Yes, I know it's late. Please don't bitch. This is kind of my Friday night, seeing as how I have off tomorrow but have to work ALL DAY Saturday and a few stops on Sunday, too.
So don't give me no shit. In fact let's get right into the meat of this sucker, because I am watching this movie as I type this blog and it's frigging creeping me out.
So settle in on this dark, stormy October night (well here in Pennsyl-tucky anyway) and get totally creeped out with "Poltergeist 2!" Thanks for reading, fiends and mutants!
Poltergeist 2: The Other Side (1986): Directed by Brian Gibson. Starring Craig T. Nelson, Jobeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein, Julian Beck and Will Sampson.
The Skinny: Picking up where the first film left off, the Freeling family is just getting things back to normal when a strange old man starts showing up at the house looking for Carol Anne. It turns out that there is more to the story than a housing development build atop an old cemetery.
What's Good: Sadly, the late Brian Gibson failed to capture the magic and passion of the first film in this franchise that spawned three movies and a television series. However, there are some seriously spooky moments, again executed by some of the best special effects available at the time. However, the movie is worth sitting through some very trite and boring parts just to get at the performance of Julian Beck as the minister Kane. Kane is a minister from the late 1800s who promises his followers that god is about to play the Judgement Trump. he lures them into an underground cave and seals them in. When the day comes and goes and no one is raptured out, Kane refuses to let them leave and they die there. And where is that cave? YOU GUESSED IT YOU CLEVER PERSON YOU! UNDER THE FREELING'S HOUSE!
What's Bad: I think the script is the first problem. That, and director Gibson lights everything like it's a TV sitcom, so there is none of the rich shadows and neo-noir lighting of the first film. And even though the actors pretty much give their all, they're dealing with a silly concept and sometimes even sillier dialogue. And now suddenly, the mother has some kind of psychic ability, as does her mother (my god, then that must mean ... CAROL ANNE?!) - add in a poorly developed subplot where an American Indian shaman is supposed to have a history with Kane and a dopey score filled with goofy triumphant trumpets and you get silly, silly silliness. But ...
Why We Like It: Goddamn it, Julian Beck is absolutely terrifying. If you've seen this film, you already know what I am talking about - the guy walking around looking like a living cadaver, singing vaguely Mormon-sounding hymns with words like "God is in his holy temple/earthly thoughts be silent now." Turns out, Beck was dying of stomach cancer the whole time, finally passing before the production. But his scenes are just absolutely fascinating and creepifying. He will haunt your ass for years to come.
Memorable Stuff: The best scene, hands down, is when Kane shows up at the Freeling's new home. The moment he shows up, the rain starts out of a clear blue sky. And as he stands at the door, telling the Freelings that they're gonna die, "ALL OF YOU! YOU ARE GONNA DIEEEE!" Holy Jesus is that scary? Yes sir, it is. It's a fine denouement for Beck and a great character that makes many people's list of the scariest characters in the genre. And worth sitting through this trite production.