Comments Off on Guest Review: Poltergiest 3
“I’ve been a horror fan since my mom went to see Cujo in the theaters while pregnant with me. That set the stage for my love of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, and I’ve seen some of the worst and best horror movies out there, and since I was old enough, I would hold movie marathons and make my friends watch them as well. I When I’m not writing about horror, I blog (http://theculinaryadventuresofdangergirl.com.blogspot.com/) about whatever comes to mind. Otherwise, you can find me in and about the wilderness of East Tennessee, preparing for the inevitable revolution/zombie apocalypse.”
Lost Highway Welcomes Angelique to the our little roadside detour of b-movie cool and without further ado…whatever ado means…here’s her review of Poltergiest 3: Why didn’t it stop at 1.
Let me start by saying that if Carol Anne was my daughter, I’d drive her out to the middle of nowhere, leave her, and hope for the best.
OH WAIT! That’s just what her lovely parents did in Poltergeist III, only they replaced “middle of nowhere” with “Chicago” and “hope for the best” with “foist her on your sister, her husband, and his daughter, because we can’t take it anymore.”
Following the events of Poltergeist and Poltergeist II, the story opens with Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) in a posh high-rise penthouse in the heart of Chicago, living with her aunt, her uncle, and step-cousin. She is obviously a burden on the family, but they all try to put on happy faces as she sits around and plays with that damn Speak-n-Spell all the time. I swear, when she’s not dealing with the threat of ghosts, the kid does nothing else! I lost interest in mine when I realized it wouldn’t “say” curse words, but she can’t get enough of it! Well, I suppose this is what happens when televisions, clown dolls, and toy phones are off-limits to little girls who attract evil spirits from the other side. Ahem, back to the story. This is only the beginning, for there is danger afoot, and strange things begin happening with gusto, which everyone promptly ignores.
Carol Anne has the dubious honor of being enrolled in a special school for gifted children, lorded over by the insidious Dr. Satan-er, Seaton, rather. Seaton. Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire), who likes to impress other psychiatrists with his acumen and impeccable goatee, makes Carole Anne out to be some Mesmer-esque master of minds, has inadvertently awakened the ghost of that crazy Reverend Kane (Nathan Davis, and an assortment of rubber masks), who will stop at nothing to get Carol Anne to lead them into the light.
This, of course, has alerted Tangina (Zelda Rubenstein), who gets on a plane immediately to help her, because Dr. Seaton is an asshole.
Bruce (Tom Skerritt) and Pat (Nancy Allen) have fights over Carol Anne between dealing with the various technical problems the building is going through; he likes her there, she wants her gone, and resents her sister for foisting her crazy child off onto them during a most stressful time in their yuppie lives. If it weren’t for all the ghosts and such, this could have been a movie of the week about the benefits of acceptance and family change. It’s not, but the writers certainly didn’t realize that.
Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) is miffed because she has to watch Carol Anne and her red footie pajamas all night, but Carol Anne uses her mental might to convince Donna to go ahead to the party, she’s just gonna be sitting around, you know, playing with her speak and spell, maybe slipping into the liquor cabinet…wait, that didn’t happen. I wish it did, for it would have given her a little more character depth. Donna applies too much eyeliner, and Carol Anne leans into the bathroom door to give her some makeup tips. Then, there’s a knock at the mysteriously closed bathroom door, and she opens it to see…CAROL ANNE! What just happened? Never mind, she has a party to attend. After arriving at the party with her collar popped and deeming it dullsville, she uses a handy set of master keys to break into the pool and throw a better party. She and her afro-sporting boyfriend Scott (Kip Wentz) sneak off to rob the grocery store of their cheese-doodles and Coors Light while upstairs, Carol Ann has run into some trouble.
Kane begins to torment Carol Ann in the apartment, and I can’t say that the special effects were all that ‘special,’ because 90% of them are done with dry ice fog and flashing lights, but they’re scary enough for Carol Anne, and she runs away. She’s seen on camera by Donna and Scott, who were trying to make out in the security room holding armloads of groceries, and they follow her to the parking garage.
Let me warn you right now: throughout the rest of the movie, you will hear the name “Carol Ann” about EIGHTEEN MILLION TIMES.v
She goofs around, running backwards until she steps into a puddle. WATCH OUT, IT’S A REFLECTIVE SURFACE! Oops, too late; zombie hands jerk her down, Donna and Scott arrive just in time to provide a not quite convincing rescue attempt, and they all get pulled into the puddle.
From this point on, things get a little flaky. Scott reappears and is crazy, screaming about Donna. Dr. Seaton comes to the building and tries to analyze him. Tangina comes in and rubs her necklace some more. She spouts some exposition about love and how it’ll set the girls free or something, (I don’t know, I quit listening for a minute), until she started talking about the evil beyond the bedroom door. I thought for sure she was talking about the Speak-N-Spell, but no, she meant Kane, and the mirrors. She and Dr. Seaton face-off, then something spooky happens and the evil reaches out and deep-fries Tangina. We immediately have an excellent Lara Flynn Boyle freak-out as she climbs out of the still-steaming corpse of our favorite magical midget. Arguably the best part of the movie, second only to when she pushes Dr. Seaton down the elevator shaft after he goes chasing after the reflection of Carol Anne. Come to find out, that’s not really Donna or Scott, but doppelgangers who like to make out sloppily, then rip each others faces off.
The last half of the movie is spent following Bruce and Pat around, watching them get locked into large freezers, fighting undead livestock, almost drowning, snatching necklaces from an apparition of Tangina, being teleported into frozen, snowy parking garages and being chased by possessed cars. I’m not sure what mirrors and ice have in common, but for some reason they go together like peanut butter and jelly in this flick. Are they playing up the idea that ghosts suck the heat out of the environment for energy? It isn’t ever explained, aside from the light being cold.
During the final showdown in Carol Anne’s foggy room, Carol Anne shows up and spouts some angsty mess about how nobody loves her or wants her but Kane, but it’s a ruse to get the magical necklace from Pat. She disappears, then Pat gets strangled by her own reflection, pimp-slapped by Kane, sees the whole family lying around dead, and freaks out. Tangina appears yet again, spouting more about this love thing, and how it’ll save everyone, and how she can end this whole thing by leading him into the light, and could have done it all along. SHOULDN’T SHE HAVE DONE THAT TWO FLIPPING MOVIES AGO?? Why’d she leave this poor girl to be tormented? Question for the ages, I suppose.
If there’s one thing I hate, its when horror movies try to have some kind of redeeming value. I wanna be scared, not actually learn anything (except for maybe a few new ways that I could potentially die or enter an alternate dimension).
Check out the trailer for “Poltergiest 3”