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Ghost and Paranormal Movie Trivia: Poltergeist Part 3

By Yona Williams    5/10/08

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As we continue the trivia and facts associated with the highly popular horror flick, "Poltergeist" (1982) – you will learn tidbits of information about another young actress at the time who auditioned to play the infamous role of Carol Anne, as well as the sad turn of events that took the life of one of the actresses on the set (and we're not talking about Heather O' Rourke).

Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper (the director of the film) hired actors that were rather unknown at the time to take on the roles of the Freelings because they wished to create a sense of realism that would cause a distraction to the thick of a ghost story plot. They believed that if well-known superstars took to the script, the audience would pay too much attention to their star power and not enough to the realistic feel of the characters.

The house used for the movie was located in Simi Valley, California. To this date – the same house is still standing and the family who owned it at the time of the movie production still lives there as well. Now – talk about a conversation piece around the dinner table when family and friends come over.

The most repeated line in the movie ("They're here") earned the #69 spot as the best movie quote by the American Film Institute Top 100 list.

How would you feel if Drew Barrymore had played the role of Carol Anne? She was considered for the part, but Steven Spielberg is quoted as saying that he wanted someone who appeared more angelic. While Barrymore auditioned for this role, it was this performance that opened the doors to play Gertie in the "E.T." movie – made during the same year as "Poltergeist."

Ironically, this popular horror slash thriller of a movie does not highlight any murders or deaths.

Steven Spielberg wrote the story, as well as the screenplay.  

In 1983, the movie was nominated for three Academy Awards in the categories of: Best Effects(Sound Effects Editing); Best Effects (Visual Effects); and Best Music (Original Score).

Dominique Dunne, who also appeared in a string a television show bit parts throughout the 80s (like "Hart to Hart" and "Hill Street Blues") was had always been rather superstitious and believed in acts of the supernatural.

Only 19 days before she was to turn 23 years old, an ex-boyfriend dragged outside Dominique Dunne, where he then strangled her – causing irreversible brain damage. Five days after the attack, she was removed from life support and passed away. Dunne's attacker was convicted in a court of law of manslaughter – earning a sentence of 6 ½ years in prison. He served less than four years before he was released, as the judicial sentence awarded him with credit for time served before conviction.

Dominique Dunne was buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, which was close to a friend of her family's – Natalie Wood. Sadly, in 1988 – Heather O'Rourke would join her in the same cemetery.

In real life, Dominique Dunne was the youngest child of former television and film producer (and novelist) Dominick Dunne. She was also the sister of actor and producer, Griffin Dunne.

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