If you were ever wanting to be spooked after the show, you’re in luck. Today we are talking about the curse of the film Poltergeist and don’t be fooled, there’s enough proof in here to have me having second thoughts. Beware of spoiler alerts and content that may not be suitable for children ahead.
It is not uncommon for strange things to happen when a horror film is involved. Even when you are sitting in your living room, you swear things are moving and shadows lie in wait to grab you as you walk past. However, it is a much different story when suspicious, even tragic things occur on the set of a horror film.
All this and more happened on the set of Steven Spielberg’s, 1982, Poltergeist. Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Spielberg this film made history. It was considered to be a masterpiece of American horror cinema. It was in fact a masterpiece, and this may be because of the suspicious happenings during and after filming.
The film is the tragic telling of a family, the Freelings, and how their regular lives were upheaved when a number of paranormal and vicious events occur in their California home. This included, but was not limited to their youngest daughter, Carol Anne, being kidnapped by malevolent ghosts in her closet. These ghosts Carol Anne was taken by were controlled by what they called the Beast. The movie focuses on how the family goes about attempting to get their daughter, played by Heather O’Rourke, back from the malicious paranormal spirits.
The film was an astounding success however there were some suspicious and rather horrifying real-life tragedies that took the horror of the film to a new level. These occurrences labeled the film cursed.
These tragedies were four deaths that happened during and soon after filming. Two of the deaths were highly unexpected and puzzling, leading many fans to speculate on the trilogy’s eerie implications.
Heather O’Rourke was one of the two untimely deaths. She was six years young when the film was released. She captivated audiences with her stark blond hair, doll-like appearance, and big, inquisitive eyes. It was tragic when she was misdiagnosed with a bowel disease, Crohn’s, in 1987. She was very ill and it only got worse the year after. She became so ill with what was assumed to be the flu at the time, she collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest. She was taken to a San Diego children’s hospital but passed on the operating table due to a bowel obstruction caused by an undiagnosed congenital intestinal abnormality.
The second unexpected death was Dominique Dunne. She was the eldest sister in the original film, Dana Freeling. She met an equally tragic and unforeseen fate, in 1982. Her passing is not for the faint of heart. After she separated from her partner, John Sweeny, he showed up at her house begging for her back. His begging did not sway her. Sweeny would not take no for an answer so he choked her until she was unconscious, and left her to die in her Hollywood home’s driveway. You’ll be glad to know Sweeny did get charged and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison but was released after three years and seven months.
There were two other cast member deaths. However, these deaths were actually more predictable. Julian Beck who played the evil preacher Kane from Poltergeist II had stomach cancer and soon after finishing Poltergeist II, his ailment took him from us. And the same film was cursed with death once again with Will Sampson’s passing. Sampson played Taylor the Native American shaman. He passed after undergoing a heart-lung transplant, which had a very slim survival rate.
However, the death of the cast members was not the only haunting thing to occur. The curse seemed to manifest with Spielberg choosing to use real human skeletons and not plastic ones, as reported byJoBeth Williams, who played the mom Diane in the films. At the time, they were cheaper than plastic skeletons. Makes sense right? Although no one has come out to say whether this is correct or not, people believe the curse to be true, so this must be as well.
Lastly, as if the film needed any more spookiness to aid in the power of the curse, the man Sampson who passed was a real-life medicine man. He performed an authentic exorcism after shooting wrapped up one night. I cannot even begin to dream how everyone felt the night of the exorcism. And one question: who did he perform the exorcism on? All together there is more than enough evidence to suggest there is in fact a curse surrounding Poltergeist. I just wonder; does Speilberg believe?