Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

PG-13 | 91 mins | Horror | 23 May 1986

Director:

Brian Gibson

Cinematographer:

Andrew Laszlo

Editor:

Thom Noble

Production Designer:

Edward S. Haworth

Production Company:

Victor-Grais Production
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HISTORY

According to a 4 Aug 1985 LAHExam article, writer-producers Michael Grais and Mark Victor had been friends since the fifth grade, living in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, IL. After the success of Poltergeist (1982, see entry), they claimed that there was no talk of doing a sequel until the studio approached them in 1985. The writers were given no guidelines, and found that original cast members would not commit to a sequel until they read a script. Although it was risky, the writers decided to continue the story front he first film. A 22 Oct 1984 HR news item announced that the movie marked Michael Grais and Mark Victor’s theatrical producing debut.
       A 23 Oct 1985 DV article reported that after reading a first draft of the screenplay, visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund, owner of Boss Film Corporation, estimated that special effects would cost between $10 million and $12 million. Writer-producers Michael Grais and Mark Victor did a rewrite, which lowered the effects budget to $5 million.
       A 21 May 1985 HR production chart and a 4 Aug 1985 LAHExam article announced that principal photography began 13 May 1985 in Los Angeles, CA, and was scheduled to last sixty-four days, with a budget of $18.5 million. Production notes state that three weeks were spent on location at a private residence in Altadena, CA, that doubled as "Gramma Jess’s" Phoenix, AZ, home, and tract homes in Encino, CA, that doubled for the Cuesta Vista area. A 7 Aug 1985 HR brief stated that actor Will Sampson and crew were ... More Less

According to a 4 Aug 1985 LAHExam article, writer-producers Michael Grais and Mark Victor had been friends since the fifth grade, living in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, IL. After the success of Poltergeist (1982, see entry), they claimed that there was no talk of doing a sequel until the studio approached them in 1985. The writers were given no guidelines, and found that original cast members would not commit to a sequel until they read a script. Although it was risky, the writers decided to continue the story front he first film. A 22 Oct 1984 HR news item announced that the movie marked Michael Grais and Mark Victor’s theatrical producing debut.
       A 23 Oct 1985 DV article reported that after reading a first draft of the screenplay, visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund, owner of Boss Film Corporation, estimated that special effects would cost between $10 million and $12 million. Writer-producers Michael Grais and Mark Victor did a rewrite, which lowered the effects budget to $5 million.
       A 21 May 1985 HR production chart and a 4 Aug 1985 LAHExam article announced that principal photography began 13 May 1985 in Los Angeles, CA, and was scheduled to last sixty-four days, with a budget of $18.5 million. Production notes state that three weeks were spent on location at a private residence in Altadena, CA, that doubled as "Gramma Jess’s" Phoenix, AZ, home, and tract homes in Encino, CA, that doubled for the Cuesta Vista area. A 7 Aug 1985 HR brief stated that actor Will Sampson and crew were flown to Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Chinle, AZ, to film scenes involving a Hopi obelisk.
       A 28 Jun-4 Jul 1985 Movieline article reported that a full-size replica of the Altadena, CA, home used as the domicile of the "Freeling" family was constructed on Stage 30 at the MGM/UA Studios in Culver City, CA. According to special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri, the set allowed filmmakers to control the pitching and shaking needed for the haunting sequences. The LAHExam article added that the second floor of the home sat on top of a mechanical bull-type apparatus that was responsible for all the rattling and rolling. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that Stage 27 was used to construct a desert set with a sweat lodge where Craig T. Nelson prepares for his final confrontation with “the other side.” The set also contained a serpentine cavern in which characters descend to do battle with the dark forces.
       A Jul 1986 AmCin article stated that seven model makers spent about seven weeks building a tabletop-sized model of the Freeling home, four neighboring homes, and a mountain range backdrop to capture wider shots than could be lit on location during a night shoot. Surrealist painter H. R. Giger was hired to conceptualize the different stages of “the great beast” a creature living in an astral dimension. Boss Film's creature creator, Steve Johnson, took Giger’s two-dimensional designs, and interpreted them in three dimensions. For the great beast, the crew used a combination of techniques to achieve the creature’s various stages including pneumatically controlled appendages, traditional prosthetics, and a half-scale rod puppet. Visual effects art director John Bruno storyboarded all the effects sequences but the storyboards were redone when director Brian Gibson was hired, new ideas were introduced and changes were made. The process took five months and Gibson made changes every step of the way. Production notes state that an additional ten weeks of principal photography occurred in the studio. There, special projects supervisor Garry Waller and his team were able to create effects involving rain and conjure spirits from campfire smoke. Ninety-five percent of filming took place on sound stages to have greater control over the special effects.
       The 25 Apr 1986 HR stated that MGM planned to open Poltergeist II: The Other Side in 1,500 theaters. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jul 1986
p. 58-64, 66.
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1985
p. 1, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1986
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 1986
p. 4.
LAHExam
4 Aug 1985
Section E, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
23 May 1986
p. 1, 10.
Movieline
28 Jun-4 Jul 1985.
---
New York Times
23 May 1986
p. 12.
Variety
21 May 1986
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Freddie Fields Presentation
A Victor-Grais Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Asst prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Conceptual artist
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Key costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Digital keyboards by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd eff ed
Spec sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
Spec sd eff des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff coord
Photo backgrounds
Visual eff art dir, Boss Film Corporation Los Ange
Creatures created by, Boss Film Corporation Los A
Creatures created by, Boss Film Corporation Los A
Matte dept supv, Boss Film Corporation Los Angele
Prod coord, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod supv, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Visual eff ed, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Visual eff ed, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Eff ed consultant, Boss Film Corporation Los Ange
Spec eff foreman, Boss Film Corporation Los Angele
Dir of photog, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod adv, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model shop supv, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt supv, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Spec projects supv, Boss Film Corporation Los Ange
Chief eng, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Chief matte artist, Boss Film Corporation Los Ange
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt cam op, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Cam op, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Cam op, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt coord, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
1st asst cam, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
1st asst cam, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
1st asst cam, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Opt line-up, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Still photog, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Lab tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst cam, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Matte artist, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Head spec eff tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Ange
Matte cam asst, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Spec eff tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Spec eff tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Spec eff tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Tech anim supv, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Key grip, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Tech anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Tech anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Chief lighting tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Ang
Anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Model maker, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst anim, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature shop coord, Boss Film Corporation Los Ang
Prod illustrator, Boss Film Corporation Los Angele
Prod illustrator, Boss Film Corporation Los Angele
1st tech, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst to Richard Edlund, Boss Film Corporation Los
Chief eff moldmaker, Boss Film Corporation Los Ang
Asst prod coord, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod admin, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Asst to Ronald Moore, Boss Film Corporation Los An
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Creature crew, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Des eng, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Boss Film accountant, Boss Film Corporation Los An
Electronics, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Electronics, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Electronics, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Prod asst, Boss Film Corporation Los Angeles
Software programmer, Boss Film Corporation Los Ang
Precision cinetechnician, Boss Film Corporation Lo
Precision cinetechnician, Boss Film Corporation Lo
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Paranormal research
Adv on paranormal phenomena
Psychic adv
Pub relations
Asst to Mr. Fields
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Addl casting
Transportation coord
Animal trainer
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
Col timer
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Poltergeist II
Release Date:
23 May 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 May 1986
Production Date:
began 13 May 1985
Copyright Claimant:
MGM Entertainment Company
Copyright Date:
23 June 1986
Copyright Number:
PA290951
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28152
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A Native American named Taylor spends a stormy night at a Hopi monument, and watches as a medicine man conjures spirits from a flickering fire. After spirits enter Taylor’s body, he raises his arms toward the heavens. As Taylor returns to the Southern California Cuesta Verde housing development, he remembers the night the Freeling family battled forces from another dimension to rescue their daughter Carol Anne. Clairvoyant Tangina Barrons tells Taylor that the root of the problem is buried in the earth beneath the sacred Native American graveyard, where the Freeling house once stood. Taylor wades through an underground stream and sees several skeletons with contorted facial expressions. In Arizona, the Freeling family enjoys a picnic lunch outside Gramma Jess’s home. Inside, Gramma Jess watches Carol Anne as she draws a picture with crayons. When Carol Anne admits that she is not that interested in growing up, Gramma Jess reveals that she has a gift for knowing things without a logical explanation. Gramma discovers that Carol Anne has the same ability, and tells her granddaughter that they share a special gift. Upstairs, Steve Freeling tells his wife, Diane, that their insurance company has sent them a rejection letter in regard to the claim over their California house. The next day, Carol Anne becomes separated from her mother and brother, Robbie, at a shopping mall. A tall, imposing man named Reverend Henry Kane follows her as she searches for her family. Carol Anne notices that Rev. Kane passes through other bodies like a ghost, offering to sing her a song until her mother arrives. Diane and Robbie retrace their steps, and find Carol Anne. As ... +


A Native American named Taylor spends a stormy night at a Hopi monument, and watches as a medicine man conjures spirits from a flickering fire. After spirits enter Taylor’s body, he raises his arms toward the heavens. As Taylor returns to the Southern California Cuesta Verde housing development, he remembers the night the Freeling family battled forces from another dimension to rescue their daughter Carol Anne. Clairvoyant Tangina Barrons tells Taylor that the root of the problem is buried in the earth beneath the sacred Native American graveyard, where the Freeling house once stood. Taylor wades through an underground stream and sees several skeletons with contorted facial expressions. In Arizona, the Freeling family enjoys a picnic lunch outside Gramma Jess’s home. Inside, Gramma Jess watches Carol Anne as she draws a picture with crayons. When Carol Anne admits that she is not that interested in growing up, Gramma Jess reveals that she has a gift for knowing things without a logical explanation. Gramma discovers that Carol Anne has the same ability, and tells her granddaughter that they share a special gift. Upstairs, Steve Freeling tells his wife, Diane, that their insurance company has sent them a rejection letter in regard to the claim over their California house. The next day, Carol Anne becomes separated from her mother and brother, Robbie, at a shopping mall. A tall, imposing man named Reverend Henry Kane follows her as she searches for her family. Carol Anne notices that Rev. Kane passes through other bodies like a ghost, offering to sing her a song until her mother arrives. Diane and Robbie retrace their steps, and find Carol Anne. As they leave, she stares at the top of a staircase, and sees other shoppers walking through Kane’s body. Later, Diane and her mother discuss Carol Anne’s unusual drawings filled with monster-like faces. Gramma would like more details about what happened to Carol Anne and the Freeling house, but Diane is too traumatized to reveal anything. At night, Carol Anne awakens, kisses her sleeping grandmother on the cheek, and returns to her own bedroom. She picks up a ringing toy phone, tells her grandmother that she loves her, and goes back to bed. In the morning, Diane and Steve tell their children that Gramma has died. That night, rainwater leaks into the house onto the toy telephone, emitting a ringtone that rouses Carol Anne. As she answers the phone, several toys in her room come to life. Spirits shoot out of the receiver, causing Carol Anne to drop the phone. Robbie awakens and tries pulling his sister away from the circling spirits while Steve and Diane force open the door to the children’s bedroom. Carol Anne suddenly emerges from under a blanket and declares, “They’re back.” As the family runs out the door, they narrowly miss Taylor, who tells them that he was sent by Tangina Barrons. He comments that the evil spirits will follow them wherever they go, and they should remain at Gramma’s house. Steve ignores Taylor and drives the family to a nearby diner. As Diane and Steve discuss their next move, a woman customer takes on Gramma Jess’s voice, and warns the Freelings that “the thing” has made contact and they must fight it. After delivering her message, the customer’s regular voice returns and she leaves. Outside the diner, Taylor comments that the customer spoke the truth. Steve wants to flee, but Carol Anne shows Taylor her stuffed animal and everyone calms down. Diane speaks to the psychic Tangina on the telephone, and decides to give Taylor a chance. Later, Carol Anne sits on the lawn and sees Rev. Henry Kane on the front sidewalk. A rainstorm erupts in the middle of sunny skies. Robbie urges his sister to come inside, but Carol Anne is frozen in place as Rev. Kane walks up the driveway. When Diane recognizes Rev. Kane from the shopping mall, he asks if he can come inside the house, but Steve suggests they talk on the porch. Rev. Kane says the family is in danger, and Taylor is a charlatan. Upstairs, Diane has a disturbing vision featuring Rev. Kane. When Steve decides not to invite Kane inside, the preacher reluctantly leaves but tells Steve that his family is going to die in the house. Taylor returns, warning that the “great beast” assumes many forms and the preacher was one of them. As Robbie prepares for bed, the wires on his braces become animated, wrapping around his body. Steve and Diane race upstairs as they hear Robbie struggling. They break down the bathroom door, and find their son encased in a metal cocoon stuck to the ceiling. As they struggle to free Robbie, they call out to Taylor for help. As her son’s metal appendage grazes an electrical socket, the shock drops Robbie to the floor and the cocoon vanishes from his body. Meanwhile, the faucets pop off the sink and spray water all over the room. The Freelings run downstairs, and Steve is angry that Taylor did not come to their aid. Holding Carol Anne, Taylor explains that he was protecting their daughter because “the thing” is after her. The family spends the night in the living room while Taylor sprinkles powder to ward off the evil, sensing that “the thing” is intent on possessing Carol Anne and destroying the family. The next day, Tangina tells Diane that her California home was built over a tomb possibly belonging to a long-lost sect of people that migrated to the area in the early 1800s to start a utopian village. Meanwhile, Taylor performs a ritual at a sacred sweat lodge that familiarizes Steve with a swirling specter that is his adversary. At the house, Tangina shows Diane a photo of Kane and demands to know who he is. Diane realizes that Kane’s followers continue to worship him in death. They sealed themselves in the cavern because Kane told them the end of the world was coming. When Carol Anne was first taken to the other side, Kane’s followers got a taste of her life force, and the beast wants her back. Taylor says he has done all he can, and suggests that Steve return to Cuesta Verde to confront “the thing” on his own turf. After dark, ghosts surround Gramma Jess’s house. Inside, Steve finishes off a bottle of tequila, swallows the worm, and the beast temporarily takes over his body. When Diane fends off his physical advances, he expels a giant worm from his mouth that crawls under the bed. Steve falls unconscious as the bed shakes. The worm transforms into a slimy demon, and climbs out from under the bed before mutating into a fourteen-foot beast with multiple tentacles. Steve fights off an attack, blowing his magic breath on “the thing” and causing it to vanish. As the house becomes quiet again, Steve and Diane search the ground floor. Skeletons pop out of one closet, while Diane finds her son hiding in another. When the Freelings cannot find Carol Anne, they run to the garage to look for her. Carol Anne has locked herself in the station wagon and will not open the door. Electrical conduits come alive and attack the family. Carol Anne unlocks the doors and the family piles in. When Steve cannot start the car, a chainsaw springs to life, hacking the vehicle in half. The car starts, but the beast has attached chains to the bumper to keep it from leaving. As the saw pierces the roof, Steve floors the accelerator, and rips the bumper from the car. He is able to back out of the driveway onto the street. The family drives all night until they return to Cuesta Verde. Tangina is there and joins them as they descend into the cavern. When they hear the voice of the Reverend Kane, Diane and Carol Anne suddenly vanish. Steve calls out their names, then runs toward Taylor, who is chanting next to a bonfire. Taylor says the way into the other dimension is through the flames. Steve and Robbie ignore a tower of disembodied heads that rise up from the fire, and jump into the fire pit. The Freelings are reunited, but the beast grabs Carol Anne. Taylor throws a magic spear into the other dimension. Steve uses it to attack “the thing,” releasing Carol Anne. She freefalls through space and disappears toward the light. Taylor believes it too late and Carol Anne is gone forever, but she soon returns to the family with the help of Gramma Jess’s love. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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