On June 4, 1982, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released a Tobe Hooper, Frank Marshall and Steven Spielberg film named Poltergeist. Produced on a budget of $10.7m, the film eventually grossed over $120m at the worldwide box office and was nominated for three Oscars.
Now considered as a cult classic, the film is highly regarded as one of the best #horror films ever made. But how much do you really know about the film? Below you will find a list of some little-known facts that you may not have ever heard of, some of which could have been taken directly from a horror movie itself! Let me know what do you guys think by taking part in the survey below, and don't forget to sound off in the comments section too.
20. The One-Shot Chair Sequence
The scene in which Diane and her daughter, Carol Anne, are talking in the kitchen before the chairs are mysteriously rearranged was taken in only one take. As Diane walks towards Carol Anne, the camera follows her, and before the camera returns back to the table, the crew quickly organizes the chairs into a prearranged pyramid formation.
19. A Real, Near-Death Experience
When Robbie (Oliver Robins) is woken up and notices that the toy clown has moved from his chair, he checks under his bed, only to be strangled by the clown — who appears behind him — before dragging him under the bed. Unfortunately, Robins was choking in real life, and as he shouted out "I can't breathe," both #StevenSpielberg and Tobe Hooper thought that he was ad-libbing on the spot. When Spielberg noticed that the young boy's face was starting to turn purple, he quickly intervened and pulled the clown off Robins's neck.
18. Resting With The Stars
A rather well-known fact about the film revolves around the "curse" that surrounded the film. Heather O’Rourke, who played young Carol Anne, died of septic shock on February 1, 1988, and Dominique Dunne, who played the teenage daughter Dana, died on November 4, 1982 after being strangled to death by her boyfriend.
However, both actresses are buried at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park & Mortuary in Los Angeles. Other noticeable stars who are buried here include: Truman Capote, Farrah Fawcett, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Walter Matthau and Marilyn Monroe.
17. Short Shooting
Actress Zelda Rubinstein, who played Tangina the medium, filmed all her scenes in only six days. Once production had finished however, she heard absolutely nothing back from any the team, and assumed that the film had been pulled out of production.
16. The Wall Climber
The effect when Diane was ripped off her bed and rolled up the walls was achieved by using a static camera attached to a rotating bedroom set.
15. Steven Spielberg's Hands-On Approach
When paranormal investigator Dr. Marty Casey decided that he needed a dramatic face-lift, the hands pulling the skin off the dummy's face belong to none other than Steven Spielberg.
14. A Note From The Doctor
At the end of the film, the Freeling family are walking down the street. The camera starts by showing a shot of a Holiday Inn sign that says: Welcome Dr. Fantasy and Friends. This is a nod to director Frank Marshall, whose nickname is Dr. Fantasy.
13. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Versus Poltergeist.
Drew Barrymore was in contention for the role of Carol Anne, but Steven Spielberg thought she was too angelic. Her audition didn't go to waste though, as he ended up casting her in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial that year.
12. In Deep Water
The effect of the flashing lights during the rescue scene towards the end of the film was achieved by placing a swirling light behind an aquarium full of water.
11. A Homage To The Shining?
The Shining was released a couple of years before Poltergeist, with some speculating that the latter film gives a nod to the Kubrick film. In one of the film's most iconic scenes, the TV set reads 2:37, which is believed to represent that of the infamous room in the Overlook Hotel.
10. Pizza No-No
After around 34 minutes into the film, there is a rather obvious crude cut that jumps from one mid-sentence to a completely different scene. The reason for the cut involves Mr. Freeling stating that he hates Pizza Hut, something that the company took offense to, so it was subsequently edited out and left on the cutting room floor.
9. A Visitor From The Other Side
Heather O'Rourke's mom, Kathleen, said she gets visited by the ghost of her daughter, who first appeared to her a couple of months after her tragic death. Kathleen says that her daughter mainly comes for chats, and as a result, she has been searching for mediums to help bring her daughter closer to her.
8. Hanging On For Dear Life
Actress Heather O'Rourke said that there was only one scene that really frightened her, and that was where she had to hang onto the headboard before being sucked into the closet.
7. The R-Rated Version
As the content of the film didn't seem family friendly, Poltergeist was originally slapped with an R-rating. Following protests from the filmmakers, they successfully managed to get the film down to a more accessible PG.
6. The Lion, The Poltergeist And The Wardrobe
When the poltergeist appears from the closet, the sound effect used to make the noise comes directly from the famous MGM lion roar.
5. From Blockbuster Film To TV Commercial
Craig T. Nelson, who played the father, Steve Freeling, reprized his role in a DirecTV commercial with his on-screen daughter Heather O’Rourke.
4. They're (All) Heeereeee
The American Film Institute voted the films famous line at #69 in their list of most memorable movie quotes. However, if you look carefully at Carol Anne's lips, it is clear that she doesn't say "They're here," but instead says "They're all here."
3. An On-Set Exorcism
Probably the most widely known fact about the film, is that real skeletons were used in the swimming pool scene. However, it turns out that the crew were so creeped out with them being used that a real exorcism had to be carried out.
2. The Tree Of (After)Life
Steven Spielberg came up with the idea of the evil tree from a real tree that used to frighten him as a child. The shot in which it swallows Robbie was filmed in reverse, so instead of actually being swallowed, he filmed the scene spitting him out instead, then played the shot in reverse.
1. The Model Home
When the Freeling home gets sucked into a black hole, the production crew used a model building that only measured 6 foot tall by 4 foot wide.
There you have it — 20 facts from the film that you may have never heard of. Do you think the film was really cursed? Take part in the poll below, and don't forget to sound off in the comments section too.