Friday, December 14, 2012

REVIEW: Poltergeist III (1988)

Wow, three films in and I am tired of these things. It took six Hellraiser films to make me want to blow my brains out or at least the brains of the filmmakers, but it only took three Poltergeist films!

Director: Gary Sherman
Starring: Heather O'Rourke and the Holy Asshole Choir

This is just shit. I mean the first half hour is just completely unwatchable, with horrible acting, annoying characters and boring pacing to boot. Apparently after the second movie, Carol Anne got sent away to live with her aunt and uncle, who spend the first ten minutes or so of this movie engaging in boring, stilted conversational dialogue. They joke and laugh a lot, but really, while watching these scenes, the audience is having about as much fun as they would be if the movie just looped a picture of a funeral over top.

Can't you just feel the soullessness seeping out of every pore?

In addition to sending Carol Anne to live with her aunt and uncle for no reason, the parents, being colossal jackasses, sent her to a psychiatrist who is under the delusion that she somehow hypnotized everyone in the last two films to convince them of the strange supernatural things that supposedly happened. At first it seems OK I guess, but when he keeps going back to “blame everything on Carol Anne’s manipulative hypnotizing” over and over again throughout the movie, it’s just ridiculous!

We get lots of long, long scenes of this asshole, whose name is Dr. Seaton, just gloating about how clever he is for taking on Carol Anne’s case and trying to help her. Yes, you truly are a badass for bullying and villainizing a little girl, you reprehensible piece of trash. God this character is shit. He makes the dad from the last one look like a saint in comparison! What does he even think? That Carol Anne is like the feminine version of Damien from the Omen, in control of everything behind the scenes, just terrorizing people for the fun of it? WHAT EVIDENCE OF THAT IS THERE? EVER? AT ANY POINT?

"I'm a snooty bastard with low self esteem and no identity outside of my degree, so I just bully and victimize everyone too helpless to do anything about it! Hur hur..."

If that wasn’t annoying enough, we also get a bunch of scenes with Carol Anne riding in the car with her cousin and this other family. It wouldn’t be so bad if the demon-spawn of hell in the form of a bratty little girl whose voice makes Urkel’s look like a choir of angels wasn’t sitting in the front seat:

My God, it's the most horrific daemon these films have ever produced! Call the Ghostbusters! Call in the paranormal researchers! CALL EVERYBODY!

This girl has to be the worst character ever made since…that annoying psychiatrist I just mentioned a paragraph and a half ago! She’s totally insufferable! Everything she says is antagonistic to the extreme and her scratchy, annoying voice will make you want to strangle her with a nine-iron. I know that doesn’t seem possible, but trust me, listening to this girl’s voice will make you think of inventive ways to use a nine iron to cause her death. It’s one of those types of voices.

Finally, we get something that isn’t ear-rapingly annoying or mind-rapingly stupid when cousin Donna wants to go to this party and tells her friend on the phone that Carol Anne isn’t really part of her family and is a little brat…oh, I lied; that IS annoying and stupid! Then when she gets off the phone she tells Carol Anne she didn’t mean it. What a stupid bitch. I hate her already. Carol Anne tells her to go ahead and sneak out and go to the party anyway, which she does with just a little bit of prodding.

So then we get a bunch of boring, tired and dated horror movie clich├ęs as Donna and a bunch of her mullet-sporting brain-dead idiot friends go traipsing around the hotel. They put an ungodly amount of effort into breaking into the pool for some reason – some really convoluted plan involving looping security tapes, hiding from cameras on the ceiling and all sorts of nonsense that might as well be a James Bond movie – yeah, there’s a Skyfall sequel for ya; attack of the dumbass Poltergeist side characters. Real engaging, movie. This movie spends as much time on THIS subplot as it does on the whole “lead me into the liiiiiiiight” shit that the other movies have. That’s backwards! It’s like if a Friday the 13th movie decided to focus more on kids partying than on the actual killi…okay, it’s actually kinda normal for 80s horror movies. Shut up.

We now interrupt your Poltergeist sequel to bring you a Ferris Bueller sequel.

We do get some vague supernatural garbage about Henry Kane trying to pull back Carol Anne to LEAD THEM INTO THE LIIIIIIGHT, and really, what is their fixation on Carol Anne for that anyway? If they’re all groping around in the dark for three movies, you’d think ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD would be good enough, even if they were half-assed conductors, but no, they’re still on Carol Anne and nobody else. Why? Can’t you find someone else compatible? Or are you just lazy and mean? It makes no sense. These ghosts aren’t malicious forces of darkness. They’re the spirit-world equivalent of fat-asses sitting on their couches and not changing the channel because they can’t find the remote.

But eventually, Carol Anne and Diane do get taken. Tangina arrives and tries to warn Dr. Seaton about what’s happening, but he just blows it off as Carol Anne’s tricks…yes because a little eight year old girl TOTALLY has the resources to get grown women to call her psychiatrist on the phone in the middle of the night, saying something is wrong. You’re a bona fide genius, man. Why do I get the idea this guy would ignore a house fire if it was someone he didn’t like inside?

Tangina teams up with the aunt and uncle only to find out that, apparently, the evil is inside the mirrors this time, as, I guess, the ghosts and evil spirits only show up in the mirror and not in real life…or something like that. It’s honestly kind of trippy and confusing. Tangina gets killed off by a demonic Carol Anne infected by Henry Kane. She falls over, turns into a wax sculpture zombie and then…this happens:

I always knew Tangina was just a big sack fulla bugs and nasty goop masquerading as a character.  This just confirms my suspicions.

Gross. I guess it is one of the scarier moments in the movie, though, just for how that girl screams when she comes up out of that dead body. Imagining what she went through down there is…well, probably way scarier than anything the bungholes who came up with this movie could think of. And there are a few other good, surreal moments created by the odd lighting and the eerie score, as the aunt and uncle wander around looking for a way to save Carol Anne from the spirit world. The film sometimes takes on a fairly avant-garde style that is interesting, and could have been arresting had the rest of it not been saddled with annoying as shit characters. Like the aunt!

"I TOLD YOU WE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN THE AC FIXED!"

Yes, apparently midway through the film the aunt decided to stop having any redeemable qualities in a human being, and now wants to leave Carol Anne in whatever hellish purgatory she’s in and just go home and have a glass of Chardonnay and watch Real Housewives or something. She doesn’t even care that a young innocent girl is in danger…she just doesn’t want to deal with it, because she’s a callous bitch! Who wrote this? Someone who hates children? God; it’s like a convention of horrible self-centered assholes in here!

So, if you can believe it, somehow the movie ends with the aunt, who has been bitching about how much she hates Carol Anne, the innocent eight year old girl who has never done harm to any living thing in her life, saving the day. Yes, the aunt is the one who stops Kane in the end – she is the big hero of the movie. They try to play it off like she’s learned some valuable lesson and realizes that Carol Anne does matter to her, but really it’s done incredibly poorly, with little transition or logic to it, and how much can you really respect someone like this anyway? Big whoop. You came to the realization that, when a young child is in the jaws of mortal peril, helping her isn’t such a bad idea. Should we give you a medal?

Oh...I guess you already have one...

This is such a piece of trash movie. I guess it has some pretty neat visual ideas, but the conceptual themes aren’t explained much at all, the characters are all annoying beyond belief and to top it off, the whole thing feels NOTHING like a Poltergeist film, borrowing more from generic supernatural 80s disposable garbage. What makes it so much worse is that Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three movies, died before they even finished this, and so this was her sad epitaph – and what a load that is! Who would want to be remembered by this half-assed slop? Just forget this existed and go watch the first two films, as even when they were bad, she at least did a good job in them and they were worth looking at. Unlike this. This can go to hell.

Now as a special testament to those who were lost in between each Poltergeist film...I present to you the mausoleum of the dearly departed.




RIP. You were all taken far too early, and your work on these films is appreciated.

Images copyright of their original owners. I do not own any of them.