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To specify that Spielberg definitely directed this because it has his hallmarks is to forget that other filmmakers can have their hallmarks, too: Hooper's camera movements, similar to Spielberg's, are unmotivated whereas Spielberg always has a reason to move his camera, meaning it is a way to move the plot forward or keep our interest on a narrative level. Hooper doesn't care about plot - he cares about…
Some possible counterarguments to the idea that Spielber was any sort of dominating creative force:
- Hooper was Spielberg’s slumber party buddy during the major rewrite that resulted in the shooting script. They likely worked out the beats of the film together. The first treatment of the film, which included the basic set-up and ending (the bodies erupting from the pool and ground), was yet again another collaboration between Hooper and Spielberg.
- Two scenes were rewritten mid-production. The first…
Needless to say, the film could’ve been a lot more of a victim to Spielberg’s 80’s brand of light-dark tonally fluctuating entertainment of Hooper wasn’t there knowing what most interested him about the screenplay he and Spielberg knocked out largely in a form of conjunction. Imagine 5x more of a levity akin to this and you realize Spielberg could’ve been happy with another “Harry and the hendersons”:
What it comes down to is Poltergeist was a film co-conceived…