2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2004
After the success of the original 1982 blockbuster hit, "Poltergeist" (Directed and produced marvelously by Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg) Brian Gibson went on to direct the sequel which turned out to be just as good as the first film carrying some of the same special effects and similarities. "Poltergeist III" on the other hand was a decent entry, though not the best and sadly, Heather O' Rourke died before the films release. It's really a shame, because I'm sure she would've grown up to be very beautiful, considering her act is still adorable and she hasn't lost her touch at all.
These two films which were released by MGM are on this special DOUBLE FEATURE disk and it is truly the best edition for anyone to complete the horrifying trilogy. Here's a complete description and details for both films:
"POLTERGEIST II: The Other Side" (1986)
Once again, the Freeling family faces the supernatural of their new home after their first one was destroyed in the original. An evil demon named Kane takes the form of a church preacher who's out to capture Carol-Anne in order to bring her back to 'the Other Side' and get rid of her family in the process. With the help of a new character, the Indian Taylor (performed excellently by Will Sampson) they must return to the ruins of their old home (an underground tomb) and defeat Kain in a climatic battle where only love and hope can keep them together.
OVERALL: Almost as good as the original was! Zelda Rubinstein also returns in this one as the psychic, Tangina and is just as good as she was in the first. One of the main reasons I enjoyed this a lot was because of Julian Beck's wonderful and convincing performance as Kane. His image truly haunts you even after you watch him on the screen.
The acting was also very well done by JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson and the storyline, while being a bit farfetched at times, was executed well. Fans of the first will especially enjoy this one. RATED: PG-13 for disturbing imagery, some scary moments, and mild language.
"POLTERGEIST III" (1988)
The third and final installment to the "Poltergeist" trilogy, where young Carol-Anne (Heather O' Rourke's last role) is shipped off to Chicago to spend the summer with her aunt (Nancy Allen) and uncle (Tom Skerrit) and also to be examined and tested on by professionals who are studying her "gift". Living on the top floor of a skyscraper, everything seems to have returned to normal for our heroine. However, the evil demon Kane (This time played by both Nathan Davis & Corey Burton) is ressurected from his hellish grave after Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire) revives Carol-Anne's long forgotten nightmarish past. From there, all hell breaks loose as the ghosts from the previous films plot to pull Carol-Anne back over to the other side yet again along with her cousin (Laura Flynn Boyle) and eliminate all who stand in their way. Now, it's up to her uncle Bruce & her aunt Patricia to take a scary journey through the many hidden corriders and passageways of this tall urban funhouse and rescue both their children before the supernatural takes over the ENTIRE skyscraper! If you thought the first two films were scary enough for them to take over a house, wait until you see them move to the big city!
OVERALL: Not bad. Many people do not like this one as much, but I thought it was pretty good even though it's the weakest in the whole trilogy. I'm guessing the main reason it's not as popular is because of the REALLY cheesy special effects (which is still fun to watch) and the so-so acting. I wouldn't consider this as much of a high-budget (as was with the first two films) but low-budget flick that carries some of the B movie elements. I don't really understand why they couldn't have made the ghastly spirits effects or the objects moving on their own like they did in the prequels. I think Zelda Rubinstein who plays the role of Tangina saves the film and she still hasn't lost her touch to play her role. I know it's not the best, but it's still worth a watch to see the final chapter in the legacy come to an end and complete the trilogy. RATED: PG-13 for disturbing imagery, some scary moments, strong language, and a bit of blood and gore. To be honest, if I'd been directing this one, I would've given it an R rating because it's the most intense and crazy entry in the whole series!
Both of these films are in their WIDESCREEN anamorphic formats and the Special Features include the original theatrical trailers. They make a good bundle to watch whenever you're bored and goes good with some soda (or beer) and popcorn! Again though as far as Special Features are, there could've been more. As I explained before, there are no BTS footage, let alone cast interviews or director commentaries. But don't let that keep you from buying these two great films for one low price! The picture quality is excellent and the sound is also excellent. BUY TODAY! I also reccomend the original (and still the BEST) "Poltergeist" on DVD. It is one of the best horror series ever made and Kane's villain rules up there with that of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruegar. Don't miss it!!
on March 29, 2004
Poltergeist has scared me since I was a small child, and Poltergeist II is definitely as good as the original, if not better. I'll admit that the ending is kind of cheesy and has poor special effects (i.e. the whole family floating around in some weird disco-lighted other dimension) but overall the movie is awesome! Beck is very believable as the evil and insane Reverend Kane, and the by the end you really feel for the whole family who are just trying to live normal lives and never asked for any of this to happen to them.
Poltergeist III on the other hand made me want to vomit. What was MGM thinking when they made this movie? How sad that it had to be this terrible piece of garbage that is dedicated to the memory of Heather O'Rourke. This movie seems very slapped together, almost like the producers wanted to get it done as fast as possible and didn't care what the end result looked like. From very, very, VERY poor acting on the part of ALL the actors, to horrible special effects which basically only consisted of flashing lights, fake snow and ice, and a fog machine, to barely any coherent plotlines, this movie is a big fat 0 out of 5 stars. It is cheesy (and not in the good cheesy horror movie kind of way) and boring and leaves the viewer with a sick feeling at the end not because the movie itself is scary and disturbing, but because they can't believe how bad Poltergeist III actually was!
My advice...buy this DVD only because it has Poltergeist II on it. Remember...there aren't any evil spirits who would FORCE you to watch Poltergeist III. I don't think anyone or anything could be that crazy. : )
on February 20, 2004
Poltergeist II doesn't leave the viewer totally fulfilled in my opinion, but it leaves the viewer satisfied. I think any fan of the original movie needed to see the family once again after their first ordeal. Poltergeist II allows that reunion. It is done well enough that it is a likeable sequel, though not ultimately impressive. It is filled with the same lovable cast (with the exception of the oldest daughter, Dana) and the movie gives you reminders of the first (through various elements including a similar -- yet varieted soundtrack -- by Jerry Goldsmith). The whole indian theme of Poltergiest II is kind of suprising to me, yet they make sense of it (it is obviously rooted in Steven's boss's line in the first movie: "This is NOT ancient tribal buriel ground. It is just people."). Overall, the special effects were pretty good, considering the idea behind some of them were cheesy. Ultimately, I think the movie is worth it if you really are a major fan of the first.
POLTERGEIST III -- This movie leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Not only was it super cheesy and outright dumb, it just felt strange to me seeing the famous "Carol Anne" mixed in with a different cast in the setting of a skyscraper in Chicago. Overall, I remember feeling sad that Heather O'Rourke had died in real life, and this had to be her last movie. Put it this way: There is a good reason the movie is attached to Poltergiest II in one DVD package (nobody would buy the poorly-done third movie by itself). I think the III movie kind of taints the whole Poltergeist genre.
on December 29, 2003
Ok, I'll be the first to admit that in and of itself, Poltergeist II is one of the most well-plotted but weakly executed horror films ever. The abrupt and tacked-on ending seems to be just an excuse to throw in some fancy pseudo-CGI effects, and the end scene leaves you feeling dissatisfied if not completely cheated. But, to the infinite good fortune of the producers, a staff-employed psychic who had a hand in casting the film chose for the role of the evil Reverend Kane an actor whose bone-chilling countenance and blood-curdling voice will linger with you long after the end credits have ceased. The masterful two to three-minutes total screen time that Julian Beck was allotted is worth the ENTIRE price tag all by itself!!! He OWNS the screen. As soon as he walks into frame, you can actually FEEL the impending doom and death wafting off of him in thick, smoky waves. Reverend Kane IS death, in the flesh. He's also my personal pick for Scariest Movie Villain Of All Time! Oh, and Poltergeist III is pretty cool also!
I've been really disappointed at the way MGM has treated the "Poltergeist" trilogy on DVD. First things first, the original was a mega-hit grossing over 70 million in the US alone and eventually grossing over 150 million in domestic/international box office receipts. So it's fair to say that MGM made a lot of money on that particular film, so why is it that it was given shoddy treatment when released on DVD? It was released only with a theatrical trailer as an extra and fans were left disappointed. The first sequel, "Poltergeist 2" was a decent-sized hit in 1986 grossing over 40 million in the US and like the original, had great Oscar nominated special effects. Again, this film was released only with a theatrical trailer as an extra. The least successful film of the series was the love it or hate it and in my opinion, under-rated "Poltergeist 3" which opened in the top 5 the first week but fell off the box office radar soon thereafter. This particular film does have its fair share of fans (I read some recent reviews that rated it higher and more favorable than the first sequel) and it is presented here, along with "Poltergeist 2", with only a theatrical trailer as a bonus. Why is MGM being so inconsiderate to the fans? Especially when other horror movies that weren't as popular have been released in awesome DVD editions, loaded with extras?
With that said, I must say that I'm glad to see that both of these movies are finally released on DVD. Despite the lack of extras, they are both presented in widescreen format and the picture quality on both films is excellent. Movies, especially those that are special effects heavy need to be viewed widescreen and I realize now, after watching these films for years as pan and scan on cable and VHS, how much I didn't see because of the cropping done. This is especially evident in "Poltergeist 2".
"Poltergeist 2: The Other Side" was originally released in 1986 and did pretty good business at the domestic box office. Although many dismissed it as just another sequel, in my opinion, it has held up pretty good due to its elaborate and spectacular special effects and the performance of a very talented actor named Julian Beck who gives one of the creepiest performances ever in a horror movie. Although he does not get much screen time, the character of Reverend Kane, may send chills up your spine especially during that key scene in which Craig T Nelson and the sinister minister have a few words on the patio of the family's Arizona home. Kane's demeanor changes from friendly to absolutely menacing as he tries to trick his way inside the Freelings' home. Evil emanates from his stare, his voice and dialogue ("they dooon't trust you any more" ... "you're not man enough to hold this family together" ..." Let me in"... You're all gonna die!!") and if you scare easily, he may just haunt your dreams for days and weeks and months on end.
Other highlights include the now infamous vomit creature scene that is spectacularly gory and very well done and for me, aside from Beck's chilling performance, is the highlight of this film. The hilarious (but dazzling) braces scene is outrageous but the crafty special effects team pull it off with much gusto. The film has been heavily criticized for having an unsatisfactory ending that is more Sci-Fi than horror and I agree, but I cannot deny the dazzling setting of the other side and it's wispy, cloudy environment, and the final confrontation with the Beast is quite simply spectacular. Another criticism of the film, is that it's sloppily edited and I do agree. Having seen a recent documentary on the franchise and reading some articles off various websites, there were several problems in making this film and it appears several cuts were made to the finished film which may have resulted in the film looking all chopped up. Does this missing footage still exist in a vault somewhere? I do certainly hope so as I see the makers of this film were trying to create an epic sequel and I do hope that one day we get to see this film as originally intended with missing footage restored. One can only hope but until then ... fingers crossed.
"Poltergeist 2: The Other Side" is still a spectacular and creepy excursion into the supernatural. It is not as good as the classic original but it does offer more mysticism, mythology and fear as the main demon is personified as the ever menacing Henry Kane- although I wish Kane's background was expanded upon a bit more. The special effects are great as are some of the performances from most of the cast, again, Jobeth Williams is a scene stealer as is the slimy charmer, the vomit creature. This is one sequel that is definitely under-rated in my opinion.
"Poltergeist 3", as previously mentioned was the only film in the franchise that did not rake in the big bucks but has since its release in 1988, obtained a rather loyal following. This second sequel, as mentioned previously, is a love it or hate it type of film. Those who hate it view it as an insult to the original and curse the film for existing. Others however, enjoy it for what it is- an imaginative ghost story set in an unconventional setting and with some very creepy and inventive mirror effects. I do give "Poltergeist 3" a lot of credit for trying to change things up and steer the series in a new direction.
The film's main highlight are the special effects, which have received mixed reviews, some missed the elaborate, more expensive ILM effects work that permeated the previous instalments, while others have raved at the creativity of the live mechanical effects used here. For the most part, I think the effects were successful, only in the climax do I think the effects fall short. Anyone who states today's CGI effects look better are sadly mistaken in my opinion and I find that computer generated effects are causing the downfall of horror. They have their place in film and I do think they look good in a fantasy/sci-fi element such as "The Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", "Harry Potter" etc, but they have no place in horror movies, at least not to the degree they are being utilized in current horror films (1999's "The Haunting" being the prime example). CGI effects, especially when not done right, look as realistic as video games and cartoons and they're just not scary. I have yet to see a scary movie, that was able to convince me the ghosts, werewolves or creatures that I am seeing on the screen are real. 2002's "The Ring" is an exception but that film did not over-use this tool. Which is why I find the live effects of "Poltergeist 3" so refreshing. Aside from being imaginative, they are actually 3 dimensional. The breathing door is an actual pulsating door, the crawling smoke is real smoke (or dry ice, not sure), the doubles used as characters mirror reflections are real actors. There are no floating phantasms or monsters like the earlier films which may disappoint some but you do get some creative tricks that do the job: fingers poking out of mirrors, a frozen swimming pool, a breathing door, a ghostly mist freezing everything in its path, a fantastic birth scene and the way mirrors were utilized in the film and story is chilling. This sequels main flaw is in its weak climax. Actually, who am I kidding? The ending is plain awful. Especially when compared to the original films spectacular climax. We now know that the ending was re-shot due to Heather O'Rourke's untimely passing. Gary Sherman had to re-write the ending and a body double (or "dummy"- I can't remember which one) was used in Heather's place. So there is a valid reason why the ending feels rushed and looks uninspired but I still can't give them a break on this because even I would have been able to write out a better ending than the travesty they decided to film. As a big fan of the series, I like "Poltergeist 3" and have re-watched it many times however I cringe whenever I get to the last 10 minutes when Aunt Pat (Nancy Allen) enters Carole's Anne's frozen room via the window washing rig. The ending is this film's greatest and most obvious flaw (along with the constant screaming of the name "Carole Anne" but much has already been said about that).
Anyone wanting to add 2 enjoyable and sometimes frightening films to their DVD collection, I recommend this MGM double feature. Although lacking in extras, which is a major disappointment, both films look and sound great and is priced just right. They're haunting additions to a classic chiller. Let's just hope MGM decides to re-release these films in a more deserving DVD edition. The fans deserve better than this.
5 stars for the transfer and for the cult status of both films, but 0 for the extras or lack thereof.
on October 1, 2003
I'm glad to have Poltergeist 2 on DVD, as it's one of the better horror sequels. Most of the cast is reunited, and it somewhat succeeds at taking a minor point from the first film (the Native American burial ground) and creating the interesting character of Taylor, played by the late Will Sampson.
But it's Julian Beck as the super-creepy Kane that makes this one worth seeing. You just might have nightmares after watching him do his best to cajole Carole Anne to the "other side."
On the flip side, the whole clairvoyant thing is overdone (Carole Anne has a connection to the spirit world, so her mother AND grandmother must have one too? Yeah...), and the ending is a pretty big letdown.
And speaking of letdowns, just try to get thru Poltergeist 3. Poor little Carol Anne has been shipped off to Chicago to live with relatives (Nancy Allen and Tom Skeritt. Yawn.) but Kane (played by another actor since Beck had passed away) finds her. What then ensues are a bunch of cheap effects and ridiculous plot turns that insult rather than frighten. As you're popping the disc out after watching (or abandoning) the film, just remember: you got the infinitely superior Poltergeist 2 for a great price!
on August 24, 2003
Satisfying sequel to "Poltergeist"
This Second Movie could have been slightly better, for example it could have featured more footage of Julian Beck as Kane and should have not omitted key scenes that were filmed but ended up missing due to MGM rushing Production. On a whole though I liked the Second Poltergeist Movie and was pleased with the story they dreamed up as to why the Poltergeist's attacked the Freelings in the first Movie. So many people seem to think the Second Movie is set 1 year after the first "It is not!" If you have reed the book you would know that Diane, Steven and the kids have been staying with Diane's mother for nearly 4 years and when Steve says "It's been a full year" he is referring to the fact that he has tried "yet again" to claim for the house disappearing and has had to wait a full year to get a response again.
I thought the ending could have been better too as that also felt rushed I mean, "Where did Tangina go when Taylor drove off???" She is clearly missing from the shot.
One thing I respect about II is that it made common sense and pretty much featured the original cast obviously missing Dominique Dunne who was murdered by her violent boyfriend.
Just think if this had never happened II would have been so very different as Steven Spielberg was considering doing a second Movie along with Tobe Hooper and scrapped the idea when Dominique Dunne was murdered.
The Scene in Poltergeist II where Diane Mentions Dana being away at college was filmed but was stupidly cut by MGM'S Producer on the movie, Freddie "Jackass" Fields who was the biggest mistake to have ever worked on this movie (he is the man directly responsible for all of the movies plot holes) Thankfully he was finally fired in 1990!
I know that a good 26 minutes of Footage was cut by him from Poltergeist II and this is why it so badly needs to be restored and re-released as a Special Edition.
I think if this version had been released back in 1986 Poltergeist II would have had very good reviews.
All of the put-downs by critics were mainly regarding chops to the Movie and script plot holes.
"Poor Movie only worth watching for O' Rourke's last performance"
The 3rd Movie was just awful, "I'm not even going to waste my time".
Poor little Heather O'Rourke died during filming which was such a
"She was the only thing that saved this Movie from being a total
R.I.P Heather -xxxxxx
I give Poltergeist II - ***1/2 out of *****
I give Poltergeist III - * our of *****
on August 22, 2003
While both of these movies largely ...this disc is worth owning for JULIAN BECK as KANE. BECK was known as a stage performer and I believe POLTERGEIST II is his only film. Hands down his performance is the most effective thing about POLTERGEIST II. The film is unfortunately covered in a thick veneer of family unity and ridiculous sentimentality. Wading through the cutesiness of POLTERGEIST II is a chore.
There is also no reason given for the dissapearance of the DANA, the older sister from POLTERGEIST. Of course the actress was tragically murdered by her boyfriend after POLTERGEIST was released so that is why she is not in it.
H.R. GIGER designed a lot of interesting images for POLTERGEIST II that were not used or were abandoned...or simply executed poorly. The family swimming around on a blue screen on the "OTHER SIDE" is also fairly nauseating. Especially when the white robed ethereal grandmother (GERALDINE FITZGERALD) brings little CAROL ANNE back from THE LIGHT. UGH.
Truly, JULIAN BECK'S frightening performance as KANE is the highlight of this film.
POLTERGEIST III features another actor in the role of KANE and was also HEATHER O'ROURKE'S last film. She died from complications from an intestinal blockage that she'd aparantly had since birth. She was on a lot of medication during the shooting of POLTERGEIST III and that is why her face looks so puffy during a lot of it.
POLTERGEIST III does feature some truly amazing mirror effects, but it is overall a really bad and confusing film that simply never ties up all of its loose ends. It is also the only film in the series where a character actually ends up dead due to those bad ghosts.
POLTERGEIST III was shot without any optical effects and it really shows. Considering the first two films were very FX heavy...the budget constraints are very apparant in this one.
ZELDA RUBINSTEIN is the best thing about this final POLTERGEIST movie. She really camps it up. The ending is one of the more stupid wrap-ups in all of film history.
"KANE! I CAN LEAD YOU INTO THE LIGHT!"
on July 11, 2003
I remember when I was 6 years old and "Poltergeist II: The Other Side" came on one of the movie channels. I watched it with my mom and my brother and when it was all over, it was one roller coaster of a ride! I turned into a horror movie aficionado! It was horrifying stuff for somebody in the first grade, but I loved it! I also learned the importance of saying no to alcohol and brushing my teeth (you'll understand when you see the movie).
Since then I've watched all three of the "Poltergeist" films (I don't include the one made for television) and they are an amazing trilogy. Part one is just a classic, right up there with "Psycho." Part two is more of a spritual thrill ride and you're happy to see the cast reunited.
The only reason I didn't give my review five stars is because of "Poltergeist III." Hmmm, where do I begin to discuss part three... uh... well, what can I say -- it had Nancy Allen in it, and that was cool. At least part three entertains in its own way. Who would've thought? Ghosts in a skyscraper! That's crazy!
I'm absolutely forever in debt to MGM for releasing all these awesome films onto DVD lately! I can't wait for this one to come out! It has a cool cover, and it's basically a buy-one-get-one-free deal! Hurray!
on August 31, 2003
MGM has done an admirable job for this new Double Feature DVD. It contains both Poltergeist 2 and Poltergeist 3, both presented in Animorphic Widescreen with their original theatrical trailers. The picture and sound are as good as we're ever going to see these two films on DVD. A great value, even if you only wish to buy it for one of the movies.
POLTERGEIST 2 is the most well known sequel, having a wide theatrical release following the original movie. It had the return of the original cast, and the story was almost as creepy as the first one. POLTERGEIST 3 had a more limited theatrical release, but is widely shown on TV late at night. It is much lower budget and the special effects are truly laughable by today's standards. But, I have always loved the movie simply because it was so over the top cheesy. It was the final sequel in the Poltergeist trilogy.