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Poltergeist 3
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Gary Sherman

Written By:
Gary Sherman, Brian Taggert

Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen, Heather O'Rourke, Lara Flynn Boyle, Zelda Rubinstein

Poltergeist 3 (1988)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
February 15th, 2009

'Poltergeist III' is likely to be remembered only as Heather O'Rourke's last appearance on screen before her tragic, untimely death. Along with Zelda Rubinstein, she is the only member of the original cast to show up for a third time, in this second sequel, which has almost nothing in common with its predecessors. Carol Anne has relocated to Chicago, to live with her uncle Bruce Gardner (Tom Skerritt), and his wife Patricia (Nancy Allen) in a massive high-rise complex. There was never any indication that Carol Anne's parents would do this to her, but perhaps they grew tired of battling evil spirits, and thought they would be left alone if Carol Anne were sent far away, halfway across the country, to relatives who must not have been told everything.

Of course, the ghosts follow her. Patricia is not particularly happy about the arrangement, but tolerates it because of Bruce, who serves as one of the managers of the complex, and his apartment and office are in the same building, separated by probably 20 or 30 floors, but at least he does not have to drive anywhere. The complex is more or less self-sufficient; it has a shopping mall, supermarket, escalators, elevators, and Pat works at gallery that is currently showcasing hideous displays of modern art. Taste is certainly subjective here. Carol Anne attends a school for "gifted" children, and has psychiatric sessions with Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire), who believes that she induces mass hypnosis that causes those around her to hallucinate.

This is the scientific explanation for Carol Anne's unique condition, and it is countered by the supernatural explanation, once again offered by Tangina, who senses Carol Anne is in danger and books a flight to Chicago, arriving just as she has been abducted, and is being frantically searched for by Bruce and a reluctant Pat. The clash of the scientific vs. the supernatural is a bit overdone here; Seaton refuses to accept what Tangina tells him, or even what he witnesses with his own eyes, clinging stubbornly to psychology as a means of deciphering all of these bizarre phenomena.

Kane returns, this time played by Nathan Davis, who looks nothing like Julian Beck; this Kane is neither menacing nor creepy. Carol Anne insists that she will fine by herself, and encourages Bruce's daughter Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) to sneak out and attend the party she wants to go to; how nice of Carol Anne, but it sets her up for a stressful and frightening evening.

The visual effects are not as impressive as they were in previous installments; there are still some scary and intense moments, most of which involve mirrors and malevolent reflections with a mind of their own, and there are a few ridiculous scenes, one occurring in a freezer, and the other in a parking garage, as ice-covered cars surround and try to run over Bruce and Pat. Weak scripting sinks the picture, as well, but then the writers did the best they probably could under the circumstances, as they tried to come up with some way to continue this franchise beyond its logical limits.

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