The True Horror Story Behind The "Cursed" Poltergeist Cast


The True Horror Story Behind The "Cursed" Poltergeist Cast

If you were around in the late 1980s and early 1990s then you surely remember the original Poltergeist movie.

The 1982 horror film about a California family haunted by malevolent ghosts went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters that year. To this day, the supernatural movie continues to rank as one of the scariest movies ever made.  

Poltergeist may have been an instant hit but unfortunately some of the cast members didn't get to enjoy the success of the film for too long.

Many believe that cast have been cursed after a surprising number of bizarre incidents and puzzling deaths occurred post-filming.

Here are some of the strange events that took place in the years following the release of the movie and its sequels:

1. Child star Heather O'Rourke's untimely death

Heather O'Rourke was only 6 years old when she played the iconic role of Carol Anne in the horror film. She met a tragic end at the age of 12 after suffering a cardiac arrest and septic shock in February 1988. Heather's illness was initially diagnosed as Crohn's Disease, but doctors later revealed that she was most likely suffering from an intestinal problem.

2. Deaths of three other cast members

Dominique Dunne who played the Freeling family's oldest daughter, Dana, died in November 1982, a few months after the movie hit theatres. The 22-year-old was strangled by her ex-boyfriend and died in the hospital five days later after being taken off life support.

Two more actors, Julian Beck and Will Sampson, passed away after starring in the "cursed" movie. Beck lost his battle to stomach cancer at the age of 60 before the film's sequel was released. As for Sampson, he died of malnutrition and kidney failure at the age of 53.

Will Sampson (left) and Julian Beck(Right)

Click on the next page for more spooky facts about the Poltergeist cast.

3. Real human skeletons were discovered on set

While making an appearance on VH1's I Love The 80s, JoBeth Williams, the actress who played the role of Diane Freeling, revealed that the film crew used real human skeletons to create a realistic looking set. If you still don't believe Freeling, maybe assistant prop master Bruce Kasson will convince you.

"Yes, the skeletons were real," confirmed Kasson. They were apparently brought in from a medical supply company called Carolina Biological.

"Replica skeletons did not exist, as far as I remember, at that time," Kasson said. "They're now common and relatively cheap. And the rush to the bottom line for cost will dictate."

Many people believe that the use of these skeletons as props was the root cause of the alleged curse.

4. Inexplicable malfunctions during filming

Oliver Robins, the actor who played the youngest son, Robbie, was almost strangled to death after a mechanical clown used on set malfunctioned. Reportedly, the cast and crew couldn't explain the cause of the malfunction so they chalked it up to paranormal activity.

The claims of a haunted set were also backed by JoBeth Williams. She told E! True Hollywood Story that whenever she came home after filming, the pictures on the wall would be tilted.

"I began to think, is somebody trying to send me a message that I shouldn't be doing this film?" Williams said.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you got to admit that these incidents are very strange. The franchise was rebooted in 2015 with the release of a 3D remake also titled Poltergeist but it seems like the "curse" may have died since the cast are still very much alive and well.

Do you think the Poltergeist curse is real? Let us know in the comments.

[h/t: Blumhouse]

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.