Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
JoBeth Williams (The Big Chill)
Heather O’Rourke (Happy Days)
Oliver Robins (Airplane II)
Zelda Rubinstein (Wishcraft)
Will Sampson (Orca)
Julian Beck (Candy)
Geraldine Fitzgerald (Shining Victory)

One year after the Freeling house poltergeist intrusion, Cuesta Verde is being evacuated and turned into an archaeological 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 Rev. Henry 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, “Grandma Jess” (Geraldine Fitzgerald). Having lost his real estate license, Steven 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. The fact that the spirits do not bother the family until Grandma Jess dies suggests that she was keeping them out, perhaps indirectly, with her powers.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 telephone. 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 Steven 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 Kane’s history and how he became the Beast that is now stalking the family by forcing Diane to use her powers on a photograph. She also points out that Diane is unique in that she is one of the only few people on earth who have ever been to the spirit world while living, during the rescue of Carol Anne. Reverend Henry Kane led his followers into the cave because he believed the end of the world was coming, then left 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 then 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 Native spear 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 and thank Taylor and Tangina. Steven gives the car to Taylor and Taylor drives away with Tangina. After the Freelings realize they have no ride home, they run after the car.Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a very interesting movie despite the fact that the plot was rather subpar. One of my favorite movies is the original Poltergeist, and this movie is a respectable sequel. I like it because of the character Kane, for one, who gives the movie another ghostly dimension. Julian Beck was wonderful in the film as Kane. Also, the children remained good actors, especially the late Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne. This is another strong performance by the young actress, and would have gone on to be a wonderful adult actress later in life had she lived.







Craig T. Nelson (Silkwood)
JoBeth Williams (Wyatt Earp)
Heather O’Rourke (Happy Days)
Dominique Dunne (The Shadow Riders)
Oliver Robins (Man Overboard)
Zelda Rubinstein (Southland Tales)
Beatrice Straight (Network)
Richard Lawson (wag The Dog)
James Karen (Hercules In New York)

Steven and Diane Freeling live a quiet life in an Orange County, California planned community called Cuesta Verde, where Steven is a successful real estate developer and Diane looks after their children Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne. Carol Anne awakens one night and begins conversing with the family’s television set, which is displaying static following a sign-off. The following night, while the Freelings sleep, Carol Anne fixates on the television set as it transmits static again. Suddenly, a ghostly white hand emerges from the television, followed by a violent earthquake. As the shaking subsides, Carol Anne announces “They’re here”.Bizarre events occur the following day: a drinking glass of milk spontaneously breaks, silverware bends and furniture moves of its own accord. The phenomena seem benign at first, but quickly begin to intensify. That night, a gnarled backyard tree comes alive and grabs Robbie through the bedroom window. While Steven rescues Robbie, Carol Anne is sucked through a portal in her closet. The Freelings realize she has been taken when they hear her voice emanating from the television set that is tuned to an empty channel.A group of parapsychologists from UC Irvine — Dr. Lesh, Ryan, and Marty — come to the Freeling house to investigate and determine that the Freelings are experiencing a poltergeist intrusion. They discover that the disturbances involve more than just one ghost. Steven also finds out in an exchange with his boss, Lewis Teague, that Cuesta Verde is built where a cemetery was once located. After Dana and Robbie are sent away for their safety, Lesh and Ryan call in Tangina Barrons, a spiritual medium. Tangina states that the ghosts inhabiting the house are lingering in a different “sphere of consciousness” and are not at rest. Attracted to Carol Anne’s life force, these spirits are distracted from the real “light” that has come for them. Tangina then adds that there is also a demon known as the “Beast”, who has Carol Anne under restraint in an effort to restrain the other spirits.The assembled group discovers that the entrance to the other dimension is through the children’s bedroom closet, while the exit is through the living room ceiling. As the group attempts to rescue Carol Anne, Diane passes through the entrance tied by a rope that has been threaded through both portals. Diane manages to retrieve Carol Anne, and they both drop to the floor from the ceiling, unconscious and covered in ectoplasmic residue. As they recover, Tangina proclaims afterward that the house is now “clean”.Shortly thereafter, the Freelings begin the process of moving elsewhere by packing up their belongings. During their last night in the house, Steven leaves for the office in order to quit his job and Dana goes on a date, leaving Diane, Robbie, and Carol Anne alone in the house. The “Beast” then ambushes Diane and the children, aiming for a second kidnapping by attempting to restrain Robbie and Diane. Robbie is attacked by a clown doll in his bedroom, and Diane is attacked by an unseen force that moves her up the wall and over the ceiling in her room. The unseen force drives Diane to the backyard dragging her into the swimming pool. Skeletons surround her as she tries to swim to escape, but she manages to climb out of the pool and make her way back into the house. She rescues the children, and they eventually escape to the outside only to discover coffins and rotting corpses erupting out from the ground in their yard and throughout the neighbourhood.As Steven and Dana return home to the mayhem, Steven confronts Teague after realizing that rather than relocating the cemetery for the development of Cuesta Verde, Teague merely had the headstones moved and the bodies left behind. The Freelings flee Cuesta Verde while the house implodes into the portal, to the astonishment of onlookers. The family checks into a hotel for the night, and Steven rolls the television outside into the walkway.Like most movies successful in the late 70’s early 80’s, there were sequels that were made with considerably higher budgets but less than stellar results. Neither of the Poltergeist sequels or subsequent television programming could come close to capturing the essence of the original. Besides, how can you top what is now one of the most famous movie tag-lines of all time `They’rrreeee Here’?.