Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. Steven Spielberg wrote and produced, but had a clause in his contract to prevent him from directing another movie while he made E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Therefore, Hooper was selected to direct based on his work on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It is the first and most successful entry in the Poltergeist film series. Set in a California suburb, the plot focuses on a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family's younger daughter.
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 4, 1982, the film was a major critical and commercial success, achieving in being the eighth highest-grossing film of 1982. Years since its release, the film has been recognized as a classic within the horror genre and has gained a cult following. Aside for being nominated for three Academy Awards, a scene from the film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made. The film also appeared at #84 on American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies.
The film's success helped spawn a franchise consisting of two sequels, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988), and a remake of the same name in 2015.