Random Trivia For This Title:
- 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.'
- 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.
- 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.
- The skeletons that emerge from the swimming pool while Diane searches for help are actual skeletons. JoBeth Williams didn't know this until after the scene was shot.
- Despite being a horror/thriller film, there are no murders or fatalities depicted in the film.
- The house that gets sucked into a black hole at the end was actually a model about four feet across. The model took several weeks to complete. The shot was arranged with the camera placed directly above model, which was mounted over an industrial strength vacuum generator (the front door was facing directly up, straight at the camera). The model also had about 100 wires attached to various points of the structure. These wires went down through the back of the house, and down through the vacuum collection sack. The camera was turned on, and took 15 seconds to wind up to the required 300 frames per second. The vacuum was turned on, the wires were yanked, and several SFX guys blasted the house with pump-action shotguns. The entire scene was over in about two seconds, and they had to wait until the film was developed before they knew if they would have to do it again. Luckily, they got it right on the first take. The finished scene was sent to Steven Spielberg, who was on location shooting E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. He gave it to a projectionist, who assumed it was dailies from ET and was startled by the images. Spielberg had the remains of the model encased in perspex, and it is now sitting on his piano. The model itself was worth well over $25,000.
- 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.
- 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.
- During all the horrors that proceeded while filming Poltergeist, 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).