Scream Factory is releasing Collector’s Edition Blu-Rays for both Poltergeist II: The Other Side and Poltergeist III, and for the most part, they are relatively the same in terms of number of features (review of Poltergeist III coming soon).
The package itself comes with new cover artwork and reversible classic artwork as well as a slipcover. The film is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio and features a new 2k scan of the interpositive, and I feel that the movie has never looked better. There’s still a nice grain texture to the picture that does not detract from the image, and colors really pop with heavy contrast. Some will probably not like the oversaturated colors and tinted shots, but I feel that the lush greens and reds stand out in a film that could have been overly drab. Equally well-presented is the audio, available in either a 5.1 DTS-HD track or a 2.0. Both sound good (I watched in 5.1), but I preferred the 5.1 due to what I felt was louder music levels.
There are a number of new special features included on this disc. There are two new audio commentaries, one with writer/producer Michael Grais, who speaks about production on the film and behind-the-scenes info; the other is from David Furtney, the webmaster behind the Poltergeist fan site. I find Furtney’s commentary highly educational, with a lot of references to the initial film script before changes were made during production. It can be quiet at times but Furtney fills in viewers with lots of detail.
Interviews include a short feature with Oliver Robins (Robbie in the film) discussing his experiences on set, a featurette on the special effects work in the film featuring interviews with Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson, and Screaming Mad George, and another special effects featurette that focuses solely on H.R. Giger’s creations for the film and an interview with Giger’s friend Les Barany. Along with these new interviews, there are two vintage featurettes including a making-of short and a quick look at the special effects, along with trailers and TV spots. A cool inclusion is the script itself. All told, there’s about an hour of new extras not including commentaries. No interviews with some of the other cast members (JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson primarily) are included, and it’s rather unfortunate that neither would come back to answer some questions.
Otherwise, though, this is a great disc with an excellent transfer and some informative special features, well worth the price for Poltergeist II fans or those looking to own the film for the first time.