Poltergeist, directed by Toby Hooper (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame) and co-written by Steven Spielberg, was a childhood obsession for us. We watched it on a never-ending loop the same way other kids might watch their favorite Disney movies. The fixation started when we were five and six, after our dad brought home the movie with its strange cover, a drawing of a little girl in darkness with her hands pressed against a television screen. The film tells the story of a family taunted by spirits who ultimately suck their youngest daughter, Carol Anne, into a netherworld via her bedroom closet. To most kids our age the story would have been horrifying, but for some reason the film felt comforting to us, even heartwarming.
Our compulsion to watch the movie soon transitioned into a need to reenact it. Mud in the backyard became a swimming pool filled with skeletons. We would bend our utensils at the breakfast table, and ritualistically stage burials of Carol Anne's dead canary, intoning, "Now I lay me down to to sleep."
Maybe we found something relatable in the portal-traveling child. Her character evoked a mixture of innocence and unease. The look and feel of the house she lived in fascinated us with its Star Wars bedsheets, pet goldfish, dust, and the glitter kicked up from under the bed by some otherworldly chaos—a setting imbued with the same pastel-color palette of our 1980's childhood home.
For this photo essay, we pay homage to our childhood fascination, from the scene when Carol Anne discovers that her canary has died to when she's first touched by the spirit's supernatural energy and dragged across the kitchen floor in her football helmet. And finally—the most important ode—the unforgettable two words Carol Anne says to her parents after she's engulfed by an eerie glowing light from their television: They're here!
~ Kelsey and Rémy Bennett
Find a behind the scenes video here.