We know them as some of the scariest movies ever to be conceived by the playful human imagination, but perhaps not a lot of us know the real tales of terror behind them. In preparation for Halloween, let's take another look at these horror flicks, starting off with the Poltergeist Trilogy, and learn about the real horror stories behind them!
Poltergeist, co-written and co-directed by Steven Spielberg, was released in 1982 and the first installment of the American horror trilogy bearing the same title. It tells the story of a family living in a Californian suburb, whose home is plagued by hostile ghosts that are attracted to the youngest family member.
But, aside from being held as one of the top scariest films ever made, it has also been listed among flicks that are shrouded in controversy. The reason: the so-called Poltergeist Curse.
Simply put, the curse was attributed to the series of unexpected deaths that surrounded the film crew within six years of shooting the trilogy:
- Dominique Dunne, who starred in the first movie as the eldest daughter Dana, was strangled and killed in November 1982 by her abusive ex-boyfriend. She was 22.
- Julian Beck, who starred as Henry Kayne in the second movie, succumbed to stomach cancer (diagnosed prior to his film role) in September 1985. He was 60.
- Will Sampson, who played the part of the medicine man in the second movie, passed away after pre-operative malnutrition and post-operative kidney failure in June 1987. He was 53.
- Heather O’Rourke, who starred as the young girl hounded by ghosts in all three movies, died due to septic shock, resulting from bacterial toxins infecting her bloodstream. She was also reported to be suffering from acute bowel obstruction, which may actually have caused her death. She was 12.
According to rumors, the so-called curse was sparked by the film crew’s use of real cadavers as props for several scenes of the first and movies. The curse itself, although perhaps no more than a conjecture born out of playful imagination, has remained one of the most talked-about controversies in the history of modern cinema.
Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the first Poltergeist film in 1982:
Stay tuned for the next installments in this month’s Haunted Movie Sets series!
Do you find the “Poltergeist Curse” as creepy as the film trilogy itself? Tell us what you think with a comment below!
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