What’s Out on Blu-ray 1/31/2017: Poltergeist II and Poltergeist III Collector’s Editions

Adam RuhlBlu-Ray Review, Horror, MoviesLeave a Comment

Poltergeist 2

Poltergeist II

Enough decades have passed that for many who have seen the Poltergeist films, but not recently, a lot of the events and plot elements can blur together. I have met more than one person who insists that the Reverend Kane character and the tequila worm scene happen in Poltergeist. This is not so, the original film contains neither of these and I suspect this confusion comes about because story-wise, Poltergeist II is far lesser than the original. It cannot really even exist on its own, only serving as an extension and revision of the original. Poltergeist II, in truth, does a fair amount of ret-conning on the backstory, stating that the Poltergeists came from even beneath the graveyard.

Absent is the family story and general Spielbergian wonder (yes, I know he only produced but his fingerprints are all over it) that makes the original so captivating; instead part 2 serves up a handful of really memorable scenes and fashions a more traditional bogeyman to give it’s conflict focus. Still, it’s completely watchable (best in a marathon of the three films) and even dishes out some more of the good stuff from part 1 (Tangina).

Scream Factory has assembled a pretty excellent disc for their Collector’s Edition. The new scan looks great, the film is so clean it could be brand new and they’ve retained all the grain and clarity of the image. The standard trailers and tv spots are included, but the headline features are odd; ranging from the awesome (the featurette on H.R Giger’s involvement) to the curious (the audio commentary from the fan site webmaster), and sadly there are no interviews or commentary from Craig T Nelson or JoBeth Williams.

  • NEW 2K scan of the inter-positive
  • NEW Audio Commentary with writer/producer Michael Grais
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Poltergeist fan site webmaster David Furtney
  • NEW Robbie’s Return – an interview with Oliver Robins
  • NEW The Spirit World – an interview with special effects designers Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson and Screaming Mad George
  • NEW Ghosts of Giger – a look at the contributions of artist H.R. Giger featuring rare photos and illustrations and an interviews with Giger’s friend and agent Les Barany and special effects designer Steve Johnson, Richard Edlund and Screaming Mad George
  • Vintage Featurettes: They’re Back: The Making of Poltergeist II, Monster Shop and Ghostmakers: The Magic of Poltergeist II
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Galleries (behind-the-scenes photos, stills, posters and script pages)

 

poltergeist 3

Poltergeist III

Poltergeist III is something of a spectacular train wreck. I’ve always appreciated that it’s set in a famous Chicago (my hometown) building, but the film’s problems are manifest. Issues that include its reduced budget, most of the main cast not returning for the sequel, dealing with the loss of main characters both before and during production, and finally, a hastily reshot ending that ends up omitting a whole character (to say nothing of the wholly unnerving Carol Anne body-double thing).  On the plus side, you do have incredible genre actors in this film (Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allan, Lara Flynn Boyle, and, of course, more Zelda) and some of the stuff with the mirrors is pretty cool and scary, but yeah, a lot of the film just doesn’t gel.

The scan of the film is crystal clear though this doesn’t always work to its benefit (some intense, but ultimately unconvincing practical effects are laid bare in 2K). Of particular interest among the extras is the bit labeled Alternative Ending. I believe, but was not able to entirely confirm, that this was the original ending shot for the film before Heather O’Rourke passed away. It’s fascinating to finally get to see it after so many years, it’s not nearly as jarring or different as I might have expected. Definitely check it out when you add this disc to your collection.

  • NEW 2K scan of the inter-positive
  • NEW Audio Commentary with director Gary Sherman
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Poltergeist fan site webmaster David Furtney
  • NEW High Spirits – an interview with screenwriter Brian Taggert
  • NEW Reflections – an interview with actress Nancy Allen
  • NEW Mirror Images – an interview with Special Effects Creator John Caglione, Jr.
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Galleries (behind-the-scenes photos, stills, posters and script pages)
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Adam RuhlWhat’s Out on Blu-ray 1/31/2017: Poltergeist II and Poltergeist III Collector’s Editions