I have to make a confession:

I’ve never seen any of the Poltergeist films.

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I mean, of course I’ve seen scenes here and there. But the first one I caught was at a very young age, and I think that kind of scared me off ever watching them in full.

As such, I know more about the lore of the so called “Poltergeist Curse” than I do about the films themselves:

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There’s an episode of E! True Hollywood Story where JoBeth Williams alleges that real skeletons were used as props, but I can’t find any real confirmation of it.

That said, there are a lot of references to it being an “open secret.”

So, let’s go ahead and assume, for sake of argument and article, that there were some real skeletons sprinkled in there.

And let’s further assume that said skeletons might have the power to curse people.

Those would be some pretty weak-ass skeleton ghosts.

Photo Credit: GIPHY

Yes, four cast members died near the filming or release of the films.

But… two of them were older actors, and the other two, while seemingly unexpected, were at least partially the result of factors that existed prior to filming:

  • Dominique Dunne was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend a few months after the first film came out.
  • Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three films, had been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in the year leading up to her unexpected death on an operating table. Poltergeist III had already been shot and edited before O’Rourke died.
  • Julian Beck died of stomach cancer at 60, seven months before the 2nd film was released. He’d been battling it for 18 months and likely developed it even earlier.
  • Will Sampson was 53, and he died about a year after the 2nd film released. He was in bad health and needed an operation to transplant both his heart and lungs, so, again, not so much a curse from the film as a long-term medical condition.
  • Zelda Rubinstein, who sometimes gets lumped into the curse (at least in versions I heard) actually died in 2010.

That last one is kind of weird because I can remember hearing about Rubinstein being part of the “curse” back in the late 90s and early 2000s…

Ok, but one could make the argument that the curse was responsible for escalating all of these health problems.


So maybe it was a curse, after all…


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