Click over, children! All are welcome! All welcome! Quint interviews Zelda Rubinstein!!!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with an interview that really brought my geek out.
I’m often asked what the first film I saw was. I don’t have an answer to that. The first film I remember seeing in the theater was the ‘80s re-release of SONG OF THE SOUTH, but I’m told my first theatrical experience was PETE’S DRAGON, a film I still love to this day.
But my very, very first movie memory is POLTERGEIST. I must have been around 3 years old. I remember falling asleep in my babysitter’s lap. I don’t remember why mom wasn’t home, but she was a single mother with two jobs for most of my childhood, so it could be as simple as working late at her 9-5.
Anyway, I remember waking up just as the coffins were coming out of the ground at the end of the movie. I vividly remember those great ILM skeletons and the fear emanating from my babysitter. It must have just started playing on HBO.
It’s long been one of my favorite movies and when the chance to interview Zelda Rubinstein for the 25th Anniversary DVD and limited theatrical re-release came around, I pounced on it. I had some work to do to arrange a one-on-one, but it happened and you’ll see the results below.
She’s got a lot of fire in her (and more than a little flirt, too) and she absolutely isn’t afraid to speak honestly about her life and her life’s experiences. Her honest opinion of Tobe Hooper might surprise you and her recollections of Steven Spielberg’s involvement in the film are really something.
I hope you dig the interview!
Zelda Rubinstein: Hey Eric, how are you?
Quint: I’m doing very well and it’s a pleasure to talk to you, I’ve been a big fan for a long time.
Zelda Rubinstein: What city are you in?
Quint: I’m in Austin, Texas.
Zelda Rubinstein: That’s a good music town.
Quint: Yeah, big music town and a big movie town, too. What about you, are you in LA?
Zelda Rubinstein: I’m in LA and it’s a little chilly and it’s very cloudy today. It’s not a pretty day.
Quint: Well, it’s definitely not chilly in Austin.
Zelda Rubinstein: Oh I’m sure. I know, I have my handprints outside of a theater in San Antonio and that’s pretty close by and I know it’s a pretty area, though.
Quint: Definitely. I moved here when I was really young and of course my impression of Texas was that it was going to be all desert and cactuses and cowboys. We flew in and I thought we were going into the wrong city, because there was nothing but green hills and big lakes and water everywhere. That definitely surprised me.
I guess the first question that I have is when did you first start wanting to act?
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NEXT SEGMENT IN AMAZING SOUND-O-TEXT!!!
Zelda Rubinstein: Early in February of 1980 I woke up in the morning, and I don’t know what the epiphany was that had occurred overnight, but I woke up realizing I was an artist and I did not know what my discipline would be. And being impetuous and feeling strongly about it, I went into work where I was working at the professional blood bank and I gave my boss notice. I worked out those two weeks and at the end of the two weeks I still had no idea what I was doing and everything just sort of fell into place.
Suddenly I was working within two weeks after I had quit my last job in medicine. I was working as a regular on THE FLINTSTONES and that’s because of this unusual vocal instrument that I have. So I was working with the big boys right away… Mel Blanc… Charles Nelson Reilly, Henry Gordon, Paul Reubens… Paul went on to become Pee Wee Herman and he played my brother. Charles Nelson Reilly was my dad. Ruta Lee was mom… Frank Welker was the dog “Rockjaw” and it was clear to me that I would be using my voice.
Quint: That’s cool.
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah, and then I got a commercial with the late George Burns and then I got POLTERGEIST 1 and my career was launched in a very fancy way. It was like it being shot out of a cannon.
Quint: POLTERGEIST really struck a chord with audiences and Tangina is such an iconic character. The way you portray her and the fact that the lines that you had are still quoted, I think, speaks to how well that movie has resonated with audiences.
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah. It was a very well received. I am so glad to have had an opportunity to do a role that’s right in the middle of a major film with a great opening line and a great closing line and anybody who had been given the role would have had their career made. It was a career making role.
Quint: Where you approached for it or did you have to win it in auditions?
Zelda Rubinstein: I won it. I auditioned and was screen tested I think four times and when I went in, I worked only six days and everything I said or didn’t say was on the screen.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NEXT SEGMENT IN AMAZING SOUND-O-TEXT!!!
It was an amazing experience. Then I didn’t hear a thing for a whole year and I didn’t even know if the movie was ever going to have a life and then I got a phone call to do some voice work on it and then I realized it was going to happen and I was invited to a screening for cast and crew and I almost had to be carried out of there because I had realized how it would change my life.
Quint: So the realization came after you saw it? Was there any indication while you were filming it that it was going to capture lighting in a bottle?
Zelda Rubinstein: I only worked six days and I had no contact with anybody for a year, so I had no idea. And it was a very shocking thing for me. I had done a few other little things and of course I was still doing the FLINTSTONES…
It wasn’t all good, the ramifications, I mean, it cost me a very happy fourteen year relationship, because neither one of us knew how to handle this. Of course, since we’re older now and more experienced in life, we could have made it work, but it didn’t and we’re still excellent friends, but we both moved on. I’m quite content with the fellow in my life.
Quint: I’ve experienced that too, where there’s something that should be a really happy thing and it just turns around on you in ways you don’t expect.
Zelda Rubinstein: Right, but in the end everything sort of works out. Since then, of course, I’ve done many features, lots of television, lots of voiceover work, several series and commercials… stage. I’ve done them all and I’ve learned. It’s a good thing I’m a quick learner…
Quint: Sounds like you still like the process and you still like to work.
Zelda Rubinstein: Oh and I do work. I have lots of stuff coming up.
Quint: Yeah, I really enjoyed your bit in BEHIND THE MASK. That was very fun.
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah! I’m very self-conscious about being shot from behind, but I survived. I didn’t in the film, but I do in real life.
Quint: And Richard Kelly just came to Austin to show the final cut of SOUTHLAND TALES and…
Zelda Rubinstein: Did you see it?
Quint: I did.
Zelda Rubinstein: That’s going to be an interesting project. I saw it before it was re-edited for Cannes, because I went and it was up for the Palme d’Or and I had another film at the market, which has come out all over Europe and Asia, but not the USA. That’s called CAGES and that was directed by Graham Streeter. In fact, I’m doing Graham’s next film called NORMAL FOLK and it’s got that title because he shoots in Normal, Illinois and it’s about adult autism.
Quint: That sounds real interesting.
Zelda Rubinstein: It is and I’m happy to be a part of it and I die in the film so I don’t have to spend next winter in Illinois and that thrills me.
Quint: That’s great! I think it’s very fascinating that… You hear about remakes all the time and how everybody is always remaking things and I’ve always been a big proponent for re-releasing instead, like what they did with THE EXORCIST, for example, they re-released that five years ago and it was a huge success and I’m really glad that they are doing something similar with POLTERGEIST and letting it play for an audience again.
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah, but it’s only playing for one night as I understand it and that’s October 4th and I plan on going to whatever theater is closer, but I can’t go (in town), because people recognize me wherever I go due to my short stature and this peculiar vocal instrument, but I’m going to go again. What the hell? What the heck, I should say…
Quint: There’s a movie theater in Austin, called the Alamo Drafthouse and it’s a world famous theater where they serve food and beer while you watch the movie and they play lots of retrospective stuff and there’s lots of vintage films and drive in type things… just great stuff and a movie that you did is actually one of the more popular films that have ever run on these series and that’s a film called ANGUISH and we are big fans of that movie down here and…
Zelda Rubinstein: I loved doing that film. It was shot in Barcelona and Bigas Luna was the director and he was a very fine director and it was my first European film… my first movie shot abroad and in Europe. I really liked that and I’ve done a film in Singapore for seven weeks and I loved that. That’s the one that’s currently in release all over Europe and Asia, but not in the USA… I don’t know why, maybe some political thing… I was the only Caucasian lady in that. I loved it and I just adored it. The kids in it were bigger than I was...
Quint: Oh yeah?
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah… I run into that a lot. I’m about the size of a nine year old and when they get a little older and they get a little bolder, I kind of have to tough them up.
Quint: Put them in their place.
Zelda Rubinstein: Well, just to save my behind. What else can I tell you?
Quint: I don’t know if I have too many other questions, but I did want to ask you if you were at all interested in coming out and showing Anguish at the Alamo or if there’s any other film that you have that you would like to show for an audience.
Zelda Rubinstein: I would love to. I can not do anything until after the 20th of October. The 19th and 20th is when I’m doing my cabaret.
Quint: Oh? You do a cabaret?
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah, I’ve talked about it so much today and don’t know if I’ve talked you about it…
Quint: Nope, not yet.
Zelda Rubinstein: About five years ago, I was asked by a friend of mine, who is a director/producer/actor… a triple threat… and he said “You know, I’d love to do a documentary on you, but there’s no one to play you… How about a retrospective? But what I’d like for you to do is to do cabarets, where you can sing songs that are appropriate to support the scene and the story can tell…” I am a story teller and “so pick the three greatest influences in your life and develop cabarets around those.”
Well these are the three greatest influences, except for my nuclear family and I’ve survived all of them. The first was about being little, the second influence was about being very adventurous, and the third was about the influence of the most peculiar men in my life… in my soup, in my bed, in my life… and very much against all odds, because either by their absence, because I never had a date until I was twenty six, until their presence and I had a lot of boyfriends. I live with the man I want to live with and I’m very, very happy and this is a relationship going on 12 years and we are very content and he is a very good person, not in the business. He’s also considerably younger than I am, so all the advantages are mine.
I think it’s important that I talk about how this came about, because when a man gets involved with me, he takes on the same nasty societal opinions that I’ve had to endure all of my life, such as less is less, basically. They don’t buy it, I don’t buy it, so I’ve had an amazing variety of men in my life. I’ve had an amazing variety of friends. Of course I have my very best friend, with whom I live, and we have a more elaborate relationship.
I’m doing these cabarets with my musical director, Brian Miller, who is just the most marvelous person to work with… this is the last of the autobiographical cabarets I do, third in the trilogy, and from this my friend will be able to extrapolate what he needs to do a retrospective. It’s a lot of work to do a cabaret and it’s at a very fine supper club in LA called the Gardenia, in Hollywood, and that’s owned by a magnificent person called Tommy Rolla.
The next one that I do, I believe, will be more political. I am a political animal and I stay away from any Texas administration…
Quint: Well most people in Austin try to stay away from Texas administrations, too.
Zelda Rubinstein: I’m a very liberal lady. I’m color blind, gender blind… I don’t care so much about those things, but I do care how masses of people are being brutally manipulated by that man in office and that’s how I feel. I can’t wait until he’s gone. I can’t wait.
Quint: I think you just described most of the country, even people who supported him through both elections… I think most people are ready for him to leave now. He’s pissed off just about everybody in both parties.
Zelda Rubinstein: Yeah, he has pissed off everybody. No kidding! What else can we talk about? You seem like a very fine, interesting man.
Quint: Thank you. There’s lots of questions that I have, but it’s all stuff that I’m worried that you are always asked…
Zelda Rubinstein: You can ask. I’ll talk to you, I rather like you.
Quint: Well, thank you.
Zelda Rubinstein: What do you need to know?
Quint: There’s one thing that I’m really curious about. Being an Austinite I’ve run into Tobe Hooper and I’ve talked to him at length about his work on POLTERGEIST and I brought up the big rumor that Spielberg came in to direct it and kind of took over. Tobe was very adamant that he directed the film.
Zelda Rubinstein: I can tell you that Steven directed all six days I was there. I only worked six days on the film and Steven was there. Tobe set up the shots and Steven made the adjustments.
You’re not going to hear that from Tobe Hooper, you’ll hear it from Zelda, because that was my honest to God experience. I’m not a fan of Tobe Hooper.
Quint: You’re not?
Zelda Rubinstein: No, I’m not, because I feel he allowed… I don’t know how to say this… he allowed some unacceptable chemical agents into his work.
I felt that immediately. I felt that when I first interviewed for the job. Steven was there, Tobe was there, two casting people from MGM were there and I felt at that time Tobe was only partially there.
Quint: I think that because Spielberg had a hand in the creation of the story, that that probably led him to be protective of it, so it’s probably a good thing that he was there to kind of protect it.
Zelda Rubinstein: You are right on that, honey, and he also was very protective with me. He kept me under cover so thoroughly, because I think he wanted… there was not another female in the business who was a little lady that could handle the kind of material that was necessary to do this. I don’t know who my competition was, but I finally got the job after being screen tested, I think four times. I’m grateful I got the job, otherwise I would be under some street lamp.
Quint: What is fascinating about the role, to me, is that it doesn’t… It’s not like they dwell on your size or that they make it a “look at how different this is.” With your character, it really doesn’t matter all that much.
Zelda Rubinstein: There wasn’t very much gratuitousness in this at all. They were very content six working days, then I didn’t hear for a whole year and didn’t even know if the film was mount until a year later when I was asked to do some looping, like when my heels where heard walking across to floor. I’m not a southern lady, but accents come easily to me. It was an experience and still remains a good experience for me.
Quint: Where the sequels lesser experiences for you?
Zelda Rubinstein: They were of longer duration and I liked doing the third one. I didn’t particularly enjoy the second one. I felt the late director Brian Gibson… my feelings were that he didn’t like me and he didn’t want to use me in the film, but he sort of had to, so I don’t know. Whatever happened, he’s not alive to state his views or defend himself, so I don’t want to bury him once more. You are fun to talk to, sir. I like talking to you and I hope that we run into each other if we are ever in the same city. I would like that. Please make yourself known.
Quint: I certainly will. Let’s see if we can make this Alamo Drafthouse thing, they will treat you very well.
Zelda Rubinstein: Well that would be just fine as long as it’s after the 20th of October and if you find yourself in LA, you can reach me through my management.
Quint: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and I definitely appreciate it.
Zelda Rubinstein: Alrighty.
And there you have it.
You can check out this site to see if POLTERGEIST is coming to a theater near you this Thursday.
Hope you enjoyed the chat with Ms. Rubinstein. Hope that ANGUISH screening at the Alamo happens. As you can tell by now she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, so I’m sure the Q&A will be fantastic!
Got more in the works! Keep ‘em peeled this week for some more good interviews!
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 2, 2007, 5:45 a.m. CST
Oct. 2, 2007, 5:52 a.m. CST
It's so obvious Spielberg ghost-directed this film. Everything about the performances, the pacing, the camera movement, all reminiscent of Spielberg and not to be found in any of Hooper's other work.
Oct. 2, 2007, 5:55 a.m. CST
I enjoyed that. She seems like a top gal. I can't wait to see southland tales!
Oct. 2, 2007, 5:58 a.m. CST
Pretty much as everyone expected, but never had it said from 1st hand experience. Would have liked more information on Anguish. I ran a video store here in the UK, and it got a pretty big release from Fox. Great film, but customers generally didn't appreciate it when I recommended it - the scene in Clerks had it spot on - Oooh, Navy Seals!!!!
Oct. 2, 2007, 6:04 a.m. CST
Even though she only worked six days, its pretty fair to say her experience with Spielberg in control of the shoot and adjusting all the final shots, with Hooper setting up shots so that his name could be on the film, is likely consistent for most of the shoot. And Spielberg was likely the controlling force behind pre- and post-production as well, so its his film. Case closed.
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:05 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
That's a tough casting call.
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:08 a.m. CST
ran the show on Lifeforce.
Oct. 2, 2007, 8:09 a.m. CST
cue horrific demonic revenge.
Oct. 2, 2007, 9:02 a.m. CST
Quint man,your no Anthony Michael Hall....and I need a drink.
Oct. 2, 2007, 9:32 a.m. CST
Poltergeist 3 rules.
Oct. 2, 2007, 10:01 a.m. CST
the character she protrayed in the Poltergeist series was my fave.
Oct. 2, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST
I think you're all overreacting with the 'Hooper's busted!' stuff. From her explanation, said in a polite and indirect way, Hooper was having substance problems at the time. That kind of thing has a habit of happening when independent film folks hit the big time and the studio money flows in. I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that Hooper directed some/all of the film, and perhaps got taken aside by Spielberg at some point so that the movie didn't spin out of control. I, for one, see Hooper's prints on the film, even though Spielberg is obviously all over the thing. My belief is that the truth is likely a mixed bag: Hooper directed -some- of the film, I highly doubt it's as black and white as we'd all like. After having the pleasure of meeting the man and spending a day on set watching him work (Mortuary) it's clear the chemicals are behind him, and whether you're impressed with his current work or not, his basic talent still shines through. I just don't get the seeming desire to kick the man in the nuts over this movie.
Oct. 2, 2007, 12:28 p.m. CST
... but it was strooong enough to punch a hole inta this world and take your daughter away from ya." Great interview, Eric. You're my total hero right now!!! Bravo!
Oct. 2, 2007, 12:57 p.m. CST
During the filming of Poltergeist III (1988), she was doing a photo shoot when she paused and lurched. Director Gary Sherman was present and asked her what was wrong, she responded with a comment like "I don't know, was just a jolt. I'm fine." Several minutes later Sherman was pulled aside and told they would have to let Rubenstein go from the film -- her mother had just died. After developing the film from the photo shoot, it was discovered that every photo had come out fine, except one, which had an inexplicable cloud of light clouding into the photo from Rubenstein's left, covering half of her with a semi-transparent haze. Rubenstein said she knew the jolt had to have been her mother's passing - she said they always had a particularly strong bond, in a way some identical twins have. Sherman, who had witnessed it, agrees it could not have been anything else. Both Rubenstein and Sherman were already very well aware of the tragic events which had plagued the film series.
Oct. 2, 2007, 1:09 p.m. CST
What do you think she meant by 'chemical agents'? That Tobe Hooper was on drugs?
Oct. 2, 2007, 1:21 p.m. CST
Poltergeist is Stevie's all the way.
Oct. 2, 2007, 1:27 p.m. CST
by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World
He was letting loose some Mustard Gas on the set, what the hell is wrong with you, you fucking idiot?
Oct. 2, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST
by Abominable Snowcone
This house is clean
Oct. 2, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST
by Baron Karza
in a good way?
Oct. 2, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST
or so they say. What a lucky bastard to have his name affixed to two of the greatest films ever made while only doing half the work. We'll never know the whole truth, but I find it very suspicious that almost nothing Hooper has ever done has been remotely as good as those two films.
Oct. 2, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST
Oct. 2, 2007, 3:37 p.m. CST
Where'd you get that part about "Hooper barely directed TCM as well"? I've read the books, I've watched the documentaries, I've listened to the commentaries and I've never heard anything that gives that impression. Who are you saying directed it then, Kim Henkel? If that's what you're saying then watch his NEXT GENERATION and Hooper's PART 2 and tell me which one is from the director of the original.<p> In a way it's true, he directed a masterpiece but does not have the same body of work as say George Romero or John Carpenter. But I don't think he gets enough credit - TCSM shines high above the rest but there is plenty to say about LIFEFORCE and THE FUNHOUSE for example. And personally I think his straight to video stuff is starting to become tolerable, maybe he'll get in the game again some day. I hope.
Oct. 2, 2007, 3:47 p.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
That is the most polite way to say someone is a dope head. From what I've heard, many Cheech and Chongs films where plagued with similar situations, albeit without Spielberg.
Oct. 2, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST
by Kentucky Colonel
You can smell it. That stash in Craig T.'s bedroom...that weren't no oregeno. Not buds like that!
Oct. 2, 2007, 4:21 p.m. CST
"to us, it is the Beast" kickass movie
Oct. 2, 2007, 4:53 p.m. CST
by Judge Dredds Dirty Undies
Glad the lady is still going strong.
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:18 p.m. CST
You can totally see his fingerprints all over that film. There's more though, apparently Tobe Hooper was high on mescaline throughout the entire shoot and, at one point, started to believe that he was a penguin. Don't ask me... I just heard this shit.
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:42 p.m. CST
Had almost forgot about this cool wee lady! she was very distinctive in Poltergiest to be sure with her tiny wee medium behaviour, bit like a creepy (more creepy) Jimmy Cranky!
Oct. 2, 2007, 7:49 p.m. CST
If you do ever meet her, I bet she'll want to use her "vocal instrument" on you.
Oct. 2, 2007, 8:17 p.m. CST
Seriously, how do you interview Zelda and not even mention Teen Witch? Huge cult classic.
Oct. 2, 2007, 8:36 p.m. CST
Oct. 3, 2007, 12:51 a.m. CST
Oct. 3, 2007, 1:06 a.m. CST
Zelda is quite an interesting person, this was a fun interview indeed.
Oct. 3, 2007, 3:12 a.m. CST
Thanks for being so candid. It doesn't take a film genius to see that Spielberg had more than a glad hand on this film but you finally clearing it up for all of us film nerds is a blessing. Thank you! Oh and please know this... you are FOREVER in film history.
Oct. 3, 2007, 4:57 a.m. CST
Funny, I'd actually used that subject line before. It popped up typing "Cool". I guess you're excellently consistent in your work.
Oct. 3, 2007, 6:06 a.m. CST
Your telling me that the guy who filmed that crazy ass dinner table scene in TTCM was on drugs? Getthefuckouttahere
Oct. 3, 2007, 9:51 a.m. CST
by Samuel Fulmer
If there was any doubt that Spielberg really directed Poltergeist, this interview should end the arguement. It's possible that Hooper was a director the same way a union guy gets to be a cameraman in NYC by sitting on his/her butt collecting a paycheck while the real cameraman who isn't a NYC film union person does the actual work. Didn't a similar thing happen with Howard Hawk's production of The Thing From Another World? Some may bring up "Well than Irvin Kershner didn't really direct Empire," but you know what, the people who acted in Empire actually say Kershner was on the set and were directed by him. How many people who have acted in Poltergeist have said the same about Hooper. There have been a number of interviews with the actors from Poltergeist though the years that say that they were directed by Spielberg. What more proof do you need. I mean, they could've put Alan Smithees name on Poltergiest and it would'nt matter. The actors say they were directed by Spielberg. That's all the proof I need to settle this 25 year old contoversy. Still, I think Hooper is a talented director when given the chance to direct. Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Funhouse are horror classics.
Oct. 3, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST
Because you guys keep on talking about the screenings as if they will be 35mm prints. They are not. Just a projection of the DVD like the shitty ones they had for Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween. I'm all for the communal experience of watching the flick with other fans, but please call it what it is and stop making people think that they will be getting something they will not (and SHOULD).
Oct. 3, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST
That always bugged me too! What kind of jackass starts grabbing food like that anyway. Thanks for the laugh, man.
Oct. 3, 2007, 11:58 a.m. CST
Honestly, until I saw Behind the Mask, I didn't even know she was still alive. Very nice interview, though. But she said "hell." For shame, Zelda, this is the internet, and the fucking shithead kids are impressionable.
Oct. 3, 2007, 12:50 p.m. CST
by half vader
Considering that it was remastered in HD and also coming out on high-def formats (eventually), I'm not sure that would be the case (although I haven't checked that either). <p> 1080p is only a few pixels different to 2k which is what many DIs are done at not to mention almost every effects sequence you've seen since things went digital, it should look as good as any other film. Anyway like I said I don't know the facts on this particular one but it would be hella stupid if they did do what you said. Any solid info? <p> I love Poltergeist but the funny thing is that even when I saw it as a kid when it first came out I always remembered how terrible that scene with the bad bluescreen/comping was where the record player and all that crap flies around the room. Ha. Maybe it was on purpose to put me offguard for the evil motherfucking clown from (literally!) hell. Shudder. <p> On the screening note I want to know if the Blade Runner screenings will be in 65/70mm. That WAS a rare instance where elements were (italics) scanned at 4k and even 8k (due to being shot large format in the first place). God I hope it's projected in all its glory. Not that I'll get to see it downunder but it'd be nice.
Oct. 3, 2007, 6:45 p.m. CST
by Jack Burton
"Now clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning. Don't give it any help, it knows too much already." Her delivery of that line, plus the lighting and set up of that one scene is just awesome and one of my favorites ever. I'd put that one right up there with "They mostly come out at night. Mostly." and "He chose poorly."
Oct. 4, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST
by Some Dude
That movie deserves much more attention.
Oct. 4, 2007, 6:35 p.m. CST
by Jaws Wayne
Yep, that's a great film indeed. I saw it at a film festival ages ago and later bought the sweet Anchor Bay disc. Zelda sounds like a fun lady but no suprise hearing Spielberg pulled all the strings on Poltergeist, IMO one of his best films by the way (#2, right behind Jaws).
Oct. 4, 2007, 7:52 p.m. CST
As arguably the most influential haunted house story of all time, (Up your ass Shirley Jackson!) the 25th anniversary of Poltergeist has been mismanaged since it's inception. A lame one night theatrical (DVD) screening, and not even at midnight. Virtually no press at all, and the worst insult of all. The pathetic excuse of a joke of an insult of an Anniversary DVD that WB has issued. With NO EXTRAS that pertain to the actual movie aside from the already available trailer. This is a film that the fans have demanded for 2 decades that the extra materials, stories, rumors, curse theories, poster art, radio/tv spots, documentaries and most of all memorial tributes, actually come to light. To be encased in a true SPECIAL EDITION with two or three discs in a boxed set. And yes at this point, we deserve the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack included. This is the film you have DVD signings for, special collectible covers, or a special anniversary box edition shaped like a television perhaps. I even heard rumors about a lenticular cover showing the house imploding. But none of this has come to fruition. The fans have been blatantly ignored. Petitions cast aside. Spielberg needs to not dick around with remastered Godfathers and stand up for one of his own. No I won't even begin to debate. Steven Spielberg directed Poltergeist. I'm just really fucking livid, this is my favorite film of the 80's, and it's getting fucked harder than Audrey Hollander. DROP DEAD WB HOME VIDEO! Oh and for the record...SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY WAS A FUCKING JOKE! Go chew your cocks!
Oct. 4, 2007, 9:29 p.m. CST
The movie still holds up, but the presentation was a crime. The theater I saw it in (AMC Framingham 15 - a corporate hub so screenings are generally top notch) showed the film (ahem, DVD) re-framed at 16:9. It was to narrow for 1.85:1 and too wide for 1.33:1 (4:3); nope, it was definitely a re-framed version for 16:9. Think of it as a pan and scan version for widescreen televisions. The problem is the film was shot in 2.35:1 scope. The screening actually rubbed that in your face too when, after the opening scene, the film changes to a letterboxed 2.35:1 sequence for the opening credits (and closing credits as well). I couldn't believe it. I knew I wouldn't be seeing a 35mm film print and that it would be in DLP, which was fine I guess, but this was ridiculous. So I basically paid 10 bucks to watch a DVD in the theater, something I could have done at home on my DLP projector EXCEPT that when I realized the aspect ratio had been reformatted I would have tossed the disc in the garbage. Leonetti's framing was mangled. In one shot there is a closeup of the teenage daughter, Diane the Mom, and Robby the son; except the daughter (who was screen left) was cut out of the shot with only the tip of her nose entering the frame. It looked awkward. And, though I'm not certain, I doubt most DPs or camera operators would ever frame a shot like that. It was very disappointing. That said, the film still sucked me in and I got over the framing issues pretty quickly which is the testament to a 25 year old film that is still a creepily effective haunted house movie. Did this happen to anyone else at their screenings?
Oct. 4, 2007, 10:03 p.m. CST
Just got back from the screening and I enjoyed it. Could I tell that the quality was not as good as a home DVD? Yeah,but it wasnt horrible. And it was fun to see on the big screen even if the ratio was fucked up. I consider it ten bucks well spent,if for no other reason than I got to sit in the dark and ogle JoBeth Williams.....
Oct. 4, 2007, 10:52 p.m. CST
Yeah, just got back from my screening and it was definitely re-framed from its original scope aspect ratio. Bummer right from the beginnning! My screening wasn't in DLP but in the video projection they use for commercials. My screening was full though and the audience loved it!
Oct. 4, 2007, 11:16 p.m. CST
by Alabama Smith
....are some of these older films better on the big screen than on the small screen. Just attended a screening here in WI. and it was great. What was really funny was that the majority of the kids working the tickets and concession stand were born after the film was released. And smoking pot in the bedroom...priceless. I forgot about that scene. Overall, would like to see more of these films on the big screen.
Oct. 4, 2007, 11:42 p.m. CST
I would go see any and all old films in theatres if more of them got re-released. I remember a few years ago,a theatre near me had a showing of Casablanca. The print quality was terrible and of course it wasnt formatted for a modern day screen so it kind of looked like a postage stamp. Even though I had a much better version of the film on DVD,I still went and saw it 3 times at the theatre.
Oct. 5, 2007, 11:58 a.m. CST
by half vader
1.85:1 and 16/9 on a cinema screen? You do realise 16:9 is 1.78 :1? Not that different to 1.85. <p> http://tinyurl.com/3yarcc <p> Anyway yeah that sucks about shitting on the scope ratio. I thought fucking with OAR was a thing of the past now with widescreen tellies/DVDs. Does this mean the DVD has been changed too? That's sort of outrageous. The stupidest 4:3/1.33:1 crop ever for my money is the Close Encounters reformatted version. Noses at twenty paces! One person speaks, cut to an empty frame! Fucking priceless! <p> Sharp eyes mate (for the 1.78 to 1.85 not scope obv.)!
Oct. 5, 2007, 3:01 p.m. CST
...and Zelda was sitting in the front row! Very cool convergence. The crowd cheered when her name came up in the credits and when she made her entrance on screen. As I was leaving the theater, I heard her comment that the film "still holds up."
Oct. 5, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA LIVES ON!!!! Thanks for a great interview, Zelda and Quint. I'm so glad this teriffic lady is going strong, working steadily and getting the cheers and respect she deserves.
Oct. 9, 2007, 1:31 a.m. CST
There was a pseudo-doc about psychics they showed after the movie, and the clips interspersed with the psychic footage as the commented on the reality of the film were clearly more widescreen than what we had just watched. This was very evident when the ghosts moved the piano while Craig T. Nelson was trying to hide the telekinesis from his boss. In the cropped version, it just looked like a piece of furniture - maybe a cabinet. With the correct ratio, it was clearly a piano. I didn't mind that much - the movie was still good, and seeing it with Zelda was a privilege. But I did find it funny that the silly doc after the movie basically thumbed its nose at us for having sat through the immediately preceding subpar presentation.
Oct. 15, 2007, 3:13 a.m. CST
Yeah, definitely one of the better interviews AICN has done in a while. Zelda is so candid and interesting. Feel bad for Hooper, AICN should just interview him already. Whether he has a movie out or not.
May 18, 2010, 1:58 a.m. CST
Honest and interesting....
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