Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Poltergeist II: The Other Side Information

Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a 1986 horror 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 (41% on Rotten Tomatoes) 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), an American Indian shaman. After investigating the cave for himself, Taylor realizes that Kane, 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 fast. 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, an Indian 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 refused to let them leave 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, Diane, Steven, Robbie, and Carol Anne unite, but Kane 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 this side, and thank Taylor and Tangina.


  • JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling
  • Craig T. Nelson as Steve Freeling
  • Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling
  • Oliver Robins as Robbie Freeling
  • Zelda Rubenstein as Tangina Barrons
  • Will Sampson as Taylor
  • Julian Beck as Rev. Henry Kane
  • Geraldine Fitzgerald as Jessica Wilson
  • Robert Lesser, Jamie Abbott, Ann Louise Bardach, Syd Beard, David Beaman, Hayley Taylor, Pamela Gordon, Chelsea Hertford, Whit Hertford, Rocky Krakoff, Carrie Lorraine, Kathy Wagner, and Bill Schroeder as Kane's people


Dana, the eldest daughter, was supposed to be written as being away at college, however that scene never made it into the final theatrical version. In real life the actress who played Dana, Dominique Dunne, was murdered by her boyfriend shortly after the first film came out.

This film was at one point intended to be filmed in 3-D. (The 3-D revival of the early eighties came to a close in early 1984.) Several scenes, such as the appearance of the Beast and the flying chainsaw were filmed to take advantage of the process. Several scenes that appeared in press stills or promotional posters were cut from the finished film including Tangina confronting Kane when he tries to enter the house again after Diane finds out about his past and also Steve and Diane looking at a flying toaster during a breakfast scene.

Because Julian Beck, who played Kane, died during filming, 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. 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.

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 the first Poltergeist, 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.

Box office

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 at the United States box office.

Home media

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 was Poltergeist II: The Other Side, by James Kahn. On the cover it also has Carol Anne's catch phrase "They're back" and under the title it says "The Freeling family's struggle with spirits begins again..." The copyright is 1986 by Ballantine Books, New York. It was based on the motion picture written by Michael Grais and Mark Victor. The characters from the first film are all in the book except for Dana Freeling. However, the character Dana is mentioned and her absence is explained as having moved as far East as she could after what had happened in Cuesta Verde and is attending college. The book also includes new characters as well and is no longer in print.

Awards and nominations

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

See also

  • Poltergeist (film series)

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Poltergeist_II%3A_The_Other_Side" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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