“The Curse”

¬†¬† It all began during the filming of the first movie. Actress, Jobeth Williams was pretty leery about doing the ‘swimming pool scene’ because it was wet, slippery, and muddy and there were electrical wires and lights everywhere. Bottom line was she didn’t want to get electrocuted. Selfish huh? Spielberg, being the nice guy that he is,¬† jumped in the water and said, “Now if a light falls in, we will both fry.” She finally agreed to do the scene.

¬†¬† For those of you that don’t remember the scene, it was the one where she was outside looking for help, she falls into the muddy swimming pool, and the bodies from the forgotten cemetery surfaced up from underneath the mud and into the pool with her.¬† What she didn’t know at the time was that the props used¬† to simulate the corpses, were in fact, real corpses. This is not a rumor. It’s an undisputed FACT. She was told about it after the fact, and has done many interviews on the subject.

REAL BODIES!

¬†¬† Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy when she found out about that little tidbit, but unfortunately the damage had been done. Taking karma into consideration, if you believe in that sort of thing, it can’t be a good thing to use real human bodies for entertainment purposes. (They weren’t REALLY corpses by definition, They were actually just skeletons. Just pointing that out for you anal people.)

¬†¬† That’s where the believers of the ‘Poltergeist Curse’ say it began. A lot of people died, and there’s a lot of things that went down.

¬†¬† Anyway, this subject is controversial because the idea of a curse can be very hard to swallow, but you might want to look at the facts, and make up your own mind. That’s what I’m going to do here. I’m just going to give you the facts, give you my smartassed opinions, and just send ya on your way. You decide for yourself it it’s believable.

The Deaths

Geraldine Fitzgerald¬† (Jessica ‘Gramma Jess’ Wilson)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† (IMDB)Click!
Born:
November 24, 1913
Died: July 17, 2005 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
She had a very long career in which she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Isabella in Wuthering Heights in 1939.
She was 91 years old when she passed. She doesn’t seem very cursed from where I stand.

Beatrice Straight  (Dr. Lesh)          (IMDB)
Click!Born: August 2, 1914
Died: April 7, 2001 of pneumonia.
After 87 years, sometimes people can no longer endure. I hope I am fortunate to live as long. I don’t see the possibility of a curse here either. She avoided doing movies for most of her career, and stayed on the stage. When she finally did do a few movies, she got an Academy Award. No curse awards people, and makes them live that long.

Julian Beck  (Reverend Henry Kane)          (IMDB)
Click!Born: May 31, 1925
Died: September 24, 1985 of stomach cancer.
He was diagnosed BEFORE accepting the role in the film, so I’m not sure the curse applies here. Watching the film, you can tell by looking at him that he was sick, which adds to the creepiness of the role. He didn’t do a lot of movies, as most of his work was in the theater. He stole the show in Poltergeist II, which he died completing at age 60.

Brian Gibson  (Director, Poltergeist II: The Other Side)          (IMDB)
Click!Born: September 22, 1944
Died: January 4, 2004 of Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Here’s where “bad luck” most often associated with a curse starts to rear it’s ugly head. Ewing’s Sarcoma is a type of bone cancer found mostly in males during their teen years, and according to statistics, most people who get it, don’t die from it. He died from it at age 59.

 

Will Sampson   (Taylor)           (IMDB)
Click!Born: September 27, 1933
Died: June 3, 1987 of complications from heart surgery.
He was 53 when he passed. The operation was a heart-lung transplant. The official cause of death was pre-operative malnutrition & post-operative kidney failure. HE KNEW he had a slim chance of survival going into it. Still, 53’s a bit young, don’tcha think?

 

Dominique Dunne  (Dana Freeling)          (IMDB)          (Dominique Dunne Site)
Click!Born: November 23, 1959
Died: November 4, 1982. She was murdered.
She was 22 years old. Her boyfriend strangled her in her driveway while she was rehearsing lines for a new sci-fi film with a co-star. She went into a coma, and was pronounced dead four days later. Her killer, John Sweeney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and sentenced to ONLY 6 ¬Ĺ years in prison. He was released in less than 4.

 

Heather O’Rourke¬† (Carol Anne Freeling)¬† (IMDB)¬† (Heather O’Rourke Memorial Site)
Click!Born: December 27, 1975
Died:February 1, 1988. Immediately after filming Poltergeist III, she was MIS-diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In truth it was a bowel obstruction that sent bacteria through her bloodstream. She went into cardiac arrest. After her heart was restarted, she had emergency surgery to have the obstruction removed. She passed away during the surgery. She was only 12 years old.

Behind The Scenes Crazy Stuff
¬†¬† Let’s pretend that Nobody had died tragically, or unexpectedly. There were OTHER things that COULD lead people to believe that there was a curse or something going on with the Poltergeist films. Each movie had its own bizarre occurrences that make you stop and wonder. I’m going to try to break down the events that went down during the filming of each movie, I’m going to include the deaths, but there’s more.

PoltergeistPoltergeist
Just like in the movies, disturbances started small and slowly progressed. As production continued on the first film, Jobeth Williams would return home after a day of shooting to find the pictures on her walls off kilter. She’d fix them, and go to work the next day only to come home, and find them all messed up again.

¬†¬† Another incident was much more serious than moving pictures. Oliver Robins(Robbie) was filming the famous ‘clown scene’ where the clown attacks him toward the end of the movie. In the scene the clown wraps it’s arms around his neck in order to strangle him. The clown squeezed tighter, and tighter to cut off his oxygen.¬† “I can’t breathe!” he gasped.¬† At the time, both Spielberg and director, Tobe Hooper believed it to be a good shot, and that oliver was skilled at improv until he began turning a bright shade of blue. Apparently there was a malfunction in the robotics used in animating the clown doll. Fortunately, Oliver wasn’t injured. Frickin’ clown.

¬†¬† During filming, author James Kahn was in the process writing the Poltergeist novelization. There were a lot of stormy nights in the story, and as he was writing about one of them, he had a bizarre occurrence of his own.¬† As he typed the words “thunder and lightning ripped the sky,” a REAL bolt of lightning hit the building that he was in. It made his air conditioner explode. The debris flew across the room, and hit him in the back.

   The production on the film had ended, and all involved were free to do other projects. Dominique Dunne went on to start filming possibly one of the best sci-fi films ever (in my opinion). One night she was rehearsing lines with co-star, David Packer. While rehearsing, the two friends had music on in the background. That night it was the Poltergeist Soundtrack by the late, great composer Jerry Goldsmith.

Her previously abusive boyfriend, John Sweeney showed up. She had broken it off with him shortly beforehand, and he was trying to get her to take him back. They took their argument outside where he choked her into a coma. She died four days later and was buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Her final film was dedicated to her memory at the end of it’s credits.

Poltergeist II: The Other SidePoltergeist II: The Other Side
   Because of the success of the first one, the powers that be decided to give it another go with most of the original cast back on board.

Here we go again.

Craig T. Nelson told a story about the filming of the cave scene toward the end of the film. The cave in the story was back in Cuesta Verde in the same location as the house in the first film. Inside the cave there were supposed to be the corpses of the people who had been buried there.

While on the cave set, cast members always felt an uneasy feeling. He spoke of a feeling that something just wasn’t right about the whole thing. As it turned out, they did it again. Once again, the props guyswere using REAL corpses instead of¬† fake ones.

How the hell does this happen?

I don’t know exactly what kind of things happened on the set, but apparently things got pretty bad because the production came to a virtual standstill. The bad feeling about the set among the cast just wouldn’t go away either. There was only one thing left to do.¬† An exorcism was conducted after hours.

Will Sampson, who played Taylor, the Native American shaman in Poltergeist II was actually a REAL shaman. The studio security was told to leave the place unlocked so Sampson could come in the middle of the night and do his exorcism ritual. After that, everything stopped, and production could continue.

MORE FRICKIN' BODIES!¬†¬† In an interview, Craig T. Nelson spoke of the incident. He said, “I am convinced that the presence of Will Sampson on this film saved us from tragedy. Sampson not only plays a shaman, he is himself a shaman, and I believe that it cost him dearly in terms of his own personal health to see us safely through.”

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…
Since I first wrote this page, I’ve gone and done my homework about the using real bodies thing. From what I gather, people will actually donate, or sell their skeletons to places for research, and even to movie companies. Apparently, a REAL skeleton is less expensive than building a fake skeleton. This is how real skeletons show up in movies. I guess it happens all the time.

I want MY corpse to be in a movie.

Poltergeist IIIPoltergeist III
A wise man once said, “if at second you don’t succeed, run it into the ground and ruin it,” and they decided to make a third film.

By this point, most of the cast of the first two films had decided that they had enough. Only Zelda Rubenstein who played Tangina Barrons, and Heather O’Rourke returned for the final film in the series.

Aside from being Lara Flynn Boyle’s first film, there were three bad things that happened during production that are noteworthy.

The least of the three, was during the filming of a scene in a parking garage, in which the garage was to appear to be on fire. In reality, the garage was completely engulfed in flames, and only ONE crew member was NOT injured in the fire.

The second incident was during a photo shoot for the film. During the shoot, Zelda Rubenstein got a nervously sick feeling as if something were wrong. After the shoot, she got a phone call. Her mother had passed away.

Later, viewing the pictures that were taken during that shoot it was noticed that one of the images had an unexplainable anomaly. A white light was shining over Zelda’s face in ONLY one frame. She claims that that was the moment where she felt ill, and her mother passed. (still trying to get the pics…If I do, I’ll put them up. I got ’em, see below.)

Lastly, and tragically, immediately after completing the film, 12 year old Heather O’Rourke had taken ill with the flu, which made it so shocking to hear that she died of something completely different. They had to re film one scene without her using a double. She was also buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles along with her co-star Dominique Dunne.

The Legend Of Zelda!Zelda Rubenstein’s Pictures
   Finally, we got the pictures of Zelda!

A visitor to our site who called himself/herself “Tatsujin” sent them to me! To the left, you’ll see the images in question. I set them up as a gif so it would switch back and forth. I have no idea what the text says in the first picture, but in the second, you can clearly see the anomaly that they were talking about.

I don’t know what to make of it. Anyway, thanks Tatsujin!

 

“The Films”

¬†¬† When released, Poltergeist was initially given an ‘R’ rating. Filmmakers protested, and they somehow got it down to a ‘PG’ rating. Keep in mind, there was no ‘PG-13’ back then. The PG-13 crap that’s supposed to be¬† horror today isn’t nearly as well done or as creepy as Poltergeist was. Just my opinion of course.

That frickin' clown¬†¬† I was pretty young when the first movie came out. Carol Anne was a year older than me, if that tells you anything. After watching it, I was too freaked out to go to bed. Either my closet was gonna get sucked up and turn into that orange thing, or¬† The Beast was gonna get me, and I had a tree outside my bedroom window that I was convinced was going to eat me. Then there was¬† that FREAKIN’ CLOWN! Where the hell do they get off making that clown a PG rating? I mean, it was so disturbing that the little boy had to cover it up with Chewie!

PG my ass.

The first film was hailed by audiences and critics alike. The second, although I liked it, was lacking for most people, and everyone flat hated the third one. With that in mind, I’m mostly going to be analyzing the first one here.

One of the most interesting aspects of the first film is that it’s almost 100% fabrication. An evil spirit from another dimension sucks a little girl into her closet, and they talk to her through the television. The premise isn’t the slightest bit realistic. Is it? Not even for people like me who believe in this crazy stuff.

I’ve done my research. There are a LOT of people who get freaked out by this flick. It’s interesting that a horror movie rated PG that has almost nothing realistic within it can be so creepy to so many people after all these years.

I’m of course exaggerating a little about the realness factor of the film. Surely, the plot is insane on the real scale, but there are elements that are completely plausible. The television set picking up frequencies from the ‘other side’. According to believers,¬†That kind of thing happens all the time with ITC or EVP,¬†which is discussed in greater detail on our EVP page, and it’s s nothing new to paranormal investigators, or ghost hunters.

The main point about the film that I think needs to be discussed further is an idea that was taken one more step in Poltergeist II. In Poltergeist, she got sucked into the closet, and in Poltergeist II, they jumped into the fire in that cave. They ended up in this weird place with really spooky stuff.

The idea of the possibility of another realm of existence, for lack of better words, is what I’m referring to. Can we find it? Is it tangible? Is it really THAT far fetched? Think about it for a second. People supposedly communicate with ‘the other side’ on a regular basis. People are always using Ouija boards, conducting s√©ances, talking to John Edwards, or even recording E.V.P.’s. Assuming that they ARE in fact talking to, or recording spirits, those spirits HAVE to be communicating from somewhere, don’t they?

Do they just come to visit us from time to time, and then go back?¬† Where do they go?¬† They COULD be in the same room with you, but the possibility exists that they’re somewhere else entirely, and if they are, can WE go to them as they come to us?

Poltergeist is the property of MGM, and SLM Production Group. All rights reserved.