Written by Patti Pauley
Welp, it’s Oscars night folks and while you and I both know for the most part, deserving horror films worthy of such an honor get the almighty snub in the eyes of the powerful Hollywood man, sometimes the Academy can pull a surprise out the side of their snooty ass and give a nod to a truly fantastic horror gem. What’s even more rare, is when a horror movie sequel gets that kind of recognition. And as a matter of fact, that did indeed happen exactly 30 years ago at the 1987 Academy Awards when Poltergeist II was up for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
Although the visually terrifying film didn’t take home the win, it’s a bit of a breath of fresh air to know it was even considered, as this sequel to the Hooper/ Spielberg classic is gorgeously shot and beautifully terrorizes you in all the right places- mostly thanks to Julian Beck and his portrayal of the malevolent reverend, Henry Kane.
Alongside the Boss Film Corporation of effects team, the Swiss magician of horror design H.R. Giger was behind most significantly, ‘The Great Beast’ design of Kane and it most certainly stands out as an unholy bundle of nightmares from film, alongside the slithery Kane beast that protrudes from Steven’s projectile vomit from the movie. Although it’s been noted in interviews that Giger was for the most, displeased with the end result of the monster creations, it just goes to show that even Giger’s less than impressive standards according to him, are still some of the best horror imagery and practical effects that we’ve seen in the wonderful decade of ’80s monster magic. And hey, the Academy board thought so as well, so that’s something.
This vintage behind the scenes video on Giger’s design of the ‘Kane Beast’ provides a taste of what it took to bring this fantastic image to life. So in retrospect of the Oscars tonight, let’s take a look back at the Academy Award worthy monster magic from Poltergeist II: The Other Side!