BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Poltergeist III is a better idea than it is a movie. Maybe it should never have been connected to the franchise at all. But it was and – due to the sudden death of Heather O’Rourke – it became something everyone but the studio wanted to write off. Even the director lost interest in it after the tragic passing of its lead actress.
There are some good ideas running throughout the script as it brings the haunting of the suburbs into the city of Chicago. The use of mirrors and doubles provides a nice atmosphere for anything to happen. The practical effects are clever. And the acting – with Tom Skerritt and Lara Flynn Boyle and Nancy Allen being added to the cast – is top notch. None of that really matters, I guess. The problem lies in what it falls victim to which is, of course, the curse of the Poltergeist franchise. This film would be the final nail in its coffin.
Scream Factory brings Poltergeist III to blu-ray with a Collector’s Edition that attempts to give the movie another chance. Complete with new cover art and new 2K scan of the original interpositive, Poltergeist III, as seen from outside of the tragedy, isn’t as awful as we were originally lead to believe. Sure, the movie meanders and spends way too long on scenes that have no business being as dull as they should be, but the film – with smashing windows and a chilling atmosphere – still manages to make us jump. And the supplemental items included here – featuring NEW interviews with people previously forbidden to speak about the movie – elevates the film.
Directed and co-written by Gary Sherman, Poltergeist III brings Carol Anne (O’Rourke) to the big city. She has been sent by her family to live in Chicago so that she can attend a school for gifted children with emotional disorders. And the supernatural events from the first two films have left their marks upon her. Thing is, no one at the school believes her. Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire) is the embodiment of this skepticism and he nails the most deplorable role in the film. These experts are more inclined to believe that she can somehow manipulate or project her feelings onto others.
Maybe then her mother’s sister will believe her. Maybe. Hopefully, it is not too late. It is only when the new skyscraper they are all living in because to crack and shake and do all sorts of things that lean more toward the supernatural that her Aunt’s family begin to accept that Carol Anne is something truly unique. The ghosts – including Reverend Kane (Nathan Davis, Flowers in the Attic) – have found her all over again and only Tangina (Zelda Robinstein) can provide her the help she needs to survive it.
For its ups and downs, there are enough honestly earned thrills to keep this haunted picture from being a waste of time. Sure, we are still in B-movie mode – with Robinstein given less to do to make her part feel authentic – but you can still feel what it wanted to do with its 90 minutes. It might even be able to creep you out from time to time.
From cracked glass in elevators to the lightning striking outside, the skyscraper that houses the supernatural events of Poltergeist III takes its fair share of abuse. In this way, it is not unlike the film itself. The third time is usually never the charm. Audiences know this and went in with expectations lowered. The budget was slashed. Its lead was ill. With so many things against it, it’s a wonder the film was even completed at all.
Kicking Poltergeist III to the curb simply because it exists is a mistake. With this release, now we know why. Just get the Speak & Spells out of the room…
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Gary Sherman
Writer: Gary Sherman, Brian Taggert
Cast: Heather O'Rourke, Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen
Tagline: They're back... again.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Carol Anne! Carol Anne! Carol Anne!"
Theatrical Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Release Date: June 10, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: January 31, 2017
Synopsis: Carol Anne is staying with her aunt in a highrise building, and the supernatural forces that have haunted her previously follow her there.
Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - January 31, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
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 III on 1080p with solid results. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 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.
With two NEW commentaries – one from director Gary Sherman and one from webmaster of the Poltergeist fan site David Furtney – loaded on the disc, fans of the series will definitely be excited to hear all about the film, its favorite moments, and its faults.
Finally! With NEW interviews from actress Nancy Allen, screenwriter Brian Taggert, and Special Effects Creator John Caglione, Jr., Poltergeist III’s supplemental items will be sure to please longtime fans of the series. An alternate ending is also included.
- High Spirits – An Interview With Screenwriter Brian Taggert
- Reflections – An Interview With Actress Nancy Allen
- Mirror Images – An Interview With Special Effects Creator John Caglione, Jr.
- Alternate Ending
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Still Galleries (Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills, Posters And Script Pages)