There is a debate that is still going on to this very day about who actually directed this paranormal classic, the credited director Tobe Hooper or writer Steven Spielberg? There was a clause in Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial contract that forbid him from directing another movie while making the 1982 family favorite. Astonishingly, although it originally received an R rating from the MPAA, Spielberg and Hooper successfully managed to get it down to a PG.
Although much has been said about the urban legend of the “Poltergeist Curse”, one thing is for sure, many of the cast lost their lives in terrible ways prior to filming. Heather O’Rourke, who played the youngest daughter, sadly died during surgery for an acute bowel obstruction, she was just 12 years old. Dominique Dunne, who played the older sister Dana, was tragically murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney, she was just 21 years old. Dunne and O’Rourke are buried in the same cemetery, Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Finally, Lou Perryman, who played the character Pugsley, would suffer the same fate as Dunne, this time at the hands of recently released convict Seth Christopher Tatum. Tatum would admit killing the 67 year old with an ax while he was trying to steal Perryman’s car.