Released in the summer of 1988, Poltergeist III was the last and least effective of the original films. Young Heather O’Rourke passed away before the movie was completed, casting a pall over the entire production. After her death, the ending of the film was re-shot using a body double. While the use of the body double isn’t obvious, O’Rourke face is noticeably puffier (she had been ill during filming), which in hindsight, is bittersweet to have on film.
Taking place sometime after the events of the second film, Carol Anne (O’Rourke) has been sent to Chicago to live with her estranged Aunt (Nancy Allen), Uncle (Tom Skerritt) and a teenage cousin, Donna (Laura Flynn Boyle). Carol Anne’s new home is in a luxury skyscraper where her uncle is the manager. Donna keeps an eye on her young cousin as she visits her teacher/psychiatrist Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire). Seaton makes the mistake of encouraging Carol Anne to recall her experiences with Kane (Henry Davis). Predictably, this allows Kane’s evil spirit to be resurrected and locate Carol Anne. Eventually, he takes control of the skyscraper she calls home in an effort to get her to the other side. Kane and his minions use the mirrors and other reflective surfaces around the building to capture people. Carol Anne gets caught, but Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) is, once again, in the right place at the right time. Tangina holds strong to the belief that Kane’s destructive force can’t win as long as Carol Anne has love in the real world. Can love overcome evil?
Heather O’Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein were the only original cast members to return for Poltergeist III. Having seen the film a few times over the years, Poltergeist III is probably best described as unremarkable. It brings nothing new or interesting to the story and lacks any real sense of urgency. While the second film had its issues, at least there’s the benefit of watching Julian Beck as Kane. The guy was a natural in the role. Unfortunately, he had died of cancer after the second film. Nathan Davis was brought in as a replacement. Why did they put so much makeup on him? The poor guy looks like he’s wearing plaster on his face. It’s still difficult to look at.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this new 2K interpositive transfer is impressive. The image appears realistic and lifelike. Sharpness and detail is impressive throughout, with a minimal level of grain. Blacks are inky, while whites never appear blown out. Colors look natural and appropriately vivid. Skin tones look natural throughout and the print is clean.
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack does a good job with the material. The surround sound is rather front focused, with ambient sounds in the rears. Action sounds have been nicely layered, bringing a bit of heft to the proceedings. Dialogue is clean, crisp and clear throughout.
English SDH subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary with Director Gary Sherman: Sherman discusses his involvement in the franchise.
- Audio Commentary with Poltergeist III Webmaster David Furtney: Furtney provides a defense for this much-maligned film. While I may not agree with him, I respect his opinion because he really knows his subject. Worth a listen for fans of the franchise.
- High Spirits: An Interview with Screenwriter Brian Taggert (HD, 16:02) Taggert discusses how he came to write the script, his setting preferences shot down by studio executives and his admiration for Gary Sherman. He also delves into his creative process for the mirror world.
- Reflections: An Interview with Actress Nancy Allen (HD, 12:15) The actress discusses Heather O’Rourke’s calming influence on set, German desire to work with Tom Skerritt, etc.
- Mirror Images: An Interview with Special Effects Creator John Caglione, Jr. (HD, 12:47) A discussion about the practical effects. The legendary Dick Smith was a consultant on the film. He covers how they made the rotting corpse of Zelda Rubinstein.
- Alternate Ending (HD, 2:50) The original ending. There’s no audio, but there are
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:04)
- TV Spots (HD, 2:06) Four in total.
- Still Galleries (HD, 6:28) includes Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills and Posters.
- Script Pages (HD, 10:47) In slideshow form.