Poltergeist has a shlocky reputation thanks mainly to the sub-par special effects and its junky sequels, but the 1982 original stands up well. In fact, its attitude toward television – as an evil presence capable of destroying the nuclear American family – seems downright prescient. For those who haven’t seen the film and aren’t still haunted by flickering TV sets and creepy clown dolls, Poltergeist follows the story of a suburban California family (headed by JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson) whose sprawling subdivision has unwisely been built over burial grounds. The disturbed spirits initially speak to 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) through the TVs that are constantly on in nearly every room in the house, even if they’re broadcasting nothing but visual static. Eventually, though, the ghosts grow angrier – to the point of kidnapping Carol Anne by sucking her into her bedroom closet. Poltergeist was directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but the hands of producer-screenwriter Steven Spielberg are all over it, from the feeling for the rhythms of everyday suburban life to the evocation of universal childhood fears to the masterful staging of the early suspense sequences. At its best, Poltergeist is another Spielberg fantasy about an American family besieged and redeemed by an otherworldly experience. This time, though, it’s a decidedly malignant one.