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Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a 1986 horror fantasy distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It stars Craig T. Nelson as Steven Freeling, JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling, Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling, Zelda Rubenstein as Tangina Barrons, and Will Sampson as Taylor. The writers are Mark Victor and Michael Grais. The director is Brian Gibson.

One year after the events of the first film, the Freeling family has moved in with Diane's mother, Grandma Jess. She reveals to her daughter that she is clairvoyant and she and Carol Anne are too. Her life force had kept "the beast" from tracking down and harming Carol Anne again. That night, Jess dies of natural causes. This allows "the beast", revealed to be Reverend Henry Kane, a cult leader in the early 1800's, to locate and attempt another abduction of little Carol Anne.

Actor Julian Beck portrays the evil Kane in this film. Kane, in his human form, appears as a sickly old man. What many film viewers may not know is that Beck, in real life, had been diagnosed with stomach cancer shortly before accepting this role. He may have looked physically weak during production. Now, this may seem a bit inappropriate but his real life cancer may have actually caused him to better physically fit the description of what a ghostly and seemingly weak old man like Reverend Kane would look like. In short, Beck getting sick actually helped him fit the role of Kane better. I apologize to any of my readers who may have been offended by these comments.

Unlike its predecessor, this film features a sort of guide to help the Freeling family from the beginning, one who understands right away what's happening (the previous film's guide, Tangina Barrons, doesn't appear until near the end of the film). This guide is Taylor, the Native American shaman, who first appears right after Kane's failed attempt at abducting Carol Anne. He informs them that it would be useless to flee as "the beast" would find them wherever they went. Taylor also gives Steven the "Power of Smoke", which is some sort of Indian spirit that can repel the evil Kane.

To wrap, I believe Poltergeist II: The Other Side is a quite worthy sequel and is worthy of your attention.

Kevin T. Dillehay has written nearly a hundred movie reviews from all genres. He provides a unique perspective on the movies you see all the time but may not stop and think about in depth. You are invited to check out his work at

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