Admittedly, I ignored Poltergeist II: The Other Side when it was released back in 1986. Being such a fan of the first Poltergeist movie, I was afraid a sequel would only shit on my fond memories of the original. Well, turns out I had nothing to worry about.
Most of the original cast returns, and they do a good enough job of slipping back into character (Craig T. Nelson hams it up in some of the early scenes, but does eventually settle down). What made Poltergeist II: The Other Side a worthy entry in the series, however, had nothing to do with the old; this film is all about the new, the various characters it introduces that take the story to an all new level. Geraldine Fitzgerald has a brief but effective appearance as the grandmother who sheds some light on exactly why Carol Anne is so 'special', and Will Sampson plays a Native American spiritualist who does what he can to help the Freeling family through their most recent crisis. Yet as good as these two additions are, the most fascinating (not to mention the creepiest) character in Poltergeist II: The Other Side is Kane, the evil spirit that manifests itself in the body of a kindly old preacher. Julian Beck brings real evil to the role of Kane, and steals damn near every scene he appears in. Kane gives Poltergeist II: The Other Side it's unique stamp, and in doing so transforms the film into much more than the continuation of a good story.
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