Poltergeist II The Other Side remains one of Jerry Goldsmith’s best scores of the 80’s and the fact that this could have easily been a re-hash of the Oscar nominated first score makes this score even more impressive. Goldsmith found a new identity to his score and the film by way of the Indian mystic Taylor, introducing his elegant shaman theme for synths over the opening credits (The Power). The lengthy opening affords the composer a chance to build his theme adding layer after layer with a final presentation of solo trumpet. From here Goldsmith introduces the ominous Kane theme, utilising the character’s evil Preacher incarnation and turning the theme into a distorted hymn, finally adding voices for the tortured sound of lost souls.
Things remains a major highlight and opens with an ominous variation on the original Carol Anne theme, before revealing a gorgeous rendition for synths, strings, harp and woodwinds. This is further expanded in the sublime Late Call with its mystical presentation of Carol Anne’s lullaby, again for synths but ably supported by warm strings. The Mall signals the ominous arrival of Kane into the lives of the Freelings as Carol Anne’s theme is turned into a frantic suspense cue. They’re Back is a major turning point for the score developing from chilling ‘Omenesque’ chorus, minus original lyrics, into a thoroughbred action cue with snare drums and crisp brass.
Butterflies is a short but hypnotic rendition of the Taylor theme and provides a rest bite before the onslaught of evil kicks in. The Visitor is a new cue providing more of Kane’s eerie accompaniment, but develops some intriguing latter elements of chanting and stabbing string figures. Wild Braces opens misleadingly with Carol Anne’s theme before all hell brakes loose with distorted voices, beeping synths and more orchestral action and chorus.
Leave Us Alone and The Smoke are low key developments of both Kane’s and Taylor’s theme. The latter cue develops the Kane theme to a crescendo with more chorus as his hideous past is relived before the ceremonial Taylor theme returns to dominate and close. The Worm sequence opens as a propulsive suspense cue, with strings and electronics providing the chanting, before things settle to a chilling and dissonant variation of the Kane theme as Stephen is possessed by a vomit monster. As the creature is rejected and Stephen wins the battle Goldsmith unleashes a maelstrom of snarling brass and thundering percussion for a wild finale. Back to Cuesta Verde introduces the final act with Goldsmith whipping the orchestra into a frenzy with a pulse pounding action piece for a fight with a chainsaw, before melancholy sets in as Carol Anne’s theme becomes ominously distant.
Reaching Out signals the final battle between good and evil as the family enters the nether world to destroy evil and retrieve Carol Anne. Goldsmith’s lengthy cue is a tug of war between three themes as the family try to pull her back, with Goldsmith’s celestial scoring repeatedly thrown between darkness and light. Taylor’s theme is now trumpeted with brass, while electronics now take on their true role as evil. Momentarily, with Carol Anne lost, Goldsmith provides a heartbreaking moment with a tragic new variant on her theme, before she is returned to the light signalling a triumphant restatement. Taylor’s mystical theme makes one final appearance to close the film and introduces the credits with Carol Anne’s touching lullaby for chorus (Carol Anne’s Theme).
This is the fifth incarnation of Poltergeist II! Now featuring the complete score from analogue and digital mixes, the remaining short missing cues, alternates, cues minus choir and the unused finale music with and without choir.