The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As Props – Tymoff

The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As Props – Tymoff

Have you ever wondered about the secrets behind the iconic horror film ‘Poltergeist’? “Did the 1982 movie ‘Poltergeist’ use real skeletons as props? Explore the eerie world of this Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper-produced supernatural horror movie. Uncover the truth behind the spine-chilling scenes and the controversy that surrounds the film’s production. Join us on a journey through the mysteries of ‘Poltergeist’ and discover the secrets that lie beneath its terrifying facade.

Explore the groundbreaking practical effects that set a new standard for horror cinema. Learn about the ethical concerns raised by the use of real skeletons and the ongoing debate among filmmakers and fans. Whether you’re a horror enthusiast or simply intrigued by the allure of a classic film, the story of ‘Poltergeist’ is sure to captivate and chill you to the bone. Dare to uncover the truth behind the 1982 movie ‘Poltergeist’ and its use of real skeletons.

History of Poltergeist

Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor wrote and directed the supernatural horror movie “Poltergeist” in 1982. The movie stars JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, and Beatrice Straight, and was produced by Spielberg and Frank Marshall. The story depicts a suburban family experiencing a home invasion by malevolent ghosts who kidnap their youngest daughter, resulting in a series of terrifying events.

The film’s origins can be traced back to Spielberg’s concept for a horror sequel to his 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” titled “Night Skies.” However, Hooper suggested a collaboration on a ghost story instead, leading to the development of “Poltergeist.” Despite Spielberg’s contractual obligations preventing him from directing another film while working on “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” he was heavily involved in the production of “Poltergeist,” leading to some debate over his level of directorial influence. Nonetheless, the film was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the most celebrated horror films of its time and spawning several sequels and a remake.

The Film’s Production

Pioneering Practical Effects: “Poltergeist,” released in 1982, revolutionised the use of practical effects in filmmaking. Led by director Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg, the production team sought to blur the lines between reality and the supernatural. They employed innovative techniques, such as puppetry and clever camera work, to bring the film’s ghostly occurrences to life.

The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As Props – Tymoff

Terrifying Realism: The filmmakers’ dedication to practical effects aimed to terrify audiences in a way that CGI could not replicate. By using tangible, physical effects, they created a sense of realism that added to the film’s chilling atmosphere. This commitment to authenticity set a new standard for horror cinema and inspired future filmmakers to explore the possibilities of practical effects.

Lasting Impact: Decades after its release, “Poltergeist” remains a landmark in the history of horror cinema. Its pioneering use of practical effects continues to influence filmmakers, reminding them of the power of practicality and creativity in storytelling. The film’s legacy serves as a testament to the innovative spirit of its production team and their commitment to pushing the boundaries of filmmaking.

The Controversy Unveiled

Emergence of Allegations:

Shortly after the release of “Poltergeist” in 1982, rumours surfaced suggesting that real human skeletons were used as props in the film. These rumours are mainly centred around the scene where actress JoBeth Williams’s character falls into a pool filled with skeletons. The speculation sparked debates about ethical considerations within the film industry and raised questions about the authenticity of the skeletons used.

Crew Denials and Lack of Evidence:

Despite the persistent rumours, the film’s crew, including director Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg, vehemently denied the allegations. They maintained that the skeletons seen in the film were meticulously crafted props, and no real human remains were used. However, due to the lack of concrete evidence either supporting or refuting the claims, the controversy continued to linger, leaving audiences and industry insiders intrigued but uncertain.

Ongoing Speculation and Legacy:

The controversy surrounding the use of real skeletons in “Poltergeist” has contributed to the film’s enduring legacy in the horror genre. While some believe that the rumours are simply urban legends, others remain convinced that there may be truth to the claims. Regardless, the controversy has sparked discussions about ethical practices in filmmaking and has added an element of mystery to the production of one of the most iconic horror films of its time.

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Unearthing the Truth

“Unearthing the Truth” refers to the investigation into whether the 1982 movie “Poltergeist” used real human skeletons as props. Despite persistent rumours, concrete evidence supporting this claim has been lacking. The scene in question, where actress JoBeth Williams falls into a pool filled with skeletons, has fueled speculation about the authenticity of the skeletons.

While the film’s crew has denied using real skeletons, the controversy has raised ethical concerns about the use of human remains in the film. The lack of definitive proof either way has added to the mystique of “Poltergeist” and its production, leaving the truth behind the use of real skeletons a subject of ongoing debate and intrigue.

Ethical Concerns

The controversy surrounding the alleged use of real skeletons in “Poltergeist” raises significant ethical concerns, regardless of whether the claims are substantiated. While the film industry has a history of using human remains as props, the ethical standards and regulations governing their use have evolved. Modern ethical considerations prioritise respect for the deceased and sensitivity towards cultural beliefs surrounding death and burial.

The debate surrounding the use of real skeletons in film underscores the importance of transparency and ethical responsibility in filmmaking. Even if the use of real skeletons in “Poltergeist” was intended to enhance the film’s realism, the ethical implications of such a decision are profound. This controversy serves as a reminder of the need for filmmakers to adhere to ethical guidelines and to consider the broader societal impact of their creative choices.

The Legacy of “Poltergeist”

The Legacy of the movie lies in its enduring status as a timeless horror classic. Despite the controversy surrounding its production, the film has left an indelible mark on the genre and the filmmaking industry. Its innovative blend of supernatural elements and human drama continues to captivate audiences, solidifying its place in cinematic history.

“Poltergeist” has influenced countless filmmakers and has set a standard for effective storytelling and practical effects in horror cinema. Its impact can be seen in the way subsequent films approach it, creating tension and scares. The film’s ability to resonate with audiences decades after its release speaks to its lasting legacy and its status as a landmark in the horror genre.


To sum up, “Poltergeist” stands as a testament to the power of practical effects and storytelling in horror cinema. Even decades after its release, it continues to terrify and captivate audiences, which is what defines its legacy. The controversy surrounding its production, including the use of real skeletons, adds an intriguing layer to its history, sparking ongoing discussions about ethics in filmmaking. Whether you’re a fan of horror films or simply curious about the mysteries behind a classic movie, “Poltergeist” remains a fascinating subject worth exploring.

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