Nightmare Fuel — The Poltergeist movie curse

Hello Addicts,

With the upcoming release of the Poltergeist re-make, I thought we might take a look at a possible curse associated with the original trilogy of movies.  The deaths of four people over the six-year span of the franchise are attributed, albeit loosely in some cases, to this curse.

We’ll start with the oldest daughter from the first movie, and the first to fall to the curse, Dominique Dunn.  In late 1982, Dunn ended an abusive relationship with her live in boyfriend, John Sweeney.  Desperate to convince her into giving him another chance, he arrived on her doorstep to talk.  When it seemed clear that his efforts were not working, Sweeney wrapped his hands around the actress’ throat and choked her for four to six minutes before leaving her to die, which she finally did five days later.

The second victim of the curse was Julian Beck, who played the evil spirit, Reverend Kane.  His death in 1985, seven months before the release of the second movie, was expected as he had battled stomach cancer for the previous year and a half.  Less than two years later, the actor who portrayed the Native American shaman Taylor, Will Sampson, died from complications following a heart and lung transplant.  Like his movie counterpart, his death wasn’t unexpected since even he knew the surgery carried a slim chance of survival.

And this brings us to the most famous victim of the Poltergeist movie curse, Heather Rourke, aka – Carol Anne.  In February 1988, Rourke was en route to the hospital with what was believed to be a bout of the flu when her body went into cardiac arrest.  They managed to get her heart restarted and she was flown to the Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA, where the doctors detected a bowel obstruction.  She later died on the operating room table.

On the surface, these deaths may seem connected by some form of a curse, but plenty of actors, actresses, and others connected with the films are still alive and working today.  Perhaps what feeds the idea of a curse on the movie franchise is a long-held belief that the corpses in the swimming pool scene of the first movie were real skeletal remains.  This story is backed up by the director and others involved with the movie.  Perhaps some unhappy spirits connected with those bodies found a way to convey their feelings in an attention-getting way.  Or perhaps this is all just a matter of eerie coincidences.

What do you think?

D.J. Pitsiladis

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