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Every Poltergeist Movie In Order & How To Watch Them

They're heeere ... and there.  And everywhere! 

The "Poltergeist" series of films mainly focuses on the long-suffering Freeling family, whose happy move into the suburbs causes them to run afoul of a whole lot of angry spirits. This is thanks to some gigantic lies told to them by patriarch Steve's (Craig T. Nelson) bosses at a real estate company. Fortunately, they have some help on this side of existence, such as parapsychologist Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein). Along the way, houses are destroyed, young children are haunted, and families are nearly torn apart by death. Houses are cleaned — or so it seems — and then abandoned. And those understandably angry ghosts never quite leave the Freelings alone — especially their youngest, Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), who becomes a conduit to the other side, much to her horror.

While the films have long been haunted by the so-called "Poltergeist Curse," which sprung up in relation to as series of real-life tragedies that plagued the film's cast, the movies still hold up and form a spine-chilling legacy. The film series contains three motion pictures in a single continuity and one remake. Here they are in order, and where you can see them at home.

Poltergeist (1982)

A haunted house movie with a twist that could only be co-conceived by Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg, "Poltergeist" opens the film series by pitting your average family against the supernatural. The Freelings moved into a planned community that's been sold by real estate agent father Steve. Surely, the house his boss has told him is perfectly safe couldn't have been built upon a graveyard, right?

That's the nightmare Steve, his wife Diane (JoBeth Williams), teen daughter Dana (Dominique Dunne), tweener Robbie (Oliver Robins), and baby sister Carol Anne must cope with. The spirits take a liking to Carol Anne and try to hold her hostage, causing the Freelings to contact Tangina — who comes complete with her own camera crew. It turns out that Carol Anne might be the key to freeing them from purgatory. Who will survive, and will the spirits get their way and keep Carol Ann?

The original "Poltergeist" is currently streaming exclusively on MGM+. One can, however, rent the film digitally at $3.99 or buy it for $9.99 at most major streaming retailers. 

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

The Freeling family forge on in this sequel, and so do most of the first film's actors despite a series of bizarre things that happened on the set of the first film, including being asked to swim with real skeletons. Though they've moved to Phoenix (and eldest daughter Dana is away at college), they're still being haunted by wicked spirits. In this case, it's the malicious preacher Reverend Henry Kane (Julian Beck) whose spirit is unleashed when the former site of the Freelings' California home is turned into an archeological dig site. 

Determined to get what he wants, Kane menaces the family. Only Tangina, her friend Taylor (Will Sampson), and faith in Native American mystical practices can help the family live to see a brand-new day. But the Feelings will have to go back to California and confront their very literal demons to do it. The key will be family unity — and resisting the pull of Kane's spiritual force.

"Poltergeist II: The Other Side" is currently streaming on Max. It, like its predecessor, is available to rent at $3.99 and can be bought for $9.99 at all major retailers. 

Poltergeist III (1988)

Being Carol Anne Freeling is one daunting prospect, and a third change of scenery does not even the odds for the poor kid. In "Poltergeist III," she finds herself shipped off to her aunt and uncle, who live in a Chicago high-rise. Carol Anne attends a school for gifted children with a connection to the other side, but she has been cast out by her immediate family, and her new one has no idea what to make of her. Kane resurfaces, using the mirrored walls of the high rise to attain a conduit to the human world. With Carol Anne's psychiatrist convinced she's using hypnosis to convince others they've seen ghosts, what can she do — and who will help her?

The only returning members of the original cast were Zelda Rubinstein and Heather O'Rourke, who would pass away at a tragically young age before the film's completion. The ending was reshot in deference to her memory, but this would mark the final endeavor for the Freeling family for decades afterward. 

"Poltergeist III" is also available on Max. It can be rented at $2.99 to $3.99 at most major retailers and can be bought for $9.99.

Poltergeist (2015)

Reboot mania finally hit the "Poltergeist" franchise in 2015. The remake follows the Bowen family instead of the Freelings and features no cast members from any of the three previous "Poltergeist" films. But much like the Freelings, Eric (Sam Rockwell) and Amy Bowen (Rosemarie DeWitt) face down spirits that inhabit clown dolls, haunt their television sets, and otherwise make a gigantic mess of things. 

Kids Griff (Kyle Catlett) Maddie (Kennedi Clements), and Kendra (Saxon Sharbino) find themselves enduring situations similar to the ones that plague Robbie, Carol Anne, and Dana. Will parapsychologist Dr. Brooke Powell (Jane Adams) and ghost hunter and reality television show star Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) — two battling exes — be able to put their enmity aside and find Maddie before she's lost in the spirit world forever?

The "Poltergeist" remake can be found on Max as well and can be rented for $3.99 and bought for $9.99 at all digital retailers.