Who REALLY directed "Poltergeist?"

Discussion in 'General' started by Ash28M, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    This story never seems to go away.The same type of argument has raged about who directed the original version of THE THING (From Another World) for decades,Producer (and legendary director) Howard Hawks or credited director(and Hawks' editor) Christian Nyby.Many cast members said that Nyby only directed them in one scene but still the controversy lingers.
    The posted story link again makes reference to a drug problem of Tobe Hooper's.I don't claim to know whether that rumor was true or not though it also has circulated about two other films that Hooper was replaced on shortly after production started,THE DARK and VENOM(the 80's film).Unless Hooper cares to weigh in on this I suppose this rumor will continue to circulate (even if he did try to debunk it those inclined to believe the rumor would dismiss his denials as spin).
    The film (to me) shows a heavy Spielberg style but some of the shocks do have a Hooper vibe.Perhaps it's as simple as Spielberg being VERY hands on as a producer (involved from the projects inception) and Hooper being a hired gun ? Who knows,I don't care to denegrate either man.I'm sure they both made contributions.All I can really say is whoever directed POLTERGEIST did a great job.
     
  2. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    The way that I see it, that article has an agenda to discredit Tobe Hooper. For one thing, the author uses as evidence an anonymous source that supposedly worked on Poltergeist, and another one that posted a rumor on imdb!

    Case dismissed.
     
  3. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I really don't understand how this would start an argument. All were trying to do is piece together what happened based on eye witness accounts. Everyone knows that each one of our opinions are ultimately bullshit because as we weren't there.

    Here is another website with info for those who are interested.

    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=66176
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  4. Sam Loomis

    Sam Loomis New Member

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    Actually I'd say some of the shocks have more of a Spielberg vibe. The scene where JoBeth Williams is swarmed by skeletons in the swimming pool is similar to a scene from Raiders where Karen Allen's character is also swarmed by skeletons. I'd also say the face-ripping scene echoes the face-melting scene from Raiders.
     
  5. gunner

    gunner Cropsy Maniac

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    Hell, we don't really know who directed ANY film. Pet Sematary was filmed in my home town growing up back in the late 80's. It was the only time I ever experienced a film being made (my wife's mother did all the curtains and upholstery). There was a man in the director's seat for most of the shooting, I do not recall his name but I will ask a co-worker soon that he rented his house from (he still rents from her every summer). Suddenly this woman (Mary Lambert) arrives, I have no idea what happened to the guy and why he left the shoot, but she gets 100% of the credit as director even though she wasn't anywhere around for most of the shoot. It sorta pisses me off that she gets all the credit, and there has never been a peep as to anyone else being in the seat.
    Edmund Purdom gets credit as director of "Don't Open Till Christmas". Though in a behind the scenes footage segment (on the German "Pieces" dvd) Steve Minasian & Dick Randall state that he was fired and replaced two times.
    As I age I'm learning that all that is written and studied isn't always so. It's as though it doesn't matter what is real, only what is documented for future generations to read about. Kinda makes you wonder what the real story is in American history...what would Ben Franklin's neighbor have to say?
     
  6. shockwave

    shockwave New Member

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    It's an interesting debate, I'd wager that both did enough that you could deem both as the director or co-director, although I'm sure Spielberg always had the final word on a cut or shot or what not.
     
  7. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    In a lot of ways the director and producer jobs are hard to explain and yet easy to explain. There are quiet a few directors who won't have any involvement with camera placement and leave it entirely up to the cinematographer. Then there are those that only focus on the camera set ups and tell the actors to "just say your lines." Course you also have those that are inbetween.

    Spielberg may have been very hands on compared to other producers, but producers do technically have the final say about anything. But in reality it's very much a team effort. That the producers was involved is not unusual; a good producer would be on the set every day and would answer any questions brought to them.

    I would lean towards what the casting director says though. To me the director's job is first and foremost to the actors. But that can also be rather hands off. Hitchcock was very hands off, but got great performances. So... :shrug:

    I'm kinda surprised Spielberg lovers want to promote Steve as the defacto director to a horror film, but whatever. Raiders is the best film ever my ass. :D
     
  8. killit

    killit Active Member

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    in an interview for aint it cool news with harry knowles. Tobe said the only reason he did not direct poltergeist 2 was that the studio did not like him and stephens idea for the sequel which picks up directly at the house. From what I have read (I havent read everything) it seems like the relationship worked for them and it is certainly a good film. Did they ever argue about this?
     
  9. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    They should've gone ahead with Hooper's and Spielberg's idea for the sequel, because Poltergeist II sucks asshole. SUCH a shitty sequel. (I actually enjoy part 3 more).

    ~Matt
     
  10. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    There's certainly something to what you're saying,in fact it is Spielberg's hands that are ripping the face apart.He was more than willing to squirt a little bit of blood in the INDIANA JONES films and later work like PVT. RYAN ,MUNICH etc. haven't shyed away from bloodshed either.I still think that there is some Hooper element to some of the slow builds and jolt scenes but Spielberg certainly knew how to get a scare too,ala JAWS.
     
  11. It's me Billy

    It's me Billy New Member

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    I like Poltergeist II: The Other Side, but that's largely because of Julian Beck (Reverend Henry Kane). Even now, that character can still creep me out. Excellent performance on Beck's part. It's a shame he appears so briefly in the film. (He only has two scenes.) I guess that's because he was so ill with stomach cancer.

    Poltergeist III is okay, but I don't think it's anything special. The guy that played Kane (Nathan Davis) was a poor substitute for Julian Beck, but anyone would have been. I'm kind of suprised we haven't had a Poltergeist IV yet. Yeah, Heather O'Rourke is dead (she'd be 33 now, died February 1, 1988 at the age of 12), but I'm sure they could think of a way to keep the story going.
     
  12. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Rue Morgue had a good article this month in this topic. They interviewed a few of the cast and crew and they all maintained that although Spielberg played a big role Hooper was still the guy who setup the shots and directed the actors. Saying that Zelda Rubinstein did say differently on the DVD extras attending a screening. They couldn't understand why she would say that though as they said Tobe was good to her on set and said she died a cranky old lady.
     
  13. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Apparently there is some overlap in Poltergeist with things in Eggshells which only recently started to make the rounds. I'd have to see it but that's also been floated.

    The thing is people could almost argue George Lucas directed Raiders of the Lost Ark with the same evidence (or any of the other Indiana Jones movies). Yet no one does. It was a working style Spielberg probably just carried over to Poltergeist.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  14. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    You could also say the same things about Super 8, The Goonies, and (to a lesser extent) Gremlins. They're all produced by Spielberg and are very in keeping with his directing style but nobody comments about how he swiped the directorial chair during the productions. I think the reason why Hooper gets picked on is because Poltergeist is such a radical departure from his other films that people just can't believe he he was capable of such a thing. But take a look at his other films of the 80s: Lifeforce, Invaders From Mars, etc, and you see that they are all very different in tone and style. Does that automatically mean that he didn't direct ANY of them?
     
  15. Spit

    Spit Active Member

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    I think it has a lot to do with "credentials". Lucas, Dante, and Donner went on to make flashy mainstream box office hits without Spielberg. What did Hooper ever do that really caught the public's eye again? I think the comparison doesn't happen as much with other directors because they demonstrated the ability to make 'hits' without Spielberg, while Hooper really isn't in that category. Given Hooper's track record and the fact that Poltergeist is as good as it is, its natural to question whether Hooper was capable of directing a film of that caliber.
     
  16. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    Based on all this empirical evidence, i don't believe Tobe Hooper actually exists.
     
  17. othervoice1

    othervoice1 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you on that one- creepy and kinda funny all at the same time depending on your mood
     
  18. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    It may be a natural question, but it's still unfair. It's my unwavering belief that he still directed the movie. Was the project near and dear to his heart? Of course not, because he was a hired gun. It was Spielberg's baby from the very beginning as he's the one that wrote the bleedin' thing. His signature is all over the place. Hooper was paid to deliver a product the way his boss wanted him to. It isn't that he was incapable of directing films of that caliber, it's that he isn't sentimental enough to be a mainstream director. It's also that he didn't have the budgets. Back in the 80s there was still quite a lot of mainstream resistence to the horror genre. Even when one was a hit the studios still felt almost ashamed of it's success. If Tobe Hooper had been younger and began his career in the 21st century I have no doubt that he would have had far more achievements box office wise.
     
  19. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    In support of Maybrick's comments on the role and power of a director versus the role and power of the producer, I'd like to throw in the Masters of Horror series as additional evidence. While those all have strong individual directors, they also all have pretty much the same crew. And that's why so many of the episodes look and feel the same.

    There are artistic threads with any good producer just as there are with any director. The films of Selznick, Lewton, Luc Bresson, and even Jerry Bruckheimer all have signature touches that stem from the fact they they are the people that assemble all the tools that the director has at his/her disposal. But, none of that diminishes the work of the directors they work with.

    Sure there are directors, like Cameron or Kubrick who are knowledgeable enough to control all the aspects of the film. But, there are also directors who prefer to focus solely on directing the actors, like Eastwood*, or solely on constructing the image, like Bava, and prefer to leave the rest to more knowledgeable cinematographers, designers, or actors. And Hooper just seems to be one of those directors and there really is nothing wrong with that.

    As for it not being like Hooper's other films, well, I'd disagree with that. I can see a lot of directorial similarities between Poltergeist, Lifeforce, Invaders from Mars, and Funhouse. Sure, he's not a consistent director. Sure he doesn't have the most distinctive style. But, that shouldn't mean that he doesn't get credit for his good work when it's good.

    *(not the best example, but the first I could think of)
     
  20. bigdaddyhorse

    bigdaddyhorse Detroit Hi-on

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    Me too. He is mearly the physical representation of Speilberg's dark side. With the enduring success of Texas Chainsaw, I'm surprised Steven doesn't just come out and own up to it.:D
     

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