main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Poltergeist
  • Director Displacement: It's directed by Tobe Hooper, not Steven Spielberg.
  • Fetish Retardant: The last twenty minutes of the film feature Jobeth Williams being thrown around in her panties and a football jersey, which keeps getting pulled up; then running outside and getting muddy when she falls into the pool; then a bunch of coffins rise from the ground, and their corpses, actual corpses mind you, fall out turning the thing into a bowl of dead guy soup.
    • The scene with the football jersey becomes this when you realize that it is not just a cheap joke, but that the Poltergeist is trying to rape her.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Several, involving Heather O'Rourke and Dominique Dunne, but the most wince-inducing is Carol Anne's remark from the second movie: "I hope I don't grow up... doesn't look like much fun."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There are some hints during the film, stronger during the second half, that Dana goes on dates with guys and has sex with them, without her parents knowing: Just the day after they recover Carol Anne from the other side of the closet, Diane tells Dana that later, they'll go to a hotel, when she tells which one, Dana just goes like "oh, yes", and giving some fun smile, looking like she's daydreaming, letting us know that she knows it and that something special for her happened there and Diane saying "what is it?", or something like that. Then Dana changes subject and leaves and we don't know anything of her until the very end of the movie, when she gets out of the car screaming "WHAT'S GOING ON??!!". Look for her neck, to the left and to the right of it, you can see lovebites.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: An odd meta-example. The scene near the end where an invisible force pulls up the mother's night-shirt and exposes her panties gets laughs from kids. However when seen as an adult, you realize that the poltergeist is attempting to rape her. (In the screenplay it actually does).
  • Awesome Music: Jerry Goldsmith strikes again.
  • Memetic Mutation: "This house is clean."
  • Moe: Carol Anne is just adorable.
  • Narm: Steve's angry outburst towards his boss at the end when the corpses of the cemetery their house was built in start bursting from the ground during the final meltdown, revealing that he'd only moved the headstones and left the bodies exactly where they were is rendered unintentionally funny by Craig T. Nelson's hysterical delivery:
    • "You only moved the headstones! WHYYYY?!! WHYYYYY ?!!"
    • The constant screaming at the end can veer off into this for some viewers.
  • Nausea Fuel
  • Paranoia Fuel: The chairs. Good GOD the chairs.
  • Sequelitis: The second one was well-received for some... but the third? Not so much.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Yup. Written by the same dude who did E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. And, you know... Jaws.
    • To make things even more interesting, according to David Hughes' The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, originally E.T. and Poltergeist were one film, the never-produced Night Skies. The mind boggles.
    • Actually, the dude who directed the first two The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films directed this... though people have their theories about who directed what.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy