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       A later home video release names the following production screen credits, which may not have been included in the original theatrical release: leadman Gary Lynch; assistant to Mrs. Kennedy, Denise Durham; production illustrator Dick Lasley; set designers Bill Matthews and Martha Johnson; furniture supplier Grand Tree Furniture Rentals and Sales; music supervisor Harry V. Lojewski; and stunt performers Bobby Clark, Donna Garrett, and Chuck Waters. The reissue cast credits also list Craig Simmons as “Implosion man,” and Allan Graf and Joseph R. Walsh as “Neighbors." While the theatrical production credits lists Dana Gendian and Jaimi Gendian under “Stunts,” the reissue includes them among the cast, as “Special children.”
       On 21 Apr 1981, DV announced that writer-producer Steven Spielberg would reteam with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, see entry) producer Frank Marshall for Poltergeist, to be directed by Tobe Hooper. A 13 Aug 1981 LAT article claimed Spielberg cast Jobeth Williams as “Diane Freeling” after viewing an international cut of The Dogs of War (1980, see entry), featuring scenes with Williams that were edited out of the domestic release.
       According to the 8 May 1981 DV and 12 May 1981 HR, principal photography began 11 May 1981 in Simi Valley, CA. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicated that storm scenes were filmed on Stage 12 of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) Studios in Culver City, CA, while a swimming pool and crawlspaces were built on three additional soundstages. The 10 Jun 1981 LAT noted that magician Larry Wilson had been hired to assure that the film’s ghostly “gags” looked believable, but he does not ... More Less

       A later home video release names the following production screen credits, which may not have been included in the original theatrical release: leadman Gary Lynch; assistant to Mrs. Kennedy, Denise Durham; production illustrator Dick Lasley; set designers Bill Matthews and Martha Johnson; furniture supplier Grand Tree Furniture Rentals and Sales; music supervisor Harry V. Lojewski; and stunt performers Bobby Clark, Donna Garrett, and Chuck Waters. The reissue cast credits also list Craig Simmons as “Implosion man,” and Allan Graf and Joseph R. Walsh as “Neighbors." While the theatrical production credits lists Dana Gendian and Jaimi Gendian under “Stunts,” the reissue includes them among the cast, as “Special children.”
       On 21 Apr 1981, DV announced that writer-producer Steven Spielberg would reteam with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, see entry) producer Frank Marshall for Poltergeist, to be directed by Tobe Hooper. A 13 Aug 1981 LAT article claimed Spielberg cast Jobeth Williams as “Diane Freeling” after viewing an international cut of The Dogs of War (1980, see entry), featuring scenes with Williams that were edited out of the domestic release.
       According to the 8 May 1981 DV and 12 May 1981 HR, principal photography began 11 May 1981 in Simi Valley, CA. Production notes in AMPAS library files indicated that storm scenes were filmed on Stage 12 of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) Studios in Culver City, CA, while a swimming pool and crawlspaces were built on three additional soundstages. The 10 Jun 1981 LAT noted that magician Larry Wilson had been hired to assure that the film’s ghostly “gags” looked believable, but he does not receive onscreen credit.
       Following a 12 Jun 1981 DV brief stating that production continued a day ahead of schedule, the 12 Aug 1981 Var reported that principal photography had concluded two days early at M-G-M’s Stage 30. The 13 Aug 1981 LAT stated that Spielberg visited the set in order to urge production to finish before the anticipated Directors Guild of America (DGA) strike in Jul 1981; he was often accompanied by friend and Industrial Light & Magic Co. founder, George Lucas.
       According to the 6 May 1982 LAHExam, Poltergeist was one of a dozen M-G-M/United Artists films partially financed by SLM Entertainment Ltd., which fronted between one third and one half of each picture’s budget, amounting to no more than $7.5 million. Poltergeist had an estimated total cost of $15 million, with an additional $9 million for prints and advertising. For a flat fee of $425,000, M-G-M/UA was granted supervision of theatrical distribution on all SLM films, as well as a 22.5% fee on all theatrical rentals. The article claimed that M-G-M relied on the film’s financial success to help alleviate the studio’s $600 million debts. A 31 May 1982 Newsweek article listed the final budget at $11 million.
       During production, a 2 Jun 1981 LAHExam article fueled speculation that, due his heavy involvement on set, Spielberg actually served as the project’s co-director. A follow-up LAHExam story on 5 Jun 1981 included a statement from Hooper clarifying that Spielberg had not overstepped his bounds as a producer, and had been preoccupied with preparations to direct another film, beginning Aug 1981. The 1 Feb 1982 DV stated that Spielberg was editing E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982, see entry) and working with composer Jerry Goldsmith to score Poltergeist before both pictures’ scheduled openings in Jun 1982. A 24 May 1982 LAT article stated that Goldsmith collaborated exclusively with Spielberg, and that Hooper had “no input whatsoever.” Additionally, the 13 Aug 1981 LAT cited Jobeth Williams’ claim that Spielberg and Hooper collaborated on set, but Spielberg had “the final say.” The 2 Jun 1982 NYT noted that Spielberg also completed storyboarding, selected cast and locations, and supervised editing. Despite a clause in Spielberg’s Universal Pictures contract preventing him from working on any motion picture while directing E.T., the filmmaker remained closely involved with Poltergeist to attempt to keep the budget within 10% of the approved $9.5 million limit set by M-G-M. Although Spielberg and Hooper insisted the arrangement was amicable, the 25 May 1982 HR announced that the Directors Guild of America (DGA) had begun a formal investigation to determine if Spielberg’s actions were “detracting from the director’s credit,” but made no mention of specific guild rules that may have been broken. On 8 Jun 1982, HR published a letter Spielberg wrote to Hooper on 2 Jun 1982, responding to the press’s allegations and testifying for Hooper’s agreeability throughout production.
       Two weeks later, the 18 Jun 1982 DV reported that M-G-M was required to pay Hooper $15,000 in damages for deliberately attempting to “enhance the box office appeal” by displaying “A Steven Spielberg Production” twice as large as Hooper’s name in promotional trailers. Although the DGA originally demanded $200,000 in damages and correction of all trailers, the case arbitrator ordered M-G-M to correct only trailers circulating in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, in addition to all future trailers. The studio was also required to issue a public apology to Hooper and the DGA, which ran in the 9 Jul 1982 HR.
       A 5 Apr 1982 M-G-M press release in AMPAS library files announced that the studio was scheduled to host a 21 May 1982 preview screening and champagne reception at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater, benefitting the Los Angeles Collegiate Council to aid local college students. A 24 Apr 1982 LAT item reported that Spielberg was expected to attend a 21 May 1982 screening benefitting the Southern California Society for Physical Research, at M-G-M Studios. The 24 May 1982 LAHExam reported sold-out preview screenings in Culver City, CA, Chicago, IL, and Toronto, Canada, also on 21 May 1982.
       The 5 May 1982 Var reported that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Classification & Rating Appeals Board agreed to change the film’s rating from 'R' to 'PG' after hearing statements from Spielberg, M-G-M chairman Frank Rosenfelt, and psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Jones in New York City on 30 Apr 1982. A 25 May 1982 HR item claimed the R-rating was assigned due to “children in peril,” despite no actual gore or bloodshed; however, the vote to appeal was unanimous. A 7 May 1982 LAT story stated that Spielberg advocated for the creation of a new category between PG and R. On 2 Jun 1982, NYT reported the ratings decision behind Poltergeist would likely force MPAA President Jack Valenti to consider the long-running debate of adding an “R-13” label. Meanwhile, the 3 Jun 1982 Evening Outlook stated that the city Motion Picture Classification Board of Dallas, TX, filed suit against M-G-M/UA to stop Poltergeist’s local release, arguing that the film was “not suitable for young persons.” In response, M-G-M/UA countersued, planning to ignore the motion and continue advertising. The 5 Jun 1982 LAT claimed that the film would be shown in seven Dallas theaters under the MPAA-issued PG rating until the local jury made its decision. A 15 Jun 1982 HR article stated that jury selection was underway before the hearing began later that same week. According to the 17 Jun 1982 HR, the Dallas board argued that the graphic nightmare scene featuring Marty Casella’s character, “Dr. Marty Casey,” made the film too violent for children under sixteen years of age. During a special screening, jury members compared the footage to the face-melting scene in Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, which passed with a PG rating from the local council. As a result, the board voted in favor of M-G-M.
       Prior to the film’s 4 Jun 1982 domestic opening in 900 theaters, an M-G-M press release announced that visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund would promote the film that week in Chicago, Dallas, and Boston, MA. Meanwhile, UCLA psychology professor Dr. Thelma Moss was scheduled to visit five major cities through 10 Jun 1982, to explain the poltergeist phenomenon.
       A 7 Jun 1982 M-G-M press release announced a three-day box office return of $6,896,612 in 890 theaters. According to a 27 Oct 1982 M-G-M announcement, the film was re-released in 864 theaters for Halloween, beginning 29 Oct 1982. A 20 Aug 2008 HR story reported that, to date, Poltergeist had grossed $122 million worldwide.
       On 18 Sep 1982, Var stated that The Beast Within (1982, see entry) actor Paul Clemens and screenwriting partner Bennett Yellin, planned to sue Spielberg and M-G-M for $37 million, alleging copyright infringement. The outcome of the lawsuit, however, could not be determined.
       Poltergeist received three Academy Award nominations for Music (Original Score), Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects. A 25 Feb 1983 DV item reported that composer Jerry Goldsmith received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Musical Score from the National Horror Motion Picture Association; the picture was also honored as Best Film.
       Following the film’s sequels, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986, see entry) and Poltergeist III (1988, see entry), the 25 Jan 1989 HR announced M-G-M/UA Television’s plans to develop a syndicated television program titled Poltergeist: The Series. The studio hoped to partner with companies in Canada, Australia, and Great Britain to produce ninety-two episodes, each budgeted between $400,000 and $500,000. Production did not move ahead, and on 10 Apr 1995, DV reported that M-G-M/UA was attempting to revive the idea as a cable series. The 20 Aug 2008 HR indicated that writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White had written a script for M-G-M/UA’s planned motion picture remake of Poltergeist. Five years later, the 26 Sep 2013 HR announced that producer Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan had cast Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt for the lead roles in another "reboot" script by David Lindsay-Abaire. As of the writing of this Note, release is scheduled for 24 Jul 2015.
      Although not included in end credits, the film uses excerpts of John Stafford Smith’s music from “The Star-Spangled Banner” and footage from the 1943 motion picture A Guy Named Joe (see entry).
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1981.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 1981.
---
Daily Variety
12 Jun 1981.
---
Daily Variety
1 Feb 1982.
---
Daily Variety
18 Jun 1982.
---
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1983.
---
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1995.
---
Evening Outlook
3 Jun 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1982
p. 3, 24.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1989
p. 1, 81.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 2008.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 2013.
---
LAHExam
2 Jun 1981
Section A, p. 2.
LAHExam
5 Jun 1981.
---
LAHExam
6 May 1982
Section D, p. 1, 4.
LAHExam
24 May 1982
Section C, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jun 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Aug 1981
p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
24 Apr 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1982
Section VI, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
24 May 1982
Section VI, pp. 1-3.
Los Angeles Times
4 Jun 1982
p. 1, 10.
Los Angeles Times
5 Jun 1982
pp. 1-2.
New York Times
2 Jun 1982.
---
New York Times
4 Jun 1982
p. 16.
Newsweek
31 May 1982
pp. 62-64.
Variety
12 Aug 1981.
---
Variety
5 May 1982.
---
Variety
26 May 1982
p. 14.
Variety
18 Sep 1982.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Tobe Hooper Film
A Steven Spielberg Production
Presented by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Ultracam 35 cameras and JDC anamorphic lenses prov
Hollywood
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Leadman
Set des
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Ladies cost
Men`s cost
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom person
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Spec sd eff
Foley walker
Foley walker
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Mechanical eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Visual eff coord
Titles
Spec visual eff prod at
Marin County, CA.
Opt photog supv, ILM
Visual eff ed supv, ILM
Eff art dir, ILM
Eff cam, ILM
Eff cam, ILM
Prod supv, ILM
Prod coord, ILM
Matte painting supv, ILM
Matte photog, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Laser and cloud eff, ILM
Modelshop supv, ILM
Chief model maker, ILM
Technical anim supv, ILM
1st asst cam, ILM
1st asst cam, ILM
1st asst cam, ILM
1st asst cam, ILM
2d asst cam, ILM
Cam-addl scenes, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt technician, ILM
Opt technician, ILM
Opt technician, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Key anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim cam supv, ILM
Anim asst supv, ILM
Key asst, ILM
Asst anim, ILM
Asst anim, ILM
Asst anim, ILM
Asst anim, ILM
Asst anim, ILM
Matte anim, ILM
Matte anim, ILM
Matte anim, ILM
Matte anim, ILM
Asst matte photog, ILM
Addl matte photog, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Supv stage tech, ILM
Stage foreman, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Spec wire performance, ILM
Spec ward, ILM
Prod accountant, ILM
Admin supv, ILM
Prod secy, ILM
Prod secy, ILM
Prod procurer, ILM
Prod procurer, ILM
Elec system des, ILM
Elec system software, ILM
Elec eng, ILM
Elec eng, ILM
Elec eng, ILM
Elec tech, ILM
Elec tech, ILM
Elec coord, ILM
Des eng, ILM
Draftsman, ILM
Equip eng supv, ILM
Machinist, ILM
Machinist, ILM
Apprentice machinist, ILM
Apprentice machinist, ILM
Equip maintenance, ILM
Equip maintenance, ILM
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
Spec eff make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Prod coord
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Mr. Spielberg
Asst to Mr. Hooper
Transportation coord
Craft service
Rip's owner & trainer
Unit pub
Asst to Ms. Kennedy
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timing
[Col by]
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
4 June 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 June 1982
Production Date:
11 May--17 August 1981 in Simi Valley, CA and Culver City, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Company & SLM Entertainment, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
8 July 1982
Copyright Number:
PA142980
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo™ in selected theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26466
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Inside the Freeling family home in the suburban California community of Cuesta Verde, Steve Freeling dozes in front of a flickering television. The golden retriever, E. Buzz, walks through the bedrooms where housewife Diane Freeling and her children, sixteen-year-old Dana, eight-year-old Robbie, and five-year-old Carol Anne, are asleep. Carol Anne rises from her bed, descends the stairs, and sits in front of the screen’s static transmission. She speaks to the television, causing her parents and siblings to awaken in confusion. The next day, Diane notices that Carol Anne’s pet bird died. Downstairs, Steve watches football with a group of friends when the broadcast is suddenly interrupted by the television program, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Realizing the signal is crossed with his neighbor Ben Tuthill's, Steve goes outside and demands that Ben stop changing the channel. As Diane and Carol Anne bury the bird in a cigar box, Robbie climbs a tall, knobby tree and notices storm clouds looming overhead. That night, Diane tucks the children into bed and turns on the closet light to calm Carol Anne’s fear of the dark. In the master bedroom, Steve and Diane smoke marijuana, and Diane worries that their plan to build a swimming pool in the backyard could be dangerous with Carol Anne’s recent sleepwalking. Unable to sleep because of the rain, Robbie walks in on his inebriated parents, and Steve returns his son to his bedroom. When Robbie expresses his dislike of the tree outside his window, Steve tells him that his real estate development company built their home next to the old tree so it would protect their family. After he leaves, however, ... +


Inside the Freeling family home in the suburban California community of Cuesta Verde, Steve Freeling dozes in front of a flickering television. The golden retriever, E. Buzz, walks through the bedrooms where housewife Diane Freeling and her children, sixteen-year-old Dana, eight-year-old Robbie, and five-year-old Carol Anne, are asleep. Carol Anne rises from her bed, descends the stairs, and sits in front of the screen’s static transmission. She speaks to the television, causing her parents and siblings to awaken in confusion. The next day, Diane notices that Carol Anne’s pet bird died. Downstairs, Steve watches football with a group of friends when the broadcast is suddenly interrupted by the television program, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Realizing the signal is crossed with his neighbor Ben Tuthill's, Steve goes outside and demands that Ben stop changing the channel. As Diane and Carol Anne bury the bird in a cigar box, Robbie climbs a tall, knobby tree and notices storm clouds looming overhead. That night, Diane tucks the children into bed and turns on the closet light to calm Carol Anne’s fear of the dark. In the master bedroom, Steve and Diane smoke marijuana, and Diane worries that their plan to build a swimming pool in the backyard could be dangerous with Carol Anne’s recent sleepwalking. Unable to sleep because of the rain, Robbie walks in on his inebriated parents, and Steve returns his son to his bedroom. When Robbie expresses his dislike of the tree outside his window, Steve tells him that his real estate development company built their home next to the old tree so it would protect their family. After he leaves, however, a loud boom of thunder forces Robbie and Carol Anne to retreat to their parents’ bed. While they sleep, the television turns to flickering static yet again. Carol Anne awakens and sits in front of the screen. As she reaches toward it, the ghostly image of a skeletal hand emerges from the picture, swirls through the air, and blasts through the wall above the bed. The room shakes violently, and Carol Anne announces, “They’re here.” In the morning, Steve insists that the disturbance was an earthquake, and multiple construction workers begin digging the pool. Over breakfast, Diane asks Carol Anne what she meant by saying, “They’re here,” and Carol Anne tells her that the “TV people” have arrived. Suddenly, Robbie’s milk glass shatters, his utensils bend, and the kitchen television set turns to static. When Diane notices Carol Anne transfixed by the fuzzy screen, she changes the channel. Upstairs, E. Buzz barks at the wall above the master bed. Later, Diane notices that the kitchen chairs have rearranged themselves around the room, and Carol Anne blames the invisible “TV people.” When Steve returns from work that evening, Diane takes him to the kitchen, where she demonstrates how an invisible force slides the chairs and Carol Anne across the room. During a tornado storm that night, a tree branch breaks through the children’s bedroom window and grabs Robbie. As Dana and her parents run outside to pull Robbie to safety, a vacuum force sucks the children’s toys, furniture, and Carol Anne into the closet. The Freelings return, but are unable to find their daughter. Upstairs, Robbie and Diane hear Carol Anne’s distant voice coming from the master bedroom’s static television screen. Three days later, Steve consults with a University of California, Irvine, psychology professor named Dr. Martha Lesh and her two associates, Ryan and Dr. Marty Casey. He brings them to the bedroom, where the children’s belongings float through the air. Dr. Lesh explains the strange occurrences are caused by a temporary poltergeist intrusion. Diane switches the television to a static transmission and speaks out loud to Carol Anne, asking if she can answer. Carol Anne’s voice replies, crying out that she is afraid of “the light.” Dr. Lesh urges Carol Anne to stay away from the light. Believing the presence to be a hoax, Dr. Casey runs upstairs. Moments later, a white glow emanates from the living room ceiling, as multiple pieces of antique jewelry fall to the ground. As Carol Anne yells that someone is coming for her, Diane claims that she felt her daughter’s spirit pass through her body. A gust of wind knocks the family to the floor, and Dr. Casey returns with a large bite wound on his abdomen from attempting to enter the children’s bedroom. That night, Dr. Lesh tells Robbie about the light many people believe they see before death. After they fall asleep, Dr. Casey attempts to cook a steak in the kitchen, but the meat slides across the counter and begins to mutate. He runs to the bathroom, where the light causes him to imagine flesh melting off his face. Meanwhile, Ryan’s video camera records the upstairs bedroom door opening, emitting a bright light and the swirling apparition of a figure descending the stairs. The poltergeist vanishes through the living room ceiling, and the group replays the tape. The video depicts a cluster of vivid orbs floating through the room, indicating the presence of more than one ghost. In the morning, Robbie and E. Buzz leave for their grandmother’s house, and Dr. Lesh takes the mysterious jewelry to her lab but promises to return with help. Steve’s boss, Mr. Teague, stops by the house and expresses his concern over Steve’s supposed sick leave from work. While walking up a hill overlooking the community, Mr. Teague reveals that the Freelings’ current home was constructed on top of a relocated cemetery but he assures Steve that the bodies were interred elsewhere. Later, Dr. Lesh returns with a clairvoyant named Tangina Barrons, who inspects the house and determines that Carol Anne is still alive. She claims that the souls inhabiting the house do not know they have died, and that Carol Anne must help them cross over into death; however, a demon called “the Beast” has been controlling her to keep the spirits away from the light. Diane speaks to Carol Anne and tells her to run toward the light so that the spirits will follow her. When Tangina opens the bedroom door, Steve throws a rope into the brightly illuminated closet, which falls out the portal’s exit in the living room ceiling. Diane kisses her husband before tying the rope around her waist and entering the closet. Tangina instructs Carol Anne to go into the light, but Steve panics and pulls the rope back. The Beast’s gigantic, ghostly skull appears in the doorway as Diane and Carol Anne’s bodies, covered in pink ectoplasm, drop onto the floor downstairs. Once they regain consciousness, Tangina proclaims the house is clean. Sometime later, the Freelings pack their belongings into a moving van, hoping to leave before morning. As Steve meets with Mr. Teague and the children go to bed, Diane draws a bath. Suddenly, Robbie’s clown toy grabs him around the neck and drags him under the bed. Diane hears him scream, but a force pushes her up onto the ceiling and into the hallway. The growling Beast blocks her from entering the children’s bedroom and she runs outside, slipping into the muddy swimming pool pit, filled with human skeletons. The neighboring Tuthills hear her screams and pull Diane to safety. She runs back to the bedroom, where Robbie and Carol Anne cling to the bed as a wind sucks them toward a glowing orange hole in the wall. As she pulls them to safety, Steve arrives home with Mr. Teague, and multiple coffins containing decomposed corpses unearth themselves from under the house. Steve yells at his boss for moving the cemetery headstones without transplanting the bodies. The Freelings drive away in their car while Mr. Teague watches the house emit a fiery light and implode. After the family checks into a motel, Steve pushes the room’s television set outside onto the balcony. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.