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#25. Poltergeist II, #26. Poltergeist III

PoltergeistNot being a devoted fan of Tobe Hooper’s 1982 horror classic Poltergeist, I was reluctant to visit both of the film’s sequels. I knew little of Poltergeist II or III, and had even less interest in them. Well, my disinclination has once again deprived me of great pleasure, at least partially.Poltergeist III

Poltergeist II poster

Poltergeist II, directed by Brian Gibson in 1986, was not only a devilishly entertaining film, but also far superior to its predecessor. The family has done their best to move on after the horrific events of the first film. Forced to move in with grandma and mounting financial woes, the Freelings have bigger problems than ghostly apparitions taking over the television set. That is of course until Reverend Kane comes knocking on their front door. Let me just say right now Kane is as menacing a character as any put to screen. If I had seen this film in the 80s my young mind would have been forever damaged. Played by the gaunt Julian Beck, Kane is a door-to-door salesman of nightmares. Preying on the young Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) to join his demonic congregation, the Freelings recruit the assistance of Native American Taylor (Will Sampson) and franchise staple Tangine Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein) to try and save the young girl. What follows are some brilliant scares and really original set pieces I was surprised are not in the horror pantheon. This is a must see for both hardcore genre fans and those of you that just watch horror films during Halloween. Poltergeist II is now a staple as far as I am concerned.

Reverend Kane (Julian Beck)So, coming off the high of II I eagerly dove head first into Poltergeist III expecting entertainment along the same lines. Instead all I got was disappointment. If Poltergeist II is the Empire Strikes Back of the series, then Poltergeist III is its Weekend at Bernie’s II. Cheese machine Tom Skerrit, who I usually like, replaces Craig T. “the Coach” Nelson as the lead male when sweet little Carol Anne goes to stay with her uncle and his family for a while. This is one of those sequels that has a severe case of the “for some reasons,” like for some reason her relatives live in the penthouse of a corporate owned skyscraper, which Skerrit’s character also manages, and for some reason Carol Anne has completely forgot everything that happened to her in the previous two films, but for some reason she is forced to see a child psychologist… and so on and so on until people start to die and predictability takes over. Unfortunately they recast the part of Reverend Kane, and actor Nathan Davis just couldn’t match the creepy brilliance that was Julian Beck. With pathetic direction and lazy screenwriting, Poltergeist III was an all out disappointment. It isn’t even so bad its good, just uninspired and trite. Keep away . . .

Oh yeah, and this happened: Tom Skerrit in Poltergeist III

I'm honestly on the fence on how I feel about the Poltergeist III trailer. Is it awful or awesome? Let me know.

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