Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) Poster

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  • A year after being chased from their home in Cuesta Verde, California by angry poltergeists, the Freeling family father Steve (Craig T. Nelson), mother Diane (JoBeth Williams), son Robbie (Oliver Robins), and daughter Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke)-have relocated to Phoenix, Arizona and are now living with Diane's mother, Jessica "Gramma Jess" (Geraldine Fitzgerald). However, it appears that the Beast, in the guise of religious zealot Riverend Kane (Julian Beck) has found them again. With the help of spiritualist Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein) and native American Taylor (Will Sampson), the Freelings must once again call upon their family unity in order to defeat the Beast. Edit

  • Poltergeist II, like it's predecessor Poltergeist (1982), is based on a screenplay written by American screenwriters Michael Grais and Mark Victor. It was followed by Poltergeist III (1988). Edit

  • Literally, poltergeist can be translated as "noisy ghost", from German poltern "to make noises" + geist "ghost". The typical poltergeist is characterized by noises, moving furniture, breaking dishes, etc., usually when no one is looking. Edit

  • No, but strongly recommended. There are some references and flashbacks to the first movie, but it is not fully explained what the Freeling family went through when they were living in Cuesta Verde and how it brought them to the events in Poltergeist II. Edit

  • The Freeling family found themselves the victims of poltergeists. At first, the poltergeists were fairly benign, performing such pranks as bending forks, breaking a glass, moving and stacking the kitchen chairs. As the movie progressed, however, the poltergeists became much more malevolent. Psychic Tangina Barrons was able to sense the presence of the poltergeists as well as a Beast that was preventing them from moving into the light. Carol Anne was eventually drawn into their dimension, but Tangina and Diane were able to bring her back. At the end of the movie, it is revealed that the houses in Cuesta Verde Estates were built over a graveyard. The developers supposedly removed all the graves, but it turns out that they simply removed the headstones and left the corpses behind. Edit

  • No explanation is provided in the movie. In the original script, it was briefly explained that Dana was away at college and that she broke off contact with her family because she thought they were crazy. In reality, Dominique Dunne, the actress who played Dana died between the first and second movies. One brief reference is made to her when Steve and Taylor are in the smoke hole. Taylor tells Steve that he must return home with the full family, and Steve says "Dana won't." Edit

  • In a vision, Diane learns that Kane is a manipulative preacher from the early 19th century who lead his substantial following in a doomsday cult. In preparation for the ending of the world, he sealed himself and his followers, who worship him, into a cave under the Cuesta Verde cemetery. When the day of the world's ending came and went, Kane refused to set his followers free. They starve to death together in the darkness. In death, Kane still seeks to control his followers and does not believe himself to be truly dead. He desires Carol Anne as a tool, since her pure lifeforce grants her a light that distracts and attracts spirits away from the true light and into Kane's control, who tells them she is an angel. His lies and deeds have twisted his spirit into that of the Beast, another term for a demon. Edit

  • Reverend Kane's frequent attempts to manipulate family members into inviting him into the house while demanding, "Let me in!", implies that he can influence but not fully enter the house without an invitation. An alternate interpretation is that the spirit cannot possess a person without an invitation. Considering himself "alive" rather than dead, a body would be a coveted and necessary item for Reverend Kane. Steve's drink of choice is tequila, which often has a small worm in the bottle. The worm is harmless, and brave drinkers often swallow the worm with the last drink. Steve does the same. Unfortunately, the worm is possessed by Reverend Kane who then possesses Steve's body until Steve is able to vomit him out. Either the act of willingly carrying the Reverend Kane into the house, though it was done unknowingly, granted the permission necessary for him to enter and wreak havoc, or Steven's ingesting the Kane-possessed worm into himself was enough permission for Kane to enter and take control of Steven's body, or possibly both, until Steven revokes the possession through vomiting. Edit

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The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • Acting on Taylor's admonition that the family must face the Beast together, the Freelings return to Cuesta Verde. There they find Tangina waiting, and the five of them climb down into the cave. The cave is filled with skeletons, and Diane can sense the horror they felt as they all died together while Kane refused to set them free. Almost immediately after entering the cave, Diane and Carol Anne are drawn into the dimension where the ghosts are trapped. Suddenly, Taylor can be heard chanting in another part of the cave. Steve finds him sitting in front of a fire, and Taylor says that he and Robbie must jump into the fire in order to cross over and bring back Diane and Carol Anne. They leap through the flames but, just as Steve and Robbie are reunited with Diane and Carol Anne, the Beast grabs Carol Anne. Taylor sends in a magical lance, which Steve uses to slay the Beast. The poltergeists begin heading toward the Light, taking Carol Anne with them. Just when it appears that Carol Anne is lost, Gramma Jess comes forth from the Light, bringing Carol Anne with her. As Gramma Jess goes back into the Light, Steve, Diane, Robbie, and Carol Anne are returned to the earthly plane where Tangina and Taylor are waiting. In the final scene, Steve gives his car to Taylor in order to make it "happy". As Taylor drives off, they realize they need a ride home and go running after Taylor. Edit

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