The Exorcist. Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen. Each of these classic horror films had rumors attached to them about the terrible fates that befell the cast—but few stories are as compelling as the supposed “curse” that haunted the production of the 1982 film Poltergeist.
Like the movies mentioned above, Poltergeist was an instant classic of the horror genre. The film followed the Freeling family as they battle with an invisible force that kidnaps their youngest, Carol Anne. Its box office success and critical accolades led to a demand for a sequel—but before filmmakers could even get started, tragedy struck.
Dominique Dunne, the young actress who played Carol Anne’s older sister Dana, died in hospital after a brutal attack by an ex-boyfriend at her home in late 1982. The filmmakers cut her planned part in the Poltergeist sequel and began shooting in 1985. Two actors who appeared in that film later died, but each suffered from serious health problems.