80’s Horror Throwback: “Poltergeist III”

Every horror franchise has its dark sheep of the family. For “Nightmare on Elm Street” it is “Freddy’s Revenge”. For “Friday the 13th” it is “A New Beginning”. For “Scream” it is “Scream 3″. For “Poltergeist” it is “Poltergeist III”. The amount of hate for this film could fill up ten novels. The film was both a critical and commercial failure upon release and even the cast and the crew seem ashamed to be a part of it. But, the real question is, does the film deserve the hate. Is “Poltergeist III” really the abomination the cinematic world would like us to believe it is? Maybe not…

“Poltergeist III” begins with young Carol Anne being sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle in an effort to hide her from the clutches of the villainous Reverend Kane. In typical horror movie logic, he tracks her down and terrorizes her in her relatives’ appartment in Chicago’s John Hancock Building. Filled with windows and mirrors and evil behind reflections, can Carol Anne save the day and finally be able to rid her life of Kane? Or will he finally achieve his target and capture Carol Anne again? It’s up to Carol Anne and her psychic pal Tangina to save the day.

“Poltergeist III” is, by all means, a film that I should hate. It’s a sequel with only two returning characters (Carol Ann and the ever reliable Tangina), it’s PG-13, and it’s supernatural. By all means, this should be on my worst list of horror sequels. Hell, that’s where most other horror fans would put it. But it’s a good film damnit and it’s a film that I will defend until the day I die. To be honest, I just don’t understand the hate for this film. The mirror effects are surprisingly effective and the film attempts to bring closure to the story (even though there are only two returning cast members, it is surprisingly faithful to the original two films). The film is just plain fun from beginning to end and what the film lacks in logic it more than makes up for in inventive special effects. Sadly, this is young Heather O’Rourke’s (Carol Anne) last film as she would pass away shortly after filming would commence. Sure they may say Carol Ann about a hundred times too many but it really just adds to the fun of the film. Have a few drinks and do a toast to Miss O’Rourke, one of the genre’s youngest scream queens that was taken far too soon.

For those of you who love this guilty pleasure as much as I do, make sure to check out the fantastic “Poltergeist III” website by Webmaster David Furtney. This site gives you everything that you want to know about the making of, history behind, and the controversy around the horror sequel.

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