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"It's like a thrill ride at an amusement park," says JoBeth Williams of MGM's new supernatural thriller, "Poltergeist." Williams stars as Diane Freeling, a wife and mother of three, whose family is suddenly caught in the center of a terrifying supernatural phenomenon. As the film races to its cinematic peak, it challenges the wits and resources of both the Freelings and the audience alike.

"The scariest things in life are the normal, mundane situations that suddenly go awry," Williams contends. In MGM's "Poltergeist" produced by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall and directed by Tobe Hooper, the Freeling's ordinary world of Sunday afternoon football games and PTA meetings is terrorized by violent and supernatural intrusions known as poltergeists.

"At first, Diane Freeling treats the poltergeist as some sort of toy," Jobeth explains. "It's different, it seems harmless and it's fun." But the fun quickly turns to fear and the familiar setting is disrupted by the unfamiliar activities of an unseen, unknown spirit that has mysteriously entered the Freeling home. Without immediate reason or apparent explanation, a beautiful family is thrust into jeopardy.

During this nightmare, the family finds that their sense of humor is the only thing that helps them to ease the tension and the terror. "It's rare that you see a horror movie where the family has a sense of humor," Williams observes, "but the Freelings manage to maintain theirs. It preserves their sanity in the midst of the maelstrom."

During the production of "Poltergeist," the actress' own sense of humor was frequently tested by the physical nature of her role. "The last part of the movie took place during a tremendous storm," Williams recalled. "We had a newly dug swimming pool on the set and I was asked to fall into it, slithering down into the mud and water, with giant wind machines blowing rain on me. I wound up just covered with filth. It was simply marvelous."

Williams made her feature film debut in the award winning "Kramer Vs. Kramer" playing the lawyer who spends a night with Dustin Hoffman and has an embarrassing encounter with his young son. Her recent films include "Stir Crazy," as a sassy social worker who falls in love with Gene Wilder, and "The Dogs of War," co-starring Christopher Walken.

MGM's "Poltergeist" is a Steven Spielberg Production of a Tobe Hooper film. The screenplay was written by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais & Mark Victor based on a story by Steven Spielberg. Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall, the film is being released in the United States and Canada by MGM/United Artists Distribution and Marketing.


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