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Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Collector’s Edition) (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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Poltergeist II Collector's Edition- Blu-ray Review

3 beersIt is a dark night.  The sky is pregnant with distant stars.  A lone fire lights the desert canyon wall.  Two Native Americans sit next to it.  There is chanting.  Soon, spirits are inhaled.  If the opening to Poltergeist II: The Other Side throws you for a loop, know that you aren’t alone.  It's trying something newish.  In spite of the countless deaths surrounding the franchise, the first sequel to Poltergeist is the only one that dares relax a bit. 

From this desert opening in which ghostly portals are opened, director Brian Gibson quickly shifts gears to focus on the fragile peace that has settled over the Freeling family.  Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (Jobeth Williams), Robbie (Oliver Robbins), and Carol Ann (Heather O’Rourke) have regrouped at the home of clairvoyant Gramma Jess (Geraldine Fitzgerald).     Okay, maybe not the smartest of moves as Carol Ann’s grandmother only feeds what attracted the spirit world to the little girl all over agin.

At least, that’s one way to interpret the supernatural events in the sequel.  There are many others as the supernatural regroups once again for some pretty heinous domestic hauntings.  The point is that the Freelings are about to get visited once again by members of the other side…including two creatures designed by Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger (of Alien fame).  While those creatures provide the film with some of its weirdest scenes, Poltergeist II is a bit of a mess, making it ripe for rediscovery with this release (even if the long rumored deleted scenes remain at large). 

Written and produced by Michael Grais and Mark Victor (the duo behind Spielberg-backed original), the sequel to the 1982 hit is a darker and wilder ride, but all of that is at the sake of actually frightening its audience.  The real scares are from the living.  This is a special-effects bonanza, yet it largely fails to do much of consequence throughout its running time except leave us scatching our heads.

It is up to psychic Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein), a Native American shaman named Taylor (Will Sampson), and the mostly dead Reverand Henry Kane (a very creepy Julian Beck) to save the proceedings.  They do only because they don’t ground anything in the production and tilt this title straight into camp territory.  These three talents and how they are portrayed here – edits, dialogue, and otherwise – make this a B-movie worth remembering.  Fans - like me - accept it, though.

From a toy phone and its ability to connect the living with the dead to the final Mary Poppins-like flight of the Freelings through the void, much of Poltergeist II is thankfully without explanation.  We don’t want these ridiculous moments ruined for us with words.  While Robbie gets the best bit – when his braces go on the attack and start caging his head – and Steven gets to painfully spit up a possessed worm, it is the threatening hymn-singing from the bad ol’ Reverend Kane that creeps audiences out the most.

Scream Factory presents audiences a chance to revisit the child-abducting supernatural with their 2016 Collector’s Edition release of Poltergeist II: The Other Side.  It is now available to own.  And, as I told my son, you can watch all you want, just promise me that you will never ever swallow a possessed Mezcal worm.  Lesson learned.

Poltergeist II Collector's Edition- Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Brian Gibson
Writer:
Mark Victor, Michael Grais
Cast:
JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Look who's movie to the city... with a vengeance
Memorable Movie Quote: "You can't keep her. I am not dead."
Theatrical Distributor:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 23, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 31, 2017
Synopsis: In this thrilling follow-up to the smash hit Poltergeist, the Freeling family (JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke, Oliver Robins) settles into a new home following the annihilation of their former residence by terrifying visitors from the netherworld. But the spirits of the dead are still hell-bent on luring the family's clairvoyant daughter Carol Anne to "the other side.

Poltergeist II Collector's Edition- Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- Janury 31, 2017
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scream Factory presents Poltergeist II: The Other Side on 1080p with grand results.  Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the new 2K scan of the interpositive is supremely rich in details and colors.  While some of the effects show their age, there really is nothing to complain about.  Black levels are solid and shadows are thick.  Lines are strong.  And the colors – while they don’t pop – are cleaner and stronger than I’ve ever seen them appear.  The sound is presented in a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, so turn up Jerry Goldsmith’s score to 11.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Scream Factory does not disappoint.  First, there’s the AWESOME new cover art!  Inside, you get a new interview with Oliver Robins, the only actor willing to talk about these films it seems.  There’s a new interview with the special effects team from the movie, and new look at the contributions from Giger.  The rest is filled with archival looks at the making of the movie. 

  • Robbie's Return
  • The Spirit World
  • Ghosts Of Giger
  • They're Back: The Making Of Poltergeist II,
  • Monster Shop And Ghostmakers
  • The Magic Of Poltergeist II
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Behind-The-Scenes Photos
  • Stills
  • Posters
  • Script Pages

Poltergeist II Collector's Edition- Blu-ray Review

 

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