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The Poltergeist Revisits

By: - May 23, 2015
Category : Hauntings

As the new Poltergeist movie hits theaters on May 22, fans will get the chance to see an updated version of the 1982 classic hit the big screen. Or for those of you who have never seen the original, it should provide a fresh sense of scares for you. The plot sounds rather old hat where a seemingly normal family becomes acutely aware that a strange entity is taking over their house. But the original gave homeowners second thoughts on what their land was used for before a house was built on it.


Bravo rated this scene in their top 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

Back in 1982, there was a lot of hoopla surrounding the original production. Spielberg, who had just come off the heels of E.T., was co-writing and producing the movie. This is evident in the beginning which feels like the same town E.T. visits right before the family meets him. By this time, Speilerg had proved to give the midas touch to audiences through Jaws,Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’ve heard several sources state that Spielberg actually directed the film, but due to a clause in his contract with Universal, he wasn’t allowed to have his name appear as director in any other film besides E.T. that year. The jury is still out on who actually directed. Tobe Hooper “the director” had been slowly building a horror resume directing such hits as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Funhouse. Some claim he was battling substance abuse and was unable to make proper decisions so Spielberg had to step in.

Speilberg and Hooper on Poltergeist set

Speilberg and Hooper on set in 1982. Credit MGM

Needless to say, Poltergeist went on to become a smash cult hit at the box office with everybody talking about the special effects, scary moments, and great cast. As with almost every movie, a few rumors began to spring up from the ground…

After production wrapped, the girl who played Dana (Dominique Dunne), was killed by her ex-boyfriend. The trial is a whole story in itself. The timing was extremely tragic as the movie had just opened 5 months before she passed. After that terrible story, the other daughter, Heather O’Rourke, died following the 3rd film in 1988 at the age of only 12. This lead to many digging to see if anything seemed off during production.

Poltergeist Skeletons

Did the real skeletons play a role in the untimely death of the cast members?

There was an alarming yes. The production used actual human skeletons in the swimming pool scene. At the time, it was cheaper than the plastic alternatives. Since then several other untimely deaths plagued a few of the cast members including plane crashes, ax murders, and post operative kidney failures.

Going back to the young actress who played Carol Anne, I was recently on a thread that mentioned an eerie foreshadowing in Poltergeist. There is a scene somewhere in the beginning that shows a poster for the 1988 Superbowl hanging above the son’s bed. Now there are two parts to this story that seems strange. The first is why would they have a poster for the 1988 Super Bowl when the movie was made six years prior? The other is Heather O’Rourke died exactly one day after the Super Bowl in 1988. Another coincidence is she is wearing a San Diego Rams helmet when the ghosts are pulling her into the kitchen. If someone could verify these two instances, it would be much appreciated.

So I guess we’ll never know what caused so many things to go wrong with the first cast. I haven’t heard any stories yet about the new film., so maybe it was all just a coincidence. If the new film has half as many memorable and scary moments, I’m sure it will be a welcomed remake. Otherwise stick with the original if it’s something you don’t mind losing a few nights sleep over.


Courtesy 20th Century Fox