Poltergeist III (1988)

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Released 10-Oct-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 94:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gary Sherman
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Tom Skerritt
Nancy Allen
Heather O'Rourke
Zelda Rubinstein
Lara Flynn Boyle
Kipley Wentz
Richard Fire
Nathan Davis
Roger May
Paul Graham
Meg Weldon
Stacy Gilchrist
Joey Garfield
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $9.95 Music Joe Renzetti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Greek
Danish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Poltergeist III is surely the last. In this boring and lacklustre film, eleven-year-old Heather O'Rourke returns as Carol Anne, before her untimely death, in one last trip to the well.

    The original horror classic Poltergeist appeared in 1982, and the grossly inferior sequel in 1986. Poltergeist III is a strictly routine second sequel, directed by Gary Sherman from a script by Sherman and Brian Taggert. Once again, little Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), is being terrorized by bad-guy types from the spirit realm.

    As both Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams who played the Freeling parents declined to be involved with this rubbish, Carol Anne is now happily living in Chicago with her uncle Bruce (Tom Skerritt), aunt Pat (Nancy Allen), and cousin Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), in a high-tech (by 1980s standards), high-rise apartment complex.

    Despite Carol Anne's continual harassment from the 'other side', she remains bright and cheery. But during a session at school with a child therapist (Richard Fire), Carol Anne is affected, and starts to see disturbing things, mostly through reflections such as mirrors. Understandably, she doesn't want to talk about it much.

    It seems that the evil Rev. Kane (played by Nathan Davis following Julian Beck's untimely death) and his nasty flock need to abduct Carol Anne, so she will "lead them into the light".

    However, the actors all look embarrassed to be here. Indeed, only Zelda Rubinstein, who returns as the paranormal specialist, Tangina, makes any effort to breath life into the script.

    It's also hard to watch little Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne, as she was dying from a congenital intestinal disorder during the production of the film. She looks sick throughout, with puffy cheeks and sunken eyes, and at times it's obvious body doubles have been used, such as during the film's climax and ending.

    There's some debate over whether Heather died during filming or afterwards. Director Gary Sherman claims that she died during the filming, and as a result the film was shelved, only to be resumed at a later date. According to some sources, MGM forced cast and crew back on to the project with threats of legal action, which would certainly explain the lame results.

    However, by that stage, some of the actors, such as Kipley Wentz who plays Scott, were no longer available, and as they were already contracted elsewhere these characters were simply cut from the story. Very classy.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is reasonable, but the film appears very dated and grainy.

    The widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The source print has a few problems, and the image is often grainy. The sharpness is reasonable enough, but the shadow detail suffers in the darker scenes, such as in the interior of the gallery at 29:44.

    At times, the colour appeared over-saturated - the reds a little too red, and the faces a little too orange.

    There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts, but many film artefacts appear throughout, and some are large and distracting.

    English for the Hearing Impaired, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek, and Danish subtitles are present. The English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a single-sided, single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio sounds flat and tinny, and a slight background hiss is detectable.

    There are five audio options to choose from: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine on the default English audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Joe Renzetti. It's not that memorable, but it gets the job done.

    The English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio is surround encoded. There is some subtle surround presence and activity on occasion, for example the demonic growls at 34:30. Obviously there is no LFE track, and my subwoofer slept throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras. I imagine an audio commentary from the Director would have been very interesting with this film.

Menu

    A simple, albeit confusing menu.

Trailer?

    The DVD opens with that very annoying, overly loud forced anti-piracy commercial. As I have previously mentioned, in an interesting irony the only way to avoid being subjected to this forced advert is to watch a pirated copy of the movie, as DVD copying software such as AnyDVD or One Click DVD can easily remove it.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is Region coded for R2 and 4, and our disc is identical to the R1, except that the R1 also includes the theatrical trailer.

Summary

    One trip to the well too many.

    The video quality is limited, but watchable.

    The audio quality is also limited, and front-heavy.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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