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The law of diminishing returns was obeyed assiduously by the three Poltergeist movies, which have been boxed together to show how Hollywood milks an idea for every last ounce of cash it can. The best in this series is the original, directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg (who reportedly also lent a hand behind the camera), about a suburban family whose house turns out to have been built on an Native American burial ground. In the film's most clever touch, the disturbed spirits attack the family (and pluck its youngest daughter into the netherworld) through the TV. Oddly, though the family moves away in the sequel, the spirits follow them, then remain committed to harassing the daughter in number three, even though she's gone to stay with relatives. By that last film, the special effects have become the raison d'etre for the whole movie (which later launched an entire cable TV series). Why didn't they just call Ghostbusters? --Marshall Fine
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