October 7, 2011

Horror-A-Day Two-fer: Poltergeist II and III

You know, this horror movie a day thing is kind of fun. I should do it all year, or at least come up with some themes or series, or something. In any case, my horror marathon marches on in the still young month of October. Following my excursion into pseudo-Gremlins rip off land where a decent idea was hampered by poor execution, I decided to take a pass at a couple of none-too-well regarded sequels to a feature that taught us to be afraid of our own house. While both of these films are somewhat watchable, they are also quite forgettable in my eyes.

The first film is Poltergeist II: The Other Side. The movie opens with a flashback to the conclusion of the original film where the Freeling house gets sucked over to the other side. We then spend a little time catching up with the Freeling family, all of them are here except for the older daughter (Dominque Dunne was murdered in 1982, a scene explaining her as being away at college was cut before it was released). They are living with Diane's (JoBeth Williams) mother, where they are happily without a television set, for fairly obvious reasoons.

Everything seems happy and the Freelings are doing what they can to get themselves back on their feet. However, it seems the spirits are not quite done with Carol Anne. They also have a few new tricks up their sleeves. The biggest new addition is Reverend Kane, a strange individual who is leading the charge into getting Carol Anne to lead them into the light, he is a reworking of the Beast from the first film. There are also a few monsters along for the ride to wreak some havok on the Freeling family.

Fortunately, Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) is still around and ready to help. On top of that, she has sent along Taylor (Will Sampson), a Native American Medicine man with definite ideas of how to protect the family. He is a welcome presence offering some nice humor and a good foil for Craig T. Nelson's Steve.

I don't know, there is just something about this sequel that just doesn't sit well with me, but I am having trouble putting my finger on it. It is not that it is bad, the brace attack sequence is pretty awesome, and the concept itself is not so bad, but the conclusion was lackluster and it did not have the same effect on me as the first film.

The third film has the Freelings sending Carol Anne to live with her aunt and uncle (Nancy Allen and Tom Skerritt) in a Chicago high rise. While there, she is put into a school for smart, traumatized kids. Her hypnotic sessions with one of the doctors there puts her life force back on display for Kane and the spirits to find her. Fortunately, the building uses mirrors everywhere, making for a perfect portal through which Kane and his pals can make their contact.

This is easily the silliest of the bunch, at least in my estimation. I really liked the doctor character who was so fast to dismiss the idea of the hauntings Carol Anne experienced in the first two films in favor of the more likely idea that she is implanting ideas in those around her hypnotically. Yes, that makes perfect sense. Ties in nicely with her uncle's natural skepticism.

Well, the spirits pull Carol Anne, her cousin, and her boyfriend to the other side and this throws her family and the just arrived Tangina into action. If there is one thing this movie has, it's lots of mirrors and ice. At one point they are even attacked by frozen cars! I kid you not.

This one comes to another conclusion that leaves it open for further stories. Meaning, even if there are no more movies, we can rest assured that there will always be some spirits fixating on Carol Anne.

Again, like the second film, this one doesn't really work for me. JoBeth Williams does a good job in the lead, it is a shame that she died so young.

I guess outside the first one, the Poltergeist franchise is just not for me. There are worse franchises and those that fell off a lot quicker than this, but I doubt I will revisit them anytime in the near future.

Mildly Recommended.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment