Strange Deaths Connected to the Poltergeist Film Series: Facts

Picture about Strange Deaths Connected to the Poltergeist Film Series
Strange Deaths Connected to the Poltergeist Film Series


There are many strange deaths connected to the Poltergeist film series.


The American movies Poltergeist trilogy have been among the scariest movies in Hollywood, also the strange deaths of the movie stars became a matter of serious discussions and are often attributed as Curse. Today, we will analyze whether the stars who acted in Poltergeist film series were really cursed to death, or was it all a matter of coincidence.

About Poltergeist Trilogy

The original Poltergeist movie was released in 1982, directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg. The horror film is about the Freelings, a middle-class family whose life becomes chaotic when they witness a number of paranormal events in their California home and their daughter Carol Anne gets abducted through her bedroom closet by a group of ghosts under the control of a monster demon called the “Beast”. The Poltergeist movie was so horrifying and successful that it led to two other sequels: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988).

About the Poltergeist Curse

With the popularity of the Poltergeist trilogy, there also came a creepy mystique that the classic film is associated with real-life tragedies which some people interpreted as a curse — because of the deaths of many cast members. Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling), Julian Beck (Kane, an evil spirit), Will Sampson (Taylor, a good spirit) and Heather O’Rourke (Carol Ann Freeling) were the four cast members who died during and after the filming of the movies. Although two of the deaths were expected, the other two were puzzling and unexpected, which made many fans believe in the ‘curse’.

Picture of Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling)
Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling)

Death of Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling)

Dominique Dunne, who played the older daughter, Dana Freeling in the original Poltergeist movie, met with a tragic and unforeseen fate. Dunne separated from her partner, John Sweeney in 1982, but in November same year, he came to her home pleading her to take him back. When Dunne refused, Sweeney grabbed her neck, choked her until she was unconscious, and left her to die in her home’s driveway. Sweeney was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for his crime, but was released after serving less than 4 years. This way, after the first movie was released in June 1982, Dominique Dunne died on 4 November 1982, at the age of 22.

Picture of Julian Beck (Kane)
Julian Beck (Kane)

Death of Julian Beck (Kane)

Julian Beck is the 60-year-old actor who played the role of evil preacher Henry Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986). In 1983, before he accepted the role, Beck was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and he died on 14 September 1985, soon after he finished working on the movie. This was not unexpected though, as he was battling with cancer.

Picture of Will Sampson (Taylor)
Will Sampson (Taylor)

Death of Will Sampson (Taylor)

Will Sampson is the 53 years old actor who played Taylor the medicine man in the same film Poltergeist II. The film met with further tragedy, when Sampson died on 3 June 1987 after undergoing a heart-lung transplant that had a very low survival rate. The cause of his death was attributed to pre-operative malnutrition problems and post-operative kidney failure. What made all this more eerie is the fact that before his death, Will Sampson reportedly used to perform authentic exorcism for “several different groups” after shooting wrapped up. The studio security was instructed to leave the set unlocked and unguarded so he could return in the middle of the night to perform the exorcism.

Picture of Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling)
Heather O’Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling)

Death of Heather O’Rourke (Carol Ann Freeling)

The young focal point of the Poltergeist series, Carol Anne Freeling was played by Heather O’Rourke. With her doll-like appearance, Carol captivated many audiences, but unfortunately, she was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1987. The next year, Heather fell ill again, and sadly again, her symptoms were casually attributed to the flu. She collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest a day later. She died on 1 February 1988 at the age of 12 at a children’s hospital in San Diego, during an operation to correct acute bowel obstruction. It was later believed that Carol had been suffering from a congenital intestinal abnormality.

The way how a healthy-looking youngster died in an unexpected way, also for the fate of the three earlier deaths, has fuelled the claims of Poltergeist being cursed. There also came up a rumor that everyone who appeared in the Poltergeist series is now dead.

To sum up, two of the total four deaths of the Poltergeist cast member were expected, while the other two were strange and unexpected. The strange deaths were not anything paranormal and can be explained as coincidence. So the cast members of Poltergeist trilogy were not cursed (thankfully).

Hoax or Fact:



The Poltergeist Curse: ‘It’s Heeere…’
Poltergeist (film series): The Poltergeist curse

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Prashanth Damarla