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Special effects in the movies have grown so skilled, sensational, and scary that they sometimes upstage the human actors. And they often cost a lot more. In "Poltergeist," for example, the cast is made up of relatively unknown performers, but that's all right because the real stars are producer Steven Spielberg (" Raiders of the Lost Ark "), director Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), and their reputations for special effects and realistic violence. Their names on this horror film suggest that its technology will be impeccable. And they don't disappoint us. This is the movie " The Amityville Horror " dreamed of being. It begins with the same ingredients (a happy American family, living in a big, comfortable house). It provides similar warnings of doom (household objects move by themselves, the weather seems different around the house than anywhere else). And it ends with a similar apocalypse (spirits take total possession of the house, and terrorize the family). Even some of the special effects are quite similar, as when greasy goo begins to ooze around the edges of a doorjamb.

But "Poltergeist" is an effective thriller, not so much because of the special effects, as because Hooper and Spielberg have tried to see the movie's strange events through the eyes of the family members, instead of just standing back and letting the special effects overwhelm the cast along with the audience. The movie takes place in Spielberg's favorite terrain, the American suburb (also the locale of parts of " Close Encounters of the Third Kind ," " Jaws " and " E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial "). The haunted house doesn't have seven gables, but it does have a two-car garage. It is occupied by a fairly normal family (two parents, three kids) and the movie begins on a somewhat hopeful note with the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" as a TV station signs off.

The opening visuals, however, are somewhat ominous. They're an extreme close-up of a TV screen, filled with the usual patriotic images (Iwo Jima, the Lincoln Memorial). Why so close? We're almost being invited to look between the dots on the screen and see something else. And indeed, the family's youngest daughter, an open-faced, long-haired, innocent little cherub, begins to talk to the screen. She's in touch with the "TV people." Before long she disappears from this plane of existence and goes to live with the TV people, wherever they are. Weird events begin to happen in the house. An old tree behaves ominously. The swimming pool seems to have a mind of its own. And the villains are the same people who were the bad guys in Spielberg's "Jaws" -- the real estate developers. This time, instead of encouraging people to go back into the water, they're building a subdivision on top of an old graveyard.

This is all ridiculous, but Hooper and Spielberg hold our interest by observing the everyday rituals of this family so closely that, since the family seems real, the weird events take on a certain credibility by association. That's during the first hour of the movie. Then all hell breaks loose, and the movie begins to operate on the same plane as " Alien " or " Altered States ," as a shocking special-effects sound-and-light show. A closet seems to exist in another dimension. The swimming pool is filled with grasping, despairing forms of the undead. The search for the missing little girl involves a professional psionics expert, and a lady dwarf who specializes in "cleaning" haunted homes. Nobody ever does decide whether a poltergeist really is involved in the events in the house, or who the poltergeist may be, but if that doesn't prevent them from naming the movie "Poltergeist" I guess it shouldn't keep us from enjoying it.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Poltergeist (1982)

114 minutes

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Cast & crew, tobe hooper, jobeth williams, craig t. nelson, beatrice straight, heather o'rourke, dominique dunne, photos & videos, technical specs.

In her family's suburban home, ghosts begin communicating with five-year-old Carol Anne through the static on the television screen. At first the spirits seem to be friendly, but using the television as their portal to enter the house, they kidnap Carol Anne. As her desperate family tries to rescue the little girl, they are terrorized by the ghosts and their the demonic leader, The Beast.

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Best sound effects sound editing, best visual effects.

Poltergeist

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States June 1982

Released in United States Summer June 4, 1982

Released in USA on video.

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Poltergeist

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Poltergeist (1982).

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It knows what scares you.

Steve Freeling lives with his wife, Diane, and their three children, Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne, in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood. It starts with just a few odd occurrences, such as broken dishes and furniture moving around by itself. However, when he realizes that something truly evil haunts his home, Steve calls in a team of parapsychologists led by Dr. Lesh to help before it's too late.

Steven Spielberg

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Tobe Hooper

Mark Victor

Michael Grais

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Craig T. Nelson

Craig T. Nelson

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JoBeth Williams

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Diane Freeling

Beatrice Straight

Beatrice Straight

Dominique Dunne

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Dana Freeling

Oliver Robins

Oliver Robins

Robbie Freeling

Heather O'Rourke

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Carol Anne Freeling

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John Chard

Featured Review

A review by john chard, written by john chard on february 8, 2017.

We know it as the beast.

The Freeling family are happy and functioning perfectly well until one night their youngest daughter announces that thru the TV, the supernatural are here!

Poltergeist divides the horror crowd big time, the gore fans are simply not impressed by the events in the film, while ghostly supernatural fans such as myself see it as a wasted opportunity. But strip away the flashy production and you start to see the core joke of kids infatuation with the goggle box, so yes, the film could easily be titled under the banner of being a Black Comedy. But be that as it may, and... read the rest.

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Poltergeist

Status Released

Original Language English

Budget $10,700,000.00

Revenue $122,200,000.00

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Poltergeist.

1982 Directed by Tobe Hooper

They're here

Steve Freeling lives with his wife, Diane, and their three children, Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne, in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood. It starts with just a few odd occurrences, such as broken dishes and furniture moving around by itself. However, when he realizes that something truly evil haunts his home, Steve calls in a team of parapsychologists led by Dr. Lesh to help before it's too late.

Craig T. Nelson JoBeth Williams Beatrice Straight Dominique Dunne Oliver Robins Heather O'Rourke Michael McManus Virginia Kiser Martin Casella Richard Lawson Zelda Rubinstein James Karen Lou Perryman Clair E. Leucart Dirk Blocker Allan Graf Joseph Walsh Helen Baron Noel Conlon Robert Broyles Sonny Landham Frank Welker William Vail Craig Simmons

Director Director

Tobe Hooper

Assistant Director Asst. Director

Producers producers.

Steven Spielberg Kathleen Kennedy Frank Marshall

Writers Writers

Steven Spielberg Michael Grais Mark Victor

Casting Casting

Jane Feinberg Mike Fenton Marci Liroff

Editor Editor

Michael Kahn

Cinematography Cinematography

Matthew F. Leonetti

Production Design Production Design

James H. Spencer

Set Decoration Set Decoration

Cheryal Kearney

Special Effects Special Effects

Jeff Jarvis

Visual Effects Visual Effects

Richard Edlund John Bruno Milton Gray Paul Huston

Stunts Stunts

Glenn Randall Jr. Jeannie Epper Bob Herron Bobby Clark

Composer Composer

Jerry Goldsmith

Sound Sound

Mark A. Mangini Richard L. Anderson

Makeup Makeup

Dorothy J. Pearl Toni-Ann Walker

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Steven Spielberg Productions SLM Production Group

Releases by Date

Theatrical limited, 29 oct 1982, 06 oct 2022, 04 jun 1982, 06 aug 1982, 26 aug 1982, 03 sep 1982, 16 sep 1982, 23 sep 1982, 24 sep 1982, 20 oct 1982, 28 oct 1982, 08 jan 1989, 01 jun 1991, 01 sep 2021, 14 nov 2007, 15 oct 2008, 28 oct 2006, releases by country.

  • Theatrical 14
  • Theatrical M
  • Theatrical 15
  • Theatrical 16
  • Digital 16 Netflix

Netherlands

  • TV 16 Veronica
  • Physical 16 DVD
  • Physical 16 Blu ray

South Korea

  • Theatrical 18
  • Theatrical R
  • Theatrical limited R
  • Theatrical limited R 40th anniversary re-release

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Popular reviews

Lucy

Review by Lucy ★★★½ 5

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

ya sonofabitch ya MOVED the cemetery but ya left the bodies DIDN'T cha! ya sonofabitch ya left the bodies and ya only moved the headstooooooones! YA ONLY MOVED THE HEADSTOOOOOONES!!! WHYYYYYYY?! WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?

demi adejuyigbe

Review by demi adejuyigbe 12

no sympathy for this family. buy the ghost insurance next time

Shane McAvoy

Review by Shane McAvoy ★★★½ 6

Love the teenage daughter. She eats cereal and makes phone calls. Never once has a spooky ghost encounter. She’s just at a party while her entire family is getting coffin flopped.

DirkH

Review by DirkH ★★★★½ 20

Overlong infomercial on the dangers of watching too much television.

eely

Review by eely ★★★

i love how their teenage daughter just fuckin up and left as soon as freaky shit started happening bc that would be me

SilentDawn

Review by SilentDawn ★★★★★ 10

So I know that this movie basically traumatized a generation and my brother knew what he was doing when he showed it to me as a kid, but nowadays, I find this not quite as scary and more of an overwhelming familial suburban tale. Spielberg's unit destroyed by the shady practices of the corporations that offered the idyllic life of the Reagan 80s. One of the greatest american horror films.

Mike Flanagan

Review by Mike Flanagan ★★★★★ 13

Tobe Hooper's all-time classic remains the gold standard. Wonderfully written and acted, and honest-to-hell scary, this movie is as much about the family as it is about the haunting. The Freelings are charming, flawed, real, and fascinating throughout. One of the all-time greats, and one of the movies that cemented a lifelong love of the horror genre in me.

gal pacino

Review by gal pacino ★★★★ 6

extra half star because if you squint you can pretend that craig t nelson is harrison ford

Willow Maclay

Review by Willow Maclay ★★★½

Poltergeist is a movie about real mom shit. Stepping on toys that you asked your kid to pick up and put away 100 times. Cradling your son and telling him everything is going to be okay on a sofa in the dead of night. Following your daughter into an unknown hell to save her from the bad influences of ghosts. Ya know. Just everyday mom shit.

Erin 🍺

Review by Erin 🍺 ★★★★ 7

Watching JoBeth Williams as a super hot mom smoking pot was like seeing a glimpse into my future

kayla

Review by kayla ★★★★

I never would’ve stepped foot in that house again after the first incident but I guess I’m built different

Sam

Review by Sam ★★★½ 1

Never seen so much Star Wars merch in one place

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Poltergeist (1982)

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Poltergeist is an American 1982 supernatural  horror film , directed by Tobe Hooper , produced by Steven Spielberg , and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 4, 1982. It is the first and most successful of the Poltergeist film trilogy, and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

The film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments [1] and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made. [2] The film also appeared on American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Thrills , a list of America's most heart-pounding movies. [3]

  • 3 Film Stills
  • 4.1 Creative relationship
  • 5 Production Stills
  • 6 Deleted and Novelization Scenes
  • 7 Home video release
  • 9 Reception
  • 10 Reissues and sequels
  • 11 Curse Assumptions
  • 12 Misconceptions and Unanswered Questions
  • 13 Cultural impact
  • 14 References
  • 15 External links

Steven and Diane Freeling are living a quiet life in a California suburb where Steven is a real estate agent selling for the development where they live with their children, Dana, Robbie , Carol Anne , and the family dog E. Buzz.

One night after all are asleep with the living room television still on, the TV station signs off for the night and goes to static. The youngest daughter, Carol Anne, hears faint whispering from the TV static. She strolls hypnotically down the stairs to the TV and begins answering the voices that only she can hear, waking up the rest of the family.

The next week all seems normal for a Sunday afternoon, Steven and friends are glued to a football game. Robbie decides to climb the tree closest to his bedroom, which he finds gruesome because part of it appears to have the shape of a head. He decides to conquer his fear by climbing it. While Diane is cleaning the room that Robbie and Carol Anne share, she finds Carol Anne's pet canary dead. Attempting to flush it, she's caught by Carol Anne and forced to give it a proper burial. After mourning, Carol Anne cheerfully asks for a goldfish.

After Carol Anne overfeeds her two fish the children are tucked into bed. Robbie seems concerned about the storm coming. In the Freelings' master bedroom Diane and Steven unwind with some marijuana and conversation while Steven reads. Diane seems concerned about the incident with Carol Anne as when she was a child she was a chronic sleepwalker. As they are building a pool Diane worries if their daughter might accidentally wander outside and into the pool. Steven assures her with his "expertise" from his diving days things will be fine.

In the children's room Robbie can't sleep and stares out the window with fear of the tree and the thunderstorm. His attention turns to his most intense childhood scare, Carol Anne's stuffed clown jester doll. In what seems to be a nightly ritual, Robbie closes his eyes as he moves towards it, takes a jacket and covers it up so he can sleep.

Steven is tickling Diane in bed when Robbie interrupts them about the storm. Steven piggybacks him back to bed and teaches him to gauge the distance of the storm by counting between when the lightning strikes and the thunder hits. This comforts Robbie as Steven leaves him and Carol Anne to count and hopefully fall asleep. After catching Dana on the phone after hours he seems satisfied that things will settle down for the night. As the children count longer lapses between lightning and thunder, lightning suddenly hits right outside, and they are next seen sleeping soundly between their parents.

That night as the family (minus Dana) sleep in the master bedroom, the television once again goes to sign off. Just as before, Carol Anne wakes up immediately to the television static and its voices. This time as she touches the screen out of curiosity, a ghostly skeletal hand connected by small orb-like shapes touches back. The touch has somehow made it possible for the form to now freely roam the physical realm. It accelerates into the wall above the bed at incredible speed and causes earthquake like movement of the entire house. The being(s) are now released as Carol Anne says, "They're here."

The next day at breakfast, while Steve tries to make sense of the fact that no one else seems to have noticed an earthquake last night, Diane asks who Carol Anne meant by "They're here." She responds that it was the "TV people", leading Robbie to conclude that she's stoned. Robbie's glass of milk suddenly breaks from the bottom and spills onto the table and Dana and her homework. After she leaves in a huff to clean up, Robbie looks down to see also that his utensils have been bent.

In the master bedroom, the family dog seems enthralled with the hole above the master bedroom from the spirits' arrival the night before, and even brings his favorite toy as an offering to play. Diane later is shocked as she sees the kitchen chairs have been unusually stacked upon themselves. She begins to realize the presence of beings in her home, which fascinates her. As Steven pulls into the driveway she rushes him inside to show him new occurrences in the kitchen. Using masking tape as a makeshift runway to mark the path, the chairs move right along from one side of the room to the other. She then lets Carol Anne slide to be caught by Stephen. As she becomes more and more excited, he is disturbed and worried. After embarrassingly asking the neighbor if he has had any incidents, Steven insists no word of it to anyone and no one is to go inside the kitchen until they know what's going on.

Shortly after, during a second storm, the gnarled tree comes to life and grabs Robbie through his bedroom window. However, this is merely a distraction used by the ghosts to get Carol Anne's parents to leave her unattended. While Diane and Steven rescue Robbie and the tree is consumed by a sudden tornado that suspected vanishes as quickly as it appeared. Carol Anne is sucked through a portal in her closet. After a thorough search of the house, the horrified Freelings realize she has been taken after they begin to hear her communicating through a television set.

A group of parapsychologists from UC Irvine, Dr. Martha Lesh, Dr. Ryan Mitchell and Dr. Martin Casey, come to the Freeling house to investigate. Steven gives them the rundown on the situation as they ask to see the entry point of the incident, the children's bedroom. As Steven prepares to unlock the door, Ryan proudly boasts that he has video of a child's toy matchbox vehicle taking 7 hours to roll across a floor, and how incredible it is on time lapse. Steven nods uninterested as he opens the door to complete chaos. The ghosts aren't amused with their first time on display. One bed is spinning while Carol Anne's clown doll is laughing manically, A floating lamp plugs itself in, Several toys approach the group to either tease or threaten and A math compass flies towardsDr. Lesh before using it's needle to play a child's record.

They determine that the Freelings are experiencing a poltergeist, rather than a true haunting. Poltergeists who are known to center themselves around an individual rather than a location and for chaotic activity opposed to simply "roaming the halls". Dr. Lesh explains that the spirits have not moved on to "the light" after death, but are stuck between dimensions. They have taken Carol Anne, Lesh says, because as an innocent 5-year-old girl, her "life force" is as bright to them as the light, and they believe she is their salvation.

In the living room, as it gets dark (Presumably chosen being signals of any kind are strongest at night.), Diane turns to the channel she can hear Carol Anne's voice can transmit best. After a few unsuccessful tries she coaxes Carol Anne to say hello to her father. Diane knows that Carol Anne is naive about what's happening and attempts to get any clues from the girl using a motherly soft demeanor. The mood in the room changes when Carol Anne mentions being afraid of a light. As Diane believes it's a portal home Dr. Lesh informs her it's dangerous and the way permanently to the other side. Marty, strangely still unconvinced after all he's seen, investigates the television and thinks there may be a chance it's a CB radio transmission and a hoax while Dr. Lesh refuses such an idea.

After Marty leaves for upstairs a flash of white flame appears from the ceiling directly above the living room, dropping watches and jewelry covered in dust. Steven on top of wanting his child back is becoming more and more disgusted at the behavior of the spirits. Carol Anne speaks and tells them their is someone close by her and asks if it's her mother. Steven replies no and has a look of concern. Carol Anne screams into a state of panic and at this point is obviously running. The sound of something unearthly is chasing her. After several moments of panic from both sides the sound of her screams and of the entity suddenly go quiet. Diane begins to slowly ascend the stairs when suddenly a breeze passes through her. Carol Anne being in the world between the living and the dead could only escape to downstairs in invisible spirit form. Even then being drawn back into the other realm. Diane breaks into tears of both joy and sadness as she realizes Carol Ann's soul passed through hers. Not long after, the sound of the unknown force chasing her follows her path, also invisible. It lets out a horrendous roar and wind to warn the group from anymore tampering.

As Diane panics that Carol Anne's no longer transmitting, Dr. Lesh sternly asks her where Carol Anne was when she disappeared. Diane takes a guess as her bedroom closet. Dr. Lesh has had enough of standing by and is determined to get into the room despite Steven's warning. Just as she and Ryan head upstairs Marty runs down sweating and holding the right side of his abdomen. Lifting up his shirt revealing a large circular bite mark with teeth punctures and saliva. Steven attempts to convince Diane to take Dana and Robbie and leave. Diane refuses to go anywhere with Carol Anne as Dana pleads to go to her friend Lisa's for the night. Steven insists he's staying no matter what.

Later that night Robbie and Dr. Lesh have an in depth, enlightened discussion about death, and what the spirits want. Robbie's side of the conversation suddenly is caught by Steven as Robbie describes a childlike (but feasible) plan in which they tie a rope around him to go and grab Carol Anne from upstairs. Diane tells Robbie to get some sleep. He tells them all goodnight, including Carol Anne as quiet static murmurs on the TV set.

After most of the group in the living room are fast asleep, Marty informs Ryan that he's going to forage for something to eat in the kitchen. After finding a steak, he places it on the counter. Moments later it starts to move and then burst open from the inside into shreds. A chicken leg Marty was eating falls from his mouth and puts him into shock to see maggots along with it on the floor. He rushes to the bathroom and vomits in the sink and splashes water on his face to compose himself. The bathroom light gives a strange color and hum as Marty looks into the mirror and sees a sudden bloody gouge on his face. For no known reason then his own he decides to claw at it. He continues and gradually is tearing apart his own face to the bone. His exposed skull gives a hiccuped growl and then suddenly after a flash of light, Marty looks to his reflection and realizes he was hallucinating.

Ryan meanwhile monitors the equipment for any sudden changes in the houses environment. He is oblivious to a sudden flux on the meters as his Walkman and sketching pad preoccupy him. An EKG like meter starts erratically giving readings. A computer controlled video camera programmed to focus on disturbances begins to scan up the stairway as the children's bedroom door opens. Light and mist start to appear. Marty, still in trembling fear as he returns to the living room, motions to Ryan. A brilliantly lit and almost angelic female apparition surrounded by bright orbs begins to descend down the stairs very slowly. Everyone in the room rouses and are frightened except for Ryan, who has a look of wonder and excitement in his expression. It ascends up into the ceiling and vanishes. Ryan, very excited and impatient, rolls it back just far enough to discover that the orbs following the "Glowing Woman" were on closer view spirits of human beings. Although distorted almost like a photo negative, they can make out the orbs have faces and bodies, and even clothing of different time periods. As they walk past the camera, they are seen acting curious and observing the living group and the surroundings. Dr. Lesh comments that they are "So lonely, so alone." Being a curious visit without any sign of anger as the earlier invisible apparition, and none of their "shenanigans", it might be a cry for help.

After these series of paranormal episodes, Robbie and Dana are sent away for their safety. Dr. Lesh informs Diane that she's leaving Ryan with the family for support and that Marty (obviously petrified after being the most victimized of the group) won't be returning. She embraces Diane and tells her she will be back, and with help. Later that day, Steven is approached by his boss, Lewis Teague, about a promotion. The new project will involve selling lots on a newly acquired hilltop parcel of land that currently houses a cemetery. When Steven balks at the idea of relocating the graveyard, his boss shrugs it off, explaining that the company had done it before, in the very neighborhood where Steven now lives.

Dr. Lesh soon returns with a renowned spiritual medium, Tangina Barrons , a little person who immediacy Steve makes jokes about her size and psychic ability, and is humorously proven that he's wrong about the latter. He and Diane soon respect her for her knowledge. She asks the group to huddle to her, so she can explain the true meaning of what has been occurring in the house.

She informs Diane that Carol Anne is alive and in the house. And her life force is very powerful, but keeping the kind-hearted ghosts from passing on. The souls for whatever reason are not at rest. They look to her living presence as a way of remembrance of life, and the joy it gave them. (Mr.Teague mentions earlier in casual that Carol Anne was born in the Freeling house. A plot exposition that reenforces why the spirits are attracted to her.)

She then describes the entity behind the darker deeds of the house. While the spirits have been mostly curious and playful, the sinister deeds (the skeletal hand, the growling wind, the possession of the tree, and Marty's attacks) have been orchestrated by a "lone wolf" spirit Tangina calls "The Beast". It has been corrupting the others to use their spiritual being for power. (Explaining their ghostly orbs connecting his skeletal hand (connect-the-dot style) to aid his escape to the living realm using the empty television transmission.) Bribing them with the promise of the presence of Carol Anne.

The assembled group discovers that while the entrance to the other dimension is through the children's bedroom closet, the exit is through the living room ceiling. They send Diane to rescue Carol Anne, tying her to a rope that they've managed to thread through both portals. As Tangina coaxes the agonized spirits away from Carol Anne and instead to the light, Steve suddenly panics and attempts to pull Diane back to him, causing the enraged Beast to manifest through the portal in front of him as a giant, roaring skeletal face. Diane retrieves her daughter and they emerge through the living room ceiling, falling to the floor and covered in pre-natal ooze. Tangina announces, "This house is clean."

However, while the spirits have moved on to the afterlife peacefully, the Beast has not. Now wanting revenge after losing the life force of both the ghosts and Carol Anne. On the family's final night in the house, the Beast ambushes Diane and the children. Locking the children in their room and attacking Robbie with the thing he fears most, the clown doll. The Beast then attempts to sexually assault Diane. After breaking free she makes her way to the children's room. Blocking the door to the room, The Beast finally finally reveals it's appearance. That of a ghostly skull with 4 praying mantis like legs. She panics and rolls down the stairs while The Beast manages to electrify the railings to prevent her from ascending back up. Diane runs to her neighbors for help, and in the process, slips and falls into the unfinished swimming pool, from which coffins and rotting corpses erupt. Her neighbors, terrified by the ghostly energy blazing from the house, refuse to help. Meanwhile In the children's room, the closet has imploded and turned into a monstrous oesophagus-like structure that threatens to suck in Carol Anne and Robbie. Diane nonetheless manages to pull Robbie and Carol Anne out from the house, as Dana returns from a date to find coffins and dead bodies exploding from the ground throughout the neighborhood.

As Steven returns home to this mayhem, he realizes that, when Teague relocated the cemetery under the subdivision, he'd done it on the cheap and only moved the headstones. Teague appears soon after, joining the Freelings' neighbors in their horror at the Freeling house's explosive possession. An enraged Steven confronts him with the fact that by leaving the bodies in unmarked graves and building houses on top of them, Teague had desecrated their burial grounds. As the Freelings drive away in terror, the house itself implodes into another dimension, to the astonishment of onlookers, while Teague becomes aware he faces a dark future because of these events.

The family flees from town and check into a Holiday Inn for the night outside the town. Taking no chances, Steven puts the television outside on the balcony.

  • Craig T. Nelson as Steve Freeling
  • JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling
  • Dominique Dunne as Dana Freeling
  • Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling
  • Zelda Rubinstein as Tangina Barrons
  • Beatrice Straight as Dr. Martha Lesh
  • Lou Perryman as Pugsley (AKA Bluto the coffee thief.)
  • Oliver Robins as Robbie Freeling
  • William Hope as Dana's Boyfriend In Car (cameo) (uncredited)
  • Michael McManus as Ben Tuthill
  • Virginia Kiser as Mrs. Tuthill
  • Martin Casella as Dr. Martin Casey
  • Richard Lawson as Dr. Ryan Mitchell
  • Clair E. Leucart as the Bulldozer Driver
  • James Karen as Mr. Teague
  • Dirk Blocker as Jeff Shaw

Film Stills [ ]

Poltergeist Carol

Production [ ]

Creative relationship [ ].

A clause in his contract with Universal Studios prevented Spielberg from directing any other film while preparing E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial . Time and Newsweek tagged the summer of 1982 "The Spielberg Summer" because E.T. and Poltergeist were released a week apart in June. As such a marketable name, some began to question Spielberg's role during production. Suggestions that Spielberg had greater directorial influence than the credits suggest were aided by comments made by the writer/producer:

"Tobe isn't... a take-charge sort of guy. If a question was asked and an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, I'd jump in and say what we could do. Tobe would nod agreement, and that become the process of collaboration."

The Directors Guild of America "opened an investigation into the question of whether or not Hooper's official credit was being denigrated by statements Spielberg has made, apparently claiming authorship." Co-producer Frank Marshall told the Los Angeles Times that "the creative force of the movie was Steven. Tobe was the director and was on the set every day. But Steven did the design for every storyboard and he was on the set every day except for three days when he was in Hawaii with Lucas." However, Hooper claimed that he "did fully half of the storyboards."

The Hollywood Reporter printed an open letter from Spielberg to Hooper in the week of the film's release.

"Regrettably, some of the press has misunderstood the rather unique, creative relationship, which you and I shared throughout the making of Poltergeist .

I enjoyed your openness in allowing me... a wide berth for creative involvement, just as I know you were happy with the freedom you had to direct Poltergeist so wonderfully.

Through the screenplay you accepted a vision of this very intense movie from the start, and as the director, you delivered the goods. You performed responsibly and professionally throughout, and I wish you great success on your next project. [7]"

Several members of the Poltergeist cast and crew have over the years consistently alleged, that Spielberg was the 'de facto director' of the picture, while other actors have claimed Hooper directed the film. In a 2007 interview with Ain't It Cool News , Rubinstein discussed her recollections of the shooting process. She said that "Steven directed all six days" that she was on set: "Tobe set up the shots and Steven made the adjustments." She also alleged that Hooper "allowed some unacceptable chemical agents into his work," and at her interview felt that time "Tobe was only partially there." [4] In an interview with Deadpit Radio, Lou Perryman stated "Tobe directed me and everything I saw while I was there, he directed." Oliver Robbins (who played Robbie) said that Tobe Hooper was the director. Craig T. Nelson also confirmed Hooper as the director, strongly influenced by Spielberg.

Production Stills [ ]

The beast model 1

Deleted and Novelization Scenes [ ]

  • In the same scene, a concerned Dr. Lesh says, "There are hundreds of them!" in reference to the spirits.
  • At the university, after Lesh shows the video for the first time to a class, a colleague, Dr. Anthony Farrow is truly astonished. While browsing through the jewelry and watches that had fallen from the ceiling portal he convinces Dr. Lesh to take a pair of earrings for herself as a "volunteer's pay." She smiles and names him an accessory to the crime. He then finds an interesting piece. A jaw clamp for funerals that prevents the mouth from suddenly dropping open when the body is in repose. This scene was not only written, but filmed, developed and still exists, possibly in MGM's vault. It was most likely deleted for being a spoiler for the cemetery reveal.
  • In the novelization, Robbie is having a birthday party and his mother sends him on a treasure hunt. In his search, he reaches inside their brick barbecue only to be bitten by what he discovers is the clown doll, which is no longer upstairs and mysteriously hiding there.
  • In the novel, the spirit in the staircase is known as "The Lady in Waiting."
  • Also in the novel, Tangina is featured much more prominently and even has a one on one battle with the Beast on the other side. It includes a moment where the beast grows horns and buries them in Tangina's eyes. To no avail, however, as her Psychic powers are extremely potent in his realm.
  • In a filmed scene, the hole in the master bedroom grows a spider-like array of tentacles that grab Diane instead of the finished shot of the invisible "manhandling" she receives.

Home video release [ ]

In 1997, MGM released Poltergeist on DVD in a snap case, and the only special feature was a trailer. In 1998, Poltergeist was re-released on DVD with the same cover and disc as the 1997 release, but in a keep case and with an eight page booklet. In 1999, it was released on DVD again by Warner Home Video in a snap case with the same disc, but a different cover. Warner Home Video tentatively scheduled releases for the 25th anniversary edition of the film on standard DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray [5] in Spain and the US on 9 October 2007. The re-release claimed to have digitally remastered picture and sound, and a two-part documentary: "They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists," which makes extensive use of clips from the film. The remastered DVD of the film was released as scheduled but both high-definition releases were eventually canceled. Warner rescheduled the high definition version of the film and eventually released it only on the Blu-ray disc format on October 14, 2008. [6]

The Blu-ray disc release still had the "25th Anniversary Edition" banner [7] even though this particular release was a full year behind the actual anniversary of the film. The Blu-ray disc release was packaged in collectible, non-standard Blu-ray disc packaging Warner Home Video calls "digibook" which is supposed to resemble a coffee table book and contains pictures from the film on its pages.

A six disc prototype, from the abandoned 20th Anniversary Special Edition, surfaced on eBay a few years ago and still crops up from time to time. Special features included The First Real Ghost Story and The Making of Poltergeist featurettes, screenplay, several photo galleries and Fangoria interviews, and the documentaries E! True Hollywood Story , Hollywood Ghost Stories and Terror in the Aisles. The sixth disc was a copy of the original motion picture soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith.

  • Obviously a tongue-in-cheek move, The Beast's roar is the exact same sound file as the MGM lion.
  • The dog's name "E. Buzz" comes from a sketch on Saturday Night Live with Dan Akyroyd as "E. Buzz Miller," a pimp who critiques naked Victorian art.
  • In reality, Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams were only 14 and 11 years older than Dominique Dunne, who plays their teenaged daughter.
  • When Diane tells Carol Anne to stop watching the static on the kitchen television and turns on a movie, a war film called "Go For Broke" (1951), the film clip has a famous audio bit called the Wilhelm Scream.
  • The house used to film this movie is located in Simi Valley, California where it still stands today. The family who owned it still live there today.
  • The swirling, flickering lights coming from the closet during the rescue scene were achieved using a very simple effect by having an aquarium full of water in front of a spotlight. Then a fan blew on the surface of the water to make it swirl.
  • The Rams (then Los Angeles Rams) vs. Saints football game seen near the beginning of the film is taken from a Monday Night Football game in 1980.
  • During the scene where Robbie is being strangled, the clown's arms became extremely tight and Robins started to choke. When he screamed out, "I can't breathe!" Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper thought that the boy was ad-libbing and just instructed him to look at the camera. When Spielberg saw Robins's face turning purple, he ran over and removed the clown's arms from Robins' neck.
  • JoBeth Williams was hesitant about shooting the swimming pool scene because of the large amount of electrical equipment positioned over and around the pool. In order to comfort her, Steven Spielberg jumped in the pool with her to shoot the scene. Spielberg told her, "Now if a light falls in, we will both fry." The strategy worked and Williams got in the pool.
  • To make the stair spirits movements seem more ethereal when they appeared on the monitor, the director had the actors walk very slowly backwards then reversed the film. The same effect was used for the entire family in the opening scene.
  • JoBeth Williams revealed that the production used real human skeletons (usually used in medical schools) when filming the swimming pool scene. Many of the people on the set were alarmed by this and led others to believe the "curse" on the film series was because of this use. Craig Reardon, a special effects artist who worked on the film, commented at the time that it was cheaper to purchase real skeletons than plastic as the artificial ones involved labor in making them.
  • 2008 paid an homage to Poltergeist (1982) in a DirecTV commercial. Craig T. Nelson reprises the role of Steve Freeling, complaining to Carol Anne and the audience that the static on the TV set is just bad cable reception and quips "Not getting rid of cable. THAT'S gonna come back to haunt me!" Heather O'Rourke's family were pleased with the ad, for keeping her memory alive.
  • The theme music is known as "Carol Anne's theme." It was originally titled "Bless this House" and was written like a lullaby as a contrast to the horror in the film. There are lyrics which can be found on the Internet.
  • The crawling steak was done by using a real steak which was laid over a slot cut between the tiles in the counter top. Two wires were fastened to the bottom of the steak and a special effects operator, hidden under the counter, simply moved the wires to make the steak crawl like a caterpillar.
  • For the chairs that move across the room by themselves. A wire was fastened to one of the chair's legs under the set. An operator first wobbled the chair with the wire, then dragged the chair across to its destination.
  • On top of the master bedroom television set sits an Atari Video Computer System console with its two joysticks, later known as the Atari 2600.
  • The cemetery Steve and Teague are talking in front of has a tree identical to the one that tried to eat Robbie, a subtle clue that the Freeling house was built over a cemetery.

Reception [ ]

Poltergeist was a box office success worldwide. The film grossed $76,606,280 in the United States, making it the highest-grossing horror film of 1982 and 8th overall for the year. [8]

Poltergeist was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1982. [9] [10] [11] Douglas Brode compares the "family values" in Poltergeist to the Bush/Quayle 1992 reelection campaign. [12] Andrew Sarris, in The Village Voice , wrote that when Carol Anne is lost the parents and the two older children "come together in blood-kin empathy to form a larger-than-life family that will reach down to the gates of hell to save its loved ones." [12] In the L.A. Herald Examiner , Peter Rainer wrote:

Buried within the plot of Poltergeist is a basic, splendid fairy tale scheme: the story of a little girl who puts her parents through the most outrageous tribulation to prove their love for her. Underlying most fairy tales is a common theme: the comforts of family. Virtually all fairy tales begin with a disrupting of the family order, and their conclusion is usually a return to order. [12]

Over 30 years after its release, the film is regarded by many critics as a classic of the horror genre [13] [14] and maintains an 86% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes . [15] Poltergeist was selected by The New York Times as one of The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made . The film also received recognition from the American Film Institute. The film ranked number 84 on AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills list, [16] and the tag line "They're here" was named the 69th greatest movie quote on AFI's 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes . [17]

Reissues and sequels [ ]

The film was reissued on October 29, 1982 to take advantage of the Halloween weekend. It was shown in theaters for one night only on October 4, 2007 to promote the new restored and remastered 25th anniversary DVD, released five days later. This event also included the documentary "They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists," which was created for the new DVD.

The film spawned two sequels, Poltergeist II: The Other Side and Poltergeist III . The first retained the family but introduced a new motive for the Beast's behavior, tying him to an evil cult leader named Henry Kane , who led his religious sect to their doom in the 1820s. As the Beast, Kane went to extraordinary lengths to keep his "flock" under his control, even in death. The original motive of the cemetery's souls disturbed by the housing development was thereby altered; the cemetery was now explained to be built above a cave where Kane and his flock met their ends.

Carol Anne is the sole original family member featured in Poltergeist III , which finds her living in an elaborate Chicago skyscraper owned and inhabited by her aunt and uncle. Kane follows her there and uses the building's ubiquitous decorative mirrors as a portal to the Earthly plane.

In 2008, MGM announced that Vadim Perelman would helm a remake, to be written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White. The film , directed by Gil Kenan, was released on May 22, 2015.

Curse Assumptions [ ]

The franchise is often said to be cursed, because several people associated with it, including stars Dominique Dunne and Heather O'Rourke , died prematurely. "The Poltergeist Curse" has been the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story . It's known to be nothing more than an urban legend seeing as Dunne was murdered in a domestic dispute much later. The other two actors died of natural causes filming the sequel and not the original film, one of them, Julian Beck, was well aware of his illness and died while filming.

Misconceptions and Unanswered Questions [ ]

  • The film has long had a wrongly misconstruing plot detail that the land was Indian burial ground and not a graveyard. This is most likely in part to Teague's line to Steven about relocating the cemetery up the hill from the Freeling house, "Besides, it's not ancient tribal burial ground, it's just people."
  • Another often and rather amusing mistake is some people believe Carol Anne's spirit was actually trapped inside the television and not just communicating through it.
  • Since Steven worked for Cuesta Verda Estates and high up in the company, why couldn't he tell Ben to "kiss his ass" and move his TV set because of the remote interference?
  • Why was the ATARI 2600 in the parents room and not where the kids could play it?
  • While explaining the thunder and lightning game to Robbie, Carol Anne interrupts saying that he has a call on her toy telephone, Steven playfully says to take a message. Was this just Carol Anne toying with him? Or were the visitors on the phone? The latter might be possible as Henry Kane ("The Beast") distracted Steven the same way in the sequel.
  • While activity with the kitchen floor, the hole above the master bedroom, and the dining room just above E. Buzz are shown, only the bedroom hole's purpose is explained, and that in in a deleted scene. (See Deleted Scenes.)

Cultural impact [ ]

Poltergeist has been referenced in several films, television shows and music videos.

  • An episode of Family Guy called "Petergeist" parodied the events in Poltergeist . Peter builds a multiplex in his backyard and discovers an Indian burial ground. When he takes an Indian chief’s skull, a poltergeist invades the Griffins’ home. The episode also used some of the same musical cues heard in the film. Composer Ron Jones "spent months" studying and recreating the original music sheets from the 1982 horror film Poltergeist . [3] The photocopies of the music sheets cost Jones US$400. The show recreated five scenes: Stewie saying, "They're here," the portal in the closet, a hallucinating Peter ripping his face off to reveal that of Hank Hill from King of the Hill , the house imploding, and Stewie being able to communicate through the TV. However, the clown is replaced with Ronald McDonald, and after Lois leaves the television outside, Peter pushes the television back and leaves Meg outside. [18]
  • In the American Dad! episode "The American Dad After School Special," Francine discovers a pool filled with food, just like Diane's discovery of the pool hole filled with coffins and dead bodies. Hayley yells, "What's happening?!" just as Dana did in the film.
  • At the end of the first Simpsons Treehouse of Horror installment, "Bad Dream House," the house in which the Simpsons move turns out to be haunted. After repeated failed attempts to scare them away, it implodes in a way similar to that of the house at the end of Poltergeist , rather than spend life with the Simpson family. In Treehouse of Horror VI's Homer³ , Homer enters the third dimension and communicates with his family in a reverberating voice similar to that of Carol Anne's when she speaks through the television. In an attempt to rescue Homer, Bart enters the dimension with a rope tied around him, similar to the manner Carol Anne is retrieved by Diane.
  • In "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson," Cartman makes Dr. Nelson say, "Carol Anne—don't go into the light," during the fight with him.
  • In the episode "Spookyfish," a pet store built over unmoved bodies in a former cemetery causes a vortex behind a closed door akin to the rift in Carol Anne's bedroom closet.
  • In the episode "The Biggest Douche in the Universe," Chef's mother exorcises Kenny's soul out of Cartman then states, "This child is clean," a parody of Tangina's line, "This house is clean" in the film.
  • In the episode "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes," the boys are told to break a mirror to bring down the Wall-Mart store. Once Stan and Kyle break the mirror, the store implodes and disappears into another dimension just as the Freeling house does.
  • A doctor resembling Tangina Barrons appears when Ike is possessed by Michael Jackson in the episode "Dead Celebrities."
  • In The X-Files episode "Shadows," Mulder and Scully were discussing what had taken over their car and caused them to crash. Mulder believes that a young woman they had just visited had caused the crash via psychokinetic powers. When Scully questions Mulder's beliefs, Mulder also says it could be a poltergeist. Scully then mocks him by saying, "They're here!" Mulder replies, "Yes, they just might be."
  • In the Wonderfalls episode "Lying Pig," Jaye's brother declares, "This trailer is clean, kind of," after helping her remove all of the talking objects à la Tangina .
  • In the Chilly Beach episode "Polargeist," a direct spoof of the first film, Dale discovers ghosts in his house and is abducted into the spirit world through his beer fridge.
  • In the music video for the Spice Girls song "Too Much," Emma Bunton recreates a scene from the movie.
  • In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective , Jim Carrey having just diagnosed that Roger Podactor was murdered instead of having committed suicide remarks: "I have exorcised the demons!" He quotes the film, though spoken incorrectly as " This house is clear."
  • In the Supernatural episode "Hollywood Babylon," Dean explains to his brother the curse of the set of Poltergeist . Also in the first season episode "Home," Dean makes a reference to Missouri Mosley cleaning out their old house of a poltergeist as doing her "whole Zelda Rubinstein thing," a reference to the actress who portrayed Tangina Barrons in all three Poltergeist films. In the fifth season episode "Dark Side of the Moon," Castiel tells Sam and Dean "Don't go into the light" and Dean then refers to Castiel as Carol Anne.
  • In an episode of Roseanne , Roseanne's sister Jackie cleans the house thoroughly to get it ready for the homecoming of Darlene's baby. After cleaning, she says, "This house is clean" in a voice that imitates Tangina's when she says the line in the movie.
  • Scary Movie 2 parodies the clown scene by having Ray (Shawn Wayans) sexually assault someone under the bed. It also parodies the scene with the tree that grabs Robbie, but replaces the tree with a giant cannabis plant.
  • Comedian and actor Eddie Murphy references the film in his stand-up HBO special, Delirious . He jokes about being in Steven's place and going to confession about Carol Anne possibly just being in the TV and simply changing the channel to get her out.
  • "Virtualodeon," an episode of The Garfield Show , includes references to Poltergeist , including the presence of an alien-hunting female character who says a famous line from the film and the emergence of alien creatures out of Jon's television.
  • Fashion designer Marc Jacobs has a tattoo of the film's poster on his upper back.
  • Former Mystery Science Theater 3000 founders, under Rifftrax, released a commentary. Although under newer alumni to the site Cole Stratton and Janet Varney, it was met with positive results.
  • The punk rock band Misfits based their song "shining" on their 1997 album " American psycho "

References [ ]

  • ↑ " Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments ". web.archive.org. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " Chicago Critics’ Scariest Films ". AltFilmGuide.com. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills ". American Film Institute . Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " Click over, children! All are welcome! All welcome! Quint interviews Zelda Rubinstein!!!! ". Ain't It Cool News (2007-10-02). Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
  • ↑ " Live Chat with Warner Home Video ". Home Theater Forum (2007-02-26). Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
  • ↑ Poltergeist on Bluray at WBshop.com
  • ↑ (as seen here: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/movies.php?id=540 )
  • ↑ " Box Office Information for Poltergeist ". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved on 2010-05-21.
  • ↑ " The Greatest Films of 1982 ". AMC Filmsite.org . Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " The 10 Best Movies of 1982 ". Film.com . Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " The Best Movies of 1982 by Rank ". Films101.com. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 cited in Brode, p. 111
  • ↑ " Poltergeist Movie Reviews, Page 2 ". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " Poltergeist Movie Reviews, Page 3 ". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " Poltergeist Movie Reviews, Pictures ". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills ". American Film Institute. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes ". American Film Institute. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  • ↑ " Petergeist ". TV.com . Retrieved on 2007-06-25.

External links [ ]

Wikiquote-logo

  • Poltergeist Online
  • 1 The Farm (2018)
  • 2 Reverend Henry Kane
  • 3 Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)

Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Poltergeist?

Carol Anne screaming

In 1982, director Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg terrified audiences far and wide with the release of "Poltergeist." Demonic trees, crazed clown dolls, and horrific ghostly apparitions haunted the minds of families who sat down to watch a seemingly appropriate PG-rated film. Ultimately, the plight of the Freeling family — as they persisted in their attempts at retrieving little Carol Anne Freeling from ghostly invaders — would proceed to leave an indelible mark on '80s children who had access to a truly horrific film for its time. 

Despite any misgivings from families with traumatized children, "Poltergeist" was a massive success and would be succeeded by two sequels. The Freeling family became well-known among audiences, with actors such as Craig T. Nelson continuing blossoming careers in Hollywood. Other actors, however, weren't as lucky. In the years that followed the release of "Poltergeist," talk of a curse on the franchise would make the rounds as a handful of cast members tragically died shortly after the film was released. For better or worse, here's a look at what happened to the cast following the successful release of "Poltergeist."

JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling

Diane Freeling (JoBeth Williams) is the fierce mama bear of the Freeling family, exhausting every last breath she has to retrieve her little girl. She plunges into the unknown spiritual void unsure of what awaits her on the other side, ultimately rescuing little Carol Anne (Heather O' Rourke). Despite being a mother of three, Diane is fearless and adventurous. At first, she is curious and thrilled about the paranormal events plaguing her home. To be fair, sliding chairs and moving objects are both fairly harmless. It's only after the spirits attack her son with a gnarly monstrous tree and kidnap her daughter that she shifts into fight mode.

JoBeth Williams continued as Diane Freeling in the sequel, "Poltergeist II: The Other Side," released in 1986. Immediately following " Poltergeist ," she took part in the dramedy "The Big Chill (1983)," and then headlined the rom-com "American Dreamer (1984)" in which she loses her memory and attempts to piece together her own history. While Williams would never take a lead role again, she'd work with many prominent actors, writers, and producers of the '80s and '90s, including Ed O'Neill and John Hughes in "Dutch (1991)" and Sylvester Stallone in "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)." She also starred alongside Steve Martin and Rashida Jones in the 2011 comedy, "The Big Year." Most recently, Williams starred in 2020's drama "What The Night Can Do," and has appeared in a variety of television shows including "Dexter" and "Hart of Dixie."

Craig T. Nelson as Steve Freeling

"You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you?" Steve (Craig T. Nelson) furiously asks his boss, Mr. Teague. "You left the bodies, and you only moved the headstones!" In this climactic moment of the film, Steve Freeling finally understands why his family is in danger. Throughout the film, Steve is a family man providing for his wife and children in the best way he knows how. When Carol Anne is taken by the specters in the home, Steve is all business and willing to go to any lengths to retrieve his daughter. Eventually, he grabs the whole family and high-tails it out of there before the home is consumed in a paranormal spectacle fit for any would-be ghostbuster.

Craig T. Nelson would eventually become a household name by portraying Coach Hayden Fox for eight years on the popular TV series " Coach ," beginning in 1989. Nelson would later pay homage to his "Coach" days as a coach in the comedy, "Blades of Glory (2007)," and in his current role in the "Big Bang Theory" prequel show, " Young Sheldon ." The actor is also famous for providing the voice of Mr. Incredible in the Disney/Pixar films "The Incredibles" (2004) and "Incredibles 2" (2018).

Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling

Little Carol Anne goes for the ride of a lifetime — quite literally. After the spirits haunting the Freeling home distract mom and dad by whipping up a child-eating tree monster, the ghosts suck Carol into their world. As Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) states, those entities in the spiritual plane are attracted to Carol Anne's life force. She's trapped for days before the family is able to devise a method for freeing the girl from the clutches of the spiritual plane. Until that point, Diane converses with her little girl via the static on the TV.

Heather O'Rourke's breakthrough role in the film industry was this very performance as Carol Anne Freeling in " Poltergeist ." She appeared in several smaller roles on television, including "Happy Days," but ultimately her claim to fame is the entire "Poltergeist" trilogy. Tragically, she fell ill and was admitted to the hospital on February 1, 1988. The young rising star passed away at just 12 years old on the operating table due to intestinal stenosis . O'Rourke was born with an intestinal obstruction that eventually caused septic shock and sent the young girl into cardiac arrest. She will always be remembered for being a sweet angelic face amidst the horrors of the "Poltergeist" trilogy.

Dominique Dunne as Dana Freeling

The eldest sibling in the Freeling house, Dana (Dominique Dunne), has, perhaps, the smallest role within the family. Often times, the 16-year-old isn't even in the house due to simply enjoying her teen years and hanging out with friends. In the final moments of the film, she returns home with two young bucks in tow and a massive hickey on her neck only to witness her home being decimated by otherworldly forces . She hops into the family car as the Freelings make their escape from the hell that pervades their property.

Unfortunately, "Poltergeist" would be Dominique's one and only theatrical film. Dominique Dunne's life was tragically cut short mere months after the film's June release. On October 30, 1982, the 22-year-old actress was murdered by her jealous ex-boyfriend, John Sweeney. Sweeney was tried and convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to a meager six years in prison, but only served three years and a few months of the sentence before he was released on parole. The Dunne family has lamented the perceived injustice. Before her death, Dunne performed in several TV movies and shows in smaller parts, but her most famous role will always be as Dana Freeling in "Poltergeist."

Oliver Robins as Robbie Freeling

Easily the most traumatized member of the Freeling family outside of little Carol Anne is Robbie. Almost becoming tree food and getting attacked by a crazed clown doll are enough send the poor sap to therapy for life. Thunderstorms are the least of the little boy's troubles. Robbie reflects the child in all of us. Adorning his room with his "Star Wars" memorabilia, climbing trees, and teasing his sisters are all familiar territory for those of us who have been there. The fear then becomes infinitely more palpable through young Robbie's eyes.

Oliver Robins made a few onscreen appearances beyond " Poltergeist ," including " The Twilight Zone " and another turn as Robbie Freeling in "Poltergeist II: The Other Side." Eventually, Robins left acting behind to pursue a career in filmmaking,  attending film school at the University of Southern California . After some time, he returned to the world of movies, only this time as a writer and director. He's written horror films such as "Devil's Whisper" (2019) and directed others, including most recently "Celebrity Crush" (2019).

Beatrice Straight as Dr. Martha Lesh

Parapsychologist Dr. Martha Lesh quickly finds herself way in over her head after beginning an investigation into the paranormal activity within the Freeling residence. Initially contacted by Steve Freeling, she's profoundly shocked by the flurry of obvious spiritual activity occurring within little Carol Anne's room. Moments later she's barely able to take a drink without noticeably quivering. Obviously terrified, she draws upon her knowledge of the supernatural to help the Freelings retrieve their daughter. Despite her clear lack of experience, she sticks it out and braves the horrific supernatural storm alongside the Freelings.

With a life well lived, Beatrice Straight left her mark on the world of pop culture, entertainment, and theater. Prior to "Poltergeist," she began her showbiz career in Broadway in 1939 with "The Possessed." She'd perform in several Broadway productions through 1968, including "Macbeth" and "The Crucible." In the 1950s she entered the world of television, appearing in countless roles across several running series such as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Mission: Impossible," and "Wonder Woman." She did not work extensively in film, but earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as William Holden's beleaguered wife in 1976's "Network" — at five minutes and two seconds, still the shortest performance to date to win an Oscar. Her final theatrical film was "Deceived (1991)," which starred Goldie Hawn as a woman who discovers that her husband has led a fabricated life and Straight as her mother. Straight passed away in 2001.

Richard Lawson as Dr. Ryan Mitchell

Excited by the prospect of paranormal activity, Dr. Ryan Mitchell eagerly tells an overwhelmed Mr. Freeling of an event where he captured a Matchbox car moving seven feet over a seven-hour span. "It's fantastic," Mitchell remarks. Mr. Freeling gives the PhD grad a "hold my beer" look as he opens the door to Carol Anne's topsy turvy room with toys and objects moving about all on their own. It's a humorous moment in which the "experts" learn that they don't really know all that much. Dr. Mitchell stays the course, however, and is at the ready with audio and visual recording equipment to study the phenomena wreaking havoc in the home.

The actor behind the overzealous parapsychologist, Richard Lawson, is no stranger to the looming specter of death. Lawson  served in the Vietnam War , saw combat, and was injured in the line of duty. He returned home with a Purple Heart. Later, he'd survive an airplane crash after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. Lawson's life story has been harrowing to say the least. In 2015, he married Tina Knowles , mother to the famous singers Beyonce and Solange Knowles .

Lawson began his acting career with an uncredited role in the film "Dirty Harry" (1971). He'd continue a career in supporting roles in films such as "Wag the Dog" (1997), "Guess Who" (2005), and "For Colored Girls" (2010). The actor has also appeared in countless television roles including series such as "Dynasty," "All My Children," and " Grey's Anatomy ."

Martin Casella as Dr. Marty Casey

Anyone who's seen "Poltergeist" will not soon forget Marty. If you don't remember his name, "the guy who peeled his face off" will certainly ring a bell. In one of the spookier scenes in the film, Marty is tormented by the spirits while the poor guy simply goes to find a snack. After watching a steak move across the counter before erupting into meaty chunks, the hapless researcher rushes to the bathroom to clear his head. In the mirror, Marty looks unwell and notices an abrasion which he begins to pick at. Before long, he begins anxiously tearing pieces of his face off in a grisly scene that strained the film's PG rating. Thankfully, the moment was merely a hallucination and Marty was okay -– if perhaps slightly scarred mentally.

Martin Casella's acting credits are few and far between . He would later appear in "Robocop 2," but Casella largely pursued a career as a playwright. He also spent years working as an assistant to Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis on films such as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "1941," and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," while writing screenplays that were sold to Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Rob Reiner, Disney, Universal, and HBO among many others. Eventually he'd write plays such as "Saint Heaven," "Beautiful Dream," and "George Bush Goes to Hell." While Casella's career blossomed beyond acting, he clearly remembers his time on "Poltergeist" fondly and has a page dedicated to the film on his own website .

Zelda Rubinstein as Tangina

The enigmatic medium Tangina claims the spotlight the moment she enters into the Freelings' lives. The mystery behind her abilities and her blunt nature about the realities the family is about to face is captivating. Tangina acts as a channel for the spiritual presence in the home, ultimately providing the Freelings with more answers than the team of researchers ever could despite all of their fancy equipment. Tangina's popularity would endure as she'd return again for the sequel films.

In the 1970s, Zelda Rubinstein attended the University of California to pursue a career in acting. Following some minor prior experience, "Poltergeist" was her first major film role. She'd continue to appear in other major productions — but in more limited roles — in films such as "Frances (1982)" and "Sixteen Candles (1984)." Later Rubinstein would again take more prominent roles in films like "Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)," "Anguish (1987)," and "Poltergeist III (1988)." Throughout the '90s and early 2000s she'd land several smaller roles in television and film. In 2010, Rubinstein passed away at the age of 76 from a confluence of previous illnesses, including a minor heart attack that she suffered just months prior to her death.

James Karen as Mr. Teague

"Poltergeist" may be a ghost story on the surface, but when you begin to peel away the layers, a subtle commentary exists regarding the juxtaposition of idealism and societal greed . Mr. Teague represents that very conflict. A real estate business tycoon set on squeezing every last penny out of the Cuesta Verde valley possible, Mr. Teague shows no moral or ethical qualms about relocating a cemetery in order to continue development. Unfortunately, Steve Freeling learns too late that his boss is "widening" profit margins by putting minimal work into the neighborhood developments — not actually relocating the buried dead, only the headstones.

The greedy businessman was portrayed by long-time actor James Karen. He would go on to appear in cult classics and mainstream hits like "The Return of the Living Dead (1985)," "Wall Street (1987)," "Nixon (1995)," and "The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)." In a likely homage to his "Poltergeist" character, he also appeared in the 2018 horror-comedy film "Cynthia" as Frank Teague. The actor, who has a massive listing of over 200 credits on his IMDb page, always stayed busy, passing away in 2018 at the age of 94.

Michael McManus as Ben Tuthill

In the heart of suburbia, the most common irritants are neighbors. Whether they're nosy, or always stepping on our toes one way or another, it seems that neighbors constantly rub up against each other in tightly built housing developments that are seeking to maximize land usage and value. Steve Freeling knows this all too well. His neighbor, Ben Tuthill, has the same television set and remote. In the 1980s, this easily presents a problem being so close together: The remotes control both TV sets, so the two neighbors squabble over the shows they're trying to watch. It's a maddening concept, but one that is all too real for the era.

Michael McManus's Ben Tuthill doesn't get a lot of screen time. But he manages to embody the average American neighbor in the suburbs to great effect. Following the frightfest that is "Poltergeist," McManus appeared in several other '80s theatrical releases such as "Head Office" and "Action Jackson." Most of his talents were put to use on the little screen, as he appeared in a wide range of television series including "Lewis & Clark," "Newhart," and "Webster." His last role was in a 2001 episode of "According to Jim," starring Jim Belushi.

Lou Perryman as Pugsley

With development in the Cuesta Verde Valley happening in full force in "Poltergeist," the Freeling family has a little development of their own done — an in-ground pool to be precise. Contractors can be seen digging away at the backyard where the pool is supposed to be. In a cringeworthy moment existing long before the newfound Hollywood standards of the "#MeToo" era, the contractors even flirt with the 16-year-old Freeling daughter. One of the contractors, named Pugsley, is seen only one other time in the film — when he sneaks some coffee through the open kitchen window before being caught red-handed by Diane Freeling.

Pugsley is rather inconsequential to the overall plot of the film, but the actor, Lou Perryman, has become synonymous with the movie for his untimely death. Alongside the early demise of other "Poltergeist" cast members, his death helped stir up chatter of a possible curse on the film series. Though  Perryman's death occurred years later, the nature of his passing only added fuel to the "cursed-movie" fire. In the spring of 2009, an ex-convict with a history of mental illness was on the run after attacking his mother's ex-boyfriend with garden shears. The ex-convict, Seth Christopher Tatum, randomly came upon the home of Lou Perryman, and murdered Perryman in an effort to steal his vehicle. Curse or no curse, Perryman's death added yet another dark stain to the legacy of the "Poltergeist" franchise.

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The Intriguing World Of Entertainment

‘Poltergeist’ 40 Years Later: The Cast Then And Now

By Courtney Dercqu | February 6, 2023

Poltergeist

As we approach the Halloween season, there’s no better time to revisit one of the most classic horror films of all time: Poltergeist. Co-written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper in 1982, Poltergeist was the highest-grossing horror film that year.

However, despite the film’s unique plot, the mystery of the film and the unique circumstances surrounding its cast have interested us for the past 40 years. 

While the 1980s launched the cult following of several notable horror franchises like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, it cemented Poltergeist as one of the most enduring horror films in the decades following.

And, famous phrases like “They’re here,” have been giving us chills ever since. Check out some interesting details about the film below, including what the rest of the cast is up to in 2022:

What is the Movie About?

poltergeist movie

Steve and Diane Freeling are a normal family living in Cuesta Verde, California with their three children: Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne. Soon, their quiet, normal lives are upended when their youngest daughter, Carol Anne, starts talking to the family’s TV. Filling the screen with static, a hand emerges from the TV and that’s when the chaos starts. 

In the following days, weird stuff starts happening around the Freeling house. While mild at first, the paranormal acts get increasingly more violent and dangerous, with Robbie being targeted by an outdoor tree and Carol Anne being sucked into a portal inside one of the family’s closets. While the family searches for Carol Anne, they soon hear her voice calling out from the TV. 

After calling a parapsychologist and medium for help, the family soon learns that their house was built above a former cemetery. The medium identifies these restless souls, along with a darker spirit she calls “The Beast,” who is trying to infiltrate Carol Anne to block the other spirits from crossing over. 

With some clever planning and maneuvering, Diane rescues Carol Anne from inside the portal, however, “The Beast” tries to instead capture her, dragging her into their pool where skeletons and coffins start popping up. Running back into the house, Diane grabs the three kids and she and her husband learn that only the tombstones of the former cemetery were moved, not the bodies buried beneath them. They escape the house shortly before it explodes into the portal. 

Is Poltergeist Based on a True Story? 

Herman House - Poltergeist

Sort of. Poltergeist was loosely based on the paranormal experiences that occurred at the Herrmann House back in 1958. 

It all started on February 3, 1958, when Lucille Herrmann and her two children started hearing noises throughout the house. Soon, they discovered that not only were the bottle caps from household cleaning products and other items throughout the house missing, but the contents of those bottles were bursting and leaking everywhere. Strangely, one of the bottles that was tipped over was holy water. 

Lucille quickly called her husband, James, to let him know of the strange happenings, but she was quickly dismissed. James didn’t think it was a big deal. Or, at the very least, assumed it was a harmless prank brought on by his curious son, Jimmy, who loved science and experimentation. When James was unable to find a logical reason for the bursting bottles, he called the Nassau County, NY Police Department where an eight-week investigation took place to try and deduce the cause of the strange activity. 

During the investigation, the family noticed a porcelain doll move on its own, which ultimately led them to contact their local church for help. The priest assigned to the house, Father William McLeod, blessed the home. The Herrmann House case sparked national attention, but on March 2nd, 1958, the paranormal activity stopped. No definitive proof of what caused the popping, or objects to fly has ever been determined. 

The parallels between what the Herrmann family experienced in 1958 were famously attributed to being the inspiration for Poltergeist nearly three decades later. However, others claim it was inspired by events in the late-1800s, in Denver, Colorado. During a massive expansion, the local government wanted to relocate a cemetery, and the contractor assigned to the project secretly just moved the headstones, leaving the bodies where they were until construction on the new building started. By that point, it was too late and the bodies remain in unmarked graves to this day. 

While the details in Poltergeist are, of course, more exaggerated, the film may have never seen the light of day had it not been for the ghostly interactions the Herrmanns faced all those years prior or that contractor’s decision to reduce his workload. 

Reception/Box Office 

As briefly mentioned earlier, Poltergeist was the highest-grossing horror film in 1982, raking in a whopping $6,896,612 on opening weekend. It also placed eighth among the highest grossing films out of the entire year. 

Much of its early success was attributed to its use of special effects and filming style. At the Academy Awards, the film was nominated for three Oscars including those for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing Effects, and Original Score – a rarity for a film in the horror genre. 

The Poltergeist Curse

While the film is enigmatic all on its own, much of its appeal (at least in later years) has had to do with what people have dubbed the “Poltergeist Curse.” 

Heather O’Rourke

Throughout the filming of this franchise and after its release, multiple cast members died in rather strange circumstances. Perhaps, the most notable was the star of the movie, Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne. She passed away at just 12 years old after the filming of Poltergeist III. O’Rourke’s death was attributed to congenital stenosis of the intestine. 

Domonique Dunne

Other cast members, including Domonique Dunne, who played Carol Anne’s older sister, Dana, in the original film was tragically murdered by her partner just a month after the film’s release.

poltergeist skeletons

However, it wasn’t just the tragic and very untimely deaths of the film’s cast that led to the belief of the “Poltergeist Curse”; Steven Spielberg reportedly used real-life, human skeletons during the filming of the first movie, later revealing the truth to actor JoBeth Williams, who was forced to spend days around them shooting the infamous pool scene.

Another member of the cast (who later died) performed an exorcism one night after filming concluded.

Many people believe it was Speilberg’s decision to use human remains in the filming that led to the strange and frightening happenings that plagued the cast both onset and beyond. As to be expected, not every cast mentioned below has a happy ending. 

JoBeth Williams as ‘Diane Freeling’

Poltergeist diane

Now 73, JoBeth Williams has had a long career in Hollywood. After wrapping up the Poltergeist films, Williams enjoyed major success in films such as The Big Chill and on the small screen with performances in Adam and Baby M, both of which earned her an Emmy. 

JoBeth Williams now

In years since she has had minor recurring roles on shows like Hart of Dixie, Station 19 and Private Practice. She was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Heather O’Rourke as ‘Carol Anne Freeling’

poltergeist Carol Anne Freeling

Poltergeist was O’Rourke’s first film, and even though her rise to fame was cut short at the age of 12, known as the “Poltergeist Girl,” she was widely recognized everywhere she went and she had several prominent roles in major sitcoms such as the New Leave it to Beaver and Happy Days. 

Heather O'Rourke grave

(photo: Ben Churchill )

O’Rourke had been working in Hollywood since she was 3, having been featured in Mattel and McDonald’s commercials. She died on January 31, 1988 of congenital stenosis of the intestine.

She is buried in the same cemetery as her Poltergeist co-star, Dominique Dunne. 

Craig T. Nelson as ‘Steve Freeling’

poltergeist Steve

Perhaps the most well-known actor from the original cast, Craig T. Nelson has been a part of many prominent shows and films including Coach, Parenthood, Grace and Frankie, Young Sheldon, Silkwood, and the Incredibles. 

Craig T. Nelson now

Nelson continues to act, most recently finishing up production on the film, Book Club 2: The Next Chapter, which is set to be released sometime in 2023. He is married with three children. 

Beatrice Straight as ‘Dr. Lesh’

Poltergeist Dr Lesh

Though her acting credits were limited, Beatrice Straight carved a name for herself on the stage, earning her a Tony award for her portrayal of Elizabeth Proctor in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” in 1953.

She was nominated for The Dain Curse in 1978 and won an Academy Award for her role in the movie Network in 1976. 

Straight’s last acting credit was in 1991 and tragically, she passed away a decade later on April 7, 2001. She had two children. 

Dominique Dunne as ‘Dana Freeling’

Poltergeist Dana

Before landing the role of Dana in Poltergeist, Dunne had bit parts in shows like Children’s Mystery Theater, Fame, and Hart to Hart.

Her first prominent role was in Poltergeist, however, 19 days before her 23rd birthday (and only a month or so after the film’s release) she was strangled and left for dead by her boyfriend. 

Dominique Dunne grave

(photo: Wildhartlivie )

Five days after his vicious assault, Dunne (who had been considered brain dead as a result of the attack) was taken off life support. 

Oliver Robins as ‘Robbie Freeling’

Poltergeist Robbie

Robins’ career has been up and down since starring in Poltergeist, having small parts on shows like The Twilight Zone and Man Overboard.

After Poltergeist 2 in 1986, he stopped acting and directed his energy behind the camera. When he was 15 years old, he wrote, directed and produced ‘The Crystal’, which won first prize at the Les Mesnil-le-Roi Film Festival.

Oliver also turned his attention to academics and attended and graduated from USC’s Film School.

In 2000, he wrote and directed a direct to video movie, Dumped . In 2019, he returned to acting in the movie Celebrity Crush , which he also wrote and directed.

oliver robins now

As of 2022, he is still acting, most recently starring as Rudolph Meyerstone in the comedy, Hollywood Laundromat. 

Martin Casella as ‘Marty’

Poltergeist Marty

In terms of acting, Casella’s final credit was playing a policeman in the TV movie, Turner & Hooch in 1990. After he quit acting, he turned toward writing and has since written several plays including Saint Heaven and Play it Cool.

Martin Casella now

His most famous play, The Irish Curse had a critically-acclaimed run off-Broadway. 

Richard Lawson as ‘Ryan’

Poltergeist Ryan

Nearly a victim of the “Poltergeist Curse,” Lawson was in a plane crash in 1992. Both he and his wife survived the devastating fall.  

With credits dating back to the early 1970s, Richard Lawson guest starred on many shows before landing the role of Ryan on Poltergeist. His credits include Buffalo Soldiers, Coming Home, Good Times, and All in the Family ( to name a few). 

Richard Lawson

Lawson’s long career is still in high gear. He most recently wrapped up production on Chaaw and Black Terror and is currently working on another film titled Unlawful Duties, which is currently in pre-production. 

Zelda Rubinstein as ‘Tangina’

Poltergeist Tangina

While filming, Rubinstein was said to have experienced visions that have been attributed to the other strange events that occurred on set.

After Poltergeist, Rubinstein enjoyed stints on Santa Barbara, Picket Fences, Chock, and Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights.

Though she played Tangina in the Poltergeist movies, she played Christine in the short-lived TV series Poltergeist: The Legacy.

zelda rubenstein last movie

She passed away in 2010 from a heart attack at the age of 76.

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About Courtney Dercqu

Courtney Dercqu is a freelance writer from New Jersey. When she’s not writing about pop culture, she can be found making homemade Minnie Ears, thrifting, watching daily re-runs of the Office and Portlandia, and scheduling awkward J.C.Penney photo shoots with her friends. Her work has been published in Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, Collective World, WDW Vacation Tips, and many others. Follow her on Instagram @kort_nay More from Courtney

The 'Poltergeist' Curse: Inside the Mysterious Cast Deaths and Oddities On Set

JoBeth Williams looks on as Craig T Nelson holds Oliver Robins in a scene from the film 'Poltergeist', 1982. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

Released in 1982, the original Poltergeist , directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Spielberg, was an instant success and is considered to be a masterpiece of American horror cinema. The film focuses on the Freelings, a middle-class family (led by a youthful, dashing Craig T. Nelson) whose life is upturned when a number of paranormal and vicious events occur in their California home and their daughter Carol Anne is abducted through her bedroom closet by a group of ghosts who are under the control of a monster demon called the “Beast.”

After learning that their house sits atop a Native American burial ground, the Freelings spend their time attempting to retrieve Carol Anne and all the while stay sane as they get smacked around, terrorized and ultimately, “goobered” on in the bathtub.

With Poltergeist's success came a creepy mystique that the classic film is shrouded in real-life tragedies that some interpret as a curse.

Four cast members died during and soon after the filming of the series

The majority of the fuel for the alleged curse stems from the deaths of multiple cast members. In total, four cast members died during and soon after the filming of the series. Two of these tragic deaths were highly unexpected and puzzling, leading many fans to speculate on the trilogy’s eerie implications.

Heather O'Rourke screams as she is harassed by evil spirits in a scene from the film 'Poltergeist', 1982. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

Heather O'Rourke

Carol Anne Freeling, the young focal point of the series, was played by Heather O’Rourke. Only six years old when the first Poltergeist film was released, O’Rourke captivated audiences with her stark blond hair, doll-like appearance, and big, inquisitive eyes. Sadly, however, she was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1987. The following year, O’Rourke fell ill again, and her symptoms were casually attributed to the flu. A day later, she collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest. After being airlifted to a children’s hospital in San Diego, O’Rourke died during an operation to correct a bowel obstruction, and it was later believed that she had been suffering from a congenital intestinal abnormality.

Dominique Dunne

Dominique Dunne, who played the original older sister Dana Freeling, met an equally tragic and unforeseen fate. In 1982, Dunne separated from her partner, John Sweeney. In November of that year, he showed up at Dunne’s house, pleading for her to take him back. When she refused, Sweeney grabbed Dunne’s neck, choked her until she was unconscious, and left her to die in her Hollywood home’s driveway. Sweeney was sentenced to six and a half years in prison but was released after three years and seven months.

Julian Beck and Will Sampson

The other two cast member deaths, while unfortunate, were not as unpredictable or mysterious. The evil preacher Kane from Poltergeist II was played by Julian Beck. In 1983, Beck had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, which took his life soon after he finished work on the second installment of the series. The same film was met with further tragedy, after Will Sampson, who played Taylor the Native American shaman, died after undergoing a heart-lung transplant, which had a very slim survival rate.

Other strange things happened on set

Cast deaths were not the only agents of the curse’s proliferation, as other peculiar and creepy legends surround the film franchise. JoBeth Williams, who played mom Diane Freeling in the first two films, claimed that director Spielberg insisted on using actual human skeletons as props in an attempt to save money (at the time, they were cheaper than plastic skeletons). Williams’ claim has never been verified, but it persists to this day in the lore surrounding the films’ curse.

Finally, in an effort to further creep out everyone involved, Sampson, the real-life medicine man who passed away due to circumstances mentioned above, performed an authentic exorcism after shooting wrapped up one night. One can only imagine how this made the other cast members feel.

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Poltergeist

Poltergeist

  • A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.
  • A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter. — Rob Hartill
  • The Freelings are a typical suburban family. Husband Steve sells real estate in their ever expanding subdivision and Diane is a stay at home mom caring for their three kids, Dana, Robbie and little Carol Anne. Strange things being to happen in the house however: cupboard doors open on their own, furniture rearranges itself and chairs go sliding across the kitchen floor. It's a bit of whimsy at first but soon becomes deadly serious when Carol Anne vanishes into a nether world where, oddly, she can only be communicated with through the white noise on their television. A team of paranormal investigators move into the house but the forces that kidnapped are evil and powerful requiring the services of Tangina, a woman who has dealt with this situation before. — garykmcd
  • Life is very pleasant for the close-knit Freeling family until a host of otherworldly forces invades their peaceful suburban home. It starts with just an odd occurrence or two, but soon their house is turned into a swirling supernatural sideshow. The forces at work are anything but friendly, and if the luckless Freelings don't clear out soon, they'll all be swept off into nightmarish chaos! — Anonymous
  • Craig T. Nelson stars as Steve Freeling, the main protagonist, who lives with his wife, Diane, (JoBeth Williams) and their three children, Dana (Dominique Dunne), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood. It starts with just a few odd occurrences, such as broken dishes and furniture moving around by itself. However, a tree comes alive and takes Robbie through his bedroom window, and Carol Anne is abducted by ghosts. Realizing that something evil haunts his home, Steve calls in a team of parapsychologists led by Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Straight) to investigate, hoping to get Carol Anne back, so he can remove his family from the house before it's too late.
  • In the suburban housing development of Cuesta Verde, California, the homes are modern and comfortable. Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson) is a successful real estate agent who works for a firm headed up by Teague (James Karen), a developer. Steve lives in one of the Cuesta Verde homes with his wife, Diane (JoBeth Williams), and their three children: teenage Dana (Dominique Dunne) and preteen youngsters Robbie (Oliver Robbins) and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke). Strange events begin to occur when Carol Anne begins sleepwalking and carries on a seemingly one-sided conversation with a TV set that's turned on but has no signal. Soon thereafter her pet bird dies, and the family conducts a small burial service. Later that night, Carol Anne awakens again and talks to the television, while a spectral manifestation erupts from the television screen and enters the walls, causing an violent tremor that only the Freelings feel. As the family wakes up, Carol Anne mysteriously announces, "They're here." The next morning, drinking glasses inexplicably break at breakfast, and utensils bend by themselves. When Diane asks Carol Anne who she meant when she said "they're here," she answers, "The TV people." At first the ghosts play harmless tricks and amuse the mother, including moving and stacking the kitchen table chairs. Diane and Carol Anne discover an area in the kitchen where an unseen force will pull anything, including people, across the floor. When he arrives home from work, Diane convinces Steve the phenomenon is real by demonstrating it. He then announces that "Nobody's going' in the kitchen until I know what's happening." During a terrible thunderstorm, a gnarled tree outside the kids' bedroom window suddenly comes to life and grabs Robbie (Oliver Robins), Carol Anne's brother, through a window. However, this is merely a distraction used by the ghosts to get Carol Anne's parents to leave her alone. Using a force like a wind tunnel, they take Carol Anne through her bedroom closet into their dimension. Steve rescues Robbie, and the family believes that a tornado caused the trouble, until they realize that they can't find Carol Anne. They search the entire house including the pit for the new swimming pool until Robbie hears Carol Anne calling for her mother eerily through the TV. A traumatized Steve meets with a small group of parapsychologists from UC Irvine, stating that "We just want you to find our little girl." Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Straight), Ryan (Richard Lawson), and Marty (Martin Casella) are awestruck by the manifestations they witness. With the parapsychologists present, Steve shows them things they've never before seen. He opens the door to the children's room to reveal toys and other objects flying around by themselves and disembodied laughing voices reverberating throughout the room. Previously, Ryan described a Matchbox car taking seven hours to move seven feet, calling it "fantastic. Of course, this would never register on the naked eye." After they see the Freelings' house, they are all humbled. Over coffee (and a coffee urn that moves by itself), the parapsychologists explain to the Freelings the difference between a poltergeist and a haunting. They determine that indeed, it is a poltergeist they are experiencing. The group witnesses several paranormal episodes where they hear Carol Anne talking to Diane through the TV, see spirits, and hear the pounding footsteps of some terrible force, which subsequently injures Marty. Marty also suffers a terrifying hallucination where he seems to tear off his own face. The parapsychologists leave, with the exception of Ryan, admitting they need more help. Shaken and overwhelmed, Dana leaves to stay with friends. The Freelings also send Robbie to his grandmother's house for his safety. Later that day, Steve has a conversation with his boss, Teague, about a new housing project going up. They talk about how Steve's company has built over cemeteries in the past, even where the Freelings live now. Whenever the company needed land to build or expand housing communities, they'd move the cemeteries, coffins, headstones and all. Teague shows Steve a new housing development the company is building not far from where the Freelings live. As the two walk by a hillside cemetery, Teague tells Steve that he can have a new house right in that spot, with a large bay window overlooking the valley. Steve remarks that the house can't simply be built over a cemetery. Teague tells Steve that the company has moved whole cemeteries before: the coffins were dug up and moved, along with their headstones, to new locations nearby. Teague then reveals that much of Cuesta Verde was built on the location of one of these relocated cemeteries. Steve seems quite astonished at the news, stating that "that's sacrilegious." When the parapsychologists return, they bring a spiritual medium, Tangina Barrons (Zelda Rubinstein), a tiny woman who uses her psychic sensitivity to ascertain facts about the disturbances. Tangina tells them that Carol Anne is "alive and in this house." According to Tangina, the spirits haunting the home have left this life but have not gone into the spectral "Light." They are stuck in between dimensions, watching their loved ones grow up, but feeling alone, causing them to feel lonely and even angry. Carol Anne was born in the house and has strongest connection to it. At only 5 years old, she gives off her own life force that is as bright as the Light. It distracts and confuses the spirits, who think Carol Anne is their salvation. Hence, they have taken her. However, Tangina also warns everyone that a malevolent spirit also exists in the next dimension. It likes that the spirits are confused and lost, and uses Carol Anne as a distraction so they cannot move on into the Light. Tangina says "it lies to her and tells her things only a child can understand. To her, it simply is another child. To us, it is the Beast." They realize the entrance to the other dimension is through the children's bedroom closet. Tangina tests the dimensional portal with a few tennis balls that drop through the living room ceiling below the kids' closet. By tying a rope around a live person who can enter, and presumably exit the other side, with enough time to grab Carol Anne, they could bring her back. Tangina intends to be the one to go into the light, but Diane insists, saying that Carol Anne will only come to her mother. With the rope around her waist, Diane goes into the portal and Tangina coaxes the agonized spirits away from Carol Anne to the real Light. While Tangina is in her trance-like state telling the lost spirits to cross over into the Light, Steve panics and pulls on the rope, meeting the Beast face-to-face. Diane falls through the living room ceiling clutching Carol Anne and bearing new streaks of grey hair, presumably from fright; both Diane and Carol Anne are also covered in ectoplasm. After Steve revives both of them in the downstairs bathtub, Tangina pronounces that "this house is clean." Unfortunately, though the spirits have seemingly moved on, the Beast hasn't, and wants revenge. On their final night in the house, Steve leaves Diane alone with the children so he can go and talk to Teague, who presumably is trying to get Steve to reconsider leaving. While Robbie and Carol Anne are getting ready for bed, Robbie's clown doll comes to life and pulls him under the bed. Diane, relaxing in the master bedroom, hears her son's screaming voice and tries to investigate, but is pulled against the wall and ceiling by an unseen force. Robbie manages to rip the clown doll to pieces but a strange, mouth-like portal appears in Carol Anne's closet and attempts to suck the children in. Diane tries to get to her son and daughter but runs into the Beast itself, in the form of a snarling, skeletal demon. It blocks Carol Anne's and Robbie's door and lunges at her, causing her to fall down the stairs. Diane runs to the backyard to seek help from her next-door neighbors, but slips into the freshly-dug swimming pool. A rainstorm has filled it with rain and mud, and as Diane tries to escape, coffins begin erupting from the earth, releasing skeletal corpses into the pool. Her neighbors hear the commotion and arrive to help Diane out of the pool, but they refuse to enter the house with its windows now blazing with ghostly energy. Diane runs back into the house alone to get Robbie and Carol Anne. She finds Carol Anne and Robbie barely able to fight the energy that tries to suck them into the portal; they dangle from their bed frames, hanging on only by their hands, while their feet sway toward the closet door. Diane manages to pull them to safety and they run from the house. Coffins and bodies begin exploding out of the ground throughout the house. Steve pulls up in his car with Teague as a passenger, and they both see the dead bodies erupting from the ground. Steve recalls the earlier conversation he had with Teague, where Teague revealed that Cuesta Verde was built over the site of a relocated cemetery. It is now obvious that Teague never really relocated the cemetery, he simply built the housing development over top of the graves after moving only the headstones. Realizing this truth, Steve rebukes him in anger. Dana arrives in her boyfriend's car and is hysterical over what is happening to the house. The Freelings get into Steve's station wagon and they drive off. The Beast grows so angry that the house implodes through the portal into the other dimension as stunned neighbors (including Teague) look on. The weary family checks into a hotel for the night. Not wishing to tempt fate, Steve pushes the television set outside their room.

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Poltergeist — Cast & Crew

Tobe hooper.

Tobe Hooper — Director «Poltergeist»

Craig T. Nelson

Craig T. Nelson — Steve Freeling

JoBeth Williams

JoBeth Williams — Diane Freeling

Beatrice Straight

Beatrice Straight — Dr. Lesh

Dominique Dunne

Dominique Dunne — Dana Freeling

Oliver Robins

Oliver Robins — Robbie Freeling

Heather O'Rourke

Heather O'Rourke — Carol Anne Freeling

Michael McManus

Michael McManus — Ben Tuthill

Virginia Kiser

Virginia Kiser — Mrs. Tuthill

Richard Lawson

Richard Lawson — Ryan

Zelda Rubinstein

Zelda Rubinstein — Tangina

James Karen

James Karen — Mr. Teague

Lou Perryman

Lou Perryman — Pugsley

Clair E. Leucart

Dirk blocker.

Dirk Blocker — Jeff Shaw

Joseph Walsh

Joseph Walsh — Neighbor

Helen Baron

Noel conlon, sonny landham.

Sonny Landham — Pool Worker #2

Jeffrey Bannister

William vail.

William Vail — Implosion Man

Craig Simmons

Dana gendian, jaimi gendian, martin casella, robert broyles, sheb wooley.

Sheb Wooley — Screaming Soldier on TV, uncredited, archive sound

Paula Paulson

Shirley lawrence, jeff lawrence, joseph mccrossin, roberto rodriguez, michael grais.

Michael Grais — (screenplay by)

Mark Victor

Steven spielberg.

Steven Spielberg — (screenplay by) (story by)

Frank Marshall

Frank Marshall — Producers «Poltergeist»

Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy — associate producer

Matthew F. Leonetti

Matthew F. Leonetti — Camera «Poltergeist»

Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith — Composer «Poltergeist»

Richard L. Anderson

Richard L. Anderson — supervising sound editor

Stephen Hunter Flick

Stephen Hunter Flick — supervising sound editor

Steve Maslow

Steve Maslow — re-recording mixer

Kevin O'Connell

Kevin O'Connell — re-recording mixer

Art Rochester

Bill varney, tim mangini, james h. spencer.

James H. Spencer — Designers «Poltergeist»

Cheryal Kearney

Michael kahn.

Michael Kahn — Editor «Poltergeist»

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Poltergeist (1982 film)

Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Steven Spielberg , Michael Grais and Mark Victor from a story by Spielberg. It stars JoBeth Williams , Craig T. Nelson and Beatrice Straight , and was produced by Spielberg and Frank Marshall . The film focuses on a suburban family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct their youngest daughter.

Creative credit

Special effects, mpaa rating, novelization, critical response, sequels and remakes, in popular culture, external links.

As Spielberg was contractually unable to direct another film while he made E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial , Hooper was selected based on his work on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Funhouse . The origin of Poltergeist can be traced to Night Skies , which Spielberg conceived as a horror sequel to his 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind ; Hooper was less interested in the sci-fi elements and suggested they collaborate on a ghost story . [3] Accounts differ as to the level of Spielberg's involvement, but it is clear that he was frequently on set during filming and exerted significant creative control. For that reason, some have said that Spielberg should be considered the film's co-director or even main director, though both Spielberg and Hooper have disputed this.

Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through MGM/UA Entertainment Co. on June 4, 1982, Poltergeist was a major critical and commercial success, becoming the eighth-highest-grossing film of 1982 . In the years since its release, the film has been recognized as a horror classic. It was nominated for three Academy Awards , named by the Chicago Film Critics Association as the 20th-scariest film ever made, and a scene made Bravo 's 100 Scariest Movie Moments . [4] [5] Poltergeist also appeared at No. 84 on American Film Institute 's 100 Years...100 Thrills . [6] The film was followed by Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), Poltergeist III (1988), as well as a 2015 remake , but none had the critical success of the original.

Steve ( Craig T. Nelson ) and Diane Freeling ( JoBeth Williams ) live in the planned community of Cuesta Verde, California. Steve is a successful real estate agent, and Diane looks after their three children: 16-year-old Dana ( Dominique Dunne ), 8-year-old Robbie ( Oliver Robins ), and 5-year-old Carol Anne ( Heather O'Rourke ). Late one night, Carol Anne inexplicably converses with the family's television set while it displays post-broadcast static . The next night, she again fixates on the television, and a ghostly white hand emerges from the screen, followed by a violent earthquake. As the family is shaken awake by the quake, Carol Anne eerily intones, "They're here."

The following day is filled with bizarre events: a glass of milk spontaneously breaks, silverware bends, and furniture moves on its own. These phenomena initially seem benign, but soon grow sinister. During a severe thunderstorm, the gnarled backyard tree seemingly comes alive. A large limb crashes through the children's bedroom window, grabs Robbie, pulls him outside into the pouring rain and attempts to devour him. While the family rushes outside to rescue Robbie, Carol Anne is pulled into a portal inside the closet. After saving Robbie from the tree, which got sucked into a tornado, the family frantically search for Carol Anne, only for her voice to call out from the television.

Parapsychologist Martha Lesh ( Beatrice Straight ) arrives with team members Ryan ( Richard Lawson ) and Marty (Martin Casella) to investigate. They determine there is a poltergeist intrusion involving multiple ghosts. Meanwhile, Steve learns from his boss Lewis Teague ( James Karen ) that the Cuesta Verde development was built on a former cemetery and the graves were moved to a nearby location.

Dana and Robbie are sent away for safety, while Dr. Lesh calls in Tangina Barrons ( Zelda Rubinstein ), a spiritual medium . Tangina determines the spirits are lingering in a different "sphere of consciousness" and are not at rest. They are attracted to Carol Anne's life force. Tangina also detects a dark presence she calls the "Beast", who is restraining Carol Anne and manipulating her life force in order to prevent the other spirits from crossing over.

The entrance to the other dimension is in the children's bedroom closet and exits through the living room ceiling. Diane, secured by a rope, passes through the portal, guided by another rope previously threaded through both portals. Diane retrieves Carol Anne, and they drop through the ceiling to the living room floor, covered in ectoplasm . As they recover from the ordeal, Tangina proclaims the house is "clean".

Shortly after, the Freeling family have nearly finished packing to move out of the house. Before the family is to leave, Steven goes to his office while Dana is on a date, leaving Diane at home with Robbie and Carol Anne. The "Beast" ambushes Diane and the children, aiming for a second kidnapping attempt. The unseen force drives Diane to the backyard in the pouring rain, where she stumbles into the flooded swimming pool excavation . Skeletal corpses and coffins float up around her in the muddy hole. Diane crawls out and rushes back into the house. She rescues the children, and they escape to the outside as more coffins and bodies erupt from the ground.

Steven, accompanied by Teague, arrives home to the mayhem and realizes that only the gravestones were relocated; the development was built over the abandoned graves. The Freelings jump into their car and collect Dana just as she returns home. They flee Cuesta Verde as the house implodes into the portal while Teague and stunned neighbors look on. The family checks into a room at a motel, where Steven promptly removes the TV.

  • Craig T. Nelson as Steve Freeling
  • JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling
  • Beatrice Straight as Dr. Martha Lesh (credited as "Dr. Lesh")
  • Dominique Dunne as Dana Freeling
  • Oliver Robins as Robbie Freeling
  • Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling
  • Michael McManus as Ben Tuthill
  • Virginia Kiser as Mrs. Tuthill
  • Martin Casella as Dr. Marty Casey
  • Richard Lawson as Dr. Ryan Mitchell
  • Zelda Rubinstein as Tangina Barrons
  • James Karen as Mr. Lewis Teague
  • Dirk Blocker as Jeff Shaw
  • Lou Perry as Pugsley

Michael Grais and Mark Victor had written an unproduced comedy called Turn Left And Die and the action film Death Hunt when Steven Spielberg decided to invite them to possibly work with him. After screening A Guy Named Joe for them and saying he wanted to remake that film—which he would in 1989's Always — Spielberg also mentioned a ghost story idea he intended to turn into a script. Grais called Spielberg the next day saying he and Victor only had interest in the ghost story, and after plans with another writer fell through, Spielberg brought the two to the job. [7] Spielberg wanted Stephen King to co-write the screenplay but he was unavailable. [8]

Principal photography rolled mostly on Roxbury Street in Simi Valley, California . [9] [10] Following completion of principal photography in the first week of August 1981, Hooper went on to spend ten weeks in the editing room compiling the first cut of the film. [11] During much of this time, Spielberg was at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) supervising the visual effects photography.

A clause in the Universal Studios contract prevented Steven Spielberg from directing another film while preparing E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial . [12] According to Tobe Hooper , the very core concept of the film was an idea he pitched to Spielberg after turning down the offer to direct Night Skies. [13] Writer Michael Grais stated that "we weren't really working with Spielberg because he was on E.T. ", and that Spielberg only had sporadic meetings with the writers in MGM's commissary. [7] E.T. and Poltergeist were released a week apart in June, 1982; Time and Newsweek referred to it as "The Spielberg Summer". There were suggestions that Spielberg, in addition to being Poltergeist' s co-producer and co-writer, had also served as its de facto co-director. This view was bolstered by various statements Spielberg made about his involvement, including a Los Angeles Times quote on May 24, 1982: "Tobe isn't ... a take-charge sort of guy. If a question was asked and an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, I'd jump in and say what we could do. Tobe would nod agreement, and that became the process of collaboration." [14]

That same article noted that the Directors Guild of America had "opened an investigation into the question of whether or not Hooper's official credit was being denigrated by statements Spielberg has made, apparently claiming authorship." [15] The investigation ended in an arbitrator's ruling that "MGM/UA Entertainment Co. must pay $15,000 to director Tobe Hooper because the studio gave producer Steven Spielberg a bigger credit than Hooper got in its trailers," although also noting that "broader issues of dispute exist between producer-writer (Spielberg) and the director" (damages of $200,000 were originally sought by the DGA). [16] Co-producer Frank Marshall told the LA Times that "the creative force of the movie was Steven. Tobe was the director and was on the set every day. But Steven did the design for every storyboard and he was on the set every day except for three days when he was in Hawaii with Lucas ." However, Hooper stated that he "did fully half of the storyboards." [12]

The week of the film's release, The Hollywood Reporter printed an open letter from Spielberg to Hooper:

Regrettably, some of the press has misunderstood the rather unique, creative relationship which you and I shared throughout the making of Poltergeist . I enjoyed your openness in allowing me, as a writer and a producer, a wide berth for creative involvement, just as I know you were happy with the freedom you had to direct Poltergeist so wonderfully. Through the screenplay you accepted a vision of this very intense movie from the start, and as the director, you delivered the goods. You performed responsibly and professionally throughout, and I wish you great success on your next project. [17]

In a 2007 Ain't It Cool News interview, Zelda Rubinstein discussed her recollections of the shooting process. She said "Steven directed all six days" she was on set: "Tobe set up the shots and Steven made the adjustments." She also alleged that Hooper "allowed some unacceptable chemical agents into his work," and that during her audition, "Tobe was only partially there." [18] Comments from actor James Karen , concerning a 25th-anniversary Q&A event which both attended, categorized Rubinstein's remarks as unfair to Hooper. "She laid into Tobe and I don't know why ... Tobe was kind to her." [19]

In a 2012 Rue Morgue article commemorating Poltergeist 's 30th anniversary, interviews were conducted with several cast and crew members. In response to the magazine's query about the authorship issue, cast members unanimously sided with Hooper. James Karen said, "Tobe had a hard time on that film. It's tough when a producer is on set every day and there's always been a lot of talk about that. I considered Tobe my director. That's my stand on all those rumours." Martin Casella stated: "So much of Poltergeist looks and feels like a Spielberg movie but my recollection is that Tobe was mostly directing." Oliver Robins: "The guy who sets up the shots, blocks the actors and works with the crew to create a vision is the director. In those terms, Tobe was the director. He's the one who directed me, anyway." Make-up and effects artist Craig Reardon said Spielberg often had the final say. The original version of the cancerous steak, for instance, was created by Reardon per Hooper's specifications—but vetoed by Spielberg: "Although the first steak did not represent a killing amount of work, it had consumed enough time and effort—none of which I could afford to waste—that I determined in the future to make certain whatever I prepped would be approved in advance by Spielberg as well as Hooper." [19]

Hooper was asked about the controversy in a 2015 interview with online journal Film Talk and said the rumors originated from a Los Angeles Times article which reported on Spielberg shooting footage of "little race cars" in front of the house, while Hooper was busy elsewhere shooting another scene. "From there it became its own legend. That is how I remember it; I was making the movie and later on, I heard this stuff after it was finished. I really can’t set the record much straighter than that." [20]

According to the Blumhouse Productions website, first assistant cameraman John R. Leonetti reported that Spielberg directed the film more so than Hooper, stating, "Hooper was so nice and just happy to be there. He creatively had input. Steven developed the movie, and it was his to direct, except there was anticipation of a director's strike, so he was 'the producer' but really he directed it in case there was going to be a strike and Tobe was cool with that. It wasn't anything against Tobe. Every once in a while, he would actually leave the set and let Tobe do a few things just because. But really, Steven directed it." [21]

Following Hooper's passing on August 27, 2017, director Mick Garris, a publicist on the film who made several on-set visits, came to Hooper's defense on the Post Mortem podcast:

Tobe was always calling action and cut. Tobe had been deeply involved in all of the pre-production and everything. But Steven is a guy who will come in and call the shots. And so, you're on your first studio film, hired by Steven Spielberg, who is enthusiastically involved in this movie. Are you gonna say, 'Stop that... let me do this'? Which [Tobe] did. [...] Tobe was a terrific filmmaker. I don't think it's that Steven was controlling. I think it was Steven was enthusiastic. And nobody was there to protect Tobe. But all of the pre-production was done by Tobe. Tobe was there throughout. Tobe's vision is very much realized there. And Tobe got credit because he deserved credit. Including... Steven Spielberg said that. [...] Yes, Steven Spielberg was very much involved. It's a Tobe Hooper film. [22]

The special effects for Poltergeist were produced by Industrial Light and Magic and overseen by Richard Edlund . The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects and earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects , which it lost to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial .

The scene of Diane ( JoBeth Williams ) climbing up the walls was done using a static camera in a rotating set. [23] A similar effect was used in Royal Wedding to make it look like Fred Astaire was dancing on the ceiling.

Spielberg recalled that the most complicated lighting effects were used in Carol Anne's closet: "There were so many lighting effects: strobes and Las Vegas spots and fish tanks of water to give different kind of diffusion to the beams coming out and four large wind machines... We wanted the light to live." [24]

The dolly zoom is used in the scene of Diane running down the hallway to Carol Anne's room. This is done by pulling the camera back while zooming the lens forward. In Poltergeist it creates the illusion of expanding space. [25]

The music for Poltergeist was written by Jerry Goldsmith , who recalled:

Steven Spielberg called me about five months before [ Poltergeist ] went into production and wanted to know if I would be interested in doing it. He’d long been an admirer of mine, and we had met several times. I said I’d be very interested, so he sent me a script and I loved it. I was very excited about being involved with anything with Spielberg, anyway... With Spielberg, probably more than any other director, there’s a tremendous amount of discussion. He’s very articulate about music, and one can discuss for hours about approaches. Anything I did was not on my own volition; it was a joint effort in that we both agreed what we were trying to do with the music for the picture. We wanted a childlike theme for the little girl; Spielberg felt that much of the action in the closet should have a quasi-religious atmosphere to it. There was something definitely non-human about it, yet it was not evil all the way. It was discussing specifics like that which resulted in our approach... [Tobe Hooper] was not involved at all with post-production. That was all strictly with Steven, and I worked very closely with him. [26]

Goldsmith wrote several themes for the score, including the lullaby "Carol Anne's Theme" to represent blissful suburban life and the young female protagonist; a semi-religious melody for the souls caught between worlds; and several dissonant, atonal blasts for moments of terror. [27] [28] The score went on to garner Goldsmith an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score , though he lost to John Williams for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial .

Goldsmith's score was first released in 1982 on LP through MGM Records in a 38-minute version. Rhino Movie Music later released a 68-minute cut on CD in 1997. A two-disc soundtrack album later followed on December 9, 2010 by Film Score Monthly featuring additional source and alternate material. The 2010 release also included previously unreleased tracks from Goldsmith's score to The Prize (1963). [27] [29]

There is an alternate version of "Carol Anne's theme" which has lyrics. That version is unofficially titled "Bless this House" (which is a line from the chorus). It was not featured in the film, but was part of the original album.

A clip of Spencer Tracy in A Guy Named Joe (1943) can be seen on the TV in the Freelings' bedroom. This is one of Spielberg's favorite childhood films, which he would remake as Always . Joe is also a film about the afterlife.

Posters for Star Wars and Alien can be seen in the room shared by Robbie and Carol Anne.

The story of Poltergeist has similarities to the The Twilight Zone episode " Little Girl Lost ", about a girl who finds a portal to another dimension in her bedroom; the girl's family (including the dog) can hear her but can't see her. The similarity was noted by the episode's author, Richard Matheson : "They sort of used that idea and made their own concept of it." Matheson said he had a positive relationship with Spielberg, adding "God knows the man has talent." [30]

A sign at the Holiday Inn reads "Welcome Doctor Fantasy and Friends". This is an inside joke; producer Frank Marshall is an amateur magician, and his stage-name is Dr. Fantasy. [31] After a production wraps, Marshall performs magic for the crew. [32]

Poltergeist initially received an R rating [33] from the MPAA . Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper disagreed with the R rating and succeeded in changing it to PG on appeal. [34]

The film was reissued on October 29, 1982 to take advantage of the Halloween weekend. It was shown in theaters for one night only on October 4, 2007 to promote the new restored and remastered 25th-anniversary DVD, released five days later. This event also included the documentary They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists , which was created for the new DVD.

The Poltergeist franchise is believed by some to be cursed due to the premature deaths of several people associated with the film (including Heather O'Rourke and Dominique Dunne), [35] a notion that was the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story .

Poltergeist was released on VHS , Betamax , CED , and LaserDisc in 1982. On April 8, 1997, MGM Home Entertainment released Poltergeist on DVD in a snap case, and the only special feature was a trailer. In 1998, Poltergeist was re-released on DVD with the same cover and disc as the 1997 release, but in a keep case and with an eight-page booklet. In 1999, a snap case edition with the same DVD disc, but a different cover was released by Warner Home Video after the pre-May 1986 MGM library was acquired by the Time Warner -owned Turner Entertainment Co. Warner Home Video tentatively scheduled releases for the 25th anniversary edition of the film on standard DVD, HD DVD , and Blu-ray [36] in Spain and the US on October 9, 2007. The re-release was billed as having digitally remastered picture and sound and a two-part documentary: They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists , which makes extensive use of clips from the film. The remastered DVD of the film was released as scheduled, but both high-definition releases were eventually canceled. Warner Bros. rescheduled the high-definition version of the film and eventually released it only on the Blu-ray format on October 14, 2008. [37]

Poltergeist was released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on 4K UHD Blu-ray on September 20, 2022. [38]

A novelization was written by James Kahn , adapted from the film's original screenplay. It was printed in the United States through Warner Books, with the first printing in May 1982. [39] While the film focuses mainly on the Freeling family, much of the book leans toward the relationship between Tangina and Dr. Lesh. The novel also expands upon many scenes from the film, such as the nighttime manifestation of outer-dimensional entities of fire and shadows in the Freelings' living room, and an extended version of the kitchen scene in which Marty watches a steak crawl across a countertop. In the book, Marty is frozen in place and skeletonized by spiders and rats. There are also additional elements not in the film, such as Robbie's mysterious discovery of the clown doll in the yard during his birthday party, and a benevolent spirit, "The Waiting Woman", who protects Carol Anne in the spirit world.

Poltergeist was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 4, 1982. [40] The film was a commercial success and earned $76,606,280 in the United States, making it the highest-grossing horror film of 1982 , and eighth overall for the year. [41]

The film was well received by critics and is considered by many as a classic of the horror genre [42] [43] as well as one of the best films of 1982. [44] [45] [46] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 88% based on reviews from 72 critics, with an average rating of 7.50/10. The site's consensus reads: "Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and—most importantly—consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic." [47] On Metacritic it has a score of 79% based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [48] Roger Ebert gave Poltergeist three stars out of four and called it "an effective thriller, not so much because of the special effects, as because Hooper and Spielberg have tried to see the movie's strange events through the eyes of the family members, instead of just standing back and letting the special effects overwhelm the cast along with the audience." [49] Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "a marvelously spooky ghost story" with "extraordinary technical effects" that were "often eerie and beautiful but also occasionally vividly gruesome." [50] Andrew Sarris , in The Village Voice , wrote that when Carol Anne is lost, the parents and the two older children "come together in blood-kin empathy to form a larger-than-life family that will reach down to the gates of hell to save its loved ones." [51] In the Los Angeles Herald Examiner , Peter Rainer wrote:

Buried within the plot of Poltergeist is a basic, splendid fairy tale scheme: the story of a little girl who puts her parents through the most outrageous tribulation to prove their love for her. Underlying most fairy tales is a common theme: the comforts of family. Virtually all fairy tales begin with a disrupting of the family order, and their conclusion is usually a return to order. [51]

David Thomson , in his entry on Spielberg in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film , calls Poltergeist "wondrous." [52]

Not all reviews were as positive. Gene Siskel gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, writing that Poltergeist "is very good at getting the details of suburban life right—in other words, it sets its stage beautifully—but when it comes time for the terror to begin, the whole thing is very, very silly." [53] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post observed that the film "looks and feels decidedly patchy, as if it had been assembled by different hands frequently working at cross purposes." [54] Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "In terms of simple, flat-out, roof-rattling fright, Poltergeist gives full value. In terms of story, however, simple is indeed the word, and dumb might be a better one. And when so many effects are lavished on a story this frail, you have a lopsided film." [55]

The film continues to receive recognition 40 years after its release. Poltergeist was selected by The New York Times as one of The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made. [56] It also received recognition from the American Film Institute , with a number 84 ranking on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills list; [57] "They're here" was named the 69th-greatest movie quote on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes . [58]

The film received three Oscar nominations: Best Original Score , Best Sound Effects Editing , and Best Visual Effects , losing all three to Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial . [59]

In 1986, Poltergeist II: The Other Side retained the family but introduced a new motive for the Beast's behavior, tying him to an evil cult leader named Henry Kane, who led his religious sect to their doom in the 1820s. As the Beast, Kane went to extraordinary lengths to keep his "flock" under his control, even in death. The original motive of the cemetery's souls disturbed by the housing development was thereby altered; the cemetery was now explained to be built above a cave where Kane and his flock met their ends. It also reveals that the women of the family are actually psychics.

Poltergeist III , released in 1988, finds Carol Anne as the sole original family member living in an elaborate Chicago skyscraper owned and inhabited by her aunt, uncle and cousin. Kane follows her there and uses the building's ubiquitous decorative mirrors as a portal to the Earthly plane.

The 1988 Italian film Ghosthouse (also known as La casa 3 ), written and directed by Umberto Lenzi , has been described as an imitation of the original Poltergeist . [60] [61]

In 2013, a remake of the original Poltergeist , produced by MGM and 20th Century Fox and directed by Gil Kenan , was announced. [62] [63] [64] Sam Raimi , Rob Tapert , and Roy Lee produced the film, which stars Sam Rockwell , Jared Harris , and Rosemarie DeWitt . [65] Poltergeist was released on May 22, 2015. [65]

On April 10, 2019, it was announced that the Russo Brothers would helm a new remake. [66]

In October 2023, it was reported that a television series adaptation was in early development at Amazon MGM Studios with Amblin Television 's Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey set to executive produce. [67]

"Bad Dream House", the first segment of " Treehouse of Horror ", the first episode of the annual The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials, is partly a parody of Poltergeist.

The song "Shining" by horror punk band Misfits , on their 1997 album American Psycho , is based directly on the film, with the chorus centered on the refrain: "Carol Anne, Carol Anne". [68]

Spice Girls pays homage to the film in their 1997 music video for the song " Too Much ". [69] [70]

Two separate animated TV series helmed by Seth MacFarlane have parodied Poltergeist . In the 2006 Family Guy episode " Petergeist ", Peter Griffin discovers an Indian burial ground when he attempts to build a multiplex in a backyard. When he takes an Indian chief's skull, a poltergeist invades the Griffins' home. The episode used some of the same musical cues heard in the film and recreates several of its scenes. [71] American Dad! also parodied the film with the season 10 episode "Poltergasm", in which the Smith house has become haunted by Francine 's unsatisfied sex drive. [72]

The 2001 comedy horror film Scary Movie 2 parodies the movie's clown doll attack in Robbie's bedroom, as well as Diane's levitation. [73]

Poltergeist was the subject of walk through attractions at both Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood's annual Halloween Horror Nights event. [74]

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  • "Little Girl Lost" ( The Twilight Zone )
  • List of ghost films

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  • ↑ "Box Office Information for Poltergeist " . The Numbers . Retrieved January 29, 2012 .
  • ↑ Martin, Bob (1982). Fangoria #23, Article "Tobe Hooper on Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist" . pp.   28 .
  • ↑ "Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments" . Archived from the original on October 30, 2007 . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "Chicago Critics' Scariest Films" . AltFilmGuide.com . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills" (PDF) . American Film Institute . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • 1 2 How Did This Get Made: A Conversation With Michael Grais, Writer Of 'Cool World'
  • ↑ Breznican, Anthony (April 5, 2018). "The untold story of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg's (almost) collaborations" . Entertainment Weekly .
  • ↑ Kendrick, James (2014). Darkness in the Bliss-Out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg . Bloomsbury Publishing USA. Page 41. ISBN   9781441146045 .
  • ↑ Epting, Chris (2003). James Dean Died Here: The Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks . Santa Monica Press. Page 204. ISBN   9781891661310 .
  • ↑ Sanello, Frank (August 5, 2002). Spielberg: The Man, the Movies, the Mythology . Taylor Trade Publications. p.   119. ISBN   9780878331482 .
  • 1 2 Brode, Douglas (2000). The Films of Steven Spielberg . New York: Citadel Press . p.   101. ISBN   0-8065-1951-7 .
  • ↑ "Fangoria 023 c2c 1982 Evil Dead scan by SproutHatesWatermarks S" – via Internet Archive.
  • ↑ Brode, pg 102
  • ↑ Pollack, Dale (May 24, 1982). " 'Poltergeist': Whose Film Is It?". Los Angeles Times.
  • ↑ Searles, Jack (June 19, 1982). "Hooper gets some recognition". Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
  • ↑ Brode, pg 99–100
  • ↑ "Click over, children! All are welcome! All welcome! Quint interviews Zelda Rubinstein!!!!" . Ain't It Cool News . October 2, 2007 . Retrieved January 6, 2008 .
  • 1 2 "Rue Morgue 121 (2012)" – via Web Archive . {{ cite magazine }} : Cite magazine requires | magazine= ( help )
  • ↑ "Tobe Hooper: "I always wanted to work in the time before I was born" " . Film Talk. April 17, 2015. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016 . Retrieved September 19, 2020 .
  • ↑ Galluzzo, Rob (July 14, 2017). "Confirmation? Who Really Directed POLTERGEIST?" . Blumhouse Productions . Archived from the original on September 1, 2017 . Retrieved July 15, 2017 .
  • ↑ John Squires (September 14, 2017). "Mick Garris Delivers Final Word on 'Poltergeist' Controversy; "Tobe Directed That Movie." " . Bloody-Disgusting .
  • ↑ Breznican, Anthony (September 22, 2022). "What Really Happened During the Making of 'Poltergeist' " . Vanity Fair .
  • ↑ Frank, Marshall (director) (1982). The Making of Poltergeist (Motion picture). Amblin Entertainment.
  • ↑ Moynihan, Tim (August 28, 2014). "WTF Just Happened: How Do They Pull Off the Vertigo Effect in Movies" . Wired .
  • ↑ Larson, Randall D. (1983). "Jerry Goldsmith on Poltergeist and NIMH" . CinemaScore .
  • 1 2 "Filmtracks: Poltergeist (Jerry Goldsmith)" . Filmtracks.com . December 31, 2010 . Retrieved May 31, 2013 .
  • ↑ Poltergeist soundtrack review at AllMusic , accessed February 16, 2011.
  • ↑ " Poltergeist " . Film Score Monthly . Retrieved October 20, 2012 .
  • ↑ "The Script's Development (Page 1 of 2) @ poltergeist.poltergeistiii.com" . www.poltergeist.poltergeistiii.com .
  • ↑ Anderson, Ross (May 23, 2019). Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat: The Making of Roger Rabbit . Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN   978-1-4968-2230-7 .
  • ↑ "Calling The Shots No. 39: Frank Marshall" . BBC .
  • ↑ "Poltergeist (1982)" . filmratings.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014 . Retrieved July 6, 2014 . [ dead link ]
  • ↑ "Spielberg's 'Poltergeist' Reclassified". Albuquerque Journal . May 24, 1982. p.   A15.
  • ↑ Mikkelson, Barbara. "Poltergeist Deaths" , Snopes.com , August 17, 2007
  • ↑ "Live Chat with Warner Home Video" . Home Theater Forum . February 26, 2007 . Retrieved June 1, 2008 .
  • ↑ Poltergeist on Blu-ray at WBshop.com
  • ↑ Poltergeist and The Lost Boys Hit 4K Blu-ray With Anniversary Editions at ComicBook.com
  • ↑ Kahn, James (1982). Poltergeist (9780446302227): James Kahn: Books . Warner Books. ISBN   0446302228 .
  • ↑ Woofter, Kristopher, ed. (2021). American Twilight: The Cinema of Tobe Hooper . Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press. p.   329. ISBN   9781477322833 .
  • ↑ "Box Office Information for Poltergeist " . Box Office Mojo . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ " Poltergeist Movie Reviews, Page 2" . Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ " Poltergeist Movie Reviews, Page 3" . Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "The Greatest Films of 1982" . AMC FilmSite.org . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "The 10 Best Movies of 1982" . Film.com . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "The Best Movies of 1982 by Rank" . Films101.com . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "Poltergeist" . Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved October 21, 2022 .
  • ↑ "Poltergeist" . Metacritic . Retrieved November 1, 2020 .
  • ↑ Ebert, Roger (June 1, 1982). "Poltergeist" . RogerEbert.com . Retrieved November 27, 2018 .
  • ↑ Canby, Vincent (June 4, 1982). "Film: 'Poltergeist' From Spielberg" . The New York Times . p.   C16.
  • 1 2 Cited in Brode, p. 111
  • ↑ Thomson, David (2004). The New Biographical Dictionary of Film . p.   848.
  • ↑ Siskel, Gene (June 4, 1982). "As a screamer, 'Poltergeist' is mute". Chicago Tribune . Section 3, p. 3.
  • ↑ Arnold, Gary (June 4, 1982). "Horror With the Spielberg Touch" . The Washington Post . p.   D1.
  • ↑ Benson, Sheila (June 4, 1982). "An Epic Bump By Spielberg". Los Angeles Times . Part VI, p. 1.
  • ↑ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made" . The New York Times . April 29, 2003 . Retrieved May 22, 2010 .
  • ↑ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills" (PDF) . American Film Institute . Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2011 . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes" (PDF) . American Film Institute . Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2011 . Retrieved May 21, 2010 .
  • ↑ Poltergeist at oscars.org; Accessed November 2, 2010.
  • ↑ Golden, Christopher ; Bissette, Stephen R. ; Sniegoski, Thomas E. (2000). Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Monster Book . Simon & Schuster . p.   285. ISBN   978-0671042592 .
  • ↑ Newman, Kim (2011). Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s . Bloomsbury USA . p.   262. ISBN   978-1408805039 .
  • ↑ Team, The Deadline (June 20, 2013). "MGM, Fox 2000 To Co-Finance & Distribute 'Poltergeist'; Production To Start This Fall" .
  • ↑ McNary, Dave (March 7, 2013). " 'Poltergeist' Reboot Set For Late-Summer Start" . Variety .
  • ↑ Goldberg, Matt (June 20, 2013). "Poltergeist Remake Confirmed to Shoot This Fall; Likely Due out Next Year" . Collider.com . Retrieved June 20, 2013 .
  • 1 2 Dave McNary (March 5, 2015). " 'Poltergeist' Reboot Moved Up to May 22, 'Spy' Back to June 5" . Variety . Retrieved March 6, 2015 .
  • ↑ Miska, Brad (April 10, 2019). " 'Poltergeist' Getting Remade *Again* with 'Captain America' and 'Avengers' Directors?!" .
  • ↑ Otterson, Joe (October 30, 2023). " 'Poltergeist' TV Series in Early Development at Amazon MGM Studios (EXCLUSIVE)" . Variety . Retrieved October 30, 2023 .
  • ↑ Greene, James R. Jr. (2013). This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfits . Scarecrow Press ISBN   0810884372
  • ↑ Strecker, Erin (November 4, 2014). "Happy Birthday, 'Spiceworld': It's Time to Re-Watch Some Cheesy Spice Girls Music Videos" . Billboard . Retrieved March 16, 2023 .
  • ↑ Munzenrieder, Kyle (November 28, 2018). "From Ariana to Madonna: A History of Pop Stars Recreating Iconic Movies in Their Music Videos" . W . Retrieved March 16, 2023 .
  • ↑ "Petergeist" . TV.com . Retrieved June 25, 2007 .
  • ↑ "American Dad: "Poltergasm" " . October 7, 2013 . Retrieved April 4, 2017 .
  • ↑ Raymond, Adam K. (April 15, 2013). "Every Movie 'Spoofed' in the Scary Movie Franchise" . Vulture.com . Archived from the original on November 11, 2020 . Retrieved November 23, 2020 .
  • ↑ Foutch, Haleigh (August 9, 2018). "Halloween Horror Nights Adds 'Poltergeist' to 2018 Mazes" . Collider . Retrieved March 16, 2023 .
  • Poltergeist at AllMovie
  • Poltergeist at the TCM Movie Database
  • Poltergeist at the American Film Institute Catalog
  • Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
  • Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
  • Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
  • Super 8 (2011)
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
  • The Color Purple (2023)
  • Maestro (2023)
  • " L.A. 2017 " (1971)
  • Amazing Stories (1985–1987)
  • High Incident (1996–1997)
  • Invasion America (1998)
  • Amazing Stories (2020)
  • Spielberg's After Dark (TBA)
  • The Dig (1995)
  • Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair (1996)
  • Medal of Honor (1999)
  • Medal of Honor: Underground (2000)
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (2002)
  • Boom Blox (2008)
  • Boom Blox Bash Party (2009)
  • Amy Irving (first wife)
  • Kate Capshaw (second wife)
  • Jessica Capshaw (stepdaughter)
  • Destry Spielberg (daughter)
  • Sasha Spielberg (daughter)
  • Arnold Spielberg (father)
  • Anne Spielberg (sister)
  • Amblin Entertainment
  • DreamWorks Television
  • Amblimation
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
  • Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive
  • Spielberg (2017)

15 Best Paranormal Movies That Will Haunt You in Your Sleep

Not for the faint of heart!

Horror stands as one of cinema's oldest and most ambitious genres, and it has cultivated a passionate fan following off the back of its ability to leave viewers a terrified, trembling mess. One of its most viscerally horrifying subgenres comes in the form of paranormal movies, with films focusing on unnatural beings like ghosts, spirits, and demons which invade our nightmares and pique our superstitions and fears.

With impeccable special effects, agonizingly suspenseful storytelling, and an ingrained sense of terror that forces us to keep watching no matter how much we want to look away, great paranormal horror films have served as one of the genre's defining pillars for decades . From timeless classics from over 50 years ago to modern masterworks that reinvent the terror for new generations, it was much more than mere jump scares that made these films the iconic hits that they are today.

15 'The Others' (2001)

Directed by alejandro amenábar.

A twisty, winding psychological horror, The Others excelled as a subversive haunted house horror movie that coasted on Nicole Kidman ’s compelling central performance. Taking place in 1945, it follows a devoted Catholic who moves to the English coast with her two young children who suffer from a rare photosensitivity disease while waiting for word on her husband in the war. As odd occurrences start to transpire around the house, Grace (Kidman) starts to believe something paranormal could be at work.

With an elegance that isn’t necessarily characteristic of horror, not to mention an intelligent and engrossing screenplay to boot, The Others excelled with its narrative nous alone. However, with The Others also boasting a magnetic, atmospheric chill that can have an immersive effect , it is shocking as it is tight and tidy to be an impressive and underrated horror flick.

Rent on Amazon Prime

14 'Suspiria' (1977)

Directed by dario argento.

One of the greatest horror movies of the 1970s which distinguished itself with a rich sense of style, Suspiria has become a true classic of the genre. It follows Suzy Bannion ( Jessica Harper ), an aspiring ballerina from America who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious dance academy, where her stay becomes plagued as a mysterious and malevolent entity haunts the establishment, sparking an idea that a supernatural conspiracy could be at play.

While the film has some genuinely unnerving scenes, what truly made it stick in the viewers’ minds was its breathtaking visual display, with Dario Argento using color to striking effect , creating a surreal atmosphere of gripping intensity. The end result is a strangely beautiful horror film that excels as an aesthetically entrancing masterpiece with a solid horror story to boot.

Watch on Tubi

13 'Poltergeist' (1982)

Directed by tobe hooper.

Poltergeist made television a thing to be feared. When the youngest of the Freeling family, Carol Anne ( Heather O'Rourke ) begins chatting with the static on the TV, there is something wrong. Eventually, the rest of the house becomes a horror show as well and it is overrun by malevolent ghosts who want to abduct Carol Anne.

Released in 1982, Poltergeist has become a timeless horror classic with its consistently terrifying tone which remains just as scary today as it was the day it was released. In addition to being a terrific paranormal horror film, Poltergeist is also one of the all-time great haunted house movies , one that not only gave viewers nightmares, but left them in a cold sweat when their television sets went to static as well.

Poltergeist

Rent on Apple TV

12 'Smile' (2022)

Directed by parker finn.

The directorial debut of Parker Finn , adapting his 2020 short film Laura Hasn't Slept into a feature-length horror hit, Smile proved to be incredibly effective as an unnerving, creepy demon possession flick. It follows Rose ( Sosie Bacon ), a psychiatrist who believes she is being haunted by a supernatural threat after she witnesses the bizarre and harrowing suicide of one of her patients.

Smile 's use of jump scares, mounting suspense, and eerily off-putting performances offered more than enough horror to keep audiences awake at night for fear of what they would see in their dreams. As a fresh entry into the world of horror cinema, Smile was a landmark box office success, making well over $200 million worldwide, and has a sequel scheduled to be released in October .

Watch on Amazon Prime

11 'Last Night in Soho' (2021)

Directed by edgar wright.

While it isn't classified as a horror film, Edgar Wright 's ghost story draws clear inspiration from the genre while creeping under audiences' skin with much more than just evil spirits. Last Night in Soho follows Eloise ( Thomasin McKenzie ) a clairvoyant girl who moves to London to attend a fashion course at an illustrious arts school where her connection to the area's ugly past threatens to drive her mad as she begins experiencing the life of an aspiring singer who had her room in the 1960s.

While the film's ghoulish, faceless ghosts can certainly garner a fright, it's Last Night in Soho 's thematic focus on misogyny and abuse that made it particularly striking . It also didn't hurt that the film had a spectacular soundtrack of '60s hits , flaunted Wright's trademark dedication to style, and served as a wonderful testament to classic horror which fans could both adore and fear.

Last Night in Soho

10 'talk to me' (2023), directed by danny and michael phillipou.

The modern age of horror cinema has seen a number of stunning instant classics arise, but few have had such immediate success as Talk to Me . Following a group of friends as they conjure spirits with an embalmed hand for thrills, its sudden shift to paranormal terror has entrenched it among the best and most popular horror movies to be made in recent years.

The debut film of Michael and Danny Philippou , it hearkens back to classic horror movies from decades past while being imbued with some new ideas that make it completely of its time. Further enhanced by its aspirational dramatic heft, Talk to Me is a deeply unsettling film capable of rattling even the most hardened horror fans and is destined to become one of the best paranormal horror movies, if not of all time, then of its era at the very least.

Rent on Amazon

9 'Paranormal Activity' (2007)

Directed by oren peli.

An ingenious mix of simple yet suspenseful narrative, low-budget innovation, and the haunting, invasive feeling exuded from its home-camera gimmick, Paranormal Activity is a true masterpiece of found footage horror . As one of the 21st century's earlier horror hits, it focuses on a young couple who move into a new house where a series of strange happenings inspire Micah ( Micah Sloat ) to set up cameras to document what is occurring.

Steadily building the tension as the weird events that occur become increasingly hostile, much of the film's agonizing torment actually stemmed from the lingering moments where nothing was happening. A stressful, heart-stopping horror film, Paranormal Activity remains an acclaimed hit of the genre and one of the most intense and terrifying paranormal horror films of all time.

Paranormal Activity

Watch on Max

8 'The Ring' (2002)

Directed by gore verbinski.

An American adaptation of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu , The Ring fast became a horror hit in the early 2000s. It follows Rachel ( Naomi Watts ), a journalist covering the death of four teenage girls who investigates a cursed videotape that kills people seven days after they watch it, and must find answers to save herself after she views it out of curiosity.

Fascinatingly, the film went into production without a finished script, but it found momentum in Gore Verbinski's arresting atmospheric suspense and Watts' outstanding central performance . The Ring tapped into the internet phenomenon of chain mail horror years before it bled into the mainstream consciousness, becoming a superstitious, paranormal hit of urban legend terror and nightmarish visual terror.

7 'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)

Directed by roman polanski.

A true timeless classic of horror cinema which was famous for its terrifying, psychological impact which saw it linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled, Rosemary's Baby mixes demonic horror with family drama to horrifying effect . It focuses on Rosemary Woodhouse ( Mia Farrow ), the wife of a stage actor who moves into an apartment building with her husband where strange occurrences plague her as she falls pregnant, leading her to grow suspicious of her neighbors.

With a violent and overbearing satanism an underlying threat throughout Rosemary's Baby , it gradually builds a sickening dread as the sinister plot of the complex’s tenants unfolds. Powered by Farrow’s phenomenal central performance, Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t just thrive as one of the scariest paranormal movies of all time, but as a great example of female-led cinema as well.

Rosemary's Baby

Watch on Paramount+

6 'The Conjuring' (2013)

Directed by james wan.

Throughout the 2010s, the horror genre had a massive resurgence, with more genre films becoming mainstream hits the longer the decade went on. One of the great, early major success stories for 2010s horror was 2013's The Conjuring which follows a family who move into a haunted house and turn to demonologists Ed ( Patrick Wilson ) and Lorraine Warren ( Vera Farmiga ) to investigate the curse's origin.

A suitably terrifying picture, The Conjuring is a flawless example of haunted house horror and proved to be such a hit with fans that it spawned a successful extended franchise. Further adding to the nightmarish horror of the demonic evil and the visual frights, The Conjuring was reportedly based on true events that the real-life Warrens investigated in the 1970s.

The Conjuring

5 'the babadook' (2014), directed by jennifer kent.

A cult hit of an Australian horror movie that has gradually built up its audience as the years have gone on, The Babadook served as the directorial debut of Jennifer Kent . Following a widowed single mother as her son begins to act strange and speaks of a monster coming to get him, it focuses on an ominous picture book called "Mister Babadook" and the monstrous evil that comes to life from within it.

The film won international praise not only for its horror mastery, but also for its depiction of grief and loss which gave it a heart-wrenching story of family woe as its core. As for its terrifying magnificence though, Kent masterfully manufactured a truly shaking horror film without having to rely on jump scares or copious gore to leave audiences dreading the titular villain long after the movie had finished.

The Babadook

Watch on Hulu

4 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)

Directed by eduardo sánchez and daniel myrick.

Still standing as the magnum opus of the found-footage subgenre over two decades after its release, The Blair Witch Project remains one of the most viscerally terrifying movies ever made. It follows three film students who seek to make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch, and venture into the supposedly haunted woods to find out more about the myth only to find themselves lost and being stalked by a wicked and malevolent force.

The low-budget documentary approach gave The Blair Witch Project a jarring, grounded realism which elevated the horror by only giving audiences a very narrow viewpoint of what was unfolding. It allowed the imagination to run wild with all manner of dreadful thoughts, and also led to a very real sense of motion sickness which made many patrons in theaters physically ill .

The Blair Witch Project

3 'hereditary' (2018), directed by ari aster.

A groundbreaking debut from modern horror maestro Ari Aster , Hereditary became an instant classic with a startling reputation as being one of the greatest and scariest movies ever made . The famed horror flick follows a grieving family mourning the loss of an elderly relative who begins to fear they are being haunted by a demonic entity as they discover more of their disturbing ancestry amid a series of worrying occurrences.

The narrative takes some deeply disturbing turns to build an unbearable sense of dread which serves as an embodiment of nightmarish terror. Hereditary 's commentary on loss, guilt, and family is brilliant, not only in its depth but also in how it works into the horror , further enhancing it as the story unfolds right up until its scarring ending which has undoubtedly led to nightmares for millions of viewers around the world and marked Hereditary as one of the best supernatural horror movies ever made.

2 The Shining (1980)

Directed by stanley kubrick.

As one of the most renowned horror movies of all time, The Shining has endured for decades as a genre-defining masterpiece capable of generating an immense and weighted sense of dread that hangs heavy over the audience. From acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick , it follows a young family who relocates to the remote Overlook Hotel to serve as the resort’s winter caretakers where the patriarch begins to go mad as the hotel’s violent intent unravels.

With a runtime of 146 minutes, the film utilizes an agonizingly slow pace to draw out every ounce of dread and eerie suspense. It may not be the most immediately terrifying movie, but The Shining does prove to be an exhausting, lingering nightmare that can haunt viewers long after the credits roll .

The Shining

1 'the exorcist' (1973), directed by william friedkin.

When young Regan ( Linda Blair ) becomes possessed by a demon, her family calls for an exorcism to vanquish the evil. As Regan's condition worsens, she wreaks havoc on her household as she battles the demon for power over her very being, all while two Catholic priests work tirelessly to exorcise the demon from her body.

The Exorcist broke barriers for the genre, becoming an instant and lasting phenomenon that incited widespread fanfare and spectacle while also inspiring derision and even legends of a cursed production. Despite all the hysteria surrounding the film though, the one thing about The Exorcist that has endured is its masterful execution of paranormal horror, something that has made the movie the scariest film of all time in the eyes of many who have seen it.

The Exorcist

NEXT: The Most Bizarre and Grotesque Body Horror Movies

MovieWeb

15 Terrifying Movie Toys That Give Us Nightmares

Posted: July 11, 2023 | Last updated: November 12, 2023

Every child and former child on Earth has, at some point or another, played with a toy. They've probably done so quite a bit. So what is it about toys that can be so terrifying?

Maybe it's the unmoving plastic faces, whether they be attached to a dolly or a nightmarish Cabbage Patch Doll. Or maybe it's the fact that, when there's one, there are almost always quite a few more. That means the film's protagonists, whether they're adults or children, can be overrun by the things. There are quite a few movies out there featuring creepy, freaky toys, and they're not all voiced by Brad Dourif.

The Dummies in Tourist Trap (1979)

Tourist Trap has become a substantial cult favorite, and given the film's bizarre PG rating it's not surprising it gradually built a large following. The film's ace in the hole is the seemingly-protagonistic but ultimately antagonistic performance from The Rifleman 's Chuck Connors.

Like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre , Tourist Trap is a movie that lives and dies on its tone. Every corner seems as though it's hiding the next doll-faced monstrosity. And, if it isn't one of those a-little- too -realistic mannequins, it's some sort of cackling booby trap.

RELATED: How M3GAN Stands Out from Other Scary Dolls in Horror Movies

The Clown in Poltergeist (1982)

Tobe Hooper's (and Steven Spielberg's) Poltergeist is a masterpiece of an introductory horror film, but it's a masterpiece of an introductory horror film that gave any number of kids any number of nightmares. This is primarily due to two scenes: The clown and the mirror.

The mirror scene is the film's biggest gross-out moment, and it's astonishing how well the practical effects have aged. Then there's the clown, which grabs little Robbie Freeling from behind after hopping on top of his bed (which the audience doesn't see). It's one of the best jump scares from the 1980s, not just because it's legitimately scary, but mostly because it's less gimmicky than most, instead favoring the methodical approach. It's easy to see how the scene has inspired M3GAN producer James Wan, who has cited the film as a direct influence on his killer doll obsession .

The Elderly Couple's Dolls in Dolls (1987)

The single most underrated creepy doll movie of all time, Dolls was directed by the late Stuart Gordon, of Re-Animator and From Beyond fame. Also behind it was Puppet Master 's Charles Band, whose Empire Pictures (his first theatrical distribution company) released the film alongside other minor horror classics such as Ghoulies .

The eerie film takes place in an elderly couple's English countryside mansion. An... eccentric couple, Gabriel and Hilary Hartwicke have an obsessive affinity for both toys and the concepts of both good and evil. So, when two parents and their little girl show up on the doorstep, they allow them inside. Then comes businessman Ralph (a wonderful performance from Stephen Lee, who also starred in RoboCop 2 ) and his two temporary female compatriots. Before long, it isn't just the Hartwickes who are showing quirky life, but their doll collection as well. Dolls is the kind of movie where only bad characters perish, and they could have avoided such a fate were they only to learn a simple lesson.

The Garbage Pail Kids in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)

1987's The Garbage Pail Kids movie is to 2023's Barbie what Bad Dreams is to A Nightmare on Elm Street . Widely deemed one of cinema's worst (a fair title), the late '80s nightmare factory that is Garbage Pail Kids (certainly the movie, perhaps the IP as a whole) is one of the more mean-spirited properties to make a lot of money.

That said, the IP's profitablity only extended to the merchandise, because absolutely no one saw the Movie . Even putting aside the intentionally ugly visages of the title characters (not to mention their bone-chilling voices), The Garbage Pail Kids is a flat-out hideous movie, and it's a baffling mystery as to both who it's for and who thought it would do anything outside of flop.

Chucky in Child's Play (1988)

If there's a famous killer toy franchise, it's Child's Play . The brainchild of Don Mancini, Child's Play and it's antagonistic doll Chucky (really serial killer Charles Lee Ray) have gone on to become top-tier icons of horror, but it's interesting to imagine whether that would be the case were the knife-wielding Good Guy doll not voiced by Brad Dourif.

The honest answer is "Not a chance." The strength of Dourif's vocal work in the original film (and all else that's followed, Dourif never gives it less than his all) was enough to make Chucky the stuff of nightmares for many young people (and maybe not so young people as well). Admittedly, the original film's voodoo-heavy plot isn't as interesting as, say, the family dynamic of Child's Play 2 , but Chucky is a ridiculously impressive practical creation. And, for whatever reason, he's never looked quite as intimidating as he did in the original 1988 film (which is also substantially buoyed by terrific leading performances from Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, and young Alex Vincent).

Blade in Puppet Master (1989)

The cash cow that's assuredly helped keep Charles Band's Full Moon Features going, the Puppet Master franchise suffers from awful narratives and worse performances, but benefits from some legitimately creative designs for the evil puppets. This is especially true of Blade, who is almost certainly the biggest horror icon Band ever blessed horror cinema.

There are 14 Puppet Master films, but the only one to really have any recognizable faces is the original (e.g. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 's William "The Bles-sing " Hickey and American Graffiti 's Paul Le Mat. Naturally, with so many films, it's necessary to change the lineup every now and then, and for the most part Puppet Master has, always being careful to replace one interesting antagonist with another. But then there are the staples, most of whom debuted in the original.

Dolly Dearest in Dolly Dearest (1991)

While Dolly Dearest didn't score the best reviews at the time of initial release, it's gone on to become something of a minor cult classic. And, even if just taking the titular antagonist's appearance into account, it's easy to see why.

Like Chucky, Dolly is possessed. But, instead of a serial killer, Dolly houses the spirit of Satan himself. As the film progresses, Dolly's appearance becomes more and more lifelike, and she looks every bit as scary as the red-headed Good Guy. Dolly Dearest also benefits from a great cast, including Pet Sematary 's Denise Crosby and Men in Black 's Rip Torn.

The Evil Residents of Toyland Warehouse in Demonic Toys (1992)

Like Puppet Master , Demonic Toys is one of many low-budget horror films to come from Charles Band's Full Moon Features. Unlike Puppet Master , Demonic Toys did not go on to become a long-lasting franchise that continues to this day. That said, they got a crossover with Tim Thomerson's Dollman .

The plot follows a female cop just after her partner (in more ways than one) is killed by a pair of gun dealers. She wounds them, but they escape into Toyland Warehouse. She follows and, before long, some of the creepiest toys (the film has impressive creature effects for such a low budget) come to life. Admittedly, not much about the movie's increasingly bizarre pregnancy-related plot works, but the movie's good for a few low-rent chills.

Sid's Creepy Playthings in Toy Story (1995)

Some argue that Toy Story 's Sid isn't so much a villain as he is a tragic figure . Fair enough, it's pretty obvious he's a latchkey kid who hasn't seen his parents in (given the state of his domicile) what appears to be months.

All that stewing and building anger was going to go somewhere, and the combination of lighting fireworks and creating monstrous little mechanical hobgoblins was apparently the way to go. But, Sid needs to take into account the fact his toys have caused countless nightmares...though, really, that'd probably produce nothing but a smile.

Pinocchio in Pinocchio's Revenge (1996)

It's a toss-up between which version of Pinocchio is scarier, the one in 1996's offbeat slasher film Pinocchio's Revenge or the one in Disney's live-action 2022 remake of their own original. But the edge goes to the extra-wooden rendition in Pinocchio's Revenge , a sibling film to Child's Play if ever there was one.

Like Child's Play , the movie follows a child and her growing connection to a doll. But this doll has an even bigger name brand attachment than the Good Guy Doll. And, unlike the Good Guy, it doesn't need the spirit of a serial killer planted inside of it to become a sinister little monster. Pinocchio's Revenge is very average, which is understandable given its direct-to-VHS nature, but at the very least it has a whopper of an ending.

The Commandos and Gorgonites in Small Soldiers (1998)

Like Men in Black and Godzilla , there's something distinctly '90s about Gremlins director Joe Dante's Small Soldiers . Sure, that's natural considering it was released during the decade, but there's just something about Small Soldiers that makes it a wonderful timepiece (even if it is hard to ascertain just what age demographic for whom the film was made). Tonally, Dante's film is both pretty in line with his dark sense of humor and scattershot all the same. But, it has to get a lot of credit for the excellent special effects, the genuinely frightening commandos (led by the perfectly-cast Tommy Lee Jones' Chip Hazard), and the creative designs of the heroic Gorgonites.

The film's true ace in the hole is casting. Like Jones, The Naked Gun 's George Kennedy, legendary full back Jim Brown, Ernest Borgnine, western legend Clint Walker, and Bruce Dern all sound like they're members of a particularly vicious posse, which the Commando Elite very much is. The Gorgonites are similarly well-voiced, with comedic actors Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Jim Cummings all providing their unique pitches to the little things' wild noises, while Frank Langella provides the voice of Archer who, unlike his pals, speaks in full concise sentences. Then there's the whose who of '90s icons. Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Dunn, Denis Leary, David Cross, and the late, dearly missed Phil Hartman all contribute in-person performances.

RELATED: Small Soldiers 2 Fan Film Imagines a Sequel for the Modern Era

Tiffany in Bride of Chucky (1998)

Ronny Yu successfully injected some life into both the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th sagas with Freddy vs. Jason . But, five years before he was doing that, he was breathing (even better) life back into the Child's Play franchise with Bride of Chucky .

The importance of Jennifer Tilly's Tiffany to the Child's Play franchise can't be overstated. Without her, Chuck was dead in the water after Child's Play 3 , full stop. There's a reason her presence has continued, especially in the TV series. Still, the less said about Seed of Chucky the better.

Lotso Huggin' Bear in Toy Story 3 (2010)

Ned Beatty was one of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s hardest-working and most well-respected actors. And, fortunately, his deep Southern voice was put to good use in animated works later in life.

This was done most notably in Toy Story 3 , where he played the hurt and soured Lotso Huggin' Bear (though his similarly antagonistic role as John, mayor of Dirt, in Rango is very solid as well). Lotso works as a villain because he's essentially a mob boss. He's capable of striking others, and doesn't shy from doing so, but more often than not he gets his many begrudged allies to do his dirty work for him. And the fact that he's gotten to this point via abandonment and abuse is sadly relatable for many, making him an objectively superior villain even to the more straightforward-nasty Sid in the original film.

Perchta in Krampus (2015)

Michael Dougherty's Krampus wasn't a crossover hit at the box office, but it did do better than many might fairly expect. With a grim sense of humor and terrific performances from the cast, all of whom play members of an incredibly dysfunctional family begrudgingly joining for what will ultimately be many of their final Christmases.

Why won't they make it to next year? Because not only do they have to take on Krampus (the anti-Santa), but his crew of sadistic cackling toys as well. For instance, the flying Perchta, a witch who proves to be a headache for the characters at several points throughout the film.

Der Klown in Krampus (2015)

As mentioned, Krampus is loaded with intimidating baddies. And, oddly enough, one of them manages to be even more horrifying than the title character himself.

Specifically, the attic-dwelling Der Klown. If being a frills-wearing clown (that lives in an attic) wasn't scary enough, his Predator-like expanding lower mouth (brandishing row after row of teeth) will be.

15 Terrifying Movie Toys That Give Us Nightmares

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IMAGES

  1. Poltergeist (1982)

    cast of 1982 poltergeist

  2. ‎Poltergeist (1982) directed by Tobe Hooper • Reviews, film + cast

    cast of 1982 poltergeist

  3. 'Poltergeist’: The Chilling Story Behind the Film's Mythical Curse

    cast of 1982 poltergeist

  4. Poltergeist (1982)

    cast of 1982 poltergeist

  5. Poltergeist (1982)

    cast of 1982 poltergeist

  6. Poltergeist

    cast of 1982 poltergeist

VIDEO

  1. Poltergeist

  2. The Poltergeist Curse: Uncovering the Real-Life Tragedies #shorts #shortsfeed #youtubeshorts

  3. Poltergeist 3 released on this date 35 years ago in US Theatres!

  4. Poltergeist 1982 TV trailer #2

  5. They're Here! Curse of Poltergeist

  6. Poltergeist

COMMENTS

  1. Poltergeist (1982)

    Poltergeist (1982) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb Edit Poltergeist (1982) Full Cast & Crew See agents for this cast & crew on IMDbPro Directed by Tobe Hooper Writing Credits Cast (in credits order) verified as complete Produced by Music by Jerry Goldsmith Cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti ... director of photography Editing by Michael Kahn

  2. The Tragic Real-Life Story Of The Poltergeist Cast

    Arguably one of the creepiest villains in horror history is Reverend Henry Kane, the human form of "The Beast" played by thespian Julian Beck.

  3. Poltergeist (1982 film)

    It stars JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Beatrice Straight, and was produced by Spielberg and Frank Marshall. The film focuses on a suburban family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct their youngest daughter.

  4. Poltergeist (1982)

    Steven Spielberg Michael Grais Mark Victor Stars JoBeth Williams Heather O'Rourke Craig T. Nelson See production info at IMDbPro RENT/BUY from $3.99 search Amazon Add to Watchlist Added by 114K users

  5. Poltergeist (1982) Cast and Crew

    Crew Craig T. Nelson Steve Freeling JoBeth Williams Diane Freeling Beatrice Straight Dr. Lesh Dominique Dunne Dana Freeling Oliver Robins Robbie Freeling Heather O'Rourke Carol Anne Freeling Zelda Rubinstein Tangina Barrons Martin Casella Marty Richard Lawson Ryan Michael McManus Ben Tuthill Virginia Kiser Mrs. Tuthill James Karen Mr. Teague

  6. Poltergeist (1982)

    Michael McManus Ben Tuthill Virginia Kiser Mrs. Tuthill Martin Casella Dr. Marty Casey Richard Lawson Ryan Zelda Rubinstein Tangina Barrons James Karen Mr. Teague Lou Perryman Pugsley Clair E. Leucart Bulldozer Driver Dirk Blocker Jeff Shaw Allan Graf Neighbor

  7. Poltergeist movie review & film summary (1982)

    Roger Ebert June 01, 1982 Tweet A bad night for JoBeth Williams in "Poltergeist." Now streaming on: Powered by JustWatch Special effects in the movies have grown so skilled, sensational, and scary that they sometimes upstage the human actors. And they often cost a lot more.

  8. Poltergeist (1982)

    Jobeth Williams Craig T. Nelson Beatrice Straight Heather O'rourke Dominique Dunne Photos & Videos View All 11 Photos Film Details MPAA Rating Genre Horror/Science-Fiction Drama Horror Thriller Release Date 1982 Location Chicago, Illinois, USA; Hollywood, California, USA Technical Specs Duration 1h 54m

  9. Poltergeist (1982 film)

    Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais and Mark Victor from a story by Spielberg. It stars JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Beatrice Straight, and was produced by Spielberg and Frank Marshall. The film focuses on a suburban family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct their youngest ...

  10. Poltergeist (1982)

    Poltergeist divides the horror crowd big time, the gore fans are simply not impressed by the events in the film, while ghostly supernatural fans such as myself see it as a wasted opportunity. But strip away the flashy production and you start to see the core joke of kids infatuation with the goggle box, so yes, the film could easily be titled ...

  11. Poltergeist (1982) Cast and Crew

    Poltergeist (1982) Cast and Crew "It knows what scares you." PG 1 hr 54 min Oct 29th, 1982 Horror. Movie Details Showtimes & Tickets Where to Watch Trailers Full Cast & Crew News Buy on Amazon.

  12. ‎Poltergeist (1982) directed by Tobe Hooper • Reviews, film + cast

    Poltergeist is a movie about real mom shit. Stepping on toys that you asked your kid to pick up and put away 100 times. Cradling your son and telling him everything is going to be okay on a sofa in the dead of night. Following your daughter into an unknown hell to save her from the bad influences of ghosts. Ya know. Just everyday mom shit.

  13. Poltergeist (1982)

    Steven Spielberg Michael Grais Mark Victor Starring Craig T. Nelson JoBeth Williams Beatrice Straight Dominique Dunne Oliver Robins Heather O'Rourke Zelda Rubinstein Music By Jerry Goldsmith Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti, ASC Editing By

  14. Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Poltergeist?

    In 1982, director Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg terrified audiences far and wide with the release of "Poltergeist." Demonic trees, crazed clown dolls, and horrific ghostly...

  15. Poltergeist (franchise)

    Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt star as the married couple, Kennedi Clements plays the daughter, and Jared Harris plays the host of a paranormal-themed TV show who comes to the aid of the family. Future In October 2023, Variety reported that a television series was is in early development by Amazon MGM Studios.

  16. 'Poltergeist' 40 Years Later: The Cast Then And Now

    Co-written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper in 1982, Poltergeist was the highest-grossing horror film that year. However, despite the film's unique plot, the mystery of the film and the unique circumstances surrounding its cast have interested us for the past 40 years.

  17. The 'Poltergeist' Curse: Inside the Mysterious Cast Deaths and Oddities

    Julian Beck and Will Sampson The other two cast member deaths, while unfortunate, were not as unpredictable or mysterious. The evil preacher Kane from Poltergeist II was played by Julian Beck....

  18. Poltergeist (1982)

    Poltergeist (1982) - Plot summary, synopsis, and more... Craig T. Nelson stars as Steve Freeling, the main protagonist, who lives with his wife, Diane, (JoBeth Williams) and their three children, Dana (Dominique Dunne), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), in Southern California where he sells houses for the company that built the neighborhood.

  19. Cast

    Cast and crew of «Poltergeist» (1982). Roles and the main characters. Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight

  20. Heather O'Rourke

    Heather Michele O'Rourke (December 27, 1975 - February 1, 1988) was an American child actress. She had her breakthrough starring as Carol Anne Freeling in the supernatural horror Poltergeist (1982), which received critical acclaim and established her as an influential figure in the genre.

  21. Poltergeist (1982) Official Trailer

    15K Share 3.3M views 9 years ago Poltergeist (1982) Official Trailer - JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson Horror Movie HD Subscribe to CLASSIC TRAILERS: http://bit.ly/1u43jDe Subscribe to...

  22. Poltergeist (1982): TV, terror and suburbia

    This article unpacks the themes and storytelling methods of 1982 film, Poltergeist. Reading past this point will reveal what happens (in the movie, and possibly the afterlife). The end of childhood. Growing up is hard to do, a truth that cinema, literature and society returns to time and again. Poltergeist's haunting builds on this same idea.

  23. Poltergeist (1982 film)

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    The eighth highest-grossing film of 1982, Poltergeist generated two sequels, premiering in 1986 and 1988, respectively, with a remake that came out in 2015.

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    The Clown in Poltergeist (1982) Tobe Hooper's (and Steven Spielberg's) Poltergeist is a masterpiece of an introductory horror film, but it's a masterpiece of an introductory horror film that gave ...