Apr 11, 2009

Poltergeist III

First off, let's admit one thing. The only reason any of us would pay attention to Poltergeist III is for A) Heather O'Rourke or B) Heather O'Rourke's following death due to complications of Crohn's disease. This completely unnecessary sequel could be deemed as a complication of her possible procedure which would have saved her life. For this, I blame the film industry for wasting time and dependency on something that will never be respected by anyone who doesn't have a fixation on Heather O'Rourke's premature starlet status. Poltergeist III is known for the tragic death of the series lead and the over-extensive use of "Carol Annnnee!" Note her overly chubby cheeks as this is a symptom of Crohn's disease. How exciting! We get to watch a little girl die progressively as we pass slowly from boredom.

Heather O'Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein return in the Poltergeist trilogy's finale. What should have been a film to consciously consider the losses and graciously back step with pride and dignity intact soon disintegrated as the film progressively got worse with no end in sight. The beginning opens up with an air of adequacy as we mentally piece together and try to come to grip the terror that Carol Anne has had to live with. I haven't pitied a child since Child's Play's Andy Barclay erupted with the "woe is me" face. What started out bleak soon spiraled out of control as this kid should have accepted suicide way earlier than Child's Play 3. The very same rules apply to Carol Anne. It's apparent that no matter what, no matter how resistant the box office is, Carol Anne will never be freed of Kane's wrath. Not even stomach cancer can stop this onslaught of feudal franchise persistence. The final blow to a legacy that should have ended after the debut film was the passing of Heather O'Rourke and what a sacrifice it was.

After Carol Anne settles in with her aunt and family in a tower that consists of over 100 floors, her peace is soon shattered by visions of the horrifying spectre that has been following her over the course of three films including this dreadful sequel. Soon this film sells into a Generation-Xer with a cast of rebellious youth who become involved in the malevolent workings of a spirit that reveals his greatest fetish to be cracking mirrors. Somehow I remember the Poltergeist being more exciting and destructive, even designed by a certain H.R. Giger. It would appear that Kane has turned a new leaf as a pacifist taking cues from Angus Scrimm all the while conforming to an Amish subculture. Perhaps Mennonite?

Poltergeist III should have at least settled as a passable crack in a pillar of horror but instead stands as one of the most depressing and dismal attempts at resuscitating something that is past dead. From the half-assed performances from everyone involved save for the cherubic Heather O'Rourke, it's easy to blame the "Poltergeist Curse" for the lack of compassion put into a sequel of another sequel. It's only when you retitle a title that you begin to notice the chain of unoriginality. Poltergeist III stands testament to a prose of carelessness only aided by a key acting performance of a dead child actress and a couple scenes that stand out with generic aesthetics but a theme nonetheless. I give credit for a cunning idea of obscuring the view with the "entrance" to the other side. You know, that really bright flood light. Poltergeist III remains in recent memory only due to Heather O'Rourke's untimely departing from our world into the very world she feared in three horror installments. The only reason one should view this film is to "appreciate" her screen presence or to stare into her face and realize that in between takes she was most likely projectile vomiting and slowly deteriorating into the very monster she was running from.

R.I.P. Heather O'Rourke



Caroline said...

"taking cues from Angus Scrimm all the while conforming to an Amish subculture" HA! that's priceless!

I agree and disagree; for starters, I don't think this is a bad movie. In fact, before I knew of O'rourke's death being exploited, for years I considered this to be the creepiest poltergeist in the series. Not to say that it's the best, it certainly isn't. But as a child I felt merciless fear watching this film. As far as O'rourke's untimely death, it's surely tragic, and possibly what gave this movie it's edge, but aside from from it's imcomplete, awkward ending, I think that over all it turned out as well as it possibly could have. At the expense of a dead child? perhaps.

Soiled Sinema said...

I had seen the original Poltergeist when I was a child and due to my mother going into cardiac arrest near every viewing, I too began to fear it, Then I grew up. Something about this film hit many wrong chords. On behalf of the film's defense, It had a nice solid introduction and the Psychologist and his pseudo-sciences was a very nice touch for the tale of Carol Anne, After all, we need deniers. Soon after, I found the incessant howling of her name to be that of nails on chalkboard and the same shock effect just depleted my patience till my tank was empty, so to speak. These little grips kept building up until I couldn't really enjoy this film anymore without thanking Heather O'Rourke for not completely wasting my time. With Poltergeist III, I have discovered one of those egotistical moments one gets every once in a while where you exclaim that you yourself could do better. If I had made this film, I would have changed much without letting this film change me. Or maybe that's the fatal mistake from the beginning?


I Like Horror Movies said...

Im not one to defend the flick at all, but the one thing I will credit it for is the use of the mirrors. I think they effectively sold the effects of the mirrored universe through creative camera positioning and framing, but other than that the film is a tragedy in more ways than one.

carol anne, one word, how do you feel, one word, "LONELY"...REALLY FUCKING "LONELY" ! ! ! said...

thank-you soiled sinema for reveiwing poltergeist 3, the reveiw itself was brilliant, (as always) insightful, truthful, poignant, and brutally honest, reading it actually brought a tear to my eye. The pictures that you used to accompany the reveiw were superb as well because even though i`d seen them before (thousands of times, obviously) they still added an incredible magic to the reveiw itself, especially the one of her with that breathtakingly sweet sexy cheeky little smile on her face (i think thats my all time favorite picture of her) and the one of her with tom, nancy, kip, and lara, that picture has got a special magic about it as well. I also liked the 2 pictures that were used for the various posters of the film, the one of her standing in front of the building and the one where she`s leaning against the window, i live in an area where there are lots of high buildings and during the last 21 years there hasn`t been a day gone past when i haven`t looked at those buildings (i walk past them every day) and thought that she still might be running around in one of them still wearing that sweet little red romper suit, especially at night when the buildings are empty but all the lights are still on, sometimes i stand there for an hour in the hope that i might see her running along one of the corridors, its kinda` magical, try it yourself sometime, the next time you`re near (or in) a high building at night imagine heather is running around the corridors and up and down the stairwells, as i said it really does conjure up incredible amounts of magic in your mind. I remember when i went to see this movie when it first came out in june of `88 (only four months after heathers death, so it was still fresh in everybodys mind) the movie house was pretty full because it was still only the first week of release (and initially the film did do quite well, getting to number 5 on the box office chart) and as you know the film begins with a blurred picture of heather through the window which is gradually getting clearer as it is being cleaned, and i remember as the window finally became completely clear and heathers face came into veiw (remember, this is the opening shot of the movie) a strange hush and total silence fell over the audience, it really was an electrifying moment that i will never forget, add to that the beautiful and incredibly sentimental music by joe renzetti for the end title sequence (i wonder if he wrote it after heathers death?) and the tribute caption at the end regarding heather, and what do you know, a legend is born. From certain parts or your reveiw i seemed to get the impression that watching the film has perhaps given you some insight into why heather (and this rather odd and laughably bad movie) have acheived the cult followings that they have, for instance when you said heather was the only reason for watching this movie you were absolutely right (although some of the mirror effects are still quite interesting to watch) and it also conveyed to me that you were picking up on how fantastic and incredible heather really was, i mean she is so unbelievably sweet and adorable in this movie that anyone who see`s it immediately falls in love with her, (as i bet you did, come on be honest) you remeber the scene where lara flynn boyle is about to leave heather in the apartment by herself for the evening, and the smile on heathers face just before lara walks out the door, i think at that moment heather was the cutest thing in the history of the universe!. Miley cyrus, you must be joking, give me heather o`rourke anyday!, by the way, who is j.b. hamster?, ha..ha..just kiddin`, it was great to see my name on the review (or rather one of my many names) and you really have no idea just how fabulous it was to read this reveiw on easter sunday morning, i`m gonna` eat 6 easter eggs today to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

I loved this movie, and have seen it at least 12 times now. I own the DVD and I'm a big fan of horror movies. I've never understood the reason as to why it was slated so much. Most sequels would be referred to as 'unnessesary' but it doesn't mean they still can't be enjoyable. I've heard all the other knocks too, often slating it for being terrible, but people have to remember that the death of Heather O Rourke during the filming destroyed Gary Sherman's pacing, not to mention his original planned ending, which no one knows much about.

We should be grateful that a film exists at all. I personally think that the filmmakers did a good job with what they had to work with. As it is, I would still place it way above plenty of other 80s horror films, including (off the top of my head) Prom Night and Terror Train. I found it entertaining and enjoyable and I know others do too.

Despite it's initial failure on it's theatrical release the film made the top of the video sales ranks in some countries. It's also nice that Heather's final work was given a release so people could see what she did. Had she been alive today she still would have only been 36. Sad for someone to die so young.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its interesting (and a bit odd and eerie) that the anonymous com-girl-ter left their com-girl-t exactly 3 years to day after i left my com-girl-t, it also proves once again that i am not the only per-daughter in the world who is obsessed with Heather O`Rourke, there are millions of us out there and there always will be, Heather was something so special and magical and she will NEVER be forgotton, NEVER.