Poltergeist II: The Other Side Blu-Ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Brian Gibson
Screenwriter: Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Cast: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O’Rourke, Oliver Robins, Julian Beck, Zelda Rubinstein, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG-13 | 91 Minutes
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Directed by Brian Gibson (What’s Love Got To Do With It), 1986’s Poltergeist II: The Other Side is an odd, intermittently effective follow-up to Tobe Hooper’s 1982 classic horror film. One year after the events of the first movie, Cuesta Verde is being evacuated and turned into an archaeological dig centered around the spot where the Freelings’ home stood before it imploded. The excavation, headed by psychic Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein) and Native American shaman Taylor (Will Sampson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), leads to the discovery of a mysterious underground cave.
Meanwhile, the Freeling family — Steven (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) — has relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. The Freelings’ oldest daughter, Dana, is retconned because actress Dominique Dunne was murdered just before the release of the original film. A new addition to the on-screen family is Diane’s mother, “Grandma Jess” (Geraldine Fitzgerald), who, like Carol Anne, is clairvoyant, and says that Diane is too.
Taylor and Tangina discover that the evil spirit of Reverend Henry Kane (Julian Beck), the leader of a 19th-century utopian cult, wishes to abduct Carol Anne and use her innocence to lure souls to “the other side.” Kane is a creepy old fucker, not unlike Phantasm’s Tall Man, who absorbs souls and uses the spiritual energy to transform into “The Beast.” The highlight of Gibson’s film includes a sequence in which Steven slams a bottle of Mezcal, swallows the worm, and gives birth to Kane in the form of a vomit creature designed by artist H.R. Giger (Alien, Species).
Poltergeist II: The Other Side isn’t a particularly great movie, but there are enough weird bits and pieces to warrant a watch, like a scene where Robbie’s braces come to life and ensnare him in a cocoon of twisted metal. Or the bit where a chainsaw becomes sentient and leads an army of floating power tools in a revolt against the Freeling family. As for the disc itself, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release is fantastic, offering a new 2K restoration of the interpositive (2.35:1 aspect ratio) and a ton of newly produced bonus materials, which you can read more about below.
This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release includes two audio commentary tracks, one with writer Michael Grais and one with Poltergeist super-fan David Furtney. Both tracks offer up a fair amount of reminiscing while dissecting issues with the film’s production. There’s also new interviews with actor Oliver Robins, special effects designers Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson, and Screaming Mad George, the Japanese special effects artist known for his work on films like Big Trouble in Little China, Predator, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
Another featurette, Ghosts of Giger, focuses exclusively on the contributions of artist H.R. Giger, featuring rare photos and illustrations and an interview with Giger’s friend and agent Les Barany. Giger’s contributions were mostly limited the design phase and had little input when it came to the film’s practical effects. This is easily the most interesting featurette included, with a bevy of Giger artwork on display.
An electronic copy of the shooting script’s fourth draft, which includes some excised material, is also included. The rest of the disc is your typical promotional material: a 6-minute vintage EPK from ’86, theatrical trailer, TV spots, and stills galleries. Once again, Scream Factory has gone above and beyond in creating a Collector’s Edition release that will no doubt delight hardcore fans of the Poltergeist series.
Scream Factory’s Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector’s Edition) is now available at Amazon.