Poltergeist III [1988]

Genre: Horror, Thriller
As sequels go, Poltergeist II has the advantage of retaining most of the original film's cast (although the absence of the actress Dominique Dunne, a murder victim, is not explained). It's still not enough to turn this dreary outing into a passable horror movie. The terrorized Freeling family has moved from their haunted house, but the bothersome ghosties are not finished with them yet. The lame scares include a sequence built around Craig T. Nelson swallowing a demon worm from a tequila bottle and then regurgitating it. Far more frightening is the wizened face of theater legend Julian Beck, who appears as a foreboding old guy with bad news for the Freelings: "Yer all gonna die!" Poltergeist III recruits only blond cherub Heather O'Rourke (who died before the film's release) and dwarf psychic Zelda Rubinstein from the first movies. The action has shifted to a Chicago high-rise, where little Carol Anne's otherworldly gift is being studied (Tom Skerritt and Nancy Allen play the uncle and aunt she boards with). Director Gary Sherman tries to get some ideas going with mirror images, but the bargain-basement atmosphere and the limited special effects undercut the movie at every turn. --Robert Horton

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