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Curse of the Poltergeist Trilogy

Updated on July 13, 2011

Many movies have been considered somehow cursed and stories abound where cast and production crew members have either witnessed or experienced mysterious events.  Some of todays' most popular films are sometimes believed to be cursed.  One such movie and its sequels was the Poltergeist Trilogy, the first of which was produced by Steven Spielberg.

 Poltergeist premiered in 1982 and was a box office hit. It was followed up with two equally successful sequels. The story revolves around a family terrorized by angry spirits because their home is built on a burial ground. The youngest child, Carol Anne, played by Heather Michelle O'Rourke, was in all three movies which centered on her character.

However, behind the scenes, the films were inexplicably plagued with unexplained events and deaths. The number of deaths associated with the Poltergeist films quickly resulted in rumors of a curse.

The first death attributed to the alleged curse was 22 year old Dominique Ellen Dunne, who played the role of the oldest sister, Dana Freeling.  Five months after the first Poltergeist film Dunne was strangled by John Sweeney, a former boyfriend. The incident put her into a coma and she died six days later at Cedars Sinai Medical Center on November 4, 1982. She is interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles County.

Twelve-year-old Heather died shortly after the completion of Poltergeist III Heather was brought to a Hospital after experiencing unexplained swelling and difficulty breathing.

According to O’Rourke’s mother in an interview conducted with E! True Hollywood Story, she saw an apparition in the waiting room.  The spirit, she claimed was Heather, said “Mom, I’m not coming back.” Shortly thereafter, Heather died from complications brought on by septic shock.

 The official diagnosis was cited as cardiopulmonary arrest due to intestinal stenosis.  Doctors suspected Heather suffered from Chrohn’s Disease and her death could have been a result of that. O’Rourke is also interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles County. Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles County – a plaque on her The deaths of four actors would tend to support the existence of a curse.  However, two deaths were expected, two were not.

The deaths of four actors would tend to support the existence of a curse.  However, two deaths were expected, two were not.

The movie’s story line involves the middle class Freelings’ family in California who were living in a house built on top of an old burial ground. Everything was normal until Carol Anne, began to talk to unseen entities through a television set.

These entities used the television as a means gain access to the Freeling household. The 'TV people' as Carol Anne called them, seemed playful at first. They rearranged furniture and harmlessly dragged Carol Anne across the kitchen floor.   But it wasn't long before things got ugly and Carol Anne was taken to the “other side.” The Freelings eventually turned to psychic medium Tangina Barrons for help. With her assistance the young girl was brought back after a fierce struggle with the evil spirits..

In Poltergeist II: The Other Side,the story picks up about a year later and the Freelings are having major financial problems. Therefore, they are forced to live with Diane's mother. The same evil forces from the first film have found them and are terrorizing the family once again.

 However, this time the beings use a toy telephone as a way to get in and the beast appeared in the human form of Reverend Henry Kane.  Kane was a religious madman from the past who told his followers the end of the world was upon them. They followed Kane into an underground cavern where they all perished.

 To get to Carol Anne, Kane arrives at the Freeling home, confronts the father Steve on the front porch and demands to be let inside. Tangina Barrons this time is assisted by a Native American shaman.

Poltergeist III takes place in a skyscraper full of glass mirrors.  Carol Anne is sent to live with an aunt and her husband in Chicago. The preacher Kane returns from where he was in limbo at the end of the second film.

And once again, Tangina Barrons is summoned to help. This was Heather O'Rourke's last film. Her face wasn't seen in the final moments of the film due to the fact she died during the film's post-production period.  A double was used and the movie was dedicated to her memory.

Was the Poltergeist productions cursed?  No one has ever admitted to putting a curse on them.

Indeed, several of the cast did die prematurely.  However, if viewed logically, the four deaths are merely an unfortunate coincidence, easily explained.  Alleged curses are common in horror movies and people love to conjure up connections which don’t exist. Myths are easily started in this type of entertainment.  For example, something similar happened while filming "The Crow,” in which Brandon Lee was accidentally shot with a gun supposedly loaded with blanks.


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    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina


    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Darn Jy I didn't even know til I saw a teenage niece on FB with that short writing about 'Bless the World'

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Yeh, I heard that too. By the way, what does btw stand for...? LOL

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      This reminds of the 'Exorcist' curse. Good hub and topic JY. Some reports say Brandon Lee's death was no accident btw.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks for your comments.

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 

      7 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Interesting Info.


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