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25 Years Ago! Part IX! Death And Life On June 4, 1982!

Merrick here...
June 04, 1982. 3:45am. It was a still Summer evening not unlike a thousand evenings of my childhood. The night was humid; sweat beaded around my forehead and neck with film noir intensity. I was staying overnight with a friend – one of those childhood friends who mean the universe to you when you’re growing up…whose every secret you know, and who knows your every secret. He was the kid who holds a place in all layers of your life, but somehow slips into oblivion as the years go by. Unlike most of our sleepovers - which were dominated by endless hours of frivolous conversation, late night broadcasts of cheesy Sci Fi / horror flicks, and stealing glimpses of titties and vaginas in girlie magazines (where did he get those, anyway?) - this night was different: spirits were high, adrenaline was at a fever pitch. There would be no sleeping. That it was unusually hot in the house didn’t matter (his mom was single and kept the AC off to lower her bills). There were two huge movies opening in a few hours, and…good geeks that we were…we were going to see them both. On the first day, we were going to see them both. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, and POLTERGEIST. Between the two films, we’d be waiting in lines for close to ten hours – with no sleep the night before. It was going to be a long, tough haul - but we had to see them both THAT DAY. We never perceived another choice. To us, in that moment, there wasn’t one. We laid there silently, waiting for his mother’s footsteps. We didn’t speak for a while – each of us already knew what the other was thinking, so there was no need. We listened…closely. Waiting for footsteps - when we heard them, it would be time to go. FOOTSTEPS. Funny how such simple things take on so much importance when you’re young. My friend’s mother was always profoundly tolerant of our madness, and dutifully did anything within her power to appease our passion for Science Fiction / adventure / fantasy material. She staggered out of bed in her bathrobe around 3:55am. Bully eyed and puffy faced, she groggily donned her purse and palmed her car keys. For an instant I wondered if she was too tired to drive us across town to the theater – I wondered if we might crash and die on the way. I quickly shrugged off my misgiving: I didn’t understand death yet, and Admiral Kirk was waiting for me. I wasn’t going to let him down. So, through the night we went. It was the first time I’d driven through the city so late in the evening. The familiar streets looked different to me. Emptier. Lonelier. Like they were waiting for something, or someone, to come back. Like they were awaiting life. The night, it seemed, had rewritten the world. Then we arrived at this theater: the Aquarius 4 in Austin, TX.
There were already people there – they’d been waiting in line since 10pm the night before, which made them bastards. We weren’t too far back in line, though – we were against the middle “wall panel” of the theater (slightly to the left of the bulldozer in the picture above). We waited. We tried to sleep, but we couldn’t. We were hungry, having quickly exhausted the little snacks that had been lovingly prepared for us the night before. We baked in the increasingly hot morning sun…it often gets into the mid-90s before noon in Texas…we were surrounded by concrete with no shade. But, we were there for STAR TREK – how could one rest when a new movie was at hand? Heat was irrelevant, discomfort a minor consideration. STAR TREK was important now, which was joyous. We could now like space ships and pointed ears without getting beaten up at school. Plus, Orson Welles' voice on the unforgettable teaser for the first–ever TREK movie told us the franchise was important:
We’d memorized every moment this trailer, often emulating Welles' voice for endless hours and hours. That voice…could make you believe anything. It could make you believe STAR TREK was utterly classy and biblically consequential. He could even make you believe Nostradamus was right, and that our world will end in 3797 (I started second guessing this one a few years later). My friend and I recited that damn trailer to each other over and over again, for years, until finally becoming distracted by this trailer:
This trailer told us a lot about what to expect from THE WRATH OF KHAN. A STAR TREK movie that existed in a different photographic and physical universe than STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. Gone were the austere sets and decidedly “epic scope” of the first film – injected were a sense of immediacy, intimacy, grit, and truth of character. STAR TREK and been effectively rebooted for a third time (I’m counting THE ANIMATED SERIES and THE MOTION PICTURE). It was now older, wiser, simpler, and a lot more dangerous. TWOK would set a dramatic and conceptual standard that many fans….25 years later…feel best represents the franchise’s full potential. It’s an approach many feel should be TREK’s direction in whataver lies down the road. THE WRATH OF KHAN was the first Science Fiction film I recall seeing that focused so heavily on character, and dared to show that human imperfection was not only constant…but somehow okay. This was certainly evident in the original STAR TREK series, but never as significantly as in TWOK. My television heroes got kicked around in this film, and so did the Starship Enterprise itself. We’d seen that fine-ass vessel get the crap blasted out of it time and time again…but we’d never seen the physical scarring resulting from this damage. We’d never seen the ship in pain. We’d never seen “cool” space battles resulting in burned and bloodied crewmen. What used to be “fun” was now a tad scary. It had higher jeopardy, and I loved it. And then there’s Spock. He died. The guy whose lines I used to memorize got jacked up by radiation and died. The guy whose fucking poster used to hang on my wall, staring down on me at night, died. How dare he do that! What the hell?! When he croaked, he looked thin and ashen, as if all of his energy had been ripped away. Maybe I was too innocent, perhaps I was just naive, but it never crossed my mind that someone I cared about might (suddenly) no longer be there. I’d understood the existence of loss on a different level – people I’d known had lost people they cared about, and I’d even lost folks in my own periphery – but never someone to whom I was truly attached. It never crossed my mind that this could happen to me; kind of narrow-minded and stupid of me in retrospect. As I already knew Spock was coming back, and as I didn’t have a context for the emotions driving that scene…I just didn’t get it. I understood Kirk was upset because his buddy kicked off an all…but I didn’t get it. I didn’t feel that punch to the gut that takes ages to go away. A few years later, my father was diagnosed with cancer. He died slowly for close to a decade. He’d been big and strong and I remember seeing a tear or two in his eyes when Spock passed. When my dad finally moved on, he looked a bit like Spock looked in that final scene. Then, and only then, did I understand the full truth of that agonizing, desperate, final moment between Shatner and Nimoy…separated by glass…in which one man would do anything to stem the tide of what was coming…but couldn’t. All Kirk could do was sit there and watch a best friend die before his eyes; just like I watched my father die before mine. In August 1993, I finally got it. And it hurt like hell. We left the movie for the next leg of our adventure; my friend was shattered and speechless because that green blooded son-of-a-bitch had died. He wasn’t much fun for the rest of the day, but I could deal with it. I was obliviously obsessing about what we were going to eat for lunch. We had Taco Bell, and farted throughout the afternoon. It was bliss. An hour later we arrived at the Lake Hills 4 theater for POLTERGEIST.
This time we got to wait inside. Distracted by glorious air conditioning, the smell of popcorn which constantly permeated the lobby, and the presence of cutting edge video games like JOUST and GALAGA, we waited for several hours. Playing, talking about KHAN, and about nothing in particular. I’d been really, really curious about POLTERGEIST since seeing it’s initial trailer. I loved its trailer. I loved Mr. Voice’s line reading: “The house looks just like the one next to it…and the one next to that…and the one next to that.” We don’t get set-up like this anymore in trailers; it’s awesome.
In an oblique way, POLTERGEIST complements THE WRATH OF KHAN thematically. Both films are about death and how we relate to it. Both are about continuance (emotionally for those left behind, and cosmically for those who have moved on). Both are about angry forces intruding upon the love of a family. There are other similarities, but you get the idea. I had a lot of fun with POLTERGEIST. I liked it’s slightly unpolished look and style. I loved Goldsmith’s score. I had a sexual crush on JoBeth Williams, and a man crush on Craig T. Nelson. The movie was cool, scary, funny, a little bit thought provoking, and memorable. Yet, something about it didn’t ring true to me, even then. It was a little too over the top. It always felt like this excess undercut the atmosphere in which the film functioned best – diluting its sense of dark mystery, the majestic notion that there’s a universe out there which we’ve only begun to understand – to which our smallness is humbling in comparison. 14 years later, I moved into a brand new house – freshly built by my family. Within the first few months of moving there, odd incidents started to occur. Strange displays of light and sound. Insoluble anomalies in the electrical system. The systematic disappearance and reappearance of objects (including pets vanished from, and returned to, locked cages). Footsteps on the second floor when I was the only person in the house. My (then 5 year old) son reported being awakened by “alien voices” night after night, and talked about “fireworks” outside of his window (his window looked directly into a towering wall of cedar trees through which no light could shine at night). My sister was the first person to posit that everything I was experiencing was paranormal. I didn’t want to hear this, and wasn’t even certain that I “believed”. The events continues, on again and off again, for months…then years. Slowly gathering in intensity, the nature of the occurrences became more and more spectacular. More and more deliberate. As much as I resisted the notion, I slowly came to the conclusion that something beyond my understanding was happening to me and my son. My best friends (from out of town) would call me to check on how I was doing; they could sense I was rattled and knew me to be consistently level headed, and rarely dramatic. If I said something was going on…something was going on. It was that simple. When I tried to tell my friends about what was happening in the house, my cordless phones would be blasted offline by a deafening burst of static. I could call someone back immediately, the conversation would progress normally. But, as soon our conversation revisited to what was happening in the house…the phone would again disconnect noisily. I went to the Internet in an effort to research such phenomenon. My computer would gradually slow down (then stop working completely) when I searched for terms like “paranormal”, “ghosts”, “hauntings”…and especially “ghost hunters”. Eventually, I actually needed to leave my house and drive far away in order to discuss the matter on my cell phone. Eventually, I fled into the night with my son – much like the Freelings in POLTERGEIST. We couldn’t take any more. I’m no longer living at that house, but…stuff…still happens there. It’s occupants are trying to explain away the occurrences, blaming it on each other’s forgetfulness or carelessness. Somewhere down inside, they know better. So, POLTERGEIST got it all wrong. The truth nature of the paranormal and haunting is far more insidious, vastly more disquieting, and infinitely more nerve-wracking than portrayed in most movies. It’s 25 years later…today. The theaters I visited on June 4 are no longer there. The Lakehills 4 is a gargantuan music store now. When I was a kid, I chipped the bathroom wall – that mark is still there. And, I swear that…if you try hard enough, wander long enough, and find just the right place in the building…you can still smell the popcorn. The Aquarius is gone, too. 25 years later…POLTERGEIST is now a horror “classic”, targeted for remake. People don’t loose sleep over STAR TREK movies anymore, at least not yet. There’s another TREK movie coming out…which means another reboot of the franchise and mythos. We’ll see what there is to see; we’ll see how well people sleep the night before. Two and a half decades out, this all feels bizarrely familiar. And, 25 years later, I’m finally beginning to feel my age (it’s not the years, it’s the mileage). I’ve seen friends come and go, and people I cared for have left me like Spock left me. I think about life, death, and the universe a lot – how they relate to each other, and how we probably understand very little about what comes next. And my memories often carry me back to June 4, 1982 – when I was first slapped in the face by the notion that there’s more to existence than the myopic little shell in which I grew up for so long. Including death, and beyond death. I wonder what my dad’s up to right now?

Readers Talkback
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  • June 4, 2007, 2:12 p.m. CST

    First... And still no article on the Harry Potter park.

    by Frijole

    Though this is still nice. Guess I should read it now.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Oh, its by merrick!

    by monorail77

    last one up wasn't signed. Good work!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:16 p.m. CST


    by Frijole

    Are you saying that at the TIME Poltergeist seemed "too Hollywood" to you? Or that looking back NOW it seems that way? And did I just misread, or did you say in the same paragraph that it was "too Hollywood" AND that it was "unpolished"? I'm confused.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father...

    by Err


  • June 4, 2007, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Those two movies kick ass

    by Abominable Snowcone

    ...and I saw 'em with friends back in 1982 as well. The year of great filmmaking, like Megaforce! And I remember sleepovers, too. Staying up late looking at Playboys and listening to AC/DC.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Great read Merrick

    by Uncle_Pooch

    thx for that...brought a tear to my eye!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:22 p.m. CST

    The Even Numbered Star Treks

    by AvonBarksdale

    You know what the even numbered Star Treks have in common aside from being the only good ones? Nicholas Meyer. II, IV and VI.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Great article, Merrick!!

    by bmocbull

    At first I was gonna be snarky and be the hoser to tease you a little about the "pre-pubescent night sweating" while being with your buddy, but as I read on, I must say, "very nice". From getting a little choked up when you talked about your dad, to getting spooked about your old house, it was a most well-written piece. Guess I'll have to take my immature ha-ha's elsewhere. :)

  • June 4, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Nemesis was an even numbered one and sucked.

    by Err

    Complete crap that film was. Last good Star Trek film was First Contact.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:28 p.m. CST

    That article reminds me of "Stand By Me"...

    by Uga

    ... if it had been directed by "Savage" Steve Holland, that is.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:32 p.m. CST

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

    by ByTor

    Message, Merrick?<P> Thanks for the memories. Thanks for reminding me what Trek premieres used to be like, before they descended into weak December openings. And yes, Nemesis finally broke the even/odd pattern by sucking. Here's hoping Trek XI breaks the pattern again by not. Here's hoping Abrams remembers what Merrick said...that Wrath of Khan was really about characters, not explosions or effects. Trek needs to get real characters back.<P>Get back your characters, Trek. Get them back before you become part of history. Before you really do grow old.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:33 p.m. CST


    by CatVutt

    My GOD, man...if I'd like...picked up a violin as often as I'd played Joust as a kid, I'd be a fucking virtuoso by now. God, I loved that game. So fucking goofy and stupidly simple, and addictive as all fuck.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST

    hahaha merrick believes in ghosts

    by lilgorgor


  • June 4, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST

    I know where that poltergeist house is...

    by driveindude

    I drove out to that house from Poltergeist about a year ago. Looks the same except for the large, grown in foliage. The house is in Simi Valley

  • June 4, 2007, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Twice as boring as War and Peace but only

    by Borgnine JR

    half as long. What a literary accomplishment!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Fuckin George Lucas.. I remember him getting

    by modlight

    on Dr. Dre's (I think it was him) ass about using the THX sound on an album. After seeing that teaser... I dont' know which came first but it sounds like he has no room to talk about stealing that sound.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    What 11 or 12 year old pre-teen boy

    by Abominable Snowcone

    ...DIDn't have a 'sexual crush' on Jobeth? I mentioned this in some other TB weeks ago, about how great she looked in her nighttime football jersey. I loved the grey streak in her hair.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST


    by ByTor

    I, too, loved Joust to an unhealthy degree. Next house I buy will have a dedicated game room, and Joust hasta be there. Joust, Galaga, Gauntlet, and the original Star Wars game. They may cost some coin, but probably not as much as the sum total of quaters invested into said machines in bygone days.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST


    by jimmy rabbitte

    I loved this movie! I was 11 years old and it was the first time I went to a movie by myself. Much like Merrick describes it was a hot summer afternoon; and for some reason I can't remember I could not find anyone interested in going to see "The Wrath of Khan." Maybe it was the disappointment of the first film, I don't know for sure. All I can say is the experience cemented my love of seeing films on the big screen.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    great article

    by monorail77

    thanks, Merrick. Man, your house was spooky, dude!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Life on June 5, 1985

    by Kevin Bosch birthday. <b/> And why couldn't somebody have written up something nice like this two years ago for the 20th of Back to the Future. Or will we have to wait for the 25th?

  • June 4, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST


    by ByTor

    Quarters, not quaters. And "I invested." Bah.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Kobeyashi Maru Scenario

    by Abominable Snowcone

    C'mon now, everyone say it with me together, over and over. Just like Kirstie Alley did when she was HOOOOT as Savvik, which rhymes with the name of that object I would have presented to her as a gift back then. Kobeyashi Maru. And hey, everyone chant with me now--Motara Nebula!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST


    by darkgrafix

    You liked Poltergiest? Hated it? Didn't feel like it held up to you living in the Amityville house?

  • June 4, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Poltergeist, "slightly unpolished look and feel"? Nah.

    by Lance Rock

    If anything, it was too polished--a ghost story with that Spielberg sheen.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:49 p.m. CST

    So you lived in a haunted house

    by Shivv

    and this is the first we're hearing about it?

  • June 4, 2007, 2:50 p.m. CST


    by McClane_Corleone

    Wrath of Khan is all about death and how people face it. Kirk refuses to face it until the very end when he's forced to by Spock dying. That's why it's the coolest Star Trek movie. Not just because it's the darkest and most adult, but because it completely developes the characters. Even through three seasons and the first movie the characters were still 2 dimensional archetypes up to this point. Kirk was the agressive and emotional ladies man/adventurer, Spock was the intelligent computer-like scientist and Bones was just a short-tempered doctor. But with Wrath of Khan they all developed into fully fleshed out characters and matured more in two hours than they had in the entire previous decade. Wrath of Khan is ill.

  • June 4, 2007, 2:54 p.m. CST

    But still

    by darkgrafix

    I remember seeing Poltergiest not knowing what to expect and then sitting through it with my friends just yelling "Oh fuck!! No Fucking Way, man! No way!!" And I remember it being echoed by other people through the theater. Same went with Raiders after being hit with heads exploding and melting. Good times!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:55 p.m. CST

    The other kid is now...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    The Sleepover Killer, a guy who kidnaps small boys, makes them pretend to be Merrick and then hacks them to death... Or an insurance salesman, one or the other...

  • June 4, 2007, 2:59 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't care if Spielberg himself told me Tobe

    by CreasyBear

    directed Poltergeist. I still wouldn't believe it. Spielberg's fingerprints all over every frame of that movie, while there isn't a shred of Hooper anywhere in it. They can just be honest and admit it.

  • June 4, 2007, 3 p.m. CST

    Well done, Merrick

    by odysseus

    Ah, the good ol' days -- when movies didn't need to be over-amped to grab and hold our attention.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST

    I wish it was my first

    by PortnoysRevenge

    I wish Wrath of Khan was the first movie I went to all by myself (or with a friend). THAT honor went to Any Which Way You Can, the stunning sequel to Any Which Way But Loose. But I do remember going to TWOK with my best friend, then going for hamburgers afterwards. Even back then, my friend new the scoop on the next movie. He's not really dead. Shocker! Then it was off to the arcade where the local venues were having the Great Token Wars of 1982. One place had 10 token for a dollar. Then the other upped theirs to 11. Finally all three places drove themselves out of business.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Poltergeist = *real* horror, not simply an orgy of gore

    by Mullah Omar

    This was one of the only movies I've ever seen that really frightened me and got under my skin. It pushes all the right buttons required to freak out an audience from the American suburbs. Poltergeist is still one of the few that I'll mention whenever someone asks me to recommend a scary movie. Reviewing this virtually bloodless film might remind modern-day directors of what it really takes to make a horror film – namely, that they don’t need to throw buckets of blood at the camera to frighten their audience.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Lance, you're exactly right...

    by Uga

    "Poltergeist" is as shiny as Ron Jeremy's cock. And of course Spielberg directed the vast majority of it; that's evident upon viewing.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:17 p.m. CST


    by mysteryperfecta

    I'm with you 100%. Every frame of that movie is dripping with Spielberg's essense. Time for the filmmakers to fess up.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Khan was such a great villain.

    by JonBlizzard

    I'm feeling with ya man. The worlds going a place I don't like.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:19 p.m. CST

    innocent days

    by Mr_X

    <p>in 82 i was in new zealand. damm i wanted to watch wrath of khan, my older brother was allowed to go, but i wasnt. the first movie i was allowed to see by myself was Annie! with albert finney! i really did want to see twok, my brother didnt really get into scifi in the way i did. then again, seeing star trek the motion picture bored me shitless in the movies. i clearly recall messing around in the cinema annoying my dad by pretending my seat was like the jetpack that spock used.</p> <p>good times </p>

  • June 4, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Shatner is so F*cking cool I wish he were my Daddy

    by picardsucks

    Even those trailers make the spinnoff Treks look lame. And look at that model, No CGI has ever come close to the realism of Doug Trumbulls model effects from TMP. The music was so kick ass in Star Trek II that they used it again(more or less) in Aliens. JJ Abrams take note, watch Star trek II with you eyes pulled open ala Clockwork Orange. Emulate that and Trek can be saved from the lame stigma that the Berman era scorched into it.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:27 p.m. CST

    KHAN - Finally!

    by sott68

    This is the 1982 film write up that I was waiting for... great article. These articles have been awesome and really take me back. Starlog rules!

  • June 4, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Kirk's son was gay

    by sott68

    He died of Aids in the 90's. Poor guy. He got b-slapped by that Klingon in Search for Spock, so it wasnt that suprising.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Yet again, slow bloody news day

    by Jakes Nel

    This was very nice, Merrick. But where's the NEWS? Going cold turkey here....

  • June 4, 2007, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Best Summer Movie...

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    ...You Haven't Seen Yet:<p>T R A N S F O R M E R S !!!!<p>Yay!

  • June 4, 2007, 3:40 p.m. CST

    1982 - 2007

    by kwisatzhaderach

    We had Star Trek II and Poltergeist, kids today have Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Spider-Man 3. Sad really. What a drop in the quality of film-making.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:48 p.m. CST

    POLTERGEIST- AKA: How I fucked up my neighbor for life

    by Playkins

    I've told this before on here, but again for good measure.<P> This little kid that lived next door to me when I was nine had this clown doll sitting on his toychest that looked almost EXACTLY like the doll in Poltergeist. So, being the evil little bitch I am, I played the part of the movie where the doll comes to life and attacks the kid.<p> Flash-forward like ten years and our two families were having a reunion of sorts. I came to find out that Brett (the kid) became terrified of the clown doll. He used to hide it in his closet every night, and the next day his mom would find it and put it back out on the toychest, unbeknownst to Brett. He apparently became so convinced that this thing would attack him at any minute that he couldn't even sleep in his room, a fact that I was not aware of until the reunion.<p> So, I can gladly say that myself and "Poltergeist" were indirectly responsible for scarring the fragile mind of a child.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:55 p.m. CST


    by Playkins

    I disagree. Almost every non-trek fan I talk to likes ST:IV the best. But, if you are just talking about best straight-up action ST film, I agree.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:57 p.m. CST

    re: kwisatzhaderach

    by jimmy rabbitte

    I agree wholeheartedly. Note the post directly preceding yours. Some poor misguided soul is expecting Mikey Bay and his silly robot movie to somehow live up to the aformentioned classics. <p> I've got two words for all those who are pinning their hopes on Mikey Bay: Pearl Harbor. You say, "The Transformers footage looks great". Well, so did the trailers for Pearl Harbor; but apart from the reenactment of the attack, that movie had *nothing* worth looking at. Mikey Bay just doesn't have it. The original cartoon was just a half hour commercial for the toys. Now, twenty years later, we're getting a feature length version of said commercial.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:01 p.m. CST

    The death of Spock

    by Bruce T Shark

    I'm not ashamed to admit it but to this day I've only ever cried twice in a cinema and Spocks death in Wrath of Khan was the first one. I was young enough at the time that no one important to me, no family member, no heroes had died and here was Spock passing in front of my eyes. It took another 25 years before it happened again, almost the entire second half of Rocky Balboa had me choked up. And for all you talkbackers out there still in you teens and early twenties, watch it again when you pushing 40 and see what it does to you.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Oh look everybody...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    TopHat just woke up from his nap.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:05 p.m. CST

    IV, VI, and First Contact are all good

    by QuinnTheEskimo

    but achorite is right, not a single one is as mature as II. That film is a goddamn classic, and Spock's death scene hits me harder than any other death scene every single time I watch it, no matter how many times I've seen it before, and always knowing that he isn't dead. That scene is shattering.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Merrick!

    by Rogue Planet

    That brought back memories. It's funny how dated the trailers look by today's standards...except for the Poltergeist one, which is actually really pretty good - fantastic by 1982 standards. It got me to thinking how at the time, if you didn't know these movies were coming, these trailers would have made us uber-geeks of the day squeak, "NO WAY!!!", and count the days until they come out. Today, you can download the Taiwanese release within hours and be watching the film three days before it hits American theaters. I miss the days of old, when it could take a year before the VHS release came out, so if you wanted to see the film, you had to find a little low-rent theater that might, just might, still be showing it. It makes me sad, sometimes, to think about how the cool things of our youth are gone, but it makes me smile to know that there are still cool things going on around us. Maybe the movie theaters I saw these great films at are gone (the Vancouver Mall Theater 6," "Hazel Dell Cinema 4," "Cascade Park Cinema 6", and the big, local drive-in. The drive-in is still a big, empty lot, too. The old screen fell down a few years ago, but it stood two full decades after it closed. Oh, well, there are theaters now where I can eat pizza and drink beer and watch movies, or I can download 'em and watch 'em at home. Weird. Things change, but somehow they feel the same. I still look forward to new films, even if they aren't about very old friends who fly around in spaceships.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:09 p.m. CST

    The ol' Hooper debate..

    by skimn

    ..I know that nothing that came before or after Poltergeist that Hooper directed (look what he did with the biggest budget of his career, Lifeforce), looked or felt like it, but how could Spielberg direct most of that AND have ET come out within a month of release. Their production schedules would've been almost identical.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:13 p.m. CST

    I wonder what's on ACCORDING TO JIM??

    by Uncle Stan

    Cry me a river.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Stewie Griffin loves TWOK

    by jimmy rabbitte

  • June 4, 2007, 4:13 p.m. CST

    why dont we all call a spade a spade here

    by emeraldboy

    and say that this site should be shut down and comprehensive res-design. or shut it down and forget about it. This nostalgia is great and all but its not news. Spielberg through out his career did this "i ll take the credit" trick for much of the 1980's and 1990s. he doesnt have to do it now. That is the reason why he doesnt do commentary on the DVD's. because if he did, he would have to acknowledge other peoples ideas and he wont do it. There a list as long as your arm of people who will say nice things about the berg. but its strange that you never hear from those who wont say that he's a complete bastard. There has never been a book a about Dreamworks and what happened behind the scenes there.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Khan quotes

    by BillyPilgrim

    Kirks shouting, "Khaaaann!!!" is the most used quote of the movie. But I think Khan stole the show for the most memorable quotes of the flick. My favorite Khan quote is taken from Melville's Moby Dick, "From Hells heart, I stab at thee. For hates sake, I spit my last breath at thee." With Montalbans delivery it was priceless. The next best is Khan saying, "Revenge is a dish best served cold. It is very space."

  • June 4, 2007, 4:31 p.m. CST

    anchorite are you drinking already??

    by picardsucks

    Star Trek IV, VI and the Robert Wise TMP edition were also terrifc films. Hell even Star Trek III was an entertaining day at the cinema. Nemesis sucked because it was The Next Generation. Everything but First Contact and Much of DS9 in the Trek Spinoff universe is lame pretenscous, Socialist hippie crap. JJ Abrams is responsible for a little show called LOST. I think we are in good hands

  • June 4, 2007, 4:36 p.m. CST


    by WickedMonster

    I was just 2 years old. And I lived in Africa...I didn't know what Star Trek is until 10 years later...let alone William "The Shat Hits the Fan" Shatner or Spock.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:38 p.m. CST

    farting is bliss?

    by indiephantom

    Sounds like Harry wrote this.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:49 p.m. CST

    What happened to the Trek franchise?

    by rbatty024

    It hasn't been any good since First Contact and DS9. My theory is that there aren't any interesting characters since DS9.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Appreciated the Dad reminiscences

    by spud mcspud

    My own father, who was a dead ringer for Spock when he was alive, died in September 1993. When he was in the chapel of rest, I got to see him for the last time before the funeral. I had no idea what he'd be dressed in...<P> It was a white robe with a light blue hem. I swear to God, EXACTLY like the one in TWOK, where they're about to jettison Spock's casket into space.<P> My Dad was the real reason I fell in love with the movies. It was fitting he looked like a movie star when I saw him for the last time... even as a Vulcan. He never looked more like Nimoy than at that moment.<P> I could've sworn he was smiling, too.

  • June 4, 2007, 5:01 p.m. CST

    I saw TWOK at a screening in NYC two years ago

    by Yack Backer

    And lemme tell ya, it stands as one of the best movie theater experiences I've had the pleasure of having-- mind you everybody knew the lines, they knew the story and it was still fresh and emotionally resonant 20-plus years later. There is no greater Star Trek film, and few greater genre films whatsoever. It was this movie that prompted me to (at age 8) go back and pay attention to TOS episodes. I've probably seen TWOK more than any other film. It is pure bliss.

  • June 4, 2007, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Nothing's scarier than Poltergeist

    by bamboogrove

    To this day, it scares the shit out of me. I regret watching it as a kid, it ruined me for life.

  • June 4, 2007, 5:14 p.m. CST

    The Wrath of Khan...

    by loafroaster the only thing Star Trek-related I can watch. Fecking amazing film, but the rest of the franchise sucks donkey balls.

  • June 4, 2007, 5:24 p.m. CST

    I wanna know 2 things...

    by HitchCock'n'Balz

    1. Why haven't we read about your haunted house experience before now? I would love to read your tales, and see if they match any of my own... 2. How is Elvis, and have you seen him lately?

  • June 4, 2007, 5:31 p.m. CST


    by ludmir88

    where are the real cool news? i'm out!!!!!!!!!!

  • June 4, 2007, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Star Trek HD DVD

    by deadhonkey

    Does anyone have an idea when this is coming out?

  • June 4, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    trek VI

    by George Peppard

    Has the worst ending of all of them. They prevent an assasination at some banquet hall where my friend's bar mitzvah was and then Kirk says "I've learned something. Some Klingons are A O-kay." Then they get recalled because they are old and Paramount wants the new TV show turned into a TV show you have to pay for. Then the actors sign their names?! Fuck that!

  • June 4, 2007, 5:45 p.m. CST

    "My computer would gradually slow down..."

    by ar42

    "My computer would gradually slow down (then stop working completely) when I searched for terms like “paranormal”, “ghosts”, “hauntings”…and especially “ghost hunters”." I'm guessing anyone who would search for such things had probably previously made searches for "free african gold," "porno screensaver," and possibly "moon landing hoax," any of which is far more likely to be the result of your computer gradually slowing down and dying than poltergeists. I mean... really... spirits from the realm of the dead have nothing better to do than mess with the clock cycles of your CPU? ....Wrath of Khan was awesome, though, I'll give you that.

  • June 4, 2007, 5:46 p.m. CST

    How about a friggin spoiler alert!

    by Tal111

    I didn't know Spock died!!!!

  • June 4, 2007, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Wow...I'm about to cry

    by allyousay

    Since when did AICN become the Indian overlooking the trashed park with a tear in his eye?

  • June 4, 2007, 5:54 p.m. CST

    As a kid...

    by GOB Adama

    ...I saw "The Wrath of Khan" w/o having seen (or even heard of) the episode "Space Seed". I made my uncle laugh when I wished aloud that more backstory as to why Khan hated Kirk would be cool. <p> Going back and watching "Space Seed" is kind of funny, as there is a certain almost optimistic vibe to the stranding of Khan and his people. A second chance for these super-humans, maybe. HA! The quote feom Milton was, perhaps, the jinx. <p> I seem to remember an episode of "Enterprise" (one of several messing about in time eps) where a devistated humanity was forced to relocate and ended up on Ceti Alpha V and I blurted out (in a russian accent no better then Koenig's) "On Ceti Alpha V there was life! A chance for survival!" to which my younger brother responded, "THIS IS CETI ALPHA V!" <p> Our roomates looked at us like were were insane.

  • June 4, 2007, 6:11 p.m. CST


    by tensticks

    That's a truly nice piece of writing, friend, and one I can relate to. Kudos and best wishes to you.

  • June 4, 2007, 6:12 p.m. CST

    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one"

    by Zardoz

    Ah, the philosophy of Star Trek. Yes, TWOK is the best of the Star Trek films. So many cool moments: the animation for the Genesis device de-briefing (which still holds up today) the cat-and-mouse game between Kirk and Khan, the witty banter, the great characters, Ceti Alpha 6's "brain-slugs", Lt. Saavik (back when Kirstie Alley was thin and hot) and of course, the many iconic "geek moments". (Just yell "Khaaaaan!" out loud sometime and see just how many people smile in understanding) I saw TWOK (and Poltergeist) with my mom in the theater, and I swear, even she had tears in her eyes when Spock died .That film taught me a lot as a kid about the nature of being a hero and making a sacrifice for the people you love. And what can I say about Poltergeist? (Besides that it scared the holy crap out of me?) After seeing that film I couldn't look at a steak the same way again. And I still shudder whenever I see a clown doll. ("I hate you, I hate, I hate you!") And if I was JoBeth Williams' character, I probably would've gone catatonic after taking a swim in the pool with the cast from Night of the Living Dead. Anyone see the making of the film? That scene when she flips around the ceiling and walls? It's an amazing shot and even seeing how they did it doesn't detract from it. (Kubrick did the same thing for a shot in 2001) Wow. 1982 was a helluva year for geeks, and I really like all of these looks back at how important it was, not only for myself, but for so many others out there, as well. Happy anniversary, everyone! (see you in another 25 years!)

  • June 4, 2007, 6:12 p.m. CST

    His was the most Human...

    by ComputerGuy68

    God I love that film, and I fully understood the pain Kirk felt as I had lost my mom to cancer in 1978, I was ten. Star Wars, Superman, ESB, and Khan were very close friends to me during those years. <p> anchorite, what was Scott's reaction? <p> My biggest beef with Trek II to IX is that they all looked like TV movies. Yes TMP may be as exciting as watching paint dry at times, no no other film has captured the magic and majesty of it (looks, scope, not the story!). It may have to do with Robert Wise, but probably more of Paramount being cheap bastards. <p> Clowns are evil...

  • June 4, 2007, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Trek X really tried to be the next Khan, but...

    by ComputerGuy68

    in the end it was Berman doing a cut and paste from the best elements of all things Trek and still "like but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!"

  • June 4, 2007, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Dork Celibacy: God's Plan

    by YokoTits

    I'm glad your father's death helped you understand "Star Trek." Sorry, but it's hard to take Mr. Haunted House very seriously. You actually fled with your son from...creaky floors? Twenty-five years from now, I'll eagerly read Merrick Jr.'s "My Father the Dork."

  • June 4, 2007, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Cool trailer but a question..

    by Cotton McKnight

    It's just Orson Welles saying everyone's name, right? So you guys would literally walk around saying "William Shatner as James T. Kirk" etc etc for years? I didn't hear any catchphrases or anything so i'm wondering what you were reciting.

  • June 4, 2007, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Rare archival footage of Merrick and his buddy...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    ...waiting for Poltergeist tickets.

  • June 4, 2007, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Those Star Trek trailers are truly, truly AWFUL.

    by CopOnTheEdge

    The first one's worse, but both suck hard. It's amazing how when you look at trailers even from the early 90s they look dated and rough. Anything from the 80s and earlier just look retarded.

  • June 4, 2007, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Ender Smites Foe = One Fugly Troll

    by mr dark

    Hey Ender Smites Foe I guess that must be your idea of heaven... Sorry for that inexcusable bastard Merrick ...But if you bear your soul some ugly fuck will try to crush it...

  • June 4, 2007, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Khan reminds me of the "Elfquest" dude...

    by Anna Valerious

    True indeed. Anyway, I've always felt a little sad for Heather O'Rourke dying young of chron's disease. I dunno, she could've either ended up OD like Brigitte Anderssen or probably made it through like Drew Barrymore, who, incidentally, auditioned for the role of Carol Anne.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:06 p.m. CST

    Star Trek II - Where's the Beef?

    by Rogue Planet

    A good buddy of mine is serving in Iraq right now...his second tour. Back a few years ago, he was serving at Fort Lewis in Washington State (my home), and they were having a showing of Star Trek II at the Science Fiction Experience museum in Seattle. Unfortunately, it was the extended version from the DVD, but it was still "Khan." Ironically, it was being shown on a theater-sized screen...and on his birthday. So, when I broached the subject of going to the film, I said, "Wrath of Khan, on the big screen, on your cool is that?" which he replied... "Pretty fu**ing cool!" We went, and we screamed "KHAAAAAAAAAN" at the top of our lungs, at the same time as about 120 other uber-geeks. It was like being back in the theater in 1982. Oh, cute side moment: my wife, who is not a fangirl, told me once her favorite moment in a movie was Star Trek VI, when the Enterprise and Excelsior blow up the bird-of-prey. Not because of the moment, or the effects, or the dialog, but because the rose up as one and cheered. No lie. I was there. We were all whoopin' and hollerin'. Not because of the moment, or the effects, or the dialog...but because we were all fans. It was a lot of fun. I miss days like that, when a movie can move you and thrill you and make you remember a moment that WASN'T on the celluloid, years and years later. I think that's what's missing in movies today: it's all just big effects or gore or CGI, there are no moments any more. Movies have become like porn - we've become desensitized to the effects, and there's no heart any more. Where are the young Jedi fighting against dark forces? Where are the aging space captains battling against unstoppable foes? Where's the joy? Dare I say it, where's the beef?

  • June 4, 2007, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Hey bacci... ready to feel even older?

    by jimmy rabbitte

    It wasn't the 30th annivesary of Sgt. Pepper... it was the 40th. <p> Sorry, man.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Merrick, you've done it again.

    by cutest_of_borg

    I was there opening day as well. Has it really been 25 years? Damn. Cried when Spock died. ROGUE PLANET is correct: movies don't have "moments" anymore. There is nothing to cheer for anymore.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:25 p.m. CST


    by Rebeck3

    Is this a fucking autobiography? An episode of 'The Wonder Years'? The first chapter of the rest of your life? Jesus. When did the columnists here become so precious and self-indulgent? "I'm feeling older now..." Oh shut the fuck up.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:37 p.m. CST

    Yoko Tits:

    by colematthews

    Fucking genius.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:39 p.m. CST


    by jimmy rabbitte

    This whole thread is about two films that are 25 years old. These are the stories of what shaped the guys who run this site into the film fans they are today. I can understand if you lack the frame of reference and therefore cannot appreciate reading about the days when these films were new. It's no problem, just go slum around in the TB's for "Transformers" or "Speed Racer." I doubt you'll find anyone giving even half a crap about either of those two movies in 25 years.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Let's hear more about Merrick's Haunted House!

    by theBigE

    Now that's some cool news! Tell us more about that house, Merrick! <p> I was 11 in '82, and still my parents wouldn't take me to the theatre to see Poltergiest, but my 13 year old brother saw it twice and told me all the details. That was back was PG still had some balls - now you'd have parents complaining about how the movie was "too scary!" I did make it to see Khan that summer, and I was just thrilled after the first movie that this one didn't have bald chicks and the plot made sense!

  • June 4, 2007, 7:48 p.m. CST

    I Didn't Finish Reading This

    by Mr_Deadite

    Merrick, you're a fucking queer.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:48 p.m. CST

    LOL, allyousay

    by Rebeck3

    That Indian crying comment had me laughing out loud. Look, I don't mean to be a cynic but we all have our Great Movie Memories - I'm sure I could write a 1000 word piece on seeing "Jaws" the first time, or "The Spy Who Loved Me" at a sneak preview, or "Monty Python And The Holy Grail" all alone in a theatre, on and on. We all have those moments that made us the, ahem, geeks we are today. I never gave much of a shit about Star Trek (or WARS for that matter), but I do remember how cool it was to see "E.T." and "Poltergeist" only week apart. (The former was also a sneak preview a month before it opened officially) Spielberg was just a movie god, no less. I remember after seeing "Poltergeist" thinking why would Spielberg not direct this cool scary film and instead direct some drippy gentle fable about an alien. Then I saw "E.T." and oh yeah, I had my answer. It blew me the fuck away.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:49 p.m. CST


    by Uga

    I'm with you.

  • June 4, 2007, 7:51 p.m. CST


    by Rebeck3

    I hear you - and you clearly have mistaken me for someone much younger, LOL. As you can tell from the above post. Do I write young or just stupid? Anyway, I didn't mean to be so harsh.

  • June 4, 2007, 8:06 p.m. CST


    by landocolt45

    WoK was the best Trek ever. And they had better not remake will probably be pg-13 when it needs to be R.

  • June 4, 2007, 8:07 p.m. CST

    re: Rebeck3

    by jimmy rabbitte

    No problem... the "Wonder Years" comment made it sound like you were a young kid knocking the old dogs.

  • June 4, 2007, 8:13 p.m. CST

    That Star Trek Trailer Reminds Me...

    by Rebeck3

    Of how we were all so impressed by cheesy light shows in those days. Anybody here old enough to remember those laser shows they would have late night at Laseriums (museum domed theatres projecting stars on the ceiling) and they would play rock music (lots and LOTS of Pink Floyd, natch) and the teenage crowd well-fortified by much herbal wonder would just like totally like get caught up in these dancing laser beams. Wow, man. How do they do that, man? This was state-of-the-art for us. Technology at its greatest. Just one step above those cheap stereo speakers with the badly-timed lights. That's all it took to amaze us. Jesus, were we a pathetic generation or what? But, hey, SENSSURROUND...

  • June 4, 2007, 8:22 p.m. CST

    drowning in nostalgia

    by AllieJamison

    That was pretty good. I'd like it if aicn came up with more editorial-like stuff. This was a well done article. Written in a diary-stream of consciousness style which seems to be typical for aicn. and yet it was all meaningful and sincere. <br>The next time something as not necessarily news related as this will be posted,though, I'd want it to be less about the past. Less of nostalgia. Would be healthy.

  • June 4, 2007, 8:26 p.m. CST

    The Ender Smites Foes?

    by Kirbymanly

    You are one evil fuck.

  • June 4, 2007, 8:28 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

    Man, that Eli Roth was something else. I mean, everybody saw Hostel, but Hostel 2 really came outta left field. I drove by the theater (it's been replaced by an Apple Store) and I can still see the place where I smoked my first cigarette and contributed to global warming. But that was before 4 time Global Comptroller Al Gore created Internet 2, which became sentient, and, well, I don't have to tell you the rest of that story. Good times ! Well, time to go back underground, I think I hear a BattleTank coming our way. ENDOFLINE

  • June 4, 2007, 8:30 p.m. CST

    Wnanahara7 Re: Randy Rhoads

    by Playkins

    ABSOLUTELY AGREED!!!!! The Randy/Ozzy friendship would make a great basis for a movie. How one messed up rocker realizes how much MORE messed up his friend is, tries to help him, ends up helping himself. Good stuff, get misty thinking about it.

  • June 4, 2007, 8:54 p.m. CST

    the aquarius...

    by austin1

    I was a teen in Austin in the 70's.Seemed to recall that the aquarius started out as a 3 screen theatre..and was located off matter...just the novelty of a multiplex, and being dropped off early to bounce from movie to movie. Back then the ushers never checked. Good times. A shame that all of the theatres in Austin where we watched Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters and so many more are loooong gone.

  • June 4, 2007, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Forgot ET came out that year...

    by ComputerGuy68

    the one and only time I have watched that film. The book was good but I don't think I could ever sit through that sappy film again.

  • June 4, 2007, 9:22 p.m. CST


    by ObiWanCon

    That was great Merrick so good I just watched The Wrath of Khan and it still FUCKING RULES.

  • June 4, 2007, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Show Merrick some respect.

    by demon75

    You little bitches that weren't even alive in 1982 need to shut your traps and listen to Merrick. I too was there for the Star Trek II opening and it was fucking orgasmic. Being introduced to Kirk and Khan at seven years old was mind blowing! It was scary shit and to this day I still don't trust Chekov.

  • June 4, 2007, 9:56 p.m. CST

    I'll take the leisurely, "dated" trailers of the 80's..

    by Osmosis Jones

    ...over those hideous strobing "BOOM BOOM BOOM" and Apocalyptic Choir Of Doom[tm] trailers we get for every action movie and thriller today.

  • June 4, 2007, 10:09 p.m. CST

    I am going to ask again nicely...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    Whoever does 'The Thing' better produce some very special prose, or I am going to get very mad...

  • June 4, 2007, 10:16 p.m. CST

    one of the best articles I've read here

    by Blckaddr

    Thanks Merrick!

  • June 4, 2007, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Nice write and and a good

    by ErrorDante

    Nice write and and a good read Merrick. I was merely born that year, but alot of things come back, 80s era things, upon reading it. Good job indeed.

  • June 4, 2007, 10:27 p.m. CST

    Oh My God

    by Mr_Deadite

    So he wrote that long ass post *all* about Spock dying? I reiterate, Merrick, you're a fucking queer.

  • June 4, 2007, 10:45 p.m. CST

    ET was a book?

    by Cotton McKnight

    I didn't know that.

  • June 4, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    star trek flicks and farting

    by DrDetroit

    I want the 3 minutes of my life spent reading that glurge back. My old man would be haunting me with a vengeance if I was out there comparing his death with fucking spock.

  • June 4, 2007, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Absolutely beautiful. Well done, Merrick!


  • June 5, 2007, 12:23 a.m. CST

    Great post, Merrick. Great TB, too.

    by Sir Loin

    ...with both films, they were quite gripping for us young lads back then. I haven't seen those trailers for decades, either, so thanks for that as well. This is also a terrific talkback, much more fun to read than those about a certain horror movie coming out this weekend, eesh.

  • June 5, 2007, 12:47 a.m. CST

    Long live Atari

    by aboriginal

    I still remember seeing TWOK for the first time in a theater in San Francisco that, all though the buidling is still there the theater isn't, and getting that rush and feel of losing an old friend. You come to accept it as still an innocent and loving movies only to see Hollywood lose its balls and give him back - not that I complained at the time. Shite, 25 years . . .

  • June 5, 2007, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Merrick, this is not a dig...

    by Captain Mal

    it's a genuine question: how the HELL did you memorize a trailer in 1982, before the internet made them available to watch over and over again? IIRC, they didn't start putting trailers for upcoming movies at the beginning of videotapes until the late 80's. I'm curious as hell. Thanks for the article, btw.

  • June 5, 2007, 1:31 a.m. CST


    by Flim_

    So why hasn't that unlikeable dude 'The Ender...' been banned yet? I'm pretty sure he should be. Not that I want to draw attention to him or anything. It's just odd, that's all. Oh, and it was a hell of a thing when Spock died.

  • June 5, 2007, 4:35 a.m. CST

    What was Poltergeist's rating in the states?

    by Boba Fat

    it was an 18 in the UK. And Ender? I really hope you just skipped to the bottom of the piece and then tried to post something smart because if you read the whole thing and think what you did is funny or that Merrick would find it funny then there really is no hope for you.

  • June 5, 2007, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Poltergiest was only PG here!

    by theBigE

    We didn't have PG-13 yet - that was still a few years off. So any little kid could go into the theater and watch it, no problem. Still, my parents wouldn't let me, an 11 year old, see it. Just over 2 years later they did take me to "Beverly Hills Cop," so they weren't all that strict. Lot of difference between 11 and 13, though.

  • June 5, 2007, 5:37 a.m. CST


    by Boba Fat

    IMDB has it as a UK 15, so maybe I missed being able to go see by two years, I was 13. Still seems harsh compared to you lucky yanks!

  • June 5, 2007, 5:52 a.m. CST

    Nice story

    by Kristian66

    Sorry about your Father. The haunting story was a tad dramatic though. There are no such thing as ghosts. Unluckily.

  • June 5, 2007, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Poltergeist as an Indictment of Capitalism . . .


    Don't be a douchebag. It's an Indictment of building subdivisions on burial grounds. And it's a stupid one, because the whole idea that the developer would be in charge of moving a whole frickin' cemetery without any kind of oversite either from the original owner of the land (usually a church or memorial home), or local government (didn't Poltergeist take place in California? Come on? Ghosts sucking a house into a pinpoint ethereal black hole is more believable than a company getting carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with land in California) . . . plus, even in the eighties, construction costs were such that moving the caskets would have been a minor and necessary expense. You have to get sewer and plumbing to houses. You usually have to do some grading of the land. Etcetera.<br><br> It's a fun movie, but it's silly to see it as a stinging indictment of capitalism. Heck, they moved the headstones. I thought "capitalists" would just have raped all the children then sold their body parts for a dollar, damn capitalists.<br><br> All hail Marx and Lenin. And don't forget Stalin. What a sweety those collectivists are. With Stalin, it wouldn't have been: "You just moved the headstones!" it would have been: "You just chopped off their heads, and left the bodies!" <br><br> "Yes, comrade, as a warning to others who oppose my vision of a socialist utopia." <br><br> Sheesh.

  • June 5, 2007, 7:34 a.m. CST

    The needs of the many

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. Give me a tissue, Jim

  • June 5, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST


    by Abominable Snowcone

    Tagline for Star Trek IV:<p> We've got whales.

  • June 5, 2007, 7:36 a.m. CST

    And Why Would Building a Subdivision . . .


    on top of a cemetery long after most of them died and presumably moved on prevent them from finding the light and going on? I can see why the building of homes, thus employing construction workers and providing houses for hard working American's to live in (damn capitalists) would attract The Beast, and a midget woman. That just makes sense. But if I was a capitalist Devil flipping Jobeth Williams around the room, I would have gotten that football jersey all the way off. That's all I'm saying.

  • June 5, 2007, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Merrick, Was Your House . . .


    Built on an old cemetery or Indian burial mound? Or were you doing drugs, drinking a lot, or dropping acid? All those things can lead to poltergeist manifestations.

  • June 5, 2007, 8:04 a.m. CST's been a quarter of a century...

    by Lou Stools

    ...and Wrath of Khan still fucking rocks and has yet to be bested by another ST feature...doubtful it will happen.

  • June 5, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    star trek : the undiscovered country

    by Mr_X

    was the best trek film, and im not even a fan of TOS. brilliant in everway a perfect ending for the tos crew

  • June 5, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST

    death and life indeed

    by AllieJamison

    Aahh...fuck my comment on nostalgia. This article is more than that. It's true.

  • June 5, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST


    by skinnyblackcladdink

    this was my defining moment. ok, well, one of:

  • June 5, 2007, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Great post, Merrick. I was

    by Devilborn

    Great post, Merrick. I was there on opening day for both movies as well and I think you summed it up perfectly.

  • June 5, 2007, 8:49 a.m. CST

    bacci40 - the 40th annivesary for 2001 is in 2041.?

    by workshed

    Isn't it..? Oh, and BTW Merrick, your dad is either being crumbled into a big fat reefer by a rather large afro-caribbean or, should you have chosen the slow-decomposition route, providing necessary food for the ever expanding species of Earthworm. So you see, he is still making a vital contribution - just not in the way that a religious nutter would have you believe by being a fucking Poltergeist (stupid fucking movie too). As for 'Star Trek: The Wrath Of Kahn' - i've never sat through a more uninspired load of twaddle. I have always been a massive fan of the original series but WOW THE MOVIES WERE SOOOO BAD. 'Star Trek: The Movie' was the first time i ever took a girl out on a date to the flicks (i was twelve). When the usher woke me at the end to tell me my date had 'gone home' i never forgave Robert Wise and refused to watch any of his films for any years. Of course, i now love Wise's work but wonder how the heck he got roped into such shite as the Star Trek movie franchise (which incidentally only got green-lit following the success of Star Wars).

  • June 5, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Cotton McKnight, yup there is a book...

    by ComputerGuy68

    If I remember correctly it was a novelization of the film, but it is so much better than the movie because it is mostly from E.T.'s perspective. <p> The highlights I remember (25 years ago!) was that he was in love with the mother, got drunk on beer and tried to display his love to her - lots of screaming involved! Hell it was M&M's he loved in the book too. Something funny about the dog too<p> Amazon has it:

  • June 5, 2007, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist

    by BobParr

    Spielberg of 82 was a complete pussy. No way he would have directed a movie with a guy pulling off his own face, coffins breaking through the ground, big ghost womb, etc. He didn't grow a sack until Schindler's List.

  • June 5, 2007, 9:58 a.m. CST

    1971 Rebuttal...

    by idahomer

    Best movie year ever was 1971.<p> Sci-fi: THX 1138<p> Horror: Willard.

  • June 5, 2007, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Again - Merrick's the Best Writer at AICN

    by Read and Shut Up

    What a friggin' GREAT read. Merrick - whatever they're paying you, it ain't enough.

  • June 5, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Merrick should call Ghost Hunters...

    by Kid Z

    ... Because when you're experiencing nightmarish, supernatural terror on a regular basis, you want a bunch of plumbers roaming through your house, frightening the kids with useless electrical doodads, standing under AC vents and claiming that "a presence" is "sucking all the heat from the room", and conveniently forgetting to turn on video cameras that would've "gotten us hard evidence of the haunting... awwww... too damn bad!."

  • June 5, 2007, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Merrick, you are a fucking retard.

    by NapoleonDynamite

    There is no such thing as the fucking "paranormal." No ghosts, no poltergeists, nothing. There is also nothing to "research" on the internet about it because there is no scientific evidence for any of it. If you're computer broke down while you were looking at crackpot "paranormal" sites, then you just had a shitty computer and an overactive imagination. You probably smoke too much pot. Hewre's a bit of unsolicited advice, you might want to keep those kinds of nutty beliefs to yourself. You make yourself look stupid when you talk like you think gosts actually exist. You look ESPECIALLY ridiculous when you try to argue that this or that ghost movie isn't "realistic." NONE of them are realistic. Ghosts are FANTASY, dude.There is no such thing as the supernatural. period.

  • June 5, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST

    June 1982

    by ATARI

    The month/year I got my ATARI 800 computer.<br> <br> I was really enjoying the article/autobiography until I got to the part about your haunted house. What's up with that? Do you seriously believe in that shit? If so, I have lost much respect for you.<br> <br> As for the movies, I rented Poltergeist last fall, and it didn't stand up well to the test of time. I still wanted to bang JoBeth, however.<br> Star Trek II -- still the best trek of all, and in my top 100 movies of all time. Star Trek IV and VI I also have on DVD, so they are good enough to own, but not Top 100 material.<br>

  • June 5, 2007, 12:57 p.m. CST

    The Ender Smites Foes

    by Quin the Eskimo

    That's just mean, not funny, mean.

  • June 5, 2007, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Good job Merrick!

    by Darth Thoth

    Great writeup. And yeah, TWOK was the stuff! Excellent!!

  • June 5, 2007, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Did the ban button break?

    by Ultron ver 2.0

    Cuz I've been banned several times from this site for far less stuff then what that douchenozzle Ender just did. Jesus, even Battleposter was funnier than you. I wish I can be there when the Karma police pistol-whip your pasty ass.

  • June 5, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    The E.T. Book


    I can believe so many of us read the novelizaton. It was solid, tho, and the expansion on how connected E.T. was to Elliot made a lot more sense, once I read the book. And the description of E.T.'s sickness almost "pulling in the walls" like gracvity was increasing around him . . . it was just cool. An excellent novelization. Of course, I also liked Piers Anthony's novelization of Total Recall, where Anthony inserted this whole elaborate completely different explanation of everything that happened in the movie, because he felt the "logic" wasn't there. Bizarre and mysterious, I loved that novelization (which I read after seeing the movie) more than the movie. Not because it was better, really, just because Piers is so frcikin' whack when he gets his dander up.

  • June 5, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Paranormal Research...

    by GOB Adama

    NapoleonDynamite, I'm not saying its real, I'm not saying it's not... But in order for there to be facts proving or disproving anything there has to be research in the first place. To make even a "scientific" statement about ghosts not existing w/o research is, in fact, NOT scientific at all but rather blind belief in and of itself. <p>Now, logically, for so many people to have made reports of the "supernatural" there has to be something to it. Does that mean ghosts and boogeymen? No. Could it be mass hysteria or vestigial primitive psychology? Sure. In any event, there is something there to be studied and researched. <p> Narrow-mindedness cuts both ways. I have as much almost (note the 'almost', it comes up again in a bit) as much pity for the folks who believe anything someone with a labcoat and a clipboard says as I do for the folks who blindly believe what someone with robes and an ancient tome. Science can trump faith in the provability department, but scientists, due to being human, are no more trustworthy than the faithful. And being able to "scientifically prove" something can widen the net of the gullible real fast. I mean, look at some of the things the Nazi party's scientists "proved" back in the 30s. Scary. <p> Why am I babbling? Because 'Star Trek' taught me to keep an open mind? For example: Does the god Apollo exist? No! Well, he does, he's just an alien, actually. and 'The Wrath of Khan' is the most kick-ass movie of all of 'Star Trek'. <p> Like how I tied it all up there? No? Me either.

  • June 5, 2007, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Shatner is coming to kick your ass!!!!!!

    by picardsucks

    You know he can still do it. Don't fuck with Shatner. He can knock out anyone with one punch or a well placed dropkick. He never misses with a home made bazooka and he bangs more hot chicks before lunchtime than Bond does in a year. Shatner could punch out Darth Vader and Dropkick Spiderman into oblivion. Hide the children motherfuckers, Shatner is coming to kick your ass.

  • June 5, 2007, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Reliant's sensors

    by ByTor

    OK, so yes, the orbits shifted and Ceti Alpha V ended up more or less where Ceti Alpha VI was, but you'd still expect a 23rd-century starship to notice, right? This bugged me for a while too.<P>Ultimately I decided it was human incompetence. I mean, did Paul Winfield's character really strike you as one of the Best and the Brightest? No sir. He did not. With Chekhov as the XO and former Chief Kyle (a freakin' noncom) promoted to CMDR and a bridge officer...clearly the Reliant was the dumping ground for the has-beens and never-weres of Starfleet.<P>Goddamn that movie rocked.

  • June 5, 2007, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Captain Mal: memorizing trailers

    by ByTor

    You do it by going to see movies over and over and, thereby, seeing trailers over and over. Doesn't take long to memorize them, believe me.<P>Happy Birthday, Wrath of Khan. Surely...the best of times.

  • June 5, 2007, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Posting NSFW links is not cool....

    by Ultron ver 2.0

    ...and not funny. Perhaps Mr. Ender needs to be Tubgirl'd.

  • June 5, 2007, 4:45 p.m. CST

    even numbered Trek!

    by naked_mandy

    Wrath of Khan is still one of the best. IV, VI and First Contact were all really great too. I also think "Search for Spock" and "Insurrection" deserve more love than they get.

  • June 5, 2007, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Cotton McKnight & kevinwillis: ever read the ET sequel?

    by spud mcspud

    It's called E.T.: BOOK OF THE GREEN PLANET, written by William Kotzwinkle, based (I believe) on a treatment for a sequel, and in my opinion it would have been magnificent. There's a lot of daring there: the entire book is about ET trying to leave his home planet (breaking some pretty ancient oaths to do so) with some unsavoury companions, just to get back to his best friend Elliot. Elliot's story, told in parallel, is basically about him growing up. The ending is a heartbreaker. Come on Mr Spielberg - fuck INDY 4, do E.T.2 - and base it on this novel!!!<P> That is all. Cool post, Merrick.

  • June 5, 2007, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Boston Legal rocks

    by spud mcspud

    Best thing the Shat has done since Trek. Yes, even better than T.J. Hooker.<P> But can the Shat take the awesomeness of Chuck Norris in a fair fight? The fate of the '80s hangs in the balance!!!

  • June 5, 2007, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Spud McSpud!


    I've heard you were a party animal! Or a party potato.<br><br> Anyway, no, I have not. But I will. Another novelization I enjoyed, though it hewed closer to the movie (in that it didn't provide much insight beyond the movie) was the Wrath of Kahn novelization by Vonda N. McIntyre. We do find out that Kirstie Alley is half-romulan, which explains a lot about her post-Star Trek career. <br><br> But I'm going to keep my eye out for the E.T. book sequel, and if I do run across it serendipitously, I'm gonna get it. <br><br>BringingSexyBack . . . I mean, seriously. You would have gone back in time to save Kirk's son? Come on, the guy was a douche bag. And why did Kirk do anything, unless it was to get laid? Trust me, across the universe, dude has bastard children to spare.

  • June 5, 2007, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Let's talk 1984

    by theBigE

    That was the year movies meant something to me! Gremlins, the 2nd Indiana Jones, etc...

  • June 6, 2007, 12:22 p.m. CST

    "He stayed at his post, while the trainees ran!"

    by Tacom

    Man, that moment was when I first teared up watching Star Trek II. Scotty fuckin got me crying over his dead nephew. Although I don't get why he brought his body to the bridge instead of sick bay.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Khan, are you game for a rematch?

    by Darth Busey

    I'm laughing at the "superior intellect"!

  • Dec. 3, 2009, 3:22 p.m. CST


    by horrorfilms999

    was directed by Tobe Hooper, but the music, special effects and editing were overseen by Steven Spielberg. Plus it was produced, written and story boarded by him. Some of the posters on this board, the ones suggesting that he should "admit to it" will never work in the film industry and should stop pretending they know what they're talking about! You make me laugh when you attack Hooper and say it doesn't look like one of his films {Lifeforce?}, yet I don't see many people lining up to slag off Irvin Kirshner for "directing" "The Empire Strikes Back" when you can plainly see that George Lucas is the unofficial director of that film {the whole original trilogy look identical} AND Return Of The Jedi. Here's a quote from David Lynch on turning down the 'opportunity' to direct Return Of The Jedi "George had already designed these little--bears; he had already done all this stuff. I didn't understand why he wanted another director to come in. It would really be George's puppet on a string and I couldn't see what my value would be. So it was very friendly. I was flattered that George even wanted me to. But I think he should direct those himself. They're his things." This is also the case with most films, the producer overrules the director on many occasions. You should also hear about the little known fact the Zanuck and Brown overruled Spielberg on 'Jaws' a few times. One example was that Spielberg wanted a B-Movie ending with a school of sharks emerging on Amity, after the "final" one was destroyed. The producers disagreed and decided they wanted a more subtle ending, which is what they ended up with!

  • Dec. 4, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Did you really think someone would read this

    by orcus

    Oops, scratch that

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