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DVD Review: Poltergay is a camp Halloween treat

Joe Roberts October 26, 2007

French supernatural comedy Poltergay provides the perfect entertainment this Halloween for those too old to go trick-or-treating.

When young couple Marc (Clovis Cornillac) and Emma (Julie Depardieu) move into their new home, a huge, run-down house that’s been empty for years, all is not what it seems.

For a start, there’s the loud disco music that wakes Marc up every night, although Emma can’t hear it.

Giant images of winged penises begin to appear on the walls and a Polaroid camera photographs Marc showering, seemingly of its own accord.

Then one night, while in the throes of passion (this is a French film), butch builder Marc catches sight of a ghostly apparition offering him its bum through the wall.

It turns out that their house is haunted by the spirits of five gay dancers, blown up in a nightclub on the same spot 27 years ago. Something a proper survey would surely have identified.

Unfortunately for Mark, who’s tormented incessantly by their camp chatter, neither his girlfriend nor best friend can see these ghosts.

Accusing him of being mad, Emma leaves, and so Marc finds himself wandering round the Parisian version of Hard-On wondering if these visions mean he could be gay.

What follows is a kind of supernatural Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, with Marc befriending his disco-loving ghosts to help set them free from their wandering and win back his woman back in the process.

Subtle, it isn’t, but then Poltergay clearly doesn’t intend to take itself, or indeed any of its subject matters, seriously at all.

From the ghost who denies he’s gay and likes firemen because “fire fighting is important,” to Marc’s Italian grandmother’s relief when his dinner table revelation turns out to be he’s “a fairy” and not that he doesn’t like her tiramisu, the characters are well-worn stereotypes that are quickly recognisable.

Yet they are so well observed and executed that it’s difficult not to get swept along in its obvious charm and there are plenty of genuine laughs along the way.

In true supernatural style, the plot develops to include a Templar Shrine, ecloplasmic perimeters and a ghost hunter with a taste for McFlurrys.

And Marc, of course, learns to become a more rounded man from the lessons of his ghoulish gays.

It won’t win any awards for originality, but Poltergay provides a solid few hours of entertainment and if nothing else will annoy your more pretentious friends when you call it world cinema.

If they take exception, just point out that whatever the finer points of Ingmar Bergman’s mediations on the nature of existence, he never had an original soundtrack by the Supermen Lovers.

Poltergay is available to download to rent or own and to buy on DVD from 29th October.

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DVD Review: Poltergay is a camp Halloween treat

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