Release date: June 4, 1982
Why it's terrifying: Steven Spielberg served up the spooks in the summer of 1982 with two very different movies about life in suburbia, released just one week apart: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, examining the tender side of childhood isolation after divorce, and Poltergeist, which externalizes those themes (and adds a bunch of dead corpses and sticky red ectoplasm). JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson play The Freelings aka The Couple You'd Most Like to Smoke Weed With, who live with their three children in Cuesta Verde, a planned community somewhere in California. All is well until their daughter Carol Anne is abducted by ghosts and stranded in a parallel realm.
Poltergeist expounds Reagan-era paranoia to great effect: Technology is a portal to darkness, smoking marijuana will curse your family, and the economic safety of suburban living is a reminder that your life is doomed to boring regularity from here on out.
Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon or iTunes