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Is the Poltergeist franchise a decent scary 80’s franchise, or should it remain in the past?

The Poltergeist franchise is an 80’s trilogy, based around a little girl named Carol-Anne and her family. The first Poltergeist (1982) was nominated for three academy awards and was a worldwide box office success. Despite being financially successful and generating twice its production budget, Poltergeist II didn’t reach the heights of the first film, picking up a Razzie award nomination in the process. Unfortunately, the third film continued the downfall, dropping out of the weekly top 10 in only its 2nd week but despite this it still managed to claim back its budget in ticket sales.

In the traditional sense, poltergeists are generally known to move chairs and throw books at people. Although this does happen, only 2 domestic objects are used for violence throughout the entire franchise, and both are in the two films with the lowest number of Poltergeists moving objects (film 2 & 3).

It is perhaps no wonder that the third film has the most overall cases of poltergeists physically moving or controlling people as that film focuses on the poltergeists controlling the little girl Carol Anne.

One of the most annoying features of the third film is the constant calling out for Carol Anne. Poltergeist III sees the characters call the name ‘Carol Anne’ 121 times – 68% of the 179 times during the series. With this dominating a large portion of the script, this also means that approximately 4% of the film is spent saying the little girls name.

The most instances of smoke and eerie silences occur in the first film, which generally has the highest scare factor as well as the highest amount of traditional horror conventions, whereas the second relies on an incredibly creepy Henry Kane apparition rather than a traditional poltergeist. With the highest FilmAttic review Poltergeist II maximises on the creepy factor, with the help of Kane, often without needing the traditional and now considered cheesy effects from the 80’s.

It’s difficult to see how Poltergeist reached the status of a relatively popular horror franchise. The highlight is the 2nd film, which perhaps helped boost the first film’s popularity 4 years later, before nose-diving in quality on Poltergeist III two years later.

What we learnt from...


Digging a swimming pool is a bad idea
The Grand Canyon's highest points are accessible by pick up truck
Don’t have dental braces - poltergeists will tie you to the ceiling with them
Always invite Native American's into your house but never pale old white men
The dead communicate through toy phones
Spiritually gifted people have the advantage of not having to look at a bag of wool to pick the right colour wool
Pay attention to your kid’s freakish drawings, as everything they draw is real
If you are a man you must protect your family like a warrior
Creepy old men who potter about are generally dead
Effective Clairvoyants are difficult to find
Don't work on a Poltergeist film