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The Ending Of Poltergeist 2: Out Of Context

Do you remember Poltergeist 2?

I do, but mostly just because it’s the only movie I know that has a listing in it’s credits for a role known as the “Vomit Creature.”

Pictured: Craig T. Nelson's son. The one he doesn't talk about....

That scene, and that scene alone, puts Poltergeist 2 on my “good” list.

Well, for the most part anyway…

I’ve heard it doesn’t have the best reputation among fans of the original, but in my eyes I view it as a (mostly) worthy successor.

At least until the bizarre and painfully rushed climax sequence you see above.

While I’m not exactly what you’d call a fan of the series, the excellent photo chemical effects and puppetry of the Poltergeist movies has always made me regard them as extremely “watchable.”

In many ways, the Poltergeist movies could be classified as horror films, however I’ve always thought of them as little more than particularly intense eye candy films.

Honestly, the plots and characterization in all 3 of them is mostly inconsequential, not to mention copied and pasted from film to film, so at the end of the day it’s the atmosphere and the constant stream of visual gags that make up the majority of the experience.

For people such as myself that are more fascinated by horrific makeup effects and special effects sequences than, well, horrified by them; the Poltergeist movies are almost entirely devoid of scares, but packed to the brim with awesome sights and sounds.

A not so awesome sight: Tom Skerrit and Nancy Allen's crappy 80's hair.

This fact is no more evident in the Poltergeist movies than in the 2nd film, as the plot is probably the weakest in the series overall, not to mention during it’s conclusion, the storytelling takes a MAJOR turn for the ludicrous.

We’re talkin’ magical grandma ludicrous.

At the very end, all subtlety, tact, and reason are thrown out the window and into oncoming traffic in favor special effects of a goofy ass H.R. Giger manufactured special effects spectacle.

No foolin’, that creepy looking ghost with faces on it (that looks more than a little like a log of shit) really was designed by H.R. Giger.

From what I remember seeing in a documentary about the Poltergeist films, and how they have a habit of killing the people who work on them, this visually impressive, but borderline silly climax sequence was likely thrown together due to the fact that the actor who played the villain, Julian Beck; actually passed away before completing his role.

As a result, some of his lines were dubbed, and I’m guessing the monster puppet version of the character was inserted into to the climax scene to fill in for him.

While it’s not really visible in the puppet’s earlier scenes, f you look close, there’s at least one shot of a face on the creature’s torso that is clearly modeled after Beck.

Despite the fact that the goofiness of the ending sequence may have come as a result of an actor’s death or a troubled production, the fact remains that it’s horrendously rushed, sloppily anticlimactic, and embarrassingly melodramatic, in that order.

Seriously man, you could probably count on one hand the number of minutes that pass between the time when the family enters and exits the cave.

That being said, as I ruminated on it, it occurred to me that, not only is the ending of Poltergeist 2 fucking absurd, what with Craig T. Nelson’s random shining spear of Holy justice, as well as “deus ex machina grandma” saving the day, it’s also downright impossible to understand without the proper context.

If anyone here is seeing this clip for the first time, please, write a comment to let the rest of us know what you thought of it.

On that note, I’ll leave you all with a clip of the legendary “Vomit Creature” scene as performed by some guy (that was probably a little person) named Noble Craig:

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The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #1: Robocop

Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi masterpiece, Robocop, has the dual distinction of not only being one of my favorite films of all time, but of also featuring THE Best Overkill in Movies.

Come to think of it, overkill is something that Robocop has a great deal of.

There’s the famed ED-209 overkill sequence:

There’s the slightly more obscure, but no less brutal “melt man” overkill:

But standing head and shoulders above it all, putting all of the competition to shame, is the horrendously brutal death of Alex Murphy (Peter Weller):

While many of the other overkills on this list have a sense of excess that could be considered humorous by some, (I.E. me) the death of Alex Murphy is an overkill that has a sense of urgency and dramatic weight that goes a long way towards legitimizing  it.

Unflinchingly brutal and perhaps more importantly, graphic; watching Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his gang torture, humiliate and ultimately, dismember Alex Murphy always brings a haunting, and alarming sense of wrongness to my conscience.

I love Robocop, and in particular, I love this scene; but that doesn’t keep me from understanding that this sequence was intended to be regarded as

Without a doubt; the death of Alex Murphy is easily the most greatest, most brutal, excessive, and utterly fucked-up Overkill in Movies.

That being said, what say we do a play-by-play of the carnage?:

The scene begins as Officer Alex Murphy stumbles into an ambush.

Surrounded by 5 armed men, Murphy is forced to give up his arms as Clarence Boddicker beats on him a little to try and get him to spill the beans on the whereabouts of his partner, Ann Lewis (Nancy Allen).

Best Shitty Haircut in Cinema History: Nancy Allen, Robocop (1987)

After whacking Murphy in the leg, and bashing him in the spine with the butt of his shotgun, Clarence finds himself interrupted as his fellow gang member, Joe (Jesse D. Goins), walks into the room declaring Lewis previously deceased by his hand.

Pictured: Joe's only contribution to the movie.

Yeah, Joe’s a dick…

With the threat of any remaining police presence now completely removed, Clarence and his gang lighten up and decide to have some fun with Murphy.

Kicking Murphy onto his back on the floor, Clarence paces about and starts talkin’ shit:

Throughout this sequence, it’s worth noting that Clarence, despite sounding downright chummy at times, consistently keeps his gun trained on Murphy’s head.

Placing one foot on the inside of Murphy’s forearm, Clarence stands up, looks down the barrel of his shotgun, and points it at Murphy’s groin.

While making a faux computerized targeting system tone, akin to the tone of a jet fighter’s missile lock tone, Clarence slowly brings the gun to bear, first on Murphy’s head, and then down to his still pinned right arm.

"Eagle One, Fox-3!"

The first shot of our overkill results in Alex Murphy’s right hand being rendered into chunky red mush.

If you look close, you can actually see the prosthetic hand being yanked out of the scene to simulate it's severing.

Being as Clarence Boddicker is a certified, grade-A DICK, a pun is his natural response to the violence:

Clarence Boddicker: DICK of the Ages

Following this, Clarence steps back for a smoke, leaving Murphy’s fate in the hands of his underlings.

...But first we have to watch Murphy bleed for 10 minutes.

Most likely in shock from having just lost his hand, Murphy lurches to his feet and immediately begins to slowly walk away from his assailants.

Being as Clarence’s gang is made up of coke-heads and Junior DICKS, their first act is to ask Murphy where he’s going, and then yell at him to turn around.

For whatever reason, Murphy does just this:

Like any great heel in wrestling, Clarence’s gang pick a body part and work it until it’s nothing but a bloody stump.

Well, being as these guys are using SHOTGUNS instead of submission moves, said process takes only about, oh, one shot.

Now missing an arm, the very same arm that he was previously missing a hand on, Murphy does just about the only thing he can:

Unfortunately, like bullies teasing a fat kid at the pool, Clarence’s gang are truly relentless, as with that they open fire with, literally, everything they’ve got.

First, they shoot him in his kevlar vest:

Then they shoot him there some more…

Then Lewis (who is not dead) stumbles into the room and watches them shoot Murphy in the vest…

Yup, she just stood there. Did absolutely nothing...

And they finish things off by shooting him enough times in the vest to tear it to ribbons and take some tasty chunks out of his torso to boot:

These have all been direct quotes by the way

Now, on any normal day, Alex Murphy would’ve been dead long before Clarence’s gang ran out of ammo, but this is a Paul Verhoeven film, so we’re not allowed to question the violence.

That being said, Murphy finally falls to his knees just as the gang pumps the last of their shells into his poor vest.

Seriously man, that thing had 2 days til retirement…

*Sniff* Don't worry friend, we'll remember you...

With Murphy left lying in pool of his own bodily fluids, one of Clarence’s gang, Emil (Paul McCrane), takes this opportunity to state the obvious:

"Hi, I'm Emil. I die a horrible death in this film!"

Not only that, but *GASP!* Joe takes this opportunity to be a DICK!

"Hi, I'm Joe. I, along with everyone else in this film, also die a horrible death in this movie."

Despite all the laughter and hijinks of his underlings throughout this scene, to his credit, Clarence finally steps forward and decides to put Alex Murphy out of his misery.

Well, either that or he was done with his cigarette and wanted to go home…

"The Tigers are a playin' a game, TONIGHT! I never miss a game..."

Either way, Clarence promptly walks up to Murphy, and casually puts a bullet through his head to call it a night:

Thusly concludes, the Best Overkill in Movies.

It’s brutal, it’s equally difficult and entertaining to watch, and in my mind, it’s simply the only top choice for this particular Top 10 list.

Anyway, thanks for reading, maybe we’ll do another Top 10 sometime.

With that, I’ve decided to go out on a high note by leaving you with this Robocop Rap:

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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