Poltergeist III (1988)
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Director Gary Sherman, a special effects wiz, presents us with some impressive visual trickery (all apparently produced on the set), but offers nothing else in the way of entertainment. His film is very rarely scary, rather mostly just plain silly, as Carol-Anne once again faces the evil preacher Cain (an unimpressive Nathan Davis) who this time has taken over an entire sky-scraper.
The cast do nothing for proceedings, and even Zelda Rubinstein (who also returns as Tangina) looks as though she wished she wasn't there. Jerry Goldsmith's music is also missing, but perhaps that too would have made little difference to the final outcome. Not much of a finale to this frightening, spooky story.
NB Heather O'Rourke sadly passed away after production was completed, at the premature age of 12. A dedication can be found in the closing credits.
Saturday, January 1, 1994 - Video
Though the special effects were somewhat interesting this movie suffers from a bad script and bad acting highlighted by the actor who plays Dr. Seaton, who may have given the worst acting performance ever. There are far too many characters in this movie who are uninteresting and that you have a hard time caring about.
There is a certain sadness in watching this film knowing that Heather O'rourke died a few months before it's release. A double for Heather is used to shoot the final scenes of the movie which creates an odd and choppy ending.
This movie is a sad final chapter in the Potergeist series. The people behind the 2nd and 3rd installments were never able to recapture the magic from the original Poltergeist. It's even sadder that the cute and innocent little girl passed away at such a young age.
There is definitely an interesting concept hiding in this film. Carol Anne has been sent by her parents to live with her aunt and uncle in a Chicago high rise so she can attend a special school to deal with her emotional problems. At school, Carol Anne has been forced to talk about her experiences during the first two films, and this has brought back the Reverend Kane, the ghostly villain of Poltergeist 2. In a neat touch, Kane tries to get at Carol Anne through mirrors by taking possession of various peoples' reflections, and draining the heat out of the apartment building. Tangina arrives to try to intercede, but another ghostly battle begins to get Carol Anne back.
It is clear that this movie was lower budget than the first two, and as such, the effects, while very creative, are not as good. The script also suffers, dragging for a good portion of the movie, and not really developing the characters. Also, the words "Carol Anne" are said ad nauseum to the point where you almost wish the ghosts would just take Carol Anne and go.
This is the weakest of the three Poltergeist movies. The movie isn't terrible, but it certainly is not good either.
First, it's her older sister. Now, it's her parents. They may as well make Carol Anne an orphan in the movie. It would make more sense. The whole movie is flat. It is not scary and none of it is interesting. I certainly don't want to make fun of "Carol Anne" out of respect for Heather O'Rourke. She remains a positive for the franchise till the bitter end.
Heather O'Rourke died after making this film and she could have been a great actress.She saved this film (just) 3/10 (8/10 for O'Rourkes acting)
-One year later, the supernatural being returned for Carol Anne. Her family's love defeated him.
-Now, five years later, Carol Anne lives in Chicago with her Aunt Patricia, Uncle Bruce, and cousin Donna in a highrise apartment. Her memories of him are mere echos and images. But when the echos grow louder and the images more apparent, Carol Anne fears that "he" has returned. When her attempt to confront him on her own fails at the cost of Donna, Scott, and herself, Uncle Bruce and Aunt Pat find themselves with two missing children, a babbling psychic, and skeptical psychiatrist. Who will they belive? Will Aunt Pat and Uncle Bruce find the truth underneath the confusion? Will Aunt Pat be able to find the love and courage needed to save the children?
It's so sad this movie is underrated. Director Gary Sherman was all about mood for this installment rather then the gory special effect stuff. Plus, all of his special effects were done on shoot. Poltergeist III captures the same mystery of the original Poltergeist only this time in an urban setting. Sadly, Heather O'Rourke passed away upon completion so the ending is drastically rushed. Nancy Allan carries a stunt double out through the mirror.
For acting, this is Heather O'Rourke's best film. Her portrayal of Carol Anne is over the top. She was really shaping into a great actress. Nancy Allen dose well as the selfish aunt, Tom Skerritt plays a good sympathetic uncle, and this is Lara Flynn Boyle's very first movie. Despite, the rushed ending, Poltergeist III is an eerie film from start to finish.
This time, Carol Anne is living in Chicago with her Aunt and Uncle to attend a "gifted" school and the "ghosts" find her. That is the basic plot and given the fact that Kane and his followers went into the light at the end of the 2nd film, having Kane as the "main ghost" made this film fail.
The movie is filled with bad acting and dialogue. Tom Skerritt is just way over the top in his early scenes and gives the worst performance of his career. Nancy Allen doesn't help much and Laura Flynn Boyle was lucky she survived this mess. Then there is the dialogue, which many quotes have become part of my daily life in just the sheer silliness of it all. From "Give Me The Necklace" to "I've got the knowledge and the power" to the bloated face Tangina saying "Outside-In", the movie makes you laugh unintentionally many times. Oh, then there is "The Puddle!","Funny, funnier","We wont harm you..we love you." While over the top, Zelda Rubinstein is the ONLY saving grace in this film. Her presence brings some of the creepiness that this movie needed. Yes, her final scene is pretty bad but here scenes in the middle of the movie are pretty good.
Poltergeist III fails on all fronts but mainly due to the fact that it needed a fresh, new idea for haunting Carol Anne one more time.
If you get bored, try to distract yourself by watching the excellent effects, and by counting how many times the name "Carol Anne" is heard throughout the film. Maybe more than 100 times!
Anyway, this is one of the best and most complex horror-movies I ever saw.
Whereas the first two movies had good acting, "Poltergeist III" has bad acting from almost everyone. Everyone except young Heather O'Rourke, who sadly died four months before the film's release. Her presence here is the only good thing about it.
"Poltergeist III" also has bad writing and bad directing. And the special effects were very unimpressive. This was thankfully the last film of the series.
* (out of five)
It seems that Carol-Anne's parents got tired of her making their life miserable and threw her into the custody of relatives living in a high-rise in Chicago. But, because of the traumatic events of the past, the little girl is in therapy with a psychologist straight out of the Silent movie era school of villainy -- you know, the kind who would tie Lillian Gish to the train tracks and snicker and sneer without a moment's hesitation. Anyway, he is probably the creepiest (and gayest) thing in this mess: a Judy-loving nellie with a flair for bothering the helpless little girl and lingering long after his party is over.
But not to digress: her Aunt and Uncle love her but well... not that much. And Donna, Carol-Anne's cousin, is all hormones ready to go and wants to have fun. That is, until Carol-Anne's therapy brings back the nefarious Kane into the picture, now played by a cranky old cadaver of a man instead of Julian Beck and voiced by who-knows-what voice-over actor intent on making high, ululating quivers called a voice sound scary.
It's then when POLTERGEIST 3 becomes a carnival ride with lotsa lights and mind-bending images. The only hitch is that by now, they've become irritating instead of scary and predate the remake of THIRTEEN GHOSTS in in sheer grandiosity by 10 years. Characters put themselves in danger for no reason, the word Carol-Anne is repeated until it becomes Chinese torture, and the plot advances with zero concern for believability. And on top of this, Zelda Rubinstein, hopefully unrelated to Helena Rubinstein -- she of the well-known foundation of the same name -- appears with her little-girl whisper and her complete inability to act, and then I knew the movie had really sunk.
Who comes out winning? Well, the attractive black lady who finds Aunt and Uncle making out in the parking levels of the building after a nasty fight with some evil cars, clones of Christine. She is the one moment when I figured I'd switched channels myself and come across a "In Living Color" moment. Who is she? Oh well... doesn't matter: I haven't seen her in anything since this 1988 movie.
P0LTERGEIST III is a misguided mess in every meaning of the word. Nancy Allen, Tom Skerritt, and Heather O'Rourke are painfully bad. Lara Flynn Boyle showcases some 80s excess and comes off a little better but for reasons having to do that she was on the way up, not out. Sadly, O'Rourke's own death during production killed the franchise off immediately.