Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Poltergeist Curse

It's Day 4 into the Halloween season and what better tale than one of a cursed Hollywood classic?

Poltergeist wasn't just one of the scariest movies of the 1980s. Stories surrounding its production and legacy are far more spine tingling than the chills we felt when we first heard Carol Anne utter "they're here."

While four actors from the franchise met early deaths, some more unexpected than others, many might not know just what horrifying props were used on the set of the first Poltergeist.

"You son of a bitch, you moved the cemetery but you left the bodies, didn't you?!"

That wasn't just a terrifying revelation from a script that haunted our souls. It was, in some ways, true.

Jo Beth Williams' late night dip in the Freelings unfinished swimming pool surrounded her with the corpse of the (un)dead that were poltergeisting the hell out of her brand new house. But Williams wasn't swimming with studio-grade bones, she was swimming with real corpses.

She was already scared to do a scene that put her in murky water surrounded by wires and electrical equipment, so scared that Stephen Spielberg got in the water with her. But she was mortified when she was told, after the fact, that real skeletons were used as a cost cutting alternative.

Be sure to check off your organ donor card, you could be a star.

As if that isn't bone chilling enough, the set dressing get even more bizarre.

Just before Robbie Freeling (Oliver Robins is alive despite urban legend) tears the stuffing out of a possessed clown, he's hiding in his bed staring at his reluctantly accepted birthday gift. Seriously, what kind of sadistic parent actually buys their kid this clown?

But that's not the scary part. Take a look at this still from the scene. See anything unusual?

That's a poster for the 1988 San Diego Super Bowl. Why? Poltergeist was filmed in 1982. Was it a mistake? Were producers wrestling with the NFL over free publicity? Or was it some unsuspecting set dresser's macabre premonition.

Premonition of what? The 1988 San Diego Super Bowl took place the day Heather O'Rourke, the actress that played Carol Anne, was rushed to the hospital, the day before she San Diego.

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