was a big hit.

    I reckon that we'll se a Special Edition one day, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
     
  14. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I can't see how that could possibly be worse than the helicopter blades decapitating Vic Morrow and killing the 2 children on the set of Twilight Zone the Movie, I have the actual footage of the accident on tape, a terrible tragedy.
     
  15. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Why? Doesn't that strike you as a bit... morbid, Steve?

    Sagal's death is worse, because it was absurd: he should have been looking where he was going. And he wasn't killed instantly like Vic Morrow and those kids, although Vic's death was also absurd. The way I look at it is that I'd rather die an absurd, instant death than ebb away slowly. But then, I have a pretty unconventional attitude towards Life and Death.
     
  16. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Gordon,
    i'm sure that Steve probably hangs onto that footage for historical purposes, am I right, Steve? You won't find that footage just anywhere. I have footage from the morning of 9/11 that I have yet to watch, and will never watch, I just have it for historical purposes.

    And, are you guy's actually debating about which is the worst way to go, here!? Either you get decapped by a helicoptor blade or walk into a helicoptor blade, they BOTH are terrible ways to go! Can we get off this subject, please? It's freaking me out. [​IMG]
     
  17. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I taped a programme about the film back in 83 and they started talking about the 1982 accident, well the last thing I expected was for them to actually show the accident. You can clearly see Vic holding the 2 kids in the water, the helicopter falling, tipping over, the blades hitting them, horrible stuff. I should have deleted it a long time ago, but my evil morbid alter ego wouldn't let me.[​IMG]

    But how did we get from Poltergeist to this? I would love a special edition of Poltergeist, I have the region 1 dvd which was only barely better than my vhs copy.
     
  18. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The TCM broadcasts of Poltergeist always look pretty good to me. I don't own the DVD, as it has always been one of those titles that I have hesitated over, expecting a SE. I'm sure that Warner would love to do a SE with candid interviews, a Hooper commentary and a new transfer, 5.1 mix, etc, but it is perhaps out of their hands. A few years ago, I did read that there was a SE planned, but Spielberg had it cancelled. It's plausible, but seems a bit dubious. Afterall, Spielberg has said that it was and is Hooper's film and they have since worked together, so who knows.

    Strangely, the film has not been released on DVD in any other region, not even the UK.
     
  19. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Hmmmmm, I could have sworn that there was a Laserdisc SE for this film, I could be mistaken though.

    Well, if Warner can't get interveiws and a commentary together, then why not just restore the film itself and add a new 5.1 EX track? That would be enough to satisfy me. I just want the film to look better than it does now, that's all I really care about in the end.
     
  20. Patrick H.

    Patrick H. Second Unit

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    As another longtime fan of Spielberg's, I agree with Ernest on this one...when I watch Poltergeist, I see a LOT of Close Encounters and very little Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And whatever the on-set dynamic might've been, as I understand it, post-production was ALL Spielberg. His editor, Michael Kahn, did the cutting (which is why he didn't work on E.T.), and Spielberg supervised the effects work and the scoring. Indeed, the only reason Spielberg didn't direct the film is because he was contractually forbidden to make another film while he was doing E.T.

    I also absolutely agree that Spielberg seemingly learned a lot about producing on this project...other films he oversaw during the same era were much more distinctive of their specific directors (Gremlins, Goonies, Back to the Future, etc.). When I look at those films I see the traits of Joe Dante, Richard Donner, and Robert Zemeckis. The vast majority of Poltergeist, though, looks and moves like a Spielberg film. So I've got it on my little "Spielberg shelf" with all the rest of his...it just seems to fit there. E.T.'s evil twin, you might say. [​IMG]
     

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