Recently I did a retrospective of the three Conjuring movies. In it, I talk about the ramping up of things in the first (and second) movie and I did a small comparison to Poltergeist. I said I didn’t want to spoil anything and so I left it ambiguous.
I wanted to get more in-depth on the endings of both movies and why although both ramp things up by the ending, it felt more right with Poltergeist and not so much with The Conjuring.
Both movies basically follow the same path. To be fair, Poltergeist came out in 1982, were as The Conjuring was released in 2013. So at the time, the tropes used in Poltergeist were still kind of new. These days you can throw a rock and hit a haunted house movie that follows the same beats.
Although both start out pretty subtle, The Conjuring is always working the creepy and scary angle. There is the fact their dog gets wrecked almost immediately. Which is pretty screwed up. I think it was done to avert expectations.
On the other hand, Poltergeist is more subtle in a harmless way. Sure the pet bird is found dead, but them burying it was used for foreshadowing. I really wouldn’t compare the two incidences though. The movie starts out with the mom having fun sliding things across the floor (including her child) and having the chairs restacking themselves.
Poltergeist does pick up faster maybe? It certainly is more fantastical with everything. The haunting stuff is more in your face. The Conjuring has more slamming doors and pounding.
Let’s get to the endings. The Conjuring on the base level made no real sense to me. The haunting is due to a witch, who sacrificed her infant child and then hanged herself. From there on out, the haunting was to keep people off her land.
That’s the catch. The Perron family that was then staying in the house left. Carolyn Perron gets possessed by the witch and after the family leaves, she goes back with two of her daughters. The plan she has is to sacrifice them, like the witch before she died.
If all the witch wants is them off the land, why have them come back at all for any reason? Well, a movie needs an ending. The Warrens show back up at the house Mr. Perron also gets there and they save the children. However, Carolyn is still possessed and as Ed says, ‘no time for back up.’
He takes charge in the exorcism of Carolyn and it all gets crazy from there. They have to tie her down to a chair and cover her with a sheet. She’s spitting out blood, screeching like she heard someone say “Make America great again” and the house is shaking.
If that wasn’t enough, she starts levitating, things get knocked over and she eventually gets away and almost once again kills her daughter. It’s all quite a spectacle. The movie does scares well, but the whole ending is over the top and unneeded. Especially when they left the house, just as the witch assumingly wanted.
Poltergeist, on the other hand, has a crazy ending, but it makes sense with the situation. The Freeling family has been living in their home for a few years now. Steve Freeling sells houses for the company that builds the houses like the one they live in.
They start experiencing things and as I said, it gets big fast, which is one way it makes more sense for the big ending, but also the stakes involved. Sure the haunting seems to be due to wanting the family gone, but the whole neighborhood too.
It turns out there is a cemetery where the houses are built on. Steve’s boss assures him they moved everything before building the homes, but that’s a lie. They moved all the headstones and left the bodies.
This is a big reason (if not the only reason) for the spiritual unrest and their daughter, Carol Anne’s lifeforce is strong and the poltergeist want it? Feed on it? Something like that. It never really says what triggers things, but eventually, the haunting of the house goes completely insane. The bodies start crashing out of the ground in their caskets all over the neighborhood. The Freeling’s house ends up coming up off the ground and imploding.
To me that all makes more sense seeing the ghosts or poltergeists want everything gone, including the homes. The movie doesn’t show anything else that happens in the neighborhood. Maybe they wanted that left to interpretation. Everyone sees the house disappear and the bodies coming out of the ground. So maybe that’s all that was needed, the company is exposed for what they did.
Anyway, that’s my long-winded explanation for why I like the over the top ending for Poltergeist and not that of The Conjuring. I hope you’ve enjoyed and let me know what you think in the comments. Do you like the endings of both movies? One over the other?