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Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Poltergeist II original theatrical poster
Directed by Brian Gibson
Produced by Michael Grais
Mark Victor
Written by Michael Grais
Mark Victor
Starring JoBeth Williams
Craig T. Nelson
Heather O'Rourke
Oliver Robins
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Andrew Laszlo, ASC
Editing by Thom Noble
Bud S. Smith
M. Scott Smith
Distributed by MGM
Release date(s) May 23, 1986
Running time 90 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget ~ $19,000,000
Preceded by Poltergeist
Followed by Poltergeist III

Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a 1986 horror film. A sequel to Poltergeist, it features the return of the original's family and once again sees a spirit trying to harm their daughter, Carol-Anne. It was a box office disappointment, but was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Contents

Plot

This sequel explains in much greater detail the reason why Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) was targeted in the first film. As it turns out, the Freelings' house in the first movie was built over a massive underground cavern that was the final resting place of a Satanic utopian cult that died there in the early 1800s. This cavern was below the desecrated graveyard that wasn't relocated in the first film. The cult was led by Reverend Henry Kane (Julian Beck), a power-hungry zealot anxious to control the souls of his followers in both life and death.

Kane told his followers that the end of the world was coming, and they dutifully followed him into the cavern. However, the day he predicted it would all end came and went, but he never let his "flock" out of the cavern, and eventually, they all died. Since his death, Kane became the Beast, which absorbed the spirits of his followers.

The second film begins one year after the events of the first film, with Cuesta Verde, the Freelings' neighborhood from the first movie, being evacuated and turned into an archeological paranormal dig (primary the location where the Freelings' home once stood) and the discovery of this cave by a ground crew, and its existence is revealed to Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein), the psychic from the first film that "cleaned" the house that is now missing. She also tells Taylor (Will Sampson), an American Indian shaman whose connection to Kane is hinted at but never fully explained (when Kane comes to the Freelings' home and tries turning Steve against Taylor, Steven (Craig T. Nelson) acknowledges that Taylor is there by name, and Kane quietly laughs and says "So that's what he calls himself now"). After investigating the cave for himself, Taylor realizes Kane has located Carol Anne and goes to defend her.

The Freeling family have relocated to Phoenix, Arizona and now live in a house with Diane's (JoBeth Williams) mother, Jessica "Gramma Jess" Wilson (Geraldine Fitzgerald). Having lost his real estate license, Steve is reduced to selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door while filing repeated insurance claims to cover the missing home. Grandma Jess is highly clairvoyant, and reveals that Diane and Carol Anne are too. Luckily, Grandma Jess is powerful, and it is her life force that protects the family from Kane and the other spirits, as long as she remains alive.

Eventually, Grandma Jess dies from natural causes, but not before telling Diane one last time that she'll always "be there" if she needs her. With Grandma Jess out of the way, Kane now has a clear path to get to Carol Anne. Taylor shows up just as Kane begins his first assault on the home. Unable to get in through the television as the family has removed all television sets from the home, Kane's minions are forced to find another way in, this time through Carol Anne's toy phone. The attack fails, and the family gets out of the house fast. Taylor introduces himself and convinces them that running would be a waste of time since Kane would only find them again, and they return to the house, which Taylor has made safe for the time being.

Kane himself shows up at the home one day and demands to be let in, but Steven stands up to him with Carol Anne's help and refuses. Taylor congratulates him for resisting Kane, and then takes Steve out to the desert and gives him the power of smoke, an Indian spirit that can repel Kane. Tangina shows up at the house and helps Diane to understand the history of Kane and how he became the Beast that is now stalking the family. Taylor warns the family that Kane is extremely clever, and will try to tear them apart.

One night, Steven lets his guard down and gets drunk, swallowing a Mezcal worm that is possessed by Kane, who temporarily possesses him. He attacks and tries to rape Diane, who cries out that she loves him. Kane cannot stand this display of love, and Steven vomits up the worm possessed by Kane, which grows into a huge tentacular monstrosity. In this form Kane attacks Steven from the ceiling, but Steven uses the smoke spirit to send him away. The Beast then decides on another assault, and this time, the family decides to confront the Beast on his own turf, the Other Side.

The Freelings return to Cuesta Verde and upon entering the cavern below their former home, Kane immediately pulls Diane and Carol Anne over in to the Other Side, and Steven and Robbie (Oliver Robins) jump in after them through a fire Taylor has started.

In the Other Side, Diane, Steven, Robbie , and Carol Anne unite together but the Beast/Kane under its final form grabs Carol Anne. Taylor gets a charmed Indian lance into Steven's hands, and Steven successfully defeats the Beast/Kane with it, causing it to fall into the afterlife, finally crossing over which crosses over all of the spirits he has trapped. In the process, Carol Anne nearly crosses over into the afterlife as well, but Grandma Jess's spirit appears and returns her to the family, keeping her earlier promise to always be there for them. The Freelings then return safely to this side, and thank Taylor and Tangina.

Cast

Production

The eldest daughter was supposed to be written as being away at college, however that scene never made it into the final theatrical version. In real life the actress who played her, Dominique Dunne, was murdered by her boyfriend shortly after the first film came out.

This film was at one point intended to be filmed in 3-D. ( The 3-D revival of the early eighties came to a close in early 1984.) Several scenes, such as the appearance of the Beast and the flying chainsaw were filmed to take advantage of the process. Several scenes that appeared in press stills or promotional posters was cut from the finished film including Tangina confronting Kane when he tries to enter the house again after Diane finds out about his past and also Steve and Diane looking at a flying toaster during a breakfast scene.

Because Julian Beck, who played Kane, died during filming, the filmmakers enlisted the help of H R Giger, who created the "Beast" version of Kane to replace Beck's remaining scenes. Giger created several designs but only two appeared, receiving limited screen time in the final cut of the film. Giger's designs are displayed on his official website.

This film is notorious for retconning the reason and explanations for the haunting in the first film even though all it really did was expand on what had already been presented.

This film and its successor were rated PG-13 by the MPAA. The original was rated PG.

Box office

Although it was financially successful, Poltergeist II: The Other Side proved to be a box office disappointment when compared to its predecessor. The film grossed a respectable $40,996,665[1] at the United States box office, beating its $19 million budget and making it the 20th highest grossing film of 1986.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
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