Poltergeist III (1988)

Hello everyone and welcome to Day 27 of my 31 Days Of Horror and, you know what, I completely misremembered this film. In fact, I’m wondering if I have ever actually seen this one before. I say this because, counter to everything I knew about this going into the film – I actually sort of loved it! This is Poltergeist III.

A quick bit of admin, that trailer you just watched just then – it isn’t the official trailer. Not by a long shot. That trailer was made by the YouTube channel We Watch Movies because, you know what, the official trailer is utterly rubbish, and I’ll explain why I think this is later. For now – I’ll pop the link to the YouTube channel below because I don’t wanna just steal it even though I… sort of have.

Anyway. After the events of Poltergeist II, which I reviewed on my blog last year, Poltergeist III shrugs off the confines of suburban living and takes us to the big city, Chicago to be precise. Carol Anne, played by Heather O’Rourke, has been sent to live with her Aunt Pat, played by Nancy Allen, and Uncle Bruce, played by Tom Skerritt, and their daughter Donna played by, um. Lara Flynn Boyle.

After the events of the first two films, Carol Anne has been sent here to attend a school for gifted children with emotional problems. Here, Carol Anne must attend psychiatric meetings with a Dr Seaton. Seaton, aware of her reported past, believes she is delusional, but powerful manipulator of others – even going so far as to claim she may be an exceptionally powerful hypnotist.

One of the first things to be established in Poltergeist III are mirrors. Whether it is the two-way mirrors installed in the school, Donna’s constant checking of her selection or the ubiquitous mirrors covering the walls and doors of Pat and Bruce’s high rise apartment. These mirrors are the key to the entire film, with first Carol Anne seeing reflections of people who are not in the room, starring back at her – including one sinister figure in particular – Reverend Henry Kane.

As the film progresses, each member of the family begin to see the line blur between reality and their reflections, and when Donna brings a group of teenagers back to the apartment, things really take a turn for the worse. The spirits want Carol Anne for themselves, and no one, not even the mystic Tangina’s arrival can stop it.

Yeah, alright, Poltergeist III is pretty terrible as sequels go. The acting all round is wooden, dry and… sometimes a little creepy. I know Bruce isn’t supposed to be a creepy Uncle, but boy, they certainly tried. What does work here is the special effects. With no reliance on CGI, the special effects in this film are virtually all done on the set – and this just blows my mind. There’s some genuinely creepy, and totally awesome effects in this film, and for that alone, I recommend it to anyone.

Sadly, Heather O’Rourke , who played Carol Anne, passed away during post production due to illness, and this fact haunted much of the film on release. The trailer was noticeably lame, likely because they did not include Heather, or limited it as much as possible. In fact, Writer-Director Gary Sherman did not even want to finish the film, but was forced to by the studio. For what it’s worth, Heather is great here, and, despite the box office and critic rating, this is as good a tribute as any to a young girl with a promising future.

And, with that, good night folks – I’ll see you tomorrow.

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