I've watched "Poltergeist II: The Other Side" in passing several times over the years and always loved it. The Scream Factory re-release caused me to actually sit down and re-analyze it, however. The conclusion I've come to is that it's a fast-paced thrill ride made extra-menacing through the presence of Julian Beck's character Kane. At times, it almost moves along too fast - like maybe some scenes were left on the cutting room floor that might have made the film move along at a smoother rate.
In "Poltergeist II: The Other Side," the Freeling family (JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke, Oliver Robins) settles into a new home following the annihilation of their former residence by terrifying visitors from the netherworld. But the spirits of the dead are still hell-bent on luring the family's clairvoyant daughter Carol Anne to "the other side."
Of course every sequel has to attempt to build on the original and add something to its story to make it interesting. "Poltergeist II: The Other Side" adds Native American spirituality to the mix. Not only are psychics and mediums waging war against the spirits, but now we have Will Sampson's Taylor using his spiritual tools to take on the restless apparitions through Indian mysticism.
"Poltergeist II: The Other Side" is made all the more effective as an entertaining sequel thanks to a number of great decisions made on the part of the production team. Jerry Goldsmith returns to provide the musical score and gives us a new piece, "They're Back," which comes close to rivaling "The Omen" theme. The mix of VFX and practical effects by Richard Edlund and his Boss Film Corporation are awe-inspiring. H.R. Giger's artistic contributions help boost the terror factor as well.
Bonus features for "Poltergeist II: The Other Side" Collector's Edition include a new 2K scan of the interpositive, new audio commentary with Writer / Producer Michael Grais, new audio commentary with "Poltergeist II" webmaster David Furtney, new "Robbie's Return" – An Interview With Oliver Robins, New "The Spirit World" – an interview with Special Effects Designers Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson and Screaming Mad George, new "Ghosts Of Giger" – a look at the contributions of Artist H.R. Giger featuring rare photos and illustrations and an interview with Giger's friend and agent Les Barany and Special Effects Designer Steve Johnson, Richard Edlund and Screaming Mad George, vintage featurettes: "They're Back: The Making Of Poltergeist II," "Monster Shop" and "Ghostmakers: The Magic of 'Poltergeist II,'" a theatrical trailer, TV spots and still galleries (behind-the-scenes photos, stills, posters and script pages).
"Poltergeist II: The Other Side" is rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, alcohol, frightening and intense sequences, and adult situations. There's really no blood or gore. Most of the scares come in the form of great visual effects covered in slime, and the terrifying aura of Reverend Henry Kane and flashbacks of his dying followers.
"Poltergeist II: The Other Side" Collector's Edition is available now on Blu-ray.