For those who don’t know already, “Shout Factory” specializes in remastering and re-releasing the best of the forgotten cult horror films. They’ve done a masterful job with recent releases such as “Carrie”, “The Thing”, “The Exorcist III” and many more. And speaking of “III”, who says good things can’t be associated with that number because ‘Poltergeist: 3‘ is a reminder in how some movies simply needed time to find an audience.
This was a film that differed very much from it’s predecessors in that it was set in the Chicago high-rise known as the ‘John Hancock’ building. For my money, that was a key reason this entry stood out a lot more than the 2nd film in the Poltergeist franchise, ‘Poltergeist 2: The Other Side.’ For starters, you’ve got Nancy Allen (Carrie, Robocop) and Tom Skerritt (Alien, Top Gun) as the primary leads who play aunt and uncle for Carol-Anne (Heather O’ Rourke)– This gave the film enough gravitas that saved it from feeling like a complete B-movie in the horror genre. Add to it, director Gary Sherman insisted upon utilizing all real and physical effects for the special effects you see on the screen. There was much in the way of mirrors being the focal point for how the majority of the effects work was pulled off, and really, I still think it holds up to this day.
Bottom line? Check out this film if you haven’t already. My only two gripes with it was that it ended abruptly, and you hear the name “Carol-Anne” shouted enough throughout the film that it actually makes for one hell of a drinking game party for you and your friends! 🙂 I would have had that party on my own but would have ended up on the floor before the 2nd act– No embellishment, ha!
As far as the Blu-ray release specifics, Shout Factory did as much as humanly possible for a flick that had never been done before in previous home-video releases. Below is a breakdown of what you’ll find for extras on the disc, along with some photos I took of the reversible disc sleeves:
- NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
- NEW Audio Commentary With Director Gary Sherman
- NEW Audio Commentary With Poltergeist III Webmaster David Furtney
- NEW High Spirits – An Interview With Screenwriter Brian Taggert
- NEW Reflections – An Interview With Actress Nancy Allen
- NEW Mirror Images – An Interview With Special Effects Creator John Caglione, Jr.
- Alternate Ending
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Still Galleries (Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills, Posters And Script Pages)
As far as the picture quality goes, it’s an out and out home-run from the folks at Shout Factory– I was quite mesmerized during my initial viewing at how the picture not only popped with vivid colors, but just how damn silky smooth everything looked from beginning to end. There will never be another release of this film that looks like it was shot yesterday!
Sound quality was rock-solid– no noticeable issues and I was running it through a Yamaha DTS Receiver with 5 speakers and a sub-woofer.
Last but not least, the extras that I watched, i.e. the Nancy Allen retrospective interview and writer Brian Taggert’s interview, were highly interesting in terms of both of their thought processes in looking back at the making of the film. It was obvious Nancy actually got a kick out of making the film, including an interesting bit on the choreography that went into some of the key special effects sequences. Brian’s thoughts on how the film was written were also fascinating concerning the sheer amount of pressure both he and director Gary Sherman were under to get this picture made, and on time!
Without question this release gets a highly energetic thumbs up from myself– if you’re a fan of the Poltergeist series of films then treat yourself with this one. And before I forget, see if you can catch the ‘Carrie’ reference early on into the proceedings. Nuff said!