PG-13 Horror We Love: “Poltergiest III” (1988) Review

Hearing Kevin Sommerfield (editor’s note: That’s me!!) talking about Poltergiest 3 in his review made me what to talk about how I feel about this film. Poltergeist 3 is so underrated, and the most hated film in the series. But for me, I love it and it’s my favorite sequel by far.

Carol Anne (Heather O’ Rourke) has been sent to live with her Uncle, Aunt, and cousin in a tall Chicago apartment building. When Carol Anne is trying to move on from her past, and forget what happen to her, the dark evil preacher, Kane, is back for Carol Anne, and causing chaos for Carol Anne and her family. Will Carol Anne, and her family be able to stop Kane or will Kane win in the end?

Like I said, Poltergeist 3 is the most hated film in the franchise and it is very underrated. But for me, I love it and it really deserves more respect as a film in the franchise. I actually prefer it over Poltergeist 2 (1985) because it is totally different compared to the previous two films. I love the fact that it takes place in a tall Chicago building with mirrors for walls because that creates something creepy especially when you see Kane through the mirrors and the fact that even though Carol Anne has so many places to hide Kane always seems to find her. Also, Kane himself in this film is creepy too and he is one of the reasons why this movie creeped me out as a kid, and kinda still creeps me out now. I also love the actors and actresses in this film especially Nancy Allen, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Heather O’ Rourke. It is sad to always watch the film though because of Heather O’ Rourke passing before the film was finished. But out of everything in this film, Heather O’ Rourke really holds the film up to being as great as it is. I don’t think the film would be as good if Heather O’ Rourke wasn’t in it.

Also, the film has great effects, and scenes that you will remember when you finish watching it like the parking garage scene with the snow, the puddle scene in the parking garage, when Carol Anne first gets attacked by Kane, the opening scene, the last scene involving Nancy Allen’s character and Kane, when a character gets their skin pulled off the side of their face, and much more. Also, the atmosphere is another reason that the film works so well because it creates some chilling moments when you watch it. Poltergeist 3 isn’t as good as Poltergeist (1982),but it is by far my favorite sequel in the series and one of my favorite PG-13 horror films. I don’t think the whole family would be able to watch this film and even the series with younger kids,but if teenagers want to start getting into horror films then I recommend this film along with Part 1 and 2.

–Justin Rhine


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.