‘The Poltergeist’: Yes, Those Are Real Skeletons Terrorizing JoBeth Williams within the Pool Scene

by Jeremy Spirogis
(L-R) Dominique Dunne, JoBeth Williams, Craig T Nelson, Oliver Robins and Beatrice Straight in a scene from the film

Some of the scariest issues about The Poltergeist occurred off-screen. The 1980s horror sensation is terrifying to observe, however much more terrifying given the a number of deaths which were related to the film. At least 4 of the actors concerned in The Poltergeist, or the next sequels, The Poltergeist II: The Other Side and The Poltergeist III, met premature ends. Plus, there have been onsite mishaps as properly.

Although the curse was unknown through the filming of the primary film, a few of the actors clearly had misgivings about doing sure scenes. That consists of JoBeth Williams, the actress who performed Diane Freeling. 

(L-R) Dominique Dunne, JoBeth Williams, Craig T Nelson, Oliver Robins and Beatrice Straight in a scene from the film 'Poltergeist', 1982.
(L-R) Dominique Dunne, JoBeth Williams, Craig T Nelson, Oliver Robins and Beatrice Straight in a scene from the movie ‘Poltergeist’, 1982 | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images

JoBeth Williams didn’t wish to movie the pool scene

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The Poltergeist facilities round a household, the Freelings, whose house is haunted by ghosts. They appear significantly taken with the youngest Freeling, Carole Anne (performed by Heather O’Rourke). In the film, the matriarch, Diane Freeling, falls right into a deep gap within the yard and discovers that the home was constructed on an historic burial floor. As the outlet, meant for a swimming pool, begins to fill with rain, skeletons float to the highest, throughout her. 

In actual life, JoBeth Williams, the actor who performed Diane Freeling, didn’t wish to movie the scene, in line with Screen Rant. Things had been already bizarre on set. One of the opposite actors who performed the center Freeling boy, Robbie, was strangled by a clown. The prop was designed to make it seem like he was being strangled by an evil clown toy, however it malfunctioned and started to strangle him for actual. Steven Spielberg needed to pull the clown off of him. 

Williams was reluctant to enter the water whereas surrounded by so many lights. If one among them fell in, she could be electrocuted. Spielberg satisfied her by leaping in himself, and saying “now if a light falls in, we’ll both fry!” But he nonetheless wasn’t fully sincere with Williams in regards to the scene. She didn’t know that the skeletons that might float up round her had been actual skeletons, not pretend props.  

Some folks suppose that utilizing actual skeletons in ‘The Poltergeist’ precipitated a curse 

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After all of the tragedies started befalling the actors in The Poltergeist franchise, followers started to take a position that utilizing actual skeletons had one thing to do with it. People thought that the pretend cursed burial floor that Spielberg had created led to an actual curse for the actors concerned. Williams didn’t discover out till after manufacturing wrapped that the skeletons had been actual, however she most likely didn’t consider within the curse. 

The tragedies that befell the actors of The Poltergeist weren’t associated to manufacturing. Unfortunately, younger O’Rourke died because of a misdiagnosis. Another forged member died of most cancers and a 3rd of kidney issues. The actor who performed the oldest Freeling woman, Dominique Dunne, was murdered by an abusive boyfriend. While the general public might consider within the curse, others who labored on the film don’t. In truth, in line with Zelda Rubinstein, who performed Tangina the psychic, utilizing actual skeletons was widespread because of price causes. 

A variety of horror films used actual skeletons 

A variety of horror films used actual skeletons, they usually weren’t essentially the victims of curses, in line with Snopes. The House on Haunted Hill and Frankenstein had been amongst these with actual human stays on set, however mainly any horror film filmed earlier than a sure time interval would have used actual stays. 

According to Bruce Kasson, the assistant prop grasp, there was no such factor as a pretend skeleton. “Replica skeletons did not exist, as far as I remember, at that time.” Now that there are pretend skeletons that may be simply produced, trendy films wouldn’t dream of utilizing actual skeletons. But if The Poltergeist was cursed due to the skeletons, all horror films made earlier than the 1990s are in the identical boat. 

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