Trivia / Poltergeist


  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #84
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
    • #69, "They're here!"
  • All There in the Manual: Spielberg gave James Kahn free rein on the novelization, leading to it having tons of backstory (including Tangina's battles with demons on the spirit plane, a spectral Southern Belle who protected Carol-Anne on the Other Side, an even more nightmarish Nightmare Fodder sequence of Marty in the kitchen, and—perhaps most critically—a more thorough explanation of why the ghostly activity started now rather than when the family first moved into the house) that was never even hinted at in the film.
  • Anonymous Author: A notorious Hollywood subject. The identity of the one true director of this film is one of the great Hollywood either-legends or barely-hidden-truths, depending on whom you ask and what you read. Many sources, in particular Zelda Rubinstein, have openly stated that Hooper was actually little more than a stand-in on the set, and the film was, for all intents and purposes, directed by Steven Spielberg. Harlan Ellison has denounced that story as "a rumor that time has proved to be utterly false and destructive to Hooper's reputation." Here is probably the best summary and explanation of the whole issue.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: By way of Pop-Cultural Osmosis; the line is "This house is 'clean'" not "'clear,'" thank you, Mr. Ventura.
  • Channel Hop: To an extent. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced the trilogy and the remake. However, the first movie is currently owned by Warner Bros., due to Turner Entertainment's ownership of MGM's pre-May 1986 library, and WB's ownership of Turner Entertainment. The sequels remained with MGM, and are currently handled on home video by 20th Century Fox, who also distributed the remake.
  • Dawson Casting: Dominique Dunne was a few years older than sixteen.
  • Fatal Method Acting: Averted. The scene with the clown nearly choked Oliver Robbins to death but Steven Spielberg saved his life when he realized that something wasn't right during the filming of the scene. The next take had the clown prop not be as tight as before.
    • Fridge Horror: The actresses portraying Dana and Carol Anne died premature deaths. If Spielberg hadn't noticed something was wrong during the shooting of that scene...
  • Reality Subtext: Dana Freeling was entirely absent from the second and third movies, and in fact not mentioned at all. Her actress, Dominique Dunne, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1982.
  • The Production Curse: A lot of inexplicable bad luck and ill-fortune dogged these films. Murmurs of an actual curse were not helped by the revelation that real corpses had been used in some scenes.
    • Dominique Dunne, who played Dana in the first movie, died in November 1982 at age 22, after being strangled by her abusive former boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney.
    • Julian Beck, 60,who played Henry Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died in September 14, 1985 of stomach cancer (diagnosed before he had accepted the role).
    • Will Sampson, 53, who played Taylor the medicine man in Poltergeist II, died as a result of post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems in June 1987.
    • Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three Poltergeist movies, died in February 1988 at the age of 12 after a hospital misdiagnosis led her to be treated for the wrong ailment.
    • Actress Jo-Beth Williams claimed that during the filming, a poltergeist was active in her own home: she would return home from set to discover things askew and out of place from the way they had been when she left earlier.
  • Recycled: The Series: Poltergeist: The Legacy had little to do with any of the movies in the franchise.

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