Heather O’Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein are the only players from the first two films to cross over into the light of Poltergeist III. Here, O’Rourke’s character, Carol Anne, seemingly dumped by her parents for reasons unknown, is taken care of by her Aunt Patricia (Nancy Allen), Uncle Bruce (Tom Skerritt), and teenage step-cousin, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), living in a high-rise building in Chicago. Carol Anne has been enrolled in a school for gifted but troubled kids, as her therapist, Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire), thinks that the young girl has the ability to hypnotize people into believing her delusions about seeing ghosts. Seaton forces Carol Anne to speak about her experiences, which brings to light her involvement with the dreaded Reverend Kane (Nate Davis), and this talk has caused the late Reverend to cross over into trying to get in contact with the girl again. For some reason, the entire building is chock full of mirrors at every turn, which is convenient to the haunting that emerges, as most of its haunting involved scaring the bejeesus out of the family and their cohorts through reflections in whatever mirrors they happen to be looking at.
Poltergeist II: The Other Side seeks to give more back story to the events of the first film, why the youngest child in the Freeling family had been wanted by the spirits, and the nature of the cult from which the spirits culminated, headed by Reverend Henry Kane (Julian Beck). Kane manifests himself in human form in this sequel, tenacious in his pursuit of young Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), now moved away with her family in the hope they could start a new life for themselves. Tangina Barron (Zelda Rubinstein), the paranormal investigator from Poltergeist, sends out a Native American shaman (Will Sampson) to help protect the family once she discovers the hidden cave buried in the ground where Kane and his followers died, knowing that the family will not be able to escape Kane’s interest no matter where they might go. Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and Oliver Robins return.
Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) love the little home in the country they’ve built for themselves, but after they are killed in a freak accident and come back as ghosts, they are appalled to find that their house has been sold to a tasteless and unpleasant family, who plan one tearing down all they’ve built to redo the house in the tackiest way possible. Now they are determined to do what they can to scare away the family and serve out their 125-year term as apparitions before moving on to the next phase, but a wrench stops up the works when the new owners are pleased with the financial possibilities of the attraction of a haunted house, and it seems the more they scare these new inhabitants, the more amused they get. The Maitlands call on the services of Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a crazy and psychotic ghoul who seems to do more harm than good for the Maitland’s tastes. Tim Burton directs.
Five years after the events of Ghostbusters, the heroes are zeroes again, bankrupt after getting sued by the city for the destructive aftermath of clearing out the city of spooks. There’s also a Federal restraining order prohibiting them from continued ghostbusting. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) is now the host of a cheesy local cable talk show called, “World of the Psychic.” Occult bookstore owner Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) gets side work with Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), cosplaying as Ghostbusters for childrens’ birthday parties. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) is back at Columbia University, investigating how human emotions affect psycho-magnetic energy. Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) is a single mother after leaving Venkman for his inability to commit, having a baby, now eight months old, with another man. Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) applies his knack for accounting to become a tax lawyer.
They reunite after being approached by Peter’s ex, Dana, who reports a strange occurrence involving her baby’s carriage traveling on its own. They discover rivers of mood slime running beneath the city, converging on the Manhattan Museum of Art, where Dana works as an art restorer, including a life-size portrait of Medieval sorcerer warlord, Vigo the Carpathian. Vigo’s spirit lives within his portrait, and to enter into the realm of the living, he needs a baby to be his vessel to come to the mortal realm and continue his reign of terror. He makes a deal with Dana’s boss, Dr. Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol), to secure her baby, Oscar, in exchange for a date with her.
Ghostbusters centers on three university researchers (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis) of paranormal activity who go into business of their own once they get into trouble for their uncouth antics, and their grant money runs out. They emerge on the scene as the “Ghostbusters”, a trio of exterminators (of sorts), willing to investigate phenomena from anyone in New York City willing to call their number and pay their fees. Though the public is initially skeptical, these men soon become heroes, then celebrities, for their success rate, drawing the attention of the media, as well as the EPA (who are curious about their containment system), as the amount of ghostly appearances seems to be on a major upswing.
Sigourney Weaver co-stars as a cellist named Dana Barrett, who is one of the first in her old building to begin seeing strange things in her refrigerator, causing her to make the call she never thought she’d have to make. Along with her neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), she becomes the conduit for the rise of the malevolent Babylonian spirit, whose aims are to bring darkness onto the world. Directed by Ivan Reitman.
Erratum: The artist friend Aykroyd used for conceptual art on Ghost Smashers was John “The Viking” Deveikis, not the cited Thom Enriquez, who made additional conceptual art once Reitman was on board.