The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As – Tymoff

The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As - Tymoff

The 1982 supernatural horror film “Poltergeist” has long been regarded as one of the most iconic and influential movies in the genre. Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, the film captivated audiences with its chilling depiction of a family’s encounter with a malevolent supernatural force. However, the production of “Poltergeist” was not without its share of controversy, as it was later revealed that the filmmakers had used real human skeletons as props during the filming.

The Controversy Surrounding the Use of Real Skeletons

The revelation that “Poltergeist” featured the use of real human skeletons caused an uproar in the film industry and among the general public. Many were outraged by the ethical implications of using the remains of deceased individuals as props, without their consent or that of their families. The decision to use real skeletons, rather than fabricated props, was seen by some as a disrespectful and exploitative act.

The Alleged Curse of the Poltergeist Franchise

Adding to the controversy surrounding the use of real skeletons, the “Poltergeist” franchise was also beset by a series of tragic events that led to the belief that the production was cursed. Several cast and crew members, including Heather O’Rourke, the young actress who played the character of Carol Anne, died under mysterious or untimely circumstances. This fueled speculation that the use of real skeletons had unleashed a dark and malevolent force that plagued the production and its participants.

The Truth Behind the Use of Real Skeletons in the Movie

Despite the controversy and rumors, the filmmakers behind “Poltergeist” have since revealed the truth behind the use of real skeletons. According to the production team, the decision to use actual human remains was made out of a desire for authenticity and realism. They argued that the use of fabricated props would not have had the same impact or visual authenticity as the real thing.

Ethical Considerations in the Film Industry

The “Poltergeist” controversy has raised important questions about the ethical boundaries of the film industry and the treatment of human remains. While the use of real skeletons may have been driven by artistic considerations, many argue that it crossed a line and disrespected the dignity of the deceased. This incident has led to a greater emphasis on the development of ethical guidelines and regulations within the film industry to ensure that such practices do not occur in the future.

Other Movies with Controversial Production Practices

The “Poltergeist” controversy is not an isolated incident, as the film industry has a history of controversial production practices that have raised ethical concerns. For example, the use of live animals in films, the exploitation of vulnerable populations, and the mistreatment of workers have all been the subject of public scrutiny and criticism over the years.

The Impact of the Poltergeist Controversy on the Film’s Legacy

The controversy surrounding the use of real skeletons in “Poltergeist” has had a lasting impact on the film’s legacy. While the movie remains a beloved classic in the horror genre, the revelation of the unorthodox production methods has cast a shadow over its reputation. Some viewers may now approach the film with a more critical eye, questioning the ethical implications of the decisions made during its creation.

Cultural Significance and Lasting Effects of the Movie

Despite the controversies, “Poltergeist” has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on popular culture. The film’s iconic scenes, memorable characters, and haunting soundtrack have become ingrained in the collective consciousness of movie-goers. The “Poltergeist” franchise has also spawned numerous sequels, remakes, and cultural references, demonstrating the lasting impact of the original film.

Hollywood’s Evolving Standards and Regulations

The “Poltergeist” controversy has contributed to a broader shift in the film industry’s approach to production practices. In the years since the release of the movie, there have been increased efforts to establish more stringent ethical guidelines and regulations governing the use of human remains, animals, and other sensitive materials in filmmaking. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done to ensure that the industry upholds the highest standards of ethical conduct.


The use of real human skeletons in the production of “Poltergeist” remains a contentious and thought-provoking aspect of the film’s history. While the decision may have been driven by artistic considerations, it has raised important questions about the ethical boundaries of the film industry and the respect owed to the deceased. As the industry continues to evolve, it is essential that filmmakers, producers, and industry leaders prioritize ethical practices and the well-being of all those involved in the creative process.

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