Poltergeist was set up nicely in order to scare movie goers of the 1980s. It’s a film which isn’t based on any novella or already iconic horror book, so viewers went in not knowing what to expect.
The main characters were all cast with unknown actors, to make the storyline seem more realistic. And somehow, the film got away with a PG rating, which meant less restriction on who was able to see it in theatres.
The unexpected terrors of Poltergeist are what caught audiences off guard and made it one of the stand out horror flicks of the decade. What’s more is that the setting and plot genuinely changed the way people think of the supernatural. It has since inspired an obsession with paranormal activity, and created a sub-genre for the horror franchise.
In fact, the film’s own fiction seemed to manifest itself upon real life, with cast and crew finding themselves experiencing strange phenomena and overall causing some uneasy tension on set.
After all, the movie was quite literally filmed near an unearthed Indian burial ground, with the construction of a supermarket on top of it in Agoura Hills, Los Angeles. And this was only the eerie beginning. Let’s find out why the thrills and scares of Poltergeist felt so real and intense.
10. Zelda Rubinstein Was A Real Life Psychic
Actress Zelda Rubinstein may have netted for her first major film role as the part of the spiritual medium Tangina because in real life, she was a psychic and medium. Although it would take a little bit of convincing because apparently, she auditioned four times for the role. Ultimately, all of her scenes were filmed and finished in a mere six days.
Zelda claimed to have experienced visions of things before they happened. One striking example is when her dog came to her and said goodbye. Just hours later, she was contacted by her mother to say that Zelda's pet dog had passed away.
Film critic Pauline Kael, who mostly didn’t like the Poltergeist movie, gave special praise for Rubinstein’s portrayal of the eccentric Tangina, claiming she gave the movie life and made it more believable.
In 1983, she won a Saturn award for Best Supporting Actress and it became the beginning of her long, successful screen career.