The Extreme Version Of The Curse
"A Striking number of cast members who appeared in the Poltergeist movies have met with an untimely, unnatural death."
Alternately: "All of the 'child stars' from the Poltergeist films died suddenly within a few years of the films."
Myth or fact?
Well, JoBeth Williams, the mother character (Diane Freeling) in Poletergeist and sequels, is alive and well. She has gone on to appear in many films, tv shows, etc. The same goes for Tom Skerritt, who played "Bruce Gardner" in the films, and for Craig T. Nelson who was the father, Steve Freeling, in the Poltergeist movies.
JoBeth Williams, Tom Skerritt, and Craig T. Nelson have all been quite highly visible in the film and television industry, long after the last Poltergeist film was made.
Child actor, Oliver Robbins, who played brother/son "Robbie Freeling," more than survived the films and childhood. As an adult, he is now an active writer and director.
MYTH BUSTED: This is an obvious myth, or at least, the EXTREME STATEMENT or version about 'everyone from the Poltergeist movies is dead,' is NOT TRUE.
One may, indeed make other statements about the cast members of the Poltergeist series who have expired before their natural time.
Many people believe that some sort of 'curse' has surrounded the film and cast.
1982 Trailer - Original Poltergeist Movie
Some Kind of Curse?
Actresses and Actors, Heather O'Rourke, Will Sampson, Julian Beck, and Dominique Dunne have all passed away - an unusually high number of individuals of actresses and actors who all worked on the same Poltergeist projects.
The Snopes site, which deals with tracking down evidence to either show or deflate myths, does not show evidence of an actual 'CURSE' in this case, however, the site reports that:
"A number of unusual deaths have occurred to the cast of the Poltergeist trilogy of films."
(bare link below)
TV People Move Chairs in the Freeling Home
Ghosts N Things
Carol Anne Freeling
Carol Anne was the youngest member of the 5 member Freeling family, who moved into a new home in suburban California, only to find out that something more than the plumbing is wrong with the house!
The Freelings: Steven (father), Diane (mother), Dana (elder sister), Robbie (brother), and Carol Anne (youngest sister).
Unknown forces are attracted to Carol Anne and begin to communicate with the 5 year old girl via television static. Before Carol Anne is actually taken into an unknown dimension, several strange things occur in the house.
(not in exact chronological order)
* Carol Anne's pet bird dies
* An earthquake - only the Freeling family feels it, only at the Freeling residence
* Carol Anne, seemingly out of nowhere or out of context, exclaims, "They're Here!"
* In the morning, following Carol Anne's notification that "They're Here," glasses break and forks bend at breakfast-time:
Diane Freeling (mother) to Carol Anne: "What did you mean? Who's here?"
Carol Anne: "The TV people."
* More harmless 'tricks' in the beginning, mostly affecting Diane Freeling - the chairs stack up on the table when everyone has left the room for a moment.
* By the time Steven Freeling returns home from work (same day as the chair-stacking, fork-bending, glass breaking), Diane has something to show him...
During the daytime, Diane has drawn a line on the floor in the kitchen, starting near the refrigerator, leading about 20 feet into the dining area of the kitchen. She puts Carol Anne near the refrigerator and an unseen force moves Carol Anne, along a straight line, into the dining area...Diane also sits on the floor and is moved by the unseen force, then describes the experience to her husband - as something not unpleasant but like a sort of tickling pull from inside the stomach.
Response, Steven Freeling: "Nobody goes into the kitchen until I know what's going on."
* Brother Robbie is first frightened by the ominous look of a tree outside his bedroom window (quite a while later, on a later night - Robbie is actually attacked by the tree!)
* After saving Robbie from the tree, the Freeling family cannot find Carol Anne. The tree attack was a distraction orchestrated by the house/land/poltergeists to separate the parents from Carol Anne so she could be stolen.
* At first, the Freeling's feel that the tree incident was a coincidence of the storm or tornado outside at the time...until they cannot find Carol Anne!
* Brother Robbie's stuffed clown toy moves around his room and does not 'stay put' where he places it. He tosses a shirt or robe over the clown so he doesn't have to look at it - but later on, the clown has disappeared (later on, the clown will attack him)
* Oldest sibling, teenaged sister, Dana, is disturbed by the effects of the house, and finally leaves the house to go stay with friends right after Carol Anne is stolen by Poltergeists and taken into another dimension in the house.
Sometimes the family can hear her, but cannot reach her.
A Team of parapsychologists and supernatural investigators is called in to help find Carol Anne Freeling.
Eldest daughter in the Freeling family, Dana, is in her teen years (actress Dominique Dunne) and is old enough to be without her parents, so she's not in the Freeling home when Carol Anne goes missing.
Dana stays with friends while most of the events are happening in the new Freeling residence in Poltergeist.
In Memory of Dominique Dunne
Are There Spirits We Cannot See
Reverend Henry Kane
Reverend Kane poses as 'a friend' to Carol Anne in Poltergeist II: The Other Side. He says he needs Carol Anne to help him and his friends go to the light. He and his friends, lost souls, need to get to the light that leads to the 'hereafter.'
The true intent of Reverend Kane, however, isn't as nice as what he tells Carol Anne. Really, he wants to tear the Freeling family apart and gain their souls.
Julian Beck as Reverend Kane
The Medicine Man
In Poltergeist II: The Other Side - Taylor, a Native American appears as a medicine man or shaman, and has some sort of connection with or knowledge of Reverend Kane.
Once Taylor investigates a cave that has turned up which was near the home where the Freelings had such problems (in the original Poltergeist movie), he realizes that, somehow, even though the Freeling family moved out of the suburban home a year ago, Kane has managed to locate Carol Anne.
Taylor goes to find Carol Anne and defend her.
Talk about Will Sampson as an actor
Dana Freeling, Carol Anne Freeling, Reverend Kane, and Taylor the medicine man will not return to the screen for more movie development, at least not with the original actors reprising the roles - Dominique Dunne, Heather O'Rourke, Julian Beck or Will Sampson.
The four actress/actor personalities above, all from the Poltergeist series cast, are all deceased.
Dominique Dunne's life ended after an episode of domestic violence in 1982
Julian Beck died of stomach cancer in 1985
Will Sampson died of post-operative kidney failure in 1987
Heather O'Rourke died suddenly of septic shock and the resulting rapid-buildup of bacterial toxins related an acute bowel obstruction in 1988