Materialism and Greed: the Real Monsters in Poltergeist

1165 WordsOct 10, 20055 Pages
Materialism and Greed: The Real Monsters in Poltergeist A seemingly "Hallmark" family, although nowhere near perfect, is dropped into the middle of a most bizarre situation. This family fights to reunite themselves after becoming victims of disgruntled spirits in Tobe Hooper's 1982 film Poltergeist. The film attempts to criticize the 1980s boom of materialism, which the Freeling family clearly falls prey to. The external threat of the poltergeists that the Freelings face is merely a metaphorical threat that represents how greed and materialism can lead to the destruction of a successful family. The Freelings are meant to represent the American dream, or at least "phase one" of it, in that they have achieved success on many levels,…show more content…
They live in Cuesta Verde, which is Spanish for "it costs green." The "green" in this name is most likely referring to money. The choice of the name Cuesta Verde seems to imply that the money-based foundation upon which the American dream is built upon, is corrupt. This is apparent in that the money that fuels the real estate scheme is what allowed the graves to be disrespected in the first place. The greedy real estate company is making millions of dollars form these homes, which Steven is primarily responsible for. In order to maximize profits, the company merely moves the headstones and leaves the corpses. The invasion of their final resting space is clearly what provokes the spirits to retaliate. Furthermore, the fact that the spirits are only in the Freeling house, despite the entire neighborhood being comprised of these bodies, strongly implies that the Freelings are not random victims and were chosen for specific reasons, namely Steven's unknowing involvement in these activities. Along with materialism and greed is the criticism of television. The film begins with the TV "playing the national anthem, but the images are not pristine, not clear. United States icons, like the flag and the Capitol building are seen as grainy and indistinct and then they change, devolving to static almost at once...This union seems to indicate that America's a TV-obsessed nation" (Muir 87-88). This statement is most definitely true, as the film's criticisms of
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