Poltergeist II: The Other Side

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Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Gibson
Produced by Michael Grais
Mark Victor
Written by Michael Grais
Mark Victor
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Andrew Laszlo
Edited by Thom Noble
Bud S. Smith
M. Scott Smith
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • May 23, 1986 (1986-05-23)
Running time
91 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million
Box office $40.9 million (domestic)

Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a 1986 supernatural thriller film and the second entry in the Poltergeist film series. A sequel to Poltergeist, it features the return of the original family, who are once again confronted by a spirit trying to harm their daughter, Carol Anne. It received mixed reviews from critics and did not gross as much at the box office as its predecessor, although it was still financially successful. It ended up making over $40 million against a $19 million (estimated) production budget and was nominated for the Academy Award for Visual Effects. The film was also nominated for a Razzie Award for Zelda Rubinstein as Worst Supporting Actress. It was followed in 1988 by Poltergeist III.


One year after the events of Poltergeist, Cuesta Verde, the Freelings' neighborhood from the first film, is being evacuated and turned into an archeological paranormal dig, centered around the spot where the Freelings' home stood before it imploded. The excavation leads to the discovery of an underground cave by a ground crew. Its existence is revealed to psychic Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein), who tells a friend of hers, Taylor (Will Sampson), a Native American shaman. After investigating the cave for himself, Taylor realizes that Kane (Julian Beck), a deceased, insane preacher, has located Carol Anne and goes to defend her.

The Freeling family, Steven (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), has relocated to Phoenix, Arizona and now live in a house with Diane's mother, Jessica "Grandma Jess" Wilson (Geraldine Fitzgerald). Having lost his real estate license, Steve is reduced to selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door while filing repeated insurance claims to cover the missing home. Grandma Jess is highly clairvoyant, and says that Diane and Carol Anne are clairvoyant as well. Grandma Jess later dies from natural causes, but not before telling Diane one last time that she'll always "be there" if she needs her.

Taylor shows up as Kane begins his first assault on the home. Unable to get in through the television as the family has removed all television sets from the home, Kane's minions are forced to find another way in, this time through Carol Anne's toy phone. The attack fails, and the family gets out of the house quickly. Taylor introduces himself and convinces them that running would be a waste of time since Kane would only find them again, and they return to the house, which Taylor has made safe for the time being.

Kane himself shows up at the home one day in human form, and demands to be let in, but Steven stands up to him and refuses. Taylor congratulates him for resisting Kane, and then takes Steve out to the desert and gives him the Power of Smoke, a Native spirit that can repel Kane. Tangina shows up at the house and helps Diane to understand the history of Kane and how he became the Beast that is now stalking the family: he was once a man, the Reverend Henry Kane, who led his followers into the cave because he believed the end of the world was coming, then leaving them to die after the date he predicted came and went. Because he was so evil, Kane became a monster after death. Taylor warns the family that Kane is extremely clever, and will try to tear them apart.

One night, Steven lets his guard down and gets drunk, swallowing a Mezcal worm that is possessed by Kane, who temporarily possesses him. He attacks and tries to rape Diane, who cries out that she loves him. Steven then vomits up the worm possessed by Kane, which grows into a huge, tentacled monstrosity. In this form Kane attacks Steven from the ceiling, but Steven uses the smoke spirit to send him away. The Beast then decides on another assault, and this time, the family decides to confront the Beast on his own turf, the Other Side.

The Freelings return to Cuesta Verde and enter the cavern below their former home, where Kane pulls Diane and Carol Anne over into the Other Side. Steven and Robbie jump in after them through a fire started by Taylor. On the Other Side, Steven, Diane, Robbie, and Carol Anne unite, but Kane (now a horrifying, gigantic monster) grabs Carol Anne. Taylor gets a charmed Indian lance into Steven's hands, and Steven stabs Kane with it, defeating the monster and causing him to fall into the afterlife. Carol Anne nearly crosses over into the afterlife as well, but Grandma Jess' spirit appears and returns her to the family. The Freelings then return safely to The World of the Living, and thank Taylor and Tangina.



Dana, the eldest daughter from the first film and portrayed by Dominique Dunne, was originally intended to be away at college in the plot of the second film.[citation needed] However, that scene was not filmed for the final theatrical version, as Dunne was murdered by her boyfriend shortly after the first film was released.

This film was at one point intended to be filmed in 3-D.[citation needed] Several scenes, such as the appearance of the Beast and the flying chainsaw were filmed to take advantage of the process.[citation needed]

Several scenes that appeared in press stills or promotional posters were cut from the finished film,[citation needed] including one in which Tangina confronts Kane when he tries to enter the house, and another in which Steve and Diane see a flying toaster during a breakfast scene.

During filming, due to the death of Julian Beck, the actor who portrayed Kane, the filmmakers enlisted the help of H R Giger (who created the "Beast" version of Kane) to replace Beck's remaining scenes. Giger created several designs, but only two appeared, receiving limited screen time in the final cut of the film.[citation needed] Giger's designs are displayed on his official website. Many of Kane's lines were looped in post-production by noted voice actor Corey Burton.[1][dubious ]

This film and its successor were rated PG-13 by the MPAA. The original was rated PG, as there was no PG-13 rating at the time (the rating was created in 1984, largely in response to films such as Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.)


Composer Jerry Goldsmith, who had written the Academy Award-nominated soundtrack to the first Poltergeist film, returned to compose and conduct a score to Poltergeist II: The Other Side. Though "Carol Anne's Theme" returns from the first film's soundtrack, the score for Poltergeist II: The Other Side consisted of mostly new material blending traditional orchestral elements with new electronic sounds. The soundtrack has been released three times: through Varèse Sarabande in 1986, Intrada Records in 1993, and a deluxe edition by Varèse Sarabande in 2003.[2]


Although it was financially successful, Poltergeist II: The Other Side proved to be a box office disappointment when compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless, the film still grossed a respectable $40,996,665[3] at the United States box office.

Home media[edit]

MGM released Poltergeist II on DVD for the very first time on August 26, 2003 in a double feature collection along with Poltergeist III. To date there has been no standalone DVD release of the film in Region 1. On September 13, 2011, MGM released the film on Blu-ray.

MGM has also released the film on DVD in Region 2 and Region 4. It was released in the UK on October 23, 2000 and in Australia on September 1, 2006. A double feature pack containing Poltergeist II & III together was released in Region 4 on November 8, 2010.


The novelization, titled Poltergeist II: The Other Side, was written by James Kahn and published by Ballantine Books in 1986.[4] The cover features an image similar to the film's poster.



The film holds a 89% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
1987 Academy Award Academy Award for Best Visual Effects Nominated
Saturn Award Saturn Award for Best Horror or Thriller Film Nominated
Saturn Award for Best Special Effects Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress - Zelda Rubinsten Nominated
Young Artist Awards Young Artist Award for Best Younger Supporting Actress - Heather O'Rourke Nominated

See also[edit]


External links[edit]