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Poltergeist 3

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 03/01/01 14:48:59

"The movie is pathetic. The fact that it was ever made is simply disgusting."
1 stars (Total Crap)

While the Friday the 13th series is probably the all-time 'fictional body count' leader, you'd be hard pressed to find a series that's been connected to more REAL deaths than the Poltergeist movies. Just like clockwork, as soon as a new Poltergeist film was released, BOOM - another actor, dead. While this phenomena is surely tragic, I'd be willing to bet that being DEAD would be preferable to starring in this film, surely one of the worst sequels ever committed to film.

If you ever needed a dead-solid LOCK of an argument as to how pathetic and gruesome Hollywood is, you need look no further than the Poltergeist series. Studio executives were STILL eager to back this atrocious sequel, even after TWO of the actors from the previous movies had DIED!

Young actress Dominique Dunne was killed by her estranged boyfriend shortly after she appeared as the oldest Freeling daughter in the original Poltergeist. MGM producers, being the kind and sensitive types that they are, simply opted to wipe her character off the face of the earth for the pretty damn pathetic Poltergeist 2. Just as if she were Richie Cunningham's unneeded older brother, she was gone. Personally, I can really feel for those beleaguered studio execs, dealing with what must surely have been a truly inconvenient murder, and the repercussions it might have on a new cash cow movie series.

So then comes the sequel. It sucked. But wait...shortly after the movie is released, actor Julian Beck drops dead! Wow, that's pretty damn creepy! It's at about this point that I'd bring the series to a halt, but MGM still needed a few extra nickels, so here comes Poltergeist frickin' 3. Now, maybe I'm not a big hotshot movie star, I'm amazed that ANY actor would sign on for this one!

Tom Skerrit's agent: "Hey, Tom. Just read the script for Poltergeist 3! It's a winner baby!

Tom Skerrit: "Hey, isn't someone due to die once this movie wraps? Cuz I don't really need to tempt DEATH just to appear in some retarded 'haunted mirror' flick."

Agent: "Booby! Chill! That only applies to BIT players. You're not some expendable teenage daughter or creepy old man! You're the UNCLE in this one!"

Skerrit: "OK, cuz I have a no-death clause in my contract, you know."

So there it went. As most of you know, the victim this time was Heather O'Rourke, a cute little girl who was the star of all three films. Obviously the Poltergeist spirits were simply done fuckin' around.

Now I'm certainly not the kind of guy to poke fun at the death of a little girl, but I'd contend that the young Ms. O'Rourke could have moved in with the Ramsay family and had a better chance of survival than she did of making it out of this sickening swill. (All kidding aside, Heather died under mysterious causes, mainly connected to 'intestinal blockage' back in 1988, and that's truly awful. Back in the day, there were some informal rumblings that perhaps Heather's death was indirectly caused by some of the stunts she performed in this movie. But since I don't currently have a lawyer, I'll just drop it now, and let you draw your own conclusions.)

BUT what about the actual MOVIE? Is Poltergeist 3 worth the toll it took in human fatalities? Short Answer: No. Long answer: This is easily one of the worst movies ever made. Need some helpful adjectives: Try boring and insipid, and I'll throw in amateurish. It's just insultingly awful, and it stands as one of the most shamelessly unnecessary and moronic piece of studio product ever made. Here's an example: Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams played the Freelings in the first two installments. Since both actors were nauseated about the prospect of appearing in another one, the concept was quickly changed so that the pretty young protagonist would now be living in an apartment building with her newly-announced aunt and uncle! SURELY this is what the screenwriters intended when they set out to create a solid piece of entertainment, right? Right?

It just sickens me.

So young Carol Anne is shipped off to live with Aunt Patty and Uncle Bruce! (Heck, if Carol Anne were my little sister, I'd have shipped her off to Nome after all the trouble she caused in the FIRST movie! If you ask me, her parents were more than patient.) Aunt Patty and Uncle Bruce live in a shiny high-rise. Ooooooh! SO much scarier than a haunted house, right? And this high-rise features a LOT of...mirrors. Mirrors everywhere...the elevators, the bathrooms...I think the toilet was mirrored also.

Then the squishy fat lady shows up and does her typical Poltergeist-mojo thing and the ghosts show up, ad nauseum. I think the name 'Carol Anne' is spoken literally 1,294 times in this movie. Another record for this movie is the amount of fake-scares. Like those cheap-ass little tactics. BANG CRASH"Whew, only a cat!" Like that shit.

And the mirrors! My only guess is that some Sears had a huge mirror sale, and MGM saw their next sequel. Ironic that mirrors should feature so prominently in Poltergeist 3, as it's simply one of the most belabored reflections of earlier, better movies ever made. Ooh, clever connection there! I just made it up!

Anyway, I'll put it to you in simple terms: Fuck Poltergeist 3. If there were any justice in the world, every copy of this unwanted and vile film would disappear and then suddenly re-appear in the small intestines of Freddie Prinze Jr. I'm all about killing two birds with one stone.

Yes, most horror sequels are nothing more than get-rich-quick schemes, and MANY of those sequels are awful films. But there's a big difference between 'cookie-cutter sequels' and this ghoulish affair. Not only is this an atrociously awful movie, but throughout the entire running time, all you'll be thinking about is how, in Hollywood, death is considerably less important than those big box-office receipts that only a sequel can offer.

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