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.
Real Genius centers on several students at Pac Tech, an institution esteemed for its technological breakthroughs. They’re currently working on a project to build a high-powered laser. The project is led by an egotistical professor and TV science show host named Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton), who has been employed by a clandestine group within the Pentagon for Operation Crossbow, whereby the military will use the laser to vaporize targets from space with sniper-like precision.
Enter 15-year-old genius Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarrett), recruited by Hathaway to start college early at Pacific Tech. He rooms with the school’s prior hot prodigy, a rebellious and smart-alecky senior named Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), who has decided there’s more value in being a slacker than to continue showing everyone he’s the smartest person on campus. Knight’s shenanigans have Hathaway, who must produce the results in an accelerated four months instead of the originally intended eighteen, threatening to kick him out of school if he doesn’t assist in completing the laser in the allotted time. Martha Coolidge directs.
Bob Clark directs and co-writes my favorite Christmas film of the 1980s, and perhaps my favorite of any era, A CHRISTMAS STORY, a nostalgic look at childhood that makes me nostalgic for my own. Peter Billingsley stars as Ralphie, who wants more than anything to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, even though the adults think he’ll just shoot his eye out.