A ghastly and ghostly movie date

Graphic by Alan Li

On Thursday, September 28th, students and the community members were invited to an outdoor screening of the 1982 spooky classic, Poltergeist.

An event hosted by Fresh Air Films and CreateWaterloo, it seemed to be an appealing activity for the university crowd.

Given the fact that it was free and hosted in a central area that many people in the city have easy access to, you would be hard-pressed to find an easier way to draw an eager audience.

Locating the spot was difficult for a directionally challenged person such as myself – my boyfriend and I wandered around for over half an hour stupidly searching for other pairs of people weighted down with blankets.

We weren’t alone in this confusion however, as the event’s Facebook page had several comments pointing out the vagueness of the location and asking for directions.

We finally found it at the bandshell in Waterloo Park West, an inflatable movie screen stationed at the head of the field.

A decent sized crowd was in attendance; couples and friends alike dotted the grass cozied up with heavy blankets, sleeping bags and pillows, cuddling against each other for a Pinterest-worthy movie date.

Some people had brought their own snacks, an element that would have heightened the experience for those without them – a.k.a. me.

Having only ever seen Poltergeist on a small television set growing up, it was a pleasure to view what is now considered a classic Steven Spielberg story unfold on a big screen. It certainly heightened the event and made it memorable.

Although the event advertised that, “Food trucks and activities would be on site,” neither were present, a dismay that I felt more considerably than the somewhat ambiguous location.

Hot food and drinks would have been a blessing to combat the cold evening, as the temperature got to us as soon as we settled down.

The movie started at dusk as promised, with everyone’s relaxed enjoyment more apparent in an outdoor setting where people were spread out and you could comfortably observe everything going on around you.

Sound was never an issue. It was just loud enough that people could talk to each other throughout the film, without the dialogue being drowned out by what would normally be annoying movie theatre chatter.

It was incredibly comforting to sit and watch a movie under the clear night sky, an evening of gracious weather that couldn’t have been any better.

Although Poltergeist is arguably not too scary by today’s standards, there was something unnerving about watching it outside at night, with a pitch-black forest as the main exit point.

This general unease seemed to ripple through the audience as the movie unfolded. Whenever Robbie’s iconic toy clown was shown leering at him from across the room, the same voice in the crowd could be heard saying, “Oh no, no. Just throw that bitch out the window.”

The humorous additions from the people seated around us and the lighter tones of the movie divided up the creepier moments quite well, cutting through my edginess when everything goes to shit about fifteen minutes in.

Stars were clearly visible above, a bonus that made the entire experience feel more unique. The atmosphere felt tight-knit and cozy, everyone bonded together by this quirky movie viewing.

Having only ever seen Poltergeist on a small television set growing up, it was a pleasure to view what is now considered a classic Steven Spielberg story unfold on a big screen. It certainly heightened the event and made it memorable.

Just make sure you look the specific location up on Google Maps and get snacks ahead of time, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a comfortable evening activity.

You can’t beat seeing an 80’s thriller outside in the picturesque autumn weather at no cost.

A perfect date choice with nothing to lose, it was certainly a win-win in my books.

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