Poltergeist II: The Other Side
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Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a 1986 American supernatural horror film and the second entry in the Poltergeist film series. A sequel to Poltergeist, it features the return of the original family, who are once again confronted by a spirit trying to harm their daughter, Carol Anne. It received mixed reviews from critics and did not gross as much at the box office as its predecessor, although it was still financially successful. It ended up making over $40 million against a $19 million (estimated) production budget and was nominated for the Academy Award for Visual Effects. The film was also nominated for a Razzie Award for Zelda Rubinstein as Worst Supporting Actress. It was followed in 1988 by Poltergeist III. It is best remembered for its film trailer, in which Carol Anne says, "They're baaa-aaack," a quote that has been referenced endlessly in popular culture ever since.
|Poltergeist II: The Other Side|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Gibson|
by Steven Spielberg
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Distributed by||MGM Entertainment Co.|
|Box office||$40.9 million|
One year after the Freeling house poltergeist intrusion, Cuesta Verde is being evacuated and turned into an archaeological paranormal dig centered around the spot where the Freelings' home stood before it imploded. The excavation leads to the discovery of a cave by a ground crew. Its existence is revealed to psychic Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein), who tells a friend of hers, Taylor (Will Sampson), a Native American shaman. After investigating the cave for himself, Taylor realizes that Rev. Henry Kane (Julian Beck), a deceased, insane preacher, has located Carol Anne and goes to defend her.
The Freeling family—Steven (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke)—has relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, and now live in a house with Diane's mother, "Grandma Jess" (Geraldine Fitzgerald). Having lost his real estate license, Steven 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 says that Diane and Carol Anne are clairvoyant as well. Grandma Jess later dies from natural causes, but not before telling Diane one last time that she'll always "be there" if she needs her. The fact that the spirits do not bother the family until Grandma Jess dies suggests that she was keeping them out, perhaps indirectly, with her powers.
Taylor shows up 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 telephone. The attack fails, and the family gets out of the house quickly. 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 in human form and demands to be let in, but Steven refuses. Taylor congratulates him for resisting Kane, and then takes Steven to the desert and gives him the "Power of Smoke", a Native spirit that can repel Kane. Tangina shows up at the house and helps Diane to understand Kane's history and how he became the Beast that is now stalking the family by forcing Diane to use her powers on a photograph. She also points out that Diane is unique in that she is one of the only few people on earth who have ever been to the spirit world while living, during the rescue of Carol Anne. It is revealed that Kane led his followers into the cave because he believed that the end of the world was coming, then left them to die after the date he predicted came and went. Because he was so evil, Kane became a monster after death. 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 then temporarily possesses him. He attacks and tries to rape Diane, who cries out that she loves him. Steven then vomits up the worm possessed by Kane, which grows into a huge, tentacled 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 enter the cavern below their former home, where Kane pulls Diane and Carol Anne over into the Other Side. Steven and Robbie jump in after them through a fire started by Taylor. On the Other Side, Steven, Diane, Robbie, and Carol Anne unite, but Kane (now a horrifying, gigantic monster) grabs Carol Anne. Taylor gets a charmed Native spear into Steven's hands, and Steven stabs Kane with it, defeating the monster and causing him to fall into the afterlife. Carol Anne nearly crosses over into the afterlife as well, but Grandma Jess' spirit appears and returns her to the family. The Freelings then return safely and thank Taylor and Tangina.
Steven gives the car to Taylor and Taylor drives away with Tangina. After the Freelings realize that they have no ride home, they run after the car.
Dana, the eldest daughter from the first film and portrayed by Dominique Dunne, was originally intended to be away at college in the plot of the second film. However, that scene was not filmed for the final theatrical version, as Dunne was murdered by her boyfriend shortly after the first film was released.
Principal photography began on May 23, 1985. The film was at one point intended to be filmed in 3-D. 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 were cut from the finished film, including one in which Tangina confronts Kane when he tries to enter the house, and another in which Steven and Diane see a flying toaster during a breakfast scene.
Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger was commissioned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to create several designs for the film. Because Giger did not want to leave Zurich for long periods of time, his colleague Cornelius De Fries was hired to represent Giger at the studio during production. Giger was ultimately disappointed with the end result, later attributing the failure to his lack of presence. "When the movies eventually came out I thought, 'Oh shit.' But I couldn't change it," said Giger. "There was no more time. So I thought that's the wrong way to work. If you work on a film you have to be there all the time and be always looking at what they're doing otherwise they'll do what they want." Only two of Giger's designs appear in the final cut of the film, including "The Great Beast" version of Kane.
The musical score for Poltergeist II: The Other Side was composed and conducted by composer Jerry Goldsmith, who had written the Academy Award-nominated soundtrack to the first film. Though "Carol Anne's Theme" returns from the first film's soundtrack, the score for The Other Side consists of mostly new material blending traditional orchestral elements with new electronic sounds. The soundtrack album has been released four times: through Varèse Sarabande in 1986, Intrada Records in 1993, a deluxe edition by Varèse Sarabande in 2003, a 2 CD set from Kritzerland in 2013, and a 3 CD set from Intrada Records in 2018.
Although it was financially successful, The Other Side proved to be a box office disappointment when compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless, the film still grossed a respectable $40,996,665 at the United States box office. This film and its successor were rated PG-13 by the MPAA. The original was rated PG, as there was no PG-13 rating at the time (the rating was created in 1984, largely in response to films such as Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).
MGM released Poltergeist II on DVD for the very first time on August 26, 2003 in a double feature collection along with Poltergeist III. To date there has been no standalone DVD release of the film in Region 1. On September 13, 2011, MGM released the film on Blu-ray.
MGM has also released the film on DVD in Region 2 and Region 4. It was released in the UK on October 23, 2000 and in Australia on September 1, 2006. A double feature pack containing Poltergeist II and III together was released in Region 4 on November 8, 2010.
On January 31, 2017, Scream Factory released a Blu-ray Collector's Edition of the film including new commentaries and featurettes.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1987||Academy Award||Academy Award for Best Visual Effects||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Saturn Award for Best Horror or Thriller Film||Nominated|
|Saturn Award for Best Special Effects||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress - Zelda Rubinstein||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards||Young Artist Award for Best Younger Supporting Actress - Heather O'Rourke||Nominated|
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