I’m not going to spend this intro piece talking about how much I love, respect, and appreciate my dear friend Brian Kongsvik. I’m not going to bore you with another piece extolling just how much he has done to help spread the word about Horror And Sons. I’m not going to remind you that he’s the site’s “official cheerleader”.
I’m not going to remind you that this is his 2nd year as a contributor for the Halloween Horrors series. I’m not going to bother telling you any of these things because I’ve already done that numerous times before.
What I will tell you is that his choice of character comes from the movie that terrified me as a child. It’s the movie that just happened to strike the right cords in 6-year-old me, so much so that I wouldn’t watch other horror movies for a couple of years.
THAT is what I’m going to tell you in this piece. Not all that other crap about him being one of my best friends.
Tangina Barrons – Poltergeist – 1982 – Rated PG
Poltergeist is a movie that still holds up and probably always will. It is, without a doubt, one of the scariest PG rated horror flicks ever made. It has everything you could want in a horror film; a great story, great cast, great effects (for the time), jump scenes, some humor, gore, ghosts, a pool full of skeletons and cadavers, and even a dead canary!
That being said, one thing always sticks out to me and countless others who call this gem one of their all-time favorites: House Cleaner (no, not maid), Tangina Barrons – Super Psychic Extraordinaire!
Now it’s hard to talk about Tangina, the character, without mentioning the actress who played her, Zelda Rubenstein. This was Zelda’s first big role in a career that spanned over 30 years. Often typecast as a psychic or “odd and quirky” character, Zelda always had a “can’t look away from her” presence when she was on-screen. In a nut shell, no other actress could have been Tangina.
Even though she was a part of all 3 Poltergeist films made in the 80’s, I am just focusing on the original Poltergeist film for this piece. Not slamming the other 2 movies or her performance in either, but I feel that once she did “Tangina” for the first time, there was no more surprise to what she was going to do in any sequels.
After enduring a literal nightmare of paranormal activities in their home and losing their daughter, Carol Anne, to the “other side”, the Freeling family enlists help from paranormal investigators. When their situation turns out to be a little too much for them to comprehend or handle, there is only one thing to do and that is call in reinforcements.
From the moment the aforementioned protagonist enters the screen, she completely takes over the movie. At 4’ 3”, Tangina “towers” over all others in the film and commands attention in every scene she is in.
“Ya’ll mind hanging back? You’re jamming my frequency”
Tangina’s voice and mannerisms throughout the film are what really grabs you and there are some genuinely emotional scenes as she describes what is happening to Carol Anne in the netherworld; describing the other spirits that are with her, trying to find their way home or to another plane of existence, and just how attracted they are to her youth and life force, and the evil presence that is trying to trick Carol Anne by posing as a child to keep her for itself.
“Now, let’s go get your daughter!!!”
Tangina has a clear plan on how they are going to get her back by using some rope and a couple of tennis balls and entering the portal to Hell, which is located in Carol Anne’s closet, to kick some otherworldly ass in order to save her and what’s left of the Freeling’s sanity. (Who am I kidding? That train left the station a long time ago.)
“This house is clean”
So. why do I like this character? I don’t know if there is one answer that can explain it. I would ask, “what’s not to like about her?”.
- She is a person who has incredible powers
- She is not afraid of taking on evil spirits to save others
- She is a small person with a childlike voice which really adds to the creepy charisma that Tangina brings to the table
Although I love evil characters in horror films, this type of character appeals to me as well.
Tangina Barrons embodies everything that a psychic/house cleaner should be in a film. If you don’t get chills running down your spine when she looks into the paranormal investigators camera at the end and exclaims “this house is clean”, you are dead inside….
CAN I GET A WITNESS???