With the release of the new Poltergeist movie came a lot of buzz. The clown moves! The tree looks scarier! Static electricity! A European man as the poltergeist exorcist!
Wait: a European dude as the exorcist? That sounds boring. Where is the unforgettable, incredible Tangina? She’s not there! Yet, do not be alarmed: if you remember from the original film, Tangina was brought in as surprise backup, a twist in the film’s plot in terms of anti-poltergeist muscle. Judging from the IMDB character page, that Zelda Rubinstein has passed away, and that Sam Raimi is behind this “rethinking,” a similar treatment he gave to the spectacular Evil Dead ”remake,” something new is coming. It’s not Tangina. And it’s not not Tangina. So who could it be?
A few ideas on who or what “type” of person would occupy this role in 2015…
• Linda Hunt: The petite, lauded actress is the closest we have to Rubinstein. She has a distinctive voice and arresting presence. She even won an Academy Award for playing a dude! While mostly a “serious” character actress, let me remind you that she was in She-Devil: she can do pseudo horror camp.
• A petite, strong black woman: If my house was filled with some poltergeist, I would dial up the nearest and (dare I say) sassiest psychic, a la a legitimate Miss Cleo. She would ideally be played by Octavia Spencer but, realistically, CCH Pounder would be best for the part. She has major horror cred and she could fuck up some unwanted ghosts while being both gentle and kind to befuddled white parents.
• Warwick Davis: While a male for this part doesn’t seem right, Davis doesn’t seem wrong. Like Hunt (and Rubinstein), his being a little engine that could and a fierce sci-fi/horror icon, it only makes sense to have him be Tangina. If he could kill Bavmorda, he can kill poltergeist. He is also such an undervalued film presence.
• That dog from the Artist: The film is PG-13 and obviously clamoring for some teen eyes. “Buzzfeed has lots of dog photos,” a studio executive mumbles. “A dog can play Tangina!”
• A “hacker”: Like the dog, I can hear industry types mumbling about the need for both social media, technologic appeal and synergy. *Eye rolling until I pee* A quick answer to this is casting a gangle like DJ Qualls to play a computer hacker who adapts his skills to rid the world of ghosts as one rids a computer of viruses. Oh god: that just made too much sense and that it probably will actually be the new Tangina.
• A VHS copy of Poltergeist: Since both actors who played Reverend Henry Kane have died and there is little crossover from the old trilogy with this new one, they should just wrap the film up by threatening the ghosts with the older movie. “Do you want to watch an awkward sex scene with Craig T. Nelson?” the tape will threaten. The ghosts will cower, packing their ectoplasm as they retreat back into the soil. “This house is clean,” the tape will finish. “Any interest in rewinding me? Anyone? Please? If cassette tapes can make a comeback, so can I.”