When the first Poltergeist was released, it became a superstar amid movies. The film followed a family into their new home. The father was a rising star with his development company, they had 3 beautiful children, and their house seemed to have anything you could want.

Unfortunately, the new home was already occupied.

The movie gained notoriety as it grew in popularity, and within a few years, it would be regarded as, “cursed.” This is how the legend usually goes:

Did you know the Poltergeist Trilogy is cursed? They used real bodies in the pool scene in the first movie and now, everyone who played in it is dead.

Not everyone who acted in the film is dead, of course, but there were several tragedies.

Dominique Dunne, big sister, “Dana,” in the first film, was murdered months after filming was completed. She was strangled by her boyfriend.

Heather O’Rourke, the beautiful child who played, “Carol Anne,” was the most shocking death. The 12-year-old died in 1988, just before the 3rd movie was released, from cardiac arrest (due to a medical error). She died 4 months before the theatrical release of Poltergeist III.

There are 2 other deaths usually included to prove the, “curse,” but they aren’t particularly relevant. Julian Beck, who played the frightening Henry Kane, died of cancer. He’d struggled with the disease throughout the filming of the movie. Will Samson, who played the medicine man in the second movie, died from complications from kidney surgery.

The rumor mill was given further fuel when JoBeth Williams, who played the mother, Diane, said she returned everyday from filming to find her photographs rearranged.

The special effects technicians from the film did admit to using real human skeletons in the pool scene. They claimed, at the time of the filming, it was cheaper to use real skeletons as opposed to plastic models.



  • Producer/Writer Steven Spielberg based the brother’s fears of the clown doll and the tree outside his window on his own childhood fears.
  • Zelda Rubinstein, who played the role of medium Tangina, auditioned 4 times for her part and filmed her role in 6 days.





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