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Film / Poltergeist II: The Other Side

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Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) is the first sequel to the horror film Poltergeist (1982). It was itself followed by Poltergeist III (1988).

Following the destruction of their house that happened at the end of the first film, the Freeling family (sans eldest daughter Dana) have moved in with Diane's mother in Arizona. Soon they are being haunted by the supernatural again. The people who were buried under the Freelings' former home and whose spirits haunted the in the first film, turn out to have been led to their deaths by an evil minister, Reverend Kane. Now Kane's evil spirit has found the Freelings again and is still trying to take Carol Anne away.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Insurance Gag: The father is trying to explain to the insurance company how his house (which vanished in the first film) has completely disappeared without a trace.
  • Actor Allusion: Craig T. Nelson comments on Will Sampson perhaps being an escapee from an asylum. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Sampson played an asylum inmate who escapes.
  • Adult Fear: Carol Anne gets separated from her mom at the store, at which point Reverend Kane approaches her...
  • All There in the Script: Dana's absence is explained in the script as her being off at college.
  • And I Must Scream: Kane and his cult sealed themselves into a cave because he was predicting the end of the world. The date for the supposed apocalypse came and went, but Kane didn't let them leave. Judging by the placement of all the skeletons in the cave, they were trapped down there until they starved to death.
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  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Well, they were fine until the wires tried to eat him.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Dana is not in the second film because the actress playing her was dead and no explicit explanation is given within the movie for where she is. However, since the character was 16 in the first movie and this movie takes place a few (in real life: four) years after that, the character can be assumed to be in college; and because the Freeling family were California residents in the first movie, it would be most logical for Dana to attend college back in California, not in Arizona where they currently are vacationing (at Diane's mom's home).
  • Daylight Horror: When the evil Kane first appears it's outside in daylight on a very sunny day. The second time he shows up, at the Freelings' house, the weather is sunny as well, though it starts to rain when he arrives.
  • Empathic Environment: Instant rain, just add Kane!
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The power of the Freelings was their love, and Kane hated them for it. He is expelled from Steven immediately when Diane says "I love you." It's probably not an emotion he felt in life.
  • Expy: Kane is basically an evil version of Joseph Smith (complete with cave) crossed with William Miller and Jim Jones.
  • Fake Shemp: As noted below, Julian Beck was dying of cancer. Production still required some dialogue for Kane after his passing, so Corey Burton was hired to record some lines in post.
  • Fanservice: Craig Nelson's character after vomiting up the worm goes through the rest of the film with a more than halfway unbuttoned shirt. The man sure loved to show off his hairy chest. Just look at this promotional image of his nipple slipand tell me the man wasn't purposely trying to expose it judging by the pose he's in! Oddly enough during the scenes of him driving his family to the cave and Carol Anne's grandma saving them his shirt would consistently go from being buttoned all the way up to all the way unbuttoned which can be placed in the mistakes category.
  • Must Be Invited: Reverend Kane repeatedly tries to convince the family to let him in because of this.
  • Nightmare Face: Julian Beck was in late stage terminal cancer when he played Reverend Kane. His appearance probably would've been terrifying even without Beck throwing himself into the role.
  • Novelization: James Kahn wrote the book of the movie.
  • Orifice Invasion: Steven swallows a tequila worm, and body horror ensues.
  • Orifice Evacuation: The tequilla worm eventually leaves Steven's body through his mouth.
  • Retcon: The second movie reveals that the angry ghosts weren't from the desecrated cemetery under the Freelings' house, but rather from a cavern, containing the remains of an ancient religious cult, located UNDER the desecrated cemetery under the Freelings' house.
    • Additionally, Reverend Kane is portrayed as causing the trouble from Poltergeist, while Tangina's dialog from the first movie suggests something far less mundane.
    • However, it does explain the ghosts seen in the first film, who are European and not Native American.
  • Sinister Minister: Kane was a Reverend during his life, and a very evil one as he led many people to their deaths. Now, in the afterlife, he is the Beast.


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