Reflections on Poltergeist: The Legacy

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

I've just finished watching Season One of Poltergeist: The Legacy on DVD and I have found loads of nit-picks. I have plenty more where these came from, but in the meantime, can you please explain the following...?

1) In the pilot episode, we see Rachel and her dead husband reflected in a mirror. The camera pans round to show that her dead husband is in fact William Sadler's character, who has been possessed by a demon. Why then has he flipped sides? If this were truly a mirror image of the two, then instead of being on Rachel's right he should be on her left (I've attached images to show you). The view pans right from the first image until you see the couple looking in the mirror - image 2. If you don't get it, simply hold up a mirror to image 1.

Image 1
Image 2

2) In the same episode, we discover that Derek has spent years searching for a set of five chests that were scattered across the Earth. Each chest has a different demon trapped inside and they were separated to prevent them all being brought together. We learn that if all five chests are brought together in the shape of a pentagram, all of the demons will be unleashed at the same time and they will open the gates of Hell. Isn't Derek stupid to collect them all together? Isn't this just an accident waiting to happen? Why not leave them scattered? Or collect just one - if Derek has one and keeps it safe then the demons can't be released and the gates of Hell will remain closed. He should have left the others where they had been undiscovered for centuries.

3) Also in the pilot, when Derek's father opens one of the chests, he unlocks it by turning the key to the right. It's well known that locks are opened by turning to the left (try all the locks in your own home if you don't believe me). Later, another of the chests is locked but the key is turned to the right to lock it. What is going on?

4) Finally (for now), why is the demon in the episode Do Not Go Gently so stupid? It has spent years being fiendishly clever, yet when Nick goes to save Liz, the demon makes the following deal with him. It shows him two Lizes - one real, one the demon - and asks him to choose one. If Nick gets it right, he and Liz can go free. So why does the demon posing as Liz say: "Save me!" The real Liz says: "Save yourself," so Nick knows she is the real one. Yet still the demon says: "Save me!"

Liam Bowker

Johnny Fanboy replies:

1) If you pay very, very close attention, as the camera pans around you can just see that Rachel's late husband is about to start kissing the back of her neck. By the time the camera has finished panning to show the couple looking in the mirror, the man has worked his way around to her other side.

2) Ah, but each of the chests can be opened individually and its demon released. If even one of the chests were opened then the demon within would attempt to track down the others and get them all opened, by possessing the person who released it. Evidently Derek is not confident of his ability to keep any single chest safe from other demon(s) and their possessed minion(s). He is simply trying to ensure that no one ever opens any of them.

3) It could be that the lock Derek's father opens was manufactured that way in order to bamboozle people who assume that locks only ever open by turning the key to the left. Maybe all the chests lock/unlock in a slightly different way from each other, which would explain why the other chest is locked by turning the key to the right.

4) Perhaps the demon wasn't expecting Liz to be so selfless. He is an evil demon, after all, and he wouldn't be the first one to be confused by human kindness (consider Azal's extreme case of self-destructive confusion at Jo's self-sacrifice in the Doctor Who serial The Daemons). Also, though it's now a sci-fi cliché that a phoney duplicate can be detected in such a way, how many people would really say, "Save yourself," when captured by a demon? Would you? Would you really? More likely, the demon was reasonable in his expectation that Liz would beg to be rescued.

Return to: