The Poltergeist movies are a trilogy of ghost horror films produced in the 1980s. The movies revolve around the members of Freeling family, who are stalked and terrorized by a group of ancient ghosts that are attracted to the youngest daughter, Carol Anne. The films were very successful, grossing a total of approximately $132 million in the United States box office.
Steven Spielberg co-wrote and co-produced the first Poltergeist, with Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) as the director. Brian Gibson directed Poltergeist II: The Other Side, while Poltergeist III was directed, co-written, and executive produced by Gary Sherman. All three films were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Michael Grais and Mark Victor co-wrote the first film with Spielberg, wrote the second film on their own and also co-produced it. Brian Taggert and an uncredited Steve Feke co-wrote the third film.
Spielberg's long-time friends (and then-married couple) Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy co-produced the first film. Freddie Fields and Lynn Arost co-produced the second film, and the third film was co-produced by Barry Bernardi.
The scores of the first two films were composed by Jerry Goldsmith. H.R. Giger did conceptual designs for the second film.
In the first and most successful film (released on June 4, 1982), a group of seemingly benign ghosts begin communicating with five-year-old Carol Anne Freeling in her parents' suburban California home via static on the television. Eventually they use the TV as their path into the house itself. They kidnap Carol Anne, and most of the film involves the family's efforts to rescue her. Eventually they do, but then the spirits, led by a demon known only as The Beast, go on a rampage.
This film would later end up under the ownership of Turner Entertainment, which has been co-owned with Warner Bros. since 1996 under Time Warner. MGM retained the franchise rights.
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