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#1
Old 10-11-2011, 10:07 AM
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Did they use real skeletons in the Poltergeist?

I heard they used real skeletons and corpses in the swimming pool scene of The Poltergeist. Is this true?
#2
Old 10-11-2011, 10:10 AM
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Yes.
#3
Old 10-11-2011, 10:11 AM
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Wikipedia, this encyclopedia thingy, has an article that covers it a bit. Not a definitive answer I guess, but it does give us the source of the rumors.

Quote:
In 2002, on an episode of VH1's I Love the '80s, JoBeth Williams revealed that the production used real human skeletons when filming the swimming pool scene. Many of the people on the set were alarmed by this and led others to believe the "curse" on the film series was because of this use. Craig Reardon, a special effects artist who worked on the film, commented at the time that it was cheaper to purchase real skeletons than plastic ones, as the plastic ones involved labor in making them. Williams was not afraid of the prop skeletons, but she was nervous working in water around so many electrically powered lights. Producer Spielberg comforted her by being in the water during her scenes, claiming that if a light fell into the pool, they would both be killed.[citation needed] Poltergeist was awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:12 AM
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Ninja'd
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:15 AM
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I know Wikipedia has an answer, but Wikipedia isn't well known for being right all the time. Snopes has nothing on it as far as I can tell.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:15 PM
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Moderating: Moved thread GQ->CS

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#7
Old 10-11-2011, 05:03 PM
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That would be skeletons. I'm going to assume the part about corpses mentioned in the OP is untrue unless somebody finds an extremely credible source.
#8
Old 10-11-2011, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheeseDonkey View Post
I know Wikipedia has an answer, but Wikipedia isn't well known for being right all the time. Snopes has nothing on it as far as I can tell.
In searching, it seems like most people are pointing to an episode of I Love the 80s as the original claimant for this, but I couldn't uncover any such video on Youtube. I'm guessing urban legend.

Previous thread on this topic.

Last edited by fluiddruid; 10-11-2011 at 05:07 PM.
#9
Old 10-11-2011, 05:27 PM
bup bup is offline
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In fact, I'm an idiot. Actual corpses (that is, some flesh is evident on 'bodies' in the swimming pool scene) is impossible. NFW that part is true.

Last edited by bup; 10-11-2011 at 05:28 PM.
#10
Old 10-11-2011, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
In fact, I'm an idiot. Actual corpses (that is, some flesh is evident on 'bodies' in the swimming pool scene) is impossible. NFW that part is true.
Real skeleton + Modelling clay + Wig

Last edited by Sage Rat; 10-11-2011 at 06:23 PM.
#11
Old 10-11-2011, 06:46 PM
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I doubt if Poltergeist used real skeletons and corpses -- it's so much easier and cheaper to get fake ones, and you don't have to worry about possible legal problems down the line.


One movie that did use real corpses was Werner Herzog's remake of Nosferatu. I recall reading about it at the time:

Quote:
The opening sequence of the film, set to music by Popol Vuh, was filmed by Herzog himself at the Mummies of Guanajuato museum, Guanajuato, Mexico, where a large number of naturally mummified bodies of the victims of an 1833 cholera epidemic are on public display. Herzog had first seen the Guanajuato mummies while visiting in the 1960s. On his return in the 1970s he took the corpses out of the glass cases in which they are normally stored. To film them, he propped them against a wall, arranging them in a sequence running roughly from childhood to old age.[9]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosferatu_the_Vampyre


The film came out in 1979, only three years before [B/Poltergeist[/B]. I'll bet any money Spielberg was familiar with this case.
#12
Old 10-11-2011, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Craig Reardon, a special effects artist who worked on the film, commented at the time that it was cheaper to purchase real skeletons than plastic ones, as the plastic ones involved labor in making them.
Not any more. China stopped exporting human skeletons in 2008, so a real skeleton now costs ten times what a plastic one costs.
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