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New On Netflix: Poltergeist II: The Other Side

“God is in‚ his holy temple‚ Poltergeist II: The Other Side needlessly expands and complicates the mythology (and reason for the haunting in the first place) of the far superior original film, but this silly sequel still has a few terrific set pieces going for it — and one unforgettable villain character played by the late Julian Beck, whose death during production prompted H.R. Giger to design and create various “monster” versions of him. The Freelings have moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and you’re damn right they don’t own a television set — still, the Beast and his legion of demonic minions have other ways to get to poor little Carol Anne, particularly through her toy telephone. The scene with young Robbie’s freakin’ braces coming to life and trying to kill him is pretty spectacular, as is the whole infamous “vomit creature” sequence (Dad swallows the worm in his tequila and‚ well, you’ll just have to see for yourself), but the film’s greatest asset is Beck’s performance as Rev. Henry Kane, a cult leader so evil that he became the Beast after he died. “I’ve coooome for the Child!” It plays (and looks) like a TV movie more than anything else, but it’s a horror classic compared to Poltergeist III.

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