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Poltergeist II/ Poltergeist III (Collector’s Edition): Blu-Ray Review

Arriving on Collector’s Edition Blu-rays this week are “Poltergeist II: The Other Side” and “Poltergeist III” courtesy of Scream Factory.  Tobe Hooper’s 1982 original which was produced by Steven Spielberg is a horror classic, the sequels, not so much.  Although they can’t hold a candle to the original, “Poltergeist II” does have a handful of awesome moments.  I still consider the vomiting up of the monster one of the best sequences in the series.  If you are a fan of the sequels, you will be happy to know that Scream Factory has given these released just as much love and attention that their Collector’s Editions are known for.

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector’s Edition)

They’re Back….In this 1986 sequel to the blockbuster, “Poltergeist”, the Freeling family (minus the older sister) is back and once again must keep Carol Anne safe from the evil that wants her. This time around the evil has a shape and it is that of Reverend Henry Kane (Julian Beck).  Although Tangia (Zelda Rubinstein) has limited interaction with the Freelings’ this time around, she sends Indian spirit hunter (Will Sampson) to protect the family.

Although “Poltergeist II: The Other Side” doesn’t measure up to the original, I would probably compare it to “Jaws 2” in terms of quality.  Most of the original cast is back and there are some great scenes.  Craig T. Nelson is great when his character Steve gets possessed by Kane via tequila worm.  I also loved the sequence where Robbie is attacked by his own braces.  Unfortunately director Brian Gibson isn’t able to reignite the magic from the first film.

Scream Factory has delivered a great 2K transfer and tons of new bonus features.  If you are a fan of “Poltergeist” and want to own the sequel, you will not find a better release of it than this one.

Bonus Features

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Producer Michael Grais
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Poltergeist II Webmaster David Furtney
  • NEW Robbie’s Return – An Interview With Oliver Robins
  • NEW The Spirit World – An Interview With Special Effects Designers Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson And Screaming Mad George
  • NEW Ghosts Of Giger – A Look At The Contributions Of Artist H.R. Giger Featuring Rare Photos And Illustrations And An Interview With Giger’s Friend And Agent Les Barany And Special Effects Designer Steve Johnson, Richard Edlund And Screaming Mad George
  • Vintage Featurettes: They’re Back: The Making Of Poltergeist II, Monster Shop And Ghostmakers: The Magic Of Poltergeist II
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Galleries (Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills, Posters And Script Pages)

Order: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray


Poltergeist III (Collector’s Edition)

It has been years since seeing “Poltergeist III”.  I remembered not being a fan, but after revisiting it decades later, it is not a terrible as I remembered.  Don’t get me wrong, compared to the first two films, “Poltergeist III” by far the worst of the series, which became a franchise killer.

In this third and final chapter, Carol Ann has been sent to live in the big city with her aunt (Nancy Allen), uncle (Tom Skeritt), and cousin (Laura Flynn Boyle). Carol Anne was free of Kane after the second film, but thanks to an obnoxious doctor at her special school, she is forced to awaken the evil one (this time played by Nathan Davis) and now he has followed her to Chicago.

I will admit, I love the idea of moving from the suburbs to the city and the skyscraper setting is actually quite creepy. I also liked how mirrors were used as a gateway to the other side.  One of the biggest issues with “Poltergeist III” is the obvious bump down in budget.  The visual effects (mostly practical) and the score are much less impressive this time around.  It is also tough to watch Heather O’Rourke on screen knowing that she was seriously ill while filming and passed away before post production was completed.  A double was used in the film’s final scene which I am sure was tough on the actors as well.

Although “Poltergeist III” is not fondly remembered by many, Scream Factory gave this release just as much attention as “The Other Side”.  We get a great 2K transfer and new bonus materials.  I have a feeling those who plan to purchase the second film will go ahead and pick up the third as well.

Bonus Features

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Gary Sherman
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Poltergeist III Webmaster David Furtney
  • NEW High Spirits – An Interview With Screenwriter Brian Taggert
  • NEW Reflections – An Interview With Actress Nancy Allen
  • NEW Mirror Images – An Interview With Special Effects Creator John Caglione, Jr.
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Galleries (Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills, Posters And Script Pages)

By: Marc Ferman

Order: Poltergeist III (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray