Yesterday we got a look at the first images from the Sam Raimi-produced Poltergeist reboot, and now the movie marketing machine is making its spectral presence known with the first trailer for the film. It's basically a greatest hits collection for anyone that liked the original: we see the new Freeling family (this time they're the Bowens), static-filled TV screens (even though digital TVs don't really do that), and a creepy, freaky clown doll.
Of course, given that we're living in a post-Annabelle (and post-American Horror Story: Freak Show) world, it can't simply by a dead-eyed doll. No, the new Poltergeist looks to be upping the ante by making it a demon-faced ghoul of a clown that jumps after you, loses its nose, and looks like nothing any responsible parent would actually ever let their child touch.
Clowns pretty much exist just to make you cry
I know, I know. It's not really fair to judge a movie by its trailer. But it's not encouraging to see a classic moment get such an obvious, over-the-top makeover, either. Clowns are terrifying on their own. They exist pretty much just to look creepy and make you cry, and they certainly don't need an Ace Frehley make-up job to take care of business.
The original Poltergeist worked so well by establishing a Spielbergian suburban wonderland and then slowly, methodically stabbing it in the heart. You may think you're safe in your nice little cul-de-sac, the movie said, but you have no idea what's rotting beneath the surface. Let's hope that director Gil Kenan and writer David Lindsay-Abaire took that to heart, and have more up their sleeves than just a dressed-up highlight reel. Because patience and subversive, creeping dread win out over stylized jump scares, no matter how brilliantly they're executed.
A second trailer gives us a little more to work with, hinting that the terrifying tree sequence for the original may also make an appearance — but there's also the promise of aggressive 3D. We'll see how it all turns out when the new Poltergeist arrives this July.
Update February 5th, 2:01PM ET: This story has been updated with the second trailer from Digital Spy.