CREEPY STUFF–Real skeletons in the movie “Poltergeist”

poltpoolsw8Since I feel that these prop items qualify as puppets, this creepy bit of info can go here.

In 2002, on an episode of VH1’s I Love the 80s, JoBeth Williams revealed that the production used real skeletons when filming the swimming pool scene. Many of the people on the set were alarmed by this and led others to believe the “curse” on the film series was because of this use. Craig Reardon, a special effects artist who worked on the film, commented at the time that it was cheaper to purchase real skeletons than plastic ones as the plastic ones involved labor in making them. Williams wasn’t afraid of the prop skeletons, but she was nervous working in water around so many electrically-powered lights. Producer Spielberg comforted her by being in the water during her scenes, claiming that if a light fell into the pool, they’d both be killed.

During the scene when one of the researchers hallucinates tearing his face off in the mirror, Steven Spielberg’s hands were used to claw the flesh off the dummy. The actor who played the part, Martin Casella, was Spielberg’s assistant on Raiders of the Lost Ark and also served as a PA on Robert Zemeckis’ film Used Cars, on which Spielberg served as executive producer.

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