XenForo Template Poltergeist Release Date: October 14, 2008 Studio: Warner Home Video Packaging/Materials: Digipack case with attached collectible booklet Year: 1982 Rating: PG Running Time: 1h54m MSRP: $34.99 MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1May be in standard definitionAudioDolby TrueHD: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1, English 2.0, French 2.0, Spanish 2.0 (both Castillian and Latin), German 2.0, Italian 1.0Audio standards may varySubtitlesEnglish, French, Spanish, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Swedish (movie and select bonus material) The Feature: 4/5 Owning a home - it's the American dream. Unless that dream is built on top of a bunch of dead people. Unfortunately that's the nightmare Steve and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams) are faced with when they move into the Cuesta Verde housing development. Before long the most vulnerable member of their family is making connections with what lies beneath and what starts out mischievous soon turns malevolent when she gets paranormally abducted. Getting her back won't be easy, but a mother's love and a father's determination are powerful forces too. Looking over the packaging I was a little surprised to see "Poltergeist" rated PG. I distinctly recall it being R-rated in its fright factor, but then I did the math and realized I was only nine at the time it came out. For my impressionable mind back then, a PG basically amounted to an R. Being less impressionable now as an adult I see the ingenuity of the whole thing. Why should only teenagers and adults experience horror films? Why not make one the whole family can enjoy? And who better to put together this family frightfest than Steven "Close Encounters" Spielberg (who wrote and produced) and Tobe "Texas Chainsaw" Hooper (who directed)? That the peanut-butter-and-chocolate style combination didn't generate more family-horror films is a surprise, but maybe that's because "Poltergeist" was actually scary and suspenseful, making the PG rating a bit of an underestimation in hindsight. Still, it goes to show that something doesn't have to be all gore and violence to be frightening, something the current slate of modern horror films could do with understanding. Video Quality: 4/5 Accurately framed at 2.40:1 the picture is generally free of physical blemishes and signs of edge enhancement. Black levels are deep and stable, though shadow detail and delineation can be a little lacking. The transfer keeps grain structure intact with no indications of noise reduction, though there are a handful of moments where minor noise is evident. The color palette is pretty unremarkable, but color rendition and flesh tones appear accurate. Audio Quality: 3/5 Though the release includes a lossless Dolby TrueHD track, I actually prefer the stereo option, the surround treatment being too disjointed for my taste. Most of the activity in the surround mix is in the front soundstage, with some support in the surrounds for the film score, but the whole thing doesn't sound sufficiently balanced or seamless. While the stereo track is lossy and only 192 kbps, it's surprisingly expansive. I also found the dialogue - particularly in the scene where there's a lot of whispering - more intelligible in the stereo track. If only the lossless track had been in stereo! Special Features: 1/5 Just as with the 25th anniversary edition DVD, the sole feature on disc is a meager documentary about the paranormal. Though this release doesn't raise expectations the same way an anniversary release does, it still amounts to a lame show of support. The booklet, while nicely printed and containing some decent information, doesn't really make up for it. "They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Revealed" Documentary (31m05s): Ghost hunters and other paranormal experts talk about their area of expertise and its correlation to the film. Collectible Booklet: Forty-six-page booklet attached to the packaging profiles cast and crew and includes a brief history of the production. Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 3/5 Special Features: 1/5 Overall Score (not an average): 2.5/5 A spirited "family horror" film gets very good video, less than ideal audio options and a poor set of special features. The film really deserves better and fans will be wise to hold off until it gets a proper release.