** If you're a kid, the scenes with the evil clown puppet and the carnivorous tree are straight out of Hell. If you're a parent, the mother's struggles to reach her endangered children, as corpses pop up out of the pool and floors all around her, are even worse. And the bit where the researcher [[spoiler: claws at his own disintegrating face in the mirror]] gets to everyone.
** What about when the ''giant flaming skull'' pops out of the portal in the closet?
*** Far more what it represented. Steven was told ''not to pull on the rope'' by Tangina - he did it anyway, and what came out attached to the rope wasn't his wife -- it was '''''the beast.'''''
** And the simple fact that it all unfolds in somebody's home, not out in the woods or whatever, is pretty creepy. How many people who watch this for the first time can avoid looking suspiciously at their closet doors for several nights?
** Critics initially blew off this movie as "not scary enough" because nobody gets killed messily. But seriously - ask any parent how they would feel [[AdultFear to see their five-year-old dragged off by malevolent spirits, unable to reach them or stop it]].
** The chairs stacking themselves offscreen. So simple. ''So'' threatening.
** The movie has an uncanny tendency to have long scenes of relative calm and normalcy (even after the poltergeists have made their presence known) only for the HSQ to suddenly turn up out of nowhere as things start bursting out the closet, toys start moving around on their own, and bright lights start shining. It has a thoroughly unnerving effect.
* A bit of EnforcedMethodActing, said to have been Spielberg's idea. Some of the corpses in the final scene were ''real.''
** Tangina's expository monologue, detailing what was going on and what they were up against, never, ever fails to chill me to the bone.
* ''Poltergeist 2''
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNKQwSqgP38 The scene where Mr. Freeling vomits up a horrible creature.]]
** The sequel introduces [[SinisterMinister Reverend Kane]] and boy does he ever leave a permanent mark on the series.
** The confrontation through the screen door was probably the most frightening scene in the movie.
*** What's even more scary is that there was some Parapsychology TruthInTelevision in that scene. Most poltergeists can't enter a home without being let in by the owners. The fact that an easily breakable screen door is keeping a monster like Kane from haunting them is terrifying.
*** The best part is Kane's OneWingedAngel form, "The [[http://lcart3.narod.ru/image/fantasy/giger/po/hr_giger_pII_the_great_beast_p12.jpg Great]] [[http://lcart3.narod.ru/image/fantasy/giger/po/hr_giger_pII_the_great_beast_p13.jpg Beast]]" aka the vomit creature, designed by none other than Creator/HRGiger
** The song that plays when Steve and Robbie go after Carol Anne and Diane on the Other Side: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc2069s8nRU God is in His Holy Temple]]
** The ghost briefly appearing in the bathroom mirror. It's only for 3 seconds but damn it's scary!
* ''Poltergeist 3''
** Tangina's death. The death itself wasn't so scary, but having Donna ''crawl out of her corpse'' was very unsettling.
** Scott was never shown being freed from the Other Side along with the others. Severe FridgeHorror.