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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Poltergeist 2 (1986)

Four years after the original blockbuster comes the sequel Poltergeist 2.  How is it?  Actually, quite good although it doesn't totally measure up to the first film.  [Steven Spielberg's absence is definitely noticed.]  The Freeling family with JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson as the loving parents are back with their tortured kids Carol Anne [Heather O'Rourke] and Robbie [Oliver Robins].  They have moved to a new house but they haven't escaped the entities that are hot on their trial.

The immortal Zelda Rubinstein is back as well as Tangina and there is an added shaman/psychic, Taylor, who is played wonderfully by  Will Sampson.  The addition of Native American spirituality works well here and serves the expanded story line quite effectively.  By far, my favorite addition is the "world's creepiest preacher EVER" played with menace by the skeletal actor Julian Beck.  I don't know where they found him but, WOW, he steals every scene he's in.
The special effects in P2 get a little crazy at times and feel a bit more like a John Carpenter film or something out of Hellraiser.  I don't know if that was necessary but it is awfully fun to look at.  Yet, it also left me with the feeling that sometimes less is more.
Poltergeist 2 has been judged rather harshly by some critics but I disagree.  Yes, the first film is better but P2 is a very enjoyable ride that takes the story from the first and moves it forward in an interesting direction.  Strong acting and eye-popping effects make it a great example of classic 80' horror.  Don't miss it.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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