‘Poltergeist’ Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:15 pm,

Carol Anne in Poltergeist1 Poltergeist Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Apparently there are only so many ways that you can throw a chair across the room before the routine starts to get old, which is perhaps why Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper’s 1982 haunted house movie Poltergeist is the latest piece of classic horror to have a modern remake slated for imminent release.

This project has been kicking around for a long time now, but was recently put back on track by MGM with Nathan Kahane and Roy Lee (two of the producers of Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake) and attached to produce, along with Sam Raimi. Gil Kenan, who is best known for animated family spook movie Monster House, is the latest director to be hired for the project. Barring any more delays, he will be behind the camera when filming gets underway.

Casting calls for the remake have now begun, with plans to start shooting in September, and with them come details of some of the characters who will be making an appearance in the revamped version of Poltergeist, according to a source over at Bloody Disgusting. Firstly, the film is now about a family man called Eric Bowen (rather than Steve Freeling) who moves his wife and kids to a new town in the hopes of a fresh start, a plan which goes horribly wrong when his daughter, Madeleine, is abducted.

Carol Anne in Poltergeist Poltergeist Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Zelda Rubinstein, who played the unforgettable psychic Tangina in the original Poltergeist trilogy, sadly passed away a few years ago. Her character isn’t going to be revived for the remake, but is instead being replaced by a number of new experts in the field of the supernatural. Eric Bowen’s wife, Amy Bowen, has the ability to communicate with the dead, and his ex-wife, Dr. Brooke Powell, works as a parapsychologist at the local university, and will more or less play the same role as Dr. Lesh by bringing in a team of researchers to investigate the house. The final new addition is Carrigan Burke, host of a TV show called Haunted House Cleaners, who is apparently unfazed by the manifestations of the supernatural.

Based on these details, it sounds like the central plot points of the original movie – the family moving into a new house, the daughter being kidnapped, and psychic powers being used to retrieve her – are going to remain the same in David Lindsay-Abaire’s script, but because of Poltergeist‘s dominating influence within the horror genre these plot events have become clichés by this point. James Wan’s Insidious could probably pass for a loose Poltergeist remake, as could certain entries in the Paranormal Activity series. So, aside from the title, what will really set Poltergeist apart as a clear remake and – more importantly – would it have been better to simply make an original film in the Poltergeist mold, thereby bypassing the certain stigma that often comes with remakes?

Of course, the most obvious argument for making a Poltergeist remake is that the original film is among the highest-grossing horror films of all time, and is still fondly remember by many, so the title still carries a lot of weight. Not enough weight to keep this project from floundering in development hell for a decade, but enough that it’s finally managing to work its way into existence. If the producers stick to the PG-13 rating of the original, using the similar kind of gore-free scares that worked in the 80s, that will also work in the film’s favor by including young teens in the target box office demographic. After all, who needs blood and guts when you’re got evil clowns?

Evil clown in Poltergeist Poltergeist Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Money aside, there are artistic reasons – though their value might be debatable – that justify remaking old horror movies. In this particular case, it will be interesting to see whether the spirits’ communication through appliances like the TV is expanded when the story is retold in the modern era, where technology is a ubiquitous part of most people’s lives. It’ would also be easy to use the remake as an anchor from which to subvert or question the tropes that Poltergeist helped to create within the horror genre.

The last remake that Sam Raimi delivered was of his own biggest claim to horror fame, The Evil Dead, and the commercial and critical success of that film no doubt played a significant role in finally shoving the Poltergeist remake into production. But is it enough to get audiences interested?

Let us know if you’re excited for this remake, or if you think it should have been allowed to rest in peace, in the comments.


There’s no release date set for Poltergeist yet, but if filming stays on schedule then it could be out by late 2014/early 2015. We’ll let you know as more details emerge.

Source: Bloody Disgusting

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  1. I am so excited for this film. I just hope they do the original justice it has to be as good if not better”hard to do” but you just never know look at the amazing remake of the evil dead and I think it blew the original away so im holding my breath and crossing fingers that they can cast someone as original as heather ororick I probably spelt that wrong.

  2. Correcting: The Freeling family had not moved into a new house in the original Poltergeist, they had been living there for at least 5 years or more as Steve Freeling mentions that Carol Ann was born in their home.

    Sorry. I’m a stickler for details. :)

    That said, my hopes aren’t very high for a “remake” that sounds almost nothing like the original. I say it sounds like they’re just too afraid to touch it. You really can’t top Poltergeist!

  3. I like the idea of a remake i liked the original. i think they should stick with some of the original theme but make it modern we’re in a different day and time now. and at the end of the movie i would certainly have something like in memory of Heather O’rourke and maybe the others who we have lost since the movie came out in 1982 I believe. oh and keep the la la theme song thing …lol

  4. Not another crap remake please! The succession of remakes including Evil Dead have been lousy to say the least. These films always seem to turn out so diluted from the originals as well. A Poltergeist 4 would have been better and they could have worked a way to keep the original actors/actress’s in the film too. Living and dead!
    Too many years have passed from the last release to go down that path now hence another pointless remake.
    Dreadful state the Hollywood film industry is in today. Really dreadful!

    • Agreed. This remake of Poltergeist is clearly a cash-grab. However, these horror remakes aren’t cashing in like the studios hoped. A Poltergeist 4 would’ve been a much better idea. Even better would be a totally original ghost story with no ties to the Poltergeist franchise. Thank god for James Wan. He’s about the only original voice in horror these days.

  5. I Am Not Happy For The Remake Because The Original Was Just Perfect As It Was. Also There Is The So Called “Poltergeist Curse” I Mean It Was Know For The Death Of Many Characters Threw Out All Three Movies And One Of Them Unfortunately Was Heather O’rourke Who Played The Youngest Daughter “CarolAnn” As Well As Dominique Dunne Who Played The Eldest Daughter And Other Characters Threw Out All Three Movies. It Was Never Proven That This Is The Cause Of All Of The Deaths But It Is Very Unfortunate For All The Losses May They Rest In Pice.

  6. Please remake this. The original was a classic. No one can deny that. But if the remake is done right, I don’t think it’s terrible thing to reboot an old classic. What is key is research! You’ve got to get deep into the heart of the original that you are remaking. If you don’t do that then the film will suck and the people on the project will just look like they’re chasing after the Benjamins. I don’t buy into all that cynical bravado people like to posture all over the web, hiding behind the 1′s and 0′s. I think rebooting or remaking old classics is fine, you just gotta know what you’re rebooting or remaking and learn where to strike the balance between taking a fresh approach and staying true to the cannon material.

  7. I can’t wait for this remake if it is anywhere near as good as the EVIL DEAD remake which was really great. The original Poltergeist is great but terribly dated. In my mind there is nothing wrong with breathing new life into classic movies as long as they are done right and not watered down to simply make more money by pushing for more “mass appeal” the robocop was a disappointment and I would not touch total recall two great movies that show why movies maybe should not be remade however carrie and evil dead…well done…guess well have to see. Since the original was PG I can’t pass this one up simply because of a watered down rating, might be interesting if they give this one an R.
    …Probably wont happen.
    I’m also excited for ABC’s of death 2.

  8. I’m skeptical about this movie. Raimi’s Evil Dead remake really had nothing to offer and was a total bore with some of the worst acting I saw that year. Raimi lost his touch with horror a long time ago.

    You make a good point about Insidious, which was a great horror film, similar to Poltergeist but also with a good dose of originality. After the past 10 years it’s safe to say that these quick & cheap horror remakes (that are ultimately capitalizing on an existing name, typically relying on z-grade writers & directors) aren’t breaking even. And audiences have caught onto this scam. A smarter move would have been to go with an original property (like James Wan’s Insidious and more recently The Conjuring). They’re losing money already, why not try something new with the potential of creating a brand new franchise?

  9. Better plot. The little girl has passed. The original cast is taken care of her start to see the signs.

    • They are taking carebof the care daughter and now the grand mother can relate she can help,more.

  10. This is definitely by far my favorite horror movie of all time. I’m Excited that it’s been remade now , & can’t wait to see it. Spielberg did do this film justice ,& I believe it’s a cult classic as well as alot of things are now from the eighties. I believe though that we are in a new time now & remakes are just fine if there thought through enough & you’ve stuck close to the plot & character list. Spielberg’s poltergeist is the quintessential blueprint for films today such as the conjuring & insidious. Poltergeist has s cult following such as myself & I assure you there will be certain details that we will be looking for & comparing too. I hope it’s a huge success but I just don’t think it will be able to ever stand up to the original. After all the main character died & you can’t resurrect heather or the number one horror film of the eighties either.