Poltergeist (1982)

35mm film, J-D-C Scope, Metrocolor, 2.35:1
Dolby Stereo, English

An American horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. Production began on 11 May 1981.

Plot Summary

The Freeling family's suburban home is invaded by what seem at first to be merely mischievous and playful spirits. But when their young daughter Carol Anne disappears, things take a nastier turn. A team of and a medium move in to help the Freelings and uncover a nasty secret buried beneath their house…


* = uncredited

Directed by: Tobe Hooper
© 1982 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. and SLM Production Group
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents [opening credits]. Presented by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [end credits]. A Tobe Hopper film. A Steven Spielberg production
Produced by: Steven Spielberg & Frank Marshall
Associate Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Screenplay by: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais & Mark Victor
Story by: Steven Spielberg
Director of Photography: Matthew F. Leonetti
Edited by: Michael Kahn; Steven Spielberg *
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Sound Mixer: Art Rochester
Costume Supervisor: Ann Lambert
Make-up: Dottie Pearl
Hairdresser: Toni Walker
Special Effects Make-up: Craig Reardon
Mechanical Effects Supervisor: Mike Wood
Visual Effects Supervision: Richard Edlund
Special Visual Effects Produced at: Industrial Light and Magic, Marin County, CA.
Production Designer: James H. Spencer

JoBeth Williams (Diane Freeling)
Craig T. Nelson (Steve Freeling)
Beatrice Straight (Dr Lesh)
Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling)
Oliver Robins (Robbie Freeling)
Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling)
Marty Casella (Marty)
Richard Lawson (Ryan)
Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina Barrons)
James Karen (Mr Teague)
Dirk Blocker (Jeff Shaw)
Michael McManus (Ben Tuthill)
Helen Baron (woman buyer)
Virginia Kiser (Mrs Tuthill)
Allan Graf (neighbour)
Robert Broyles (pool worker 1)
Lou Perry (Pugsley)
Clair Leucart (bulldozer driver)
Joseph R. Walsh (neighbour)
Noel Conlon (husband)
Sonny Landham (pool worker 2)
Bill Vail, Jeffrey Bannister (implosion men)
Phil Stone (football announcer, NBC Sports)

Alternative Titles

Duch – Polish title
Juegos diabólicos – Venezuelan title
Poltergeist: demoniache presenze – Italian title

Production Notes

Many sources claim that the Freleng's house is built on a Native American burial ground though there's no evidence in the film to support this. In fact Teague assures them that “It's not an ancient tribal burial ground. lt's just… people.” He may of course be lying but no-one else in the film contradicts him and there's no evidence at all that the housing estate was built on anything other than an ordinary cemetery.

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
Poltergeist III (1988)

Poltergeist (2015)

Extracts included in
AFI's 100 Years, 100 Thrills: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies (2001)
Dominique Dunne: An American Tragedy (1998)
The Making of Poltergeist (1982)
Precious Images (1986)
Terror in the Aisles (1984)

See also
Poltergeist: The Legacy (1996-1999)
Repossessed (1990)
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
The Uninvited (1943)


L'Écran Fantastique no.52 (January 1985) p.10 – note (Cineflash: Echos de tournage by Glles Polinien)
TV Filmes August 1999 p.43 – review (by Carlos Cabral)
We Belong Dead no.29 (Autumn 2021) pp.18-29 – illustrated article (Killer plants: A potted history by Jules Boyle)

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.412-413
Horror and Science Fiction Films III by Donald C. Willis p.210-211
Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer's Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay p.32
Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.385
The Stop-motion Filmography by Neil Pettigrew pp.548-549
Trick Cinematography by R.M. Hayes pp.271-273