The Movie: 'Poltergeist' (1982)

The Scene: The Freeling family is all curled up in the parents' bed. They're typical, living their early 80's, suburban lives. It's normal to the point of banality, but a series of inexplicable occurrences starts to intrude into their Spielbergian postcards. A malevolent entity is encroaching upon their home and it has its sights set on their youngest, Carol Ann (Heather O'Rourke). Carol Ann awakens. The TV speaks to her, voices that only she can hear. Smoky tendrils creep out from the television, slithering across the room. The spirit plunges into the wall and tremors rock the home. As Steve (Craig Nelson) and Diane (JoBeth Williams) awaken, Carol Ann warns, "They're here."

Why It's Iconic:
Like many of the scenes featured in Moviefone's list, the scene acts as a tipping point in the film. Events dip from a distinctly Spielberg sense of wonder, into much darker territory. The Jerry Goldsmith score brings the menace, going from the light choir of children and woodwinds, to a baroque dread. The tonal shift lets us know that the spirits are tangible and are there with ill intent. All of this is juxtaposed with the flaxen-haired innocence of Carol Ann, one of the most memorable children in film history. It's a simple proclamation from an adorable child, but it's one loaded with foreboding.

Imitators/Flatterers: In the 80s, if there was any phrase repeated more often than 'Where's the Beef?', it's 'They're Here.' To this day, the references have yet to wane. While it was said with relish on every sitcom and talk show 20 years ago, we still see the scene parodied in pop-culture regurgitators like 'Family Guy', 'the Simpsons', and multiple times on 'South Park'. Most recently, and in an act of questionable taste, the scene was recreated to shill for Direct TV.

categories Halloween, Horror