Film: Poltergeist aka: Poltergeist II The Other Side
Poltergeist (1982) is a horror movie directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written by Steven Spielberg, chronicling the terrifying paranormal events that surround the Freelings, an ordinary suburban family, whose home is invaded by spirits that show a special interest in their five-year-old daughter, Carol Anne.It was followed by two sequels. Poltergeist II: The Other Side attempted to explain in greater detail why Carol Anne was targeted, and introduces the sinister Reverend Kane. Poltergeist III shows the malevolent spirits following Carol Anne to the high-rise apartment building where she has been sent to live with her aunt and uncle.The franchise is often said to be cursed, because several people associated with it, including stars Dominique Dunne and Heather O'Rourke, died prematurely. "The Poltergeist Curse" has been the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story. The first film is also known for persistent rumors that Spielberg directed most of the movie.This film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made.A remake, co-financed between MGM and 20th Century Fox, is in the works and is set to be released in 2014, with Sam Raimi as producer and Gil Kenan as director.If you are looking for a trope about mischievous ghost vandals, you can see it under the "Main" tab.
Also in the 80s and earlier, networks would stop broadcasting late at night. Younger generations have grown up with 24 hour television, so they won't catch the significance of the television turning to static, then commonly known as "dead air"...
Nowadays, hotel televisions are typically tied in place with cables to prevent theft, so the final shot of the father evicting a TV from their hotel room is also dated.
Extreme Melee Revenge: The clown comes to life, sneaks up on Robbie and attempts to suffocate him. Robbie overcomes the clown, throws it on the bed, and tears it apart, screaming, "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!"
Go Into the Light: DON'T go into the light! GO into the light! Make up your mind, Tangina!
Indian Burial Ground: Averted, but Cuesta Verde was built on top of an improperly relocated cemetery (the bodies were still there).
Steve: You son of a bitch! You moved the headstones but you left the bodies, didn't you? You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! YOU ONLY MOVED THE HEADSTONES!! WHY?! WHY??!!
Instant Thunder: Averted, the time between the lightning and thunder showed that the storm was getting closer.
Light Is Not Good: The light is good; it's just not good for things that don't need to go there,like the living.
Locked into Strangeness: After rescuing Carol Anne from the Other Side, Diane develops a white streak of hair at each temple. She is reluctant to dye the streaks back, speculating to her older daughter that they look "punk".
Mama Bear: Diane is willing to go through absolute hell to keep her children safe.
Diane: NO! NOT MY BABIES!!!'
Mood Whiplash: From a horrific scene of exploding raw steak, maggoty chicken and a guy tearing his own face off, we segue into a near-mystical manifestation of gracefully-glowing light. Justified when it's revealed that there's an insanely-malign ghost sharing the house with a bunch of inoffensive/trapped ones.
No Tell Motel: The motel the family heads to at the end of the film has a reputation for this, according to Diane's eldest daughter. (Hopefully, said daughter will be able to avoid Diane's fate of becoming a mom at age 16.)
Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Steve has a few things to say to his realtor about his new neighbors.
Shout-Out: While Diane and Steven are in bed, we see they are watching the film "A Guy Named Joe." This is a movie from 1943 where a dead Air Force pilot comes back to Earth as a ghost to pass his knowledge onto an up and coming rookie. Strangely enough, Speilberg would go on to remake this film later in his career under the title "Always."
Shoo Out the Clowns: The first twenty minutes of this film are very light-hearted, like when Steve and his neighbor and dueling with their remotes. After Carol Ann utters "They're here." the film becomes considerably darker.
The Soulsaver: The psychic Tangina helps a group of ghosts (lost souls) trapped in the astral plane go into the Light.
And I Must Scream: Kane and his cult sealed themselves into a cave because he was predicting the end of the world. The date for the supposed apocalypse came and went, but Kane didn't let them leave. Judging by the placement of all the skeletons in the cave, they were trapped down there until they starved to death.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The power of the Freelings was their love, and Kane hated them for it. He is expelled from Steven immediately when Diane says "I love you" It's probably not an emotion he felt in life.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Julian Beck was one of the most loving people on Earth. One of the saddest things about Poltergeist II was that Beck was literally dying of cancer during the filming, and it shows.
Retcon: The second movie reveals that the angry ghosts weren't from the desecrated cemetery under the Freelings' house, but rather from a cavern, containing the remains of an ancient religious cult, located UNDER the desecrated cemetery under the Freelings' house.
This troper had figured that the souls from the cemetery were indeed present and pissed, because the grave goods that came through the ceiling were of recent origin. It's the monster ghost, Kane, whose backstory the second film filled in. So, no Retcon, just expanded history.
According to the actor who played Scott (Kip Wentz), he wasn't contacted by the director when reshoots were done (this was the second ending, filmed a month after Heather O'Rourke passed away) and he didn't find out that a new ending was shot until shortly before the film opened.