Poltergeist released June 4, 1982

Poltergeist

Poltergeist is an American horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper, produced by Steven Spielberg, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 4, 1982. It is the first and most successful of the Poltergeist film trilogy, and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

The franchise is often said to be cursed, because several people associated with it, including stars Dominique Dunne and Heather O’Rourke, died prematurely. “The Poltergeist Curse” has been the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story.

The film was ranked as #80 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made.The film also appeared on American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Thrills, a list of America’s most heart-pounding movies.

Trivia:

The hands which pull the flesh off the investigator’s face in the bathroom mirror are Steven Spielberg’s.


The weird way the family members descend the stairs at the beginning of the film was created by having the actors walk backward up the stairs and playing the film in reverse. The same effect was used later in the movie during the scene showing video playback of the ghosts.

 


Steven Spielberg worked on Poltergeist (1982) and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) literally back to back. Principal photography on Poltergeist ended in August of 1981, then Spielberg took a few weeks off and began work on E.T. Spielberg also supervised the visual effects for both films simultaneously (which were produced at Industrial Light & Magic under the supervision of Richard Edlund and Dennis Muren). Once post production work on Poltergeist began in early 1982, Spielberg was in total control. He was responsible for the editing of the film (Spielberg’s usual editor Michael Khan edited this film while Carol Littleton edited E.T), the final sound mixes and loops, the supervision of the visual effects, and the selection of Jerry Goldsmith as the composer of the score. Poltergeist and E.T opened to theaters nationwide only a week between each other during the summer of 1982, Poltergeist on June 4th and E.T. one week later on June 11th. Spielberg later said “If E.T. was a whisper, Poltergeist was a scream”.

 


The sign at the Holiday Inn reads, Welcome Dr. Fantasy and Friends. Dr. Fantasy is a nickname for producer Frank Marshall.

 


Heather O’Rourke, who played the little girl Carol-Anne, and Dominique Dunne, who played the teenage daughter, are buried in the same cemetery: Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Dunne was strangled into brain-death by her boyfriend in 1982, the year of the film’s release. Six years later, O’Rourke died of intestinal stenosis.

 


The film was originally given a R rating, but the filmmakers protested successfully and got a PG rating (the PG-13 rating did not exist at the time).

 


When writers Michael Grais and Mark Victor first met with Steven Spielberg, they were being hired to write the film that eventually became Always (1989). When Spielberg happened to mention he also had an idea for a ghost story, Grais and Victor said they’d rather write the ghost story than Always and that’s how they got this job.

 


The crawling steak was done by using a real steak which was laid over a slot cut between the tiles in the counter top. Two wires were fastened to the bottom of the steak and a special effects operator, hidden under the counter, simply moved the wires to make the steak crawl like a caterpillar. A similar operation was done when Diane presents to Steven the chairs that move across the room by themselves. A wire was fastened to one of the chair’s legs under the set. An operator first wobbled the chair with the wire, then dragged the chair across to its destination.

 


Shirley MacLaine was offered a starring role in the film, but backed out in order to make Terms of Endearment (1983).

 


The shot of the chairs that position themselves in the amazing balancing act on the table was all done in one take. As the camera panned along with JoBeth Williams, who was getting some cleaning materials, several crew members quickly set an already organized pyramid of chairs on the table, then took the single chairs away before the camera scrolled back. See Goofs entry.

 


The Rams (then Los Angeles Rams) vs. Saints football game seen near the beginning of the film, is taken from a Monday Night Football game in 1980.

 


The scene in which Diane opens the bedroom door and is met with a fearsome scream was the first to be filmed.

 


The scene in which Marty hallucinates in the bathroom was the last to be filmed.

 


Both of the terrors that plague Robbie came from Steven Spielberg’s own fears as a child, a fear of clowns and a tree outside his window.

 


Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper wanted virtually unknown actors to play the Freelings because they wanted to add a realism to the family that would off-balance the ghost story. They felt that if the audience watched well-known stars, then it would take away from the realistic feel of the characters.

 


The swirling, flickering lights coming from the closet during the rescue scene were achieved using a very simple effect by having an aquarium full of water in front of a spotlight. Then a fan blew on the surface of the water to make it swirl.

 


The house used to film this movie is located in Simi Valley, California where it still stands today. The family who owned it when this movie was filmed still live there today.

 


In addition to the two times that the Beast appeared in the movie (the face that appeared in the closet and the creature that guarded the kid’s door), the script had it appearing during the scene where the family and investigators are looking at the tape of the manifestation. The giant ghost that they saw visually slowly resolved itself into the image of a face of a cruel old man: the man we know in the later films as ‘Reverend Henry Kane.’

 


A common translation of the German word “Poltergeist” is “rumbling spirit”.

 


During all the horrors that proceeded while filming Poltergeist (1982), only one scene really scared Heather O’Rourke: that in which she had to hold onto the headboard, while a wind machine blew toys into the closet behind her. She fell apart; Steven Spielberg stopped everything, took her in his arms, and said that she would not have to do that scene again.

 


The movie’s line “They’re here!” was voted as the #69 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

 


Drew Barrymore was considered for the role of Carol Anne, but Steven Spielberg wanted someone more angelic. It was Barrymore’s audition for this role, however, that landed her a part in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

 


In reality, Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams are only 14 and 11 years older than Dominique Dunne, who plays their teen-aged daughter.

 


Stephen King was briefly approached to write the screenplay. It would have been the first written by King directly for the screen, but the parties could not agree on the terms.

 


Footage from this movie was used in a 2008 DirecTV commercial.

 


When Steve Freeling first meets with the university paranormal specialists, he states that his wife, Diane Freeling, was “32” at the time, and their eldest daughter, Dana, was “16”. Thus, Diane was only sixteen years-old when she gave birth to Dana.

 


Though on-screen credit goes to Tobe Hooper, a wealth of evidence suggests that most of the directorial decisions were made by Steven Spielberg. In fact, Spielberg had wanted to direct the film himself, but a clause in his contract stated that while still working on E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Spielberg could not direct another film. Members of the cast and crew, including Executive Producer Frank Marshall and actress Zelda Rubinstein, have stated that Spielberg cast the film, directed the actors, and designed every single storyboard for the movie himself. Based on this evidence, the DGA opened a probe into the matter, but found no reason that co-director credit should go to Spielberg.

 


[WILHELM SCREAM] When the TV plays Go for Broke! (1951), one of the soldiers screams.

 


On top of the master bedroom television set sits an Atari Video Computer System console with its two joysticks; later known as the Atari 2600.

 

Frankenhooker released June 1, 1990

Frankenhooker

Frankenhooker is an American black comedy horror film that was released in 1990. Very loosely inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, the film was directed by Frank Henenlotter and stars James Lorinz as medical school drop-out Jeffrey Franken and former Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen as the title character (who wears a fatsuit in the beginning of the film).

Trivia:

Beverly Bonner plays “Casey”, a character that appears in Basket Case (1982), Brain Damage (1988), and Basket Case 2 (1990), all also directed by Frank Henenlotter.


The brain with the eye in the beginning of the film is based on the advertisements for The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962)

 


The hooker talk show is a parody of _”The Morton Downey Jr. Show” (1987) [TV-Series 1987-1989]_

 


The interior of the Franken family garage is intentionally four times as large as the exterior, as specified in the screenplay.

 


Director Cameo: [Frank Henenlotter] on the train that Frankenhooker takes to Manhattan, standing by the door holding a newspaper.

 


A family in the movie is called Shelley…after Mary Shelley, the original author of Frankenstein.

 


Writer/director Frank Henenlotter improvised the basic story at a pitch meeting. After getting the okay to make the picture, he then wrote the script for the movie.

 


Louise Lasser had just recovered from being sick and hence could hardly speak when she shot her scene talking to James Lorinz. Lasser redid all her dialogue in a post-production recording session.

 

The Brood released June 1, 1979 (CA)

The Brood

The Brood is a 1979 Canadian horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle. It was filmed in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario. In 2004, one of its sequences was voted #78 among the “100 Scariest Movie Moments” by the Bravo Channel. The Brood was named 88th on the “Chicago Film Critics Association’s 100 Scariest Movies of All-Time”.  The film was Cronenberg’s first major success.


A novelization was written by Richard Starks.

Trivia:

David Cronenberg wrote the film following the tumultuous divorce and child-custody battle he waged against Margaret Hindson. Cronenberg also said that Samantha Eggar’s character, Nola Carveth, possessed some of the characteristics of his ex-wife.
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The Horror of Party of Beach

The Horror of Party Beach (working title Invasion of the Zombies) is a 1964 horror film in the beach party genre, directed by B-movie maven Del Tenney, which Tenney himself describes as “a take-off on beach parties and musicals”.  A small U.S. East Coast beach town experiences a wave of attacks from water plants and dead human tissue mutated from radioactive waste. They coalesce into humanoid form by attaching themselves to skeletons in a shipwreck and immediately proceed to hunt down and kill mostly young women, as is common in the horror films of this era. Despite the murders committed by the monsters, young women in large numbers keep returning to the area and having, for instance, slumber parties, much to the monster’s convenience. Trying to stop the monsters are scientist Dr. Gavin, his young-adult daughter Elaine, and her boyfriend (and his employee) Hank Green, with some unexpected assistance from housekeeper Eulabelle and metallic sodium.

Horror Of Party Beach

 

Movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured Horror in one of its season-8 episodes in 1997.

Horror of Party Beach

 

Trivia:

A promotional sign was posted at every theater showing this film which stated: “FOR YOUR PROTECTION! We will not permit you to see these shockers unless you agree to release the theatre of all responsibility for death by fright!” Moviegoers actually had to sign a “Fright Release” before they entered the theater.


Assistant director Wayne Tippit plays one of the two drunks killed by the monster.

 


Horror author Stephen King cites this as one of his favorite films.

 


Del Tenney shot this film back-to-back with his film The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964). It was released on double feature with The Horror of Party Beach.

 


Director Del Tenney was apprehensive about the films combination of the teen beach movie genre and the monster horror genre, not knowing how it would go over with an audience. Tenney said he was admittedly surprised by the films success.

 


The ‘underwater’ transformation scene of the monsters was actually shot on a stage with images of fish in an aquarium superimposed over the dissolving stage shots.

 


Most of the secondary characters in the film were locals of Stamford, Connecticut that were cast on location.

 


Director Del Tenney said he kept the monster suits from this film for years afterward and wore them at parties for laughs.

 


Chocolate syrup was used for blood during the monster attack scenes.

 


According to director Del Tenney, there were only two complete monster heads created for the film, which is why in most shots of multiple monsters you don’t see their heads clearly. For the climatic scene at Fingle’s Quarry the shot of the horde of monsters running through the woods was created by superimposing different takes of the complete monsters together.

 


Shot in three weeks.

 


Cinematographer/co-writer Richard Hilliard cameos as the father watching the news report of the monster attacks on TV. Del Tenney’s young son and daughter play the children in the same scene.

 


Alice Lyon’s voice is dubbed throughout the entire film.

 


Director Del Tenney played the monster that attempts to get the two girls that leave the drug store.

 


Because of the film’s low-budget, the ‘car crash’ between the two drunks was faked by sound effects and placing the cars at an angle to make them appear to be touching.

 


For a meeting in which Del Tenney was going to show the film to executives from Twentieth Century Fox to see if they would pick it up, Tenney brought in some folks to wear the monster suits for promotion. One of the monsters just happened to be in the restroom when an executive from Twentieth Century came in. The gentleman freaked out at the sight of the monster Tenney recalled. Everyone had a good laugh about it and Twentieth Century Fox released the film.

 


One of the films included in “The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way)” by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell.

 

Critters released April 11, 1986

Critters


Critters is a 1986 action sci-fi comedy horror film starring Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush and Scott Grimes. It was directed by Stephen Herek and written by Don Keith Opper and Stephen Herek. It is part of the Critters series.

Trivia:

Terrence Mann actually perform the song “Power of the Night” as Johnny Steele, especially for this movie.

Body count: 2.

There are a total of five (5) poison spikes shot from the Critters.

There are only 2 deaths on-screen, all other characters are simply just ‘harmed’.

The Return of Dracula 1958

The Return of Dracula is a 1958 horror film directed by Paul Landres.  Starring Francis Lederer (as Count Dracula), Norma Eberhardt, Ray Stricklyn, Jimmy Baird and Greta Granstedt.

Plot: After a vampire leaves his native Balkans, he murders a Czech artist, assumes his identity, and moves in with the dead man’s American cousins.

Trivia:

  • This film was first released as the top half of a double bill with The Flame Barrier (1958).
  • Ray Stricklyn noted in his autobiography “Angels & Demons” that co-star Norma Eberhardt had one blue eye and one brown eye. If you look carefully at a few of her closeups, even in this black and white film, you can notice the difference.
  • The original theatrical release prints contained a brief shot, lasting several seconds, that was in color. When the stake is driven into Jennie’s heart, there is a close-up of bright red blood spurting from the wound. The approximately three foot section of color film was manually spliced into the black and white prints.
  • April Fool’s Day released March 27, 1986

    April Fools Day

    April Fool’s Day is an American “slasher”/comedy horror film released in 1986 by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Fred Walton, from the screenplay by Danilo Bach. The original music score was composed by Charles Bernstein.

    It was filmed in British Columbia, Canada and has a largely Canadian cast.

    Trivia:

    • The film was inspired by the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None.
    • Due to the film being light on violence it received frequent airings on late night television, where it gained a large cult following.
    • The film’s French title was Weekend of Terror, while in Germany release was titled The Horror Party

    Andy Warhols Frankenstein

    Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein is a 1973 horror film directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol, Andrew Braunsberg, Louis Peraino, and Carlo Ponti. Starring Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Monique van Vooren and Arno Juerging, and filmed in the famous Cinecittà by a crew of Italian master filmmakers, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein is suffused with the crumbling glamour of old Italian films, paying homage to (while simultaneously parodying) the earnest and stark visual and psychological beauty of the horror films on which it is based. Morrissey’s sense of ironic detachment gives the film a gruesomely comic modernity and beauty all its own.

    In the United States, the film was marketed as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, and was presented in the Space-Vision 3-D process in premiere engagements. It was rated X by the MPAA, due to its explicit sexuality and violence. A 3-D version also played in Australia in 1986, along with Blood for Dracula, an obvious pairing. In the seventies a 3-D version played in Stockholm, Sweden. In subsequent US DVD releases, the film was retitled Flesh for Frankenstein, while the original title was used in other regions.

    The film was later cut to 93 minutes for an R-rating, thereby increasing its ability to be screened in more theaters. The U.S. DVD releases have utilized the full uncut version, which is now unrated. The film had its television premiere in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2009 and was broadcast in 3D as part of Channel 4’s 3D Week.

    Trivia:

    • Originally filmed in 3D, although most presentations found today are in 2D.
    • While some Italian prints give second unit director Antonio Margheriti credit as co-director, Udo Kier has stated that Margheriti had nothing to do with directing the movie.
    • Both this film and Dracula cerca sangue di vergine… e morì di sete!!! (1974) shared many of the same sets and the same principal cast (Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier, and Arno Juerging).

    Tourist Trap released March 16, 1979

    Tourist Trap 1979

    Tourist Trap is a 1979 horror film directed by David Schmoeller, revolving around a group of friends who wind up stranded at Mr. Slausen’s “museum,” where the mannequins are very lifelike. Schmoeller co-wrote the script with J. Larry Carroll.

    Trivia:

    • The opening sequence with the items flying out of the cabinet was filmed with the cabinet nailed to the ceiling and the crew where on top of the ceiling flinging items straight down. When it is shown in the film, it gives the illusion that the items are flying straight out.
    • Though the masked killer was called Davey, the production crew have since dubbed him “Plasterface”.
    • The plaster used in the death scene was actually dough.
    • Connors’ “parents” in the movie were actually played by Schmoeller’s parents.
    • The mannequin who gives the female lead something to drink is actually Schmoeller’s then-wife.
    • It was Connors’ idea to distinguish between Slausen and Plasterface by having Slausen walk with a limp.
    • The script originally called for nudity, but Schmoeller said he was too bashful and embarrassed to bring it up with Tanya Roberts and the other actresses during casting. When they got to the lake scene, he finally asked them if they’d be willing. The collective answer was no.
    • Tanya Roberts insisted on running through the woods barefoot in one scene. She thought it would help her better project a sense of pain and fear. The result was also that her feet were bloodied.
    • Jocelyn Jones was a classically-trained actress, whereas Chuck Connors was self-taught. During filming, Connors would often ask Schmoeller why Jones would have to go through various routines before filming scenes (such as breathing exercises.) (According to Schmoeller’s commentary on the 25th anniversary DVD.)
    • Tourist Trap was actually based on David Schmoeller’s senior film project at film school. (According to Schmoeller’s commentary on the 25th anniversary DVD)
    • Director David Schmoeller was startled when the film received a PG rating despite its disturbing subject matter. Schmoeller stated in an interview with TerrorTrap.com that he felt the film would have been more commercially successful had it received an R rating.

    The Walking Dead released March 14, 1936

    The Walking Dead 1936


    The Walking Dead is a 1936 horror film starring Boris Karloff as a wrongly executed man who is returned to life by a mad doctor (Edmund Gwenn). The film was directed by Michael Curtiz, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The Walking Dead inspired the low-budget remake The Man They Could Not Hang (1939), released by Columbia Pictures and starring Karloff as both the mad doctor and the reanimated corpse.

    Trivia:

    • Filming began on November 28 (Boris Karloff’s 48th birthday) and lasted 18 days.
    • Boris Karloff’s character was originally conceived as ‘Dopey’ Ellman and was a drug addict and alcoholic.
    • The accident scene was shot in Griffith Park.

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