People Staff
June 21, 1982 12:00 PM

Things have rarely gone bump in the night so effectively as in this haunted-house fable directed by Tobe (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) Hooper and co-produced and co-written by Steven (Close Encounters) Spielberg. The film is set in the normal suburban California home of a normal couple, Jobeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson, and their normal kids, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robbins and Heather O’Rourke. But as soon as the ghostly apparitions appear, well, forget normal. While not many movies insist on the suspension of disbelief that Poltergeist demands, skepticism vanishes quickly. For Poltergeist is more than an entertaining spook show. It’s also touching, funny and human. To give any of the plot away would be a gross disservice. (Small children who think the objects in their rooms take on scary shapes when the lights go out, however, should be kept away from Poltergeist at all costs.) Though the film avoids the blood and guts endemic to the genre, it is nonetheless a goose-pimpler. The performances are all first-rate, and tiny Heather will melt the hardest heart. Poltergeist is a film to steel yourself for. Hooper and Spielberg have worked long and hard to bring the ghost story to its fullest potential. They have succeeded. (PG)

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