Archived News Updates
Zelda passed away today after an extended hospital stay
The cause was complications of a heart attack she had two months ago, her agent, Eric Stevens, said. No immediate family members survive....Ms. Rubinstein was also known for her public advocacy of AIDS education and the rights of little people, the term she preferred.
You can read more about Zelda's life here:
I'll always remember the time I got to shake her hand briefly and tell her how nice it was to meet her at the "Poltergeist" 25th Anniversary screening in Santa Monica, back in 2007. She was a great lady and will be missed. She will also be remembered for her AIDS education work, back during the days when it was controversial to do so. You can see a recent interview with her regarding that topic here:
POLTERGEIST IV: My Idea
Well, since it looks like MGM has decided to remake the original film (at some point anyway-it's been delayed once already) and that we won't be getting a fourth movie, I might as well talk about the sequel that I'd always hoped to see. Take a look and tell me what you think:
Some good news regarding Zelda. According to Clint Morris' Twitter page (he runs Moviehole.net):
Good news re : Zelda Rubinstein. @ paid her a visit today and says she's the best she's been in ages. Doing well she is!
Also, according to Clint's earlier reporting:
A friend tells MovieHole.net, "She's OK. Vitals are good. She's apparently doing better. Internet sources exaggerated the story."
It's odd that the two accounts were so different. Hopefully Zelda actually is doing better...
Some sad news to report about Zelda Rubinstein. She's been ill for some time now, and was admitted to the hospital about a month ago.
God bless Zelda and her family at this time.
I was privileged to (ever so briefly) shake Zelda's hand and say "It's nice to meet you!" at the end of a "Poltergeist" 25th Anniversary screening in Santa Monica back in 2007. She had some great stories to share about the making of the film with the audience that night.
I meant to post this ages ago. In January of 2008, I noticed that Harold Taulbee, who worked as Tom Skerritt's mime double on the film, made a post to this site's message board. Here it is:
I worked on Poltergeist III for about 4 months and had a ball. I was Tom Skerrit's mime double which means i mimicked all of his movemwnt in all reflections of him when it was necessary for the reflection to do something different than Tom (when the reflections took on a life of their own.) Either I was the reflection and Tom was real or Tom was reflected and I was the real Tom.
I was a regular on the set for most of the shootings and worked with Tom to get his motions, mannerisms, walk, etc. down pat. We had to rehearse scenes with the other actors in scenes also to make it work.
I had to watch my diet and get my hair dyed once a week but other than that it was a blast to work with all of them.
See you all!
Special thanks to Jeff at the horror blog "Now Kindly Undo These Straps." He wrote a great review of P3 and gave this site a shout out as well! Here it is:
Lara Flynn Boyle is now on Twitter! You can follow her here:
Special thanks to the guys at the site "It came from the Basement!" They did a podcast review of P3 today and gave a positive word to this site. You can check out their review here: http://itcamefromthebasement.wordpress.com/
Here's an interview that director Gary Sherman did about a month ago with the web site "Classic Horror":
About "Poltergeist III," he states:
Sherman: It's all smoke and mirrors, baby! In that case it really was smoke and mirrors. I had done a film is 1979 called The Mysterious Two and it was probably one of the first films ever made to use CGI. I had the idea of creating an image on computer and then somehow marrying that into a film. I worked with a digital designer and we did it at the Cray on one of the biggest computers in the world to create a kind of spaceship that would be impossible to create practically. So when I had the opportunity to do Poltergeist III, for my own conceit, I thought, "Well since I've done what is probably the fist piece of CGI, I would like to do the last major special effects film that uses no CGI." And that's what we did.
One thing about his above claim, though. Back in 1987, most films weren't using "CGI" as it's known today. Nor were filmmakers even using the term "CGI" to the best of my knowledge. Special effects movies were making use of optical effects, however. And the main reason that P3 used live practical effects instead of opticals was cost-it was simply a lot cheaper, and that's what the studio wanted after the large cost overruns for the opticals used on "Poltergeist II."
Back in April of 2009, "Tangina's necklace" was auctioned off at a Fangoria prop auction in Los Angeles. It ended up selling for $900 to a private collector. Here's a link (with photo, item number 238) and a description:
EXCLUSIVE! See below a never before seen photo from "Poltergeist III's" original ending! Notice the "frozen Carol Anne" on the bed in the background. You can see the rest of the photos here: www.poltergeistIII.com/originalending.html
Recently, I had a chance to exchange emails with Michael Grais, co-writer of the original film and co-writer/producer of the first sequel. Here's what he had to say about the remake, his unused idea for a sequel called "Poltergeist: In The Shadows," and how (like Oliver Robins) he's never seen "Poltergeist III" all the way through:
Hi David, thanks for your interest. I have no doubt that a new version of Poltergeist will probably be well received. Horror seems to be doing quite well commercially speaking. "In the shadows" was not a sequel but an original take on the subject and I cannot divulge any of it's "secrets" as some day I may decide to sit down and write it and not use the Poltergeist name as it had nothing to do with the franchise except the title. In The Shadows is a compelling ghost story on it's own. What MGM is now selling is a pre-sold title and not a storyline that has been done in 3 films and is finished. They are businessmen first, entertainers second, and this decision is a smart business decision and maybe a good artistic one -- if the people who are writing/directing are good, which I assume they are.
I haven't seen ["Poltergeist III"] either. I left after about 8 minutes...
Someone who went to the recent Chiller Theatre convention in New Jersey April 18th says they met "Poltergeist I and II" former child star/now director Oliver Robins there:
I met Oliver today at the Chiller Theater convention in Parsippany, NJ. He is a super nice guy, very friendly. He talked with my friend and I for a long time.
We wound up talking about Poltergeist 3, and interestingly he has never seen it. He was actually asking us questions about the plot! He wanted to know how the movie explains the absence of his character, and the rest of the family. All he knew is that it takes place in a skyscraper, and there's a lot of mirror action. It was pretty funny! He said he wants to see it, but he just keeps putting it off all these years because he heard it wasn't very good. I agreed. He also said he was never approached to be in Part 3, and that he never believed in any "curse" of the Poltergeist movies.
I find it hard to believe that he's never seen the film, but I guess it's possible.
Interesting also that supposedly MGM never asked Oliver to be in the film. I guess he wasn't under contract for it, but Heather was. Either that or maybe he was under contract and MGM just decided to not ask him back (big mistake on their part).
I'd like to make mention here of actor Nathan Davis, who passed away last October 15th at the age of 91. He replaced the late Julian Beck in "Poltergeist III," and gave a very creepy performance as the Rev. Kane. As I was doing research on the re-shot ending of the film a couple of years ago, I asked his publicist if Mr. Davis could recall anything about the original ending and the re-shoot. Even though he wasn't able to provide me with information, he sent me a very nice handwritten note in the mail which read "Hi David, Sorry I can't help you." Hopefully Mr. Davis has himself gone "into the Light" now and is at peace. You can read more about his long career in film and the theatre here:
New MGM chairperson hints: something "Poltergeist" related is in the works
Mary Parent, who was recently named by MGM as the
Chairperson of the Worldwide Motion Picture Group at the studio, gave me an interesting tidbit of info over the weekend. Was she referring to the rumored remake?
Here's my original email to her on March 15th:
Hi Mary, Congratulations on your new position with MGM! I run a fan web site dedicated to MGM's "Poltergeist" franchise. I'd heard that there were plans for either a new sequel or a remake...do you know if this is still the plan? As a huge fan, I was hoping to see a new sequel. Thanks for any information you may be able to provide. Regards, David Furtney
And here's what she wrote back yesterday (emphasis mine):
Hey David- Thanks for the email. Not quite two weeks into the new post so I don’t have a specific update but hopefully going forward there will be more to talk about. In the meantime, thanks for your enthusiasm.
Special thanks to Lance from "Kindertrauma.com!" He gave me a great shout out today and praise for this site. Check out his post here:
Here's a "Viewer's Choice" promo from (1989?) with an ad for P3. It's about 3 mins and 30 seconds in:
Check out this recent video interview that Zelda Rubinstein did with "The Insider" TV show. She got very emotional when talking about Heather:
Check out this original 1988 television review that the late Gene Siskel and still living Roger Ebert gave the film:
Predictably, they both gave it two thumbs down.
I was sent this email from a person affiliated with the "Ghost Trackers" group mentioned below:
I am familiar with your site. Nicely done.
I don't know anything else on the DVD save for what you know. They are having interviews with JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson (I believe that's what I heard) and the hold out was Zelda Rubinstein due to prior commitments.
Short of that we were very honored to be asked to have this film crew with us as we investigated the nicely haunted Pierpont Inn in Ventura and a couple of other places. We held our conference in May but were asked not to release any information until June/July while they completed the segments for inclusion on the DVD.
http://www.ghost-trackers.org/index1.htmWatch for the Ghost Trackers on the soon-to-be released DVD, "Poltergeist, Special Edition". The Ghost Trackers had their investigations filmed by New Wave Entertainment (affiliated with Warner Bros. Pictures) at their 2007 California Ghost Hunters Conference and then they were interviewed along with Richard and Debbie Senate.
Big thanks to Gavin and Meredith, producers on these segments, for this INCREDIBLE opportunity!!!
Ok, this one is obviously fake, but it's hilarious: These guys impersonate Spielberg, Hooper, and Craig T. Nelson and they've done a feature length commentary:
Monday, July 2, 2007
MovieRot Episode #2 - Poltergeist
A jam packed commentary featuring producer Steven Spielberg, director Tobe Hooper, star Craig T. Nelson and real-life ghost hunter Dr. Terry Gozer. This one was buried deep in a landfill. But now it's been unearthed for you, our dear listeners. Bon Appétit.
Download it here. You can find Poltergeist (the movie) at a variety of places online or at your local video store.
Stay tuned for more episodes at MovieRot.com
On June 1, 2006, Fangoria Radio did an interview with Jobeth Williams regarding the 25th anniversary of the original film. To listen to the clip, click here:
Here's my report on the 25th Anniversary Screening and Panel Discussion in Santa Monica here!:
5-8-07: "Poltergeist IV" confirmed!
Clint Morris over at Moviehole.net has confirmed that there is indeed a new "Poltergeist" film in the works, and it's being written/developed by Michael Grais, co-writer of the original film and co-writer/co-producer of "Poltergeist II!" From Clint:
Michael Grais, writer or “Poltergeist” and co-writer of “Poltergeist II : The Other Side”, has been coaxed back to the land of scary old farts; evil bedside clowns and [very] long-distance phone calls, it seems. Word has it – confirmed by three people in the know - that he may have scored the job of penning the next “Poltergeist” film. The new film “Poltergeist: In the Shadows” is in the “early stages of development right now”, sources inform us. I can tell you that the new film is in no way based on “Poltergeist: Kayeri” – of which I penned the first scriptment pre-Sony/MGM amalgamate – and have been informed that it’s not a remake of the first film either. One can only assume “Shadows” will encompass the mythology and world of the first three films but not necessarily feature any of the previous cast or characters (In contrast to “Kayeri”, which would’ve seen Craig T.Nelson reprising his role as Stephen Freeling). Honestly, I don't know. And I won't know. So please don't ask for any more on it. My guess is as good as yours. What I do know is that the film will be prepped as a theatrical release, and isn’t intended to be one of MGM’s direct-to-video sequels (of which they’re doing quite a few, at the moment). “I believe it’ll take it another direction”, an insider told us this morning. “You know as well as anyone how many times they’ve tried to get a Poltergeist 4 off the ground; too many to count. Grais might be the man to revive it.”
You can read the full post at
4-19-07: MGM says new "Poltergeist" idea NOT a direct to DVD release
Last week MGM announced plans to release a string of direct to DVD movies, some based on MGM franchise films such as "Species" and "Legally Blonde." I asked Charles Cohen, Senior VP at MGM, whether the new "Poltergeist" idea he told me about back in January involved one of these releases. Here's what he said:
"No, our idea is different. It is taking longer to pull together than I expected."
4-13-07: Nancy Allen Radio Interview
Actress Nancy Allen appeared on Fangoria Radio to discuss her career. I emailed the show and they asked her my question about P3's alleged re-shot ending. Listen to what she had to say and read some discussion about her comments here:
1-27-07: Poltergeist IV?
In response to my question about the rumors of a sequel or remake that have been floating around the net, I received this statement from Charles Cohen, senior executive Vice President at MGM:
"We are working on a Poltergeist idea, and hope to have some news to announce shortly.
In addition, when I told him about the alleged original ending to "Poltergeist III" and the fact that many fans would like to see it on DVD, he said he'd "look into it."
8-07-06: Confirmed: Over 100 boxes of P3 footage in the MGM vaults!
On Monday August 7, 2006 I spoke on the phone with Steve, a representative who works for MGM's Corporate Communications Office. The good news is that there are over 100 boxes of film footage related to "Poltergeist III" in the MGM archives. The bad news: at this time they have no plans for a SE DVD, and they don't have the time nor the money to search through the many boxes to look for any additional deleted scenes or the original ending. He said that it's possible that the original ending is included somewhere in one of these many boxes, but they won't be looking for it anytime soon.
Another bad sign: If they decide to release a SE DVD later on and do find additional scenes, to be included on the DVD they'd have to go through a long process, which could possibly involve obtaining the legal clearances from both the director and the actors. Considering past experience of getting certain people to admit they even filmed the original ending...well, you get the picture.
Steve seemed understanding of the fact that there were many fans of the film who wanted to see the original ending because it involved Heather and was her last performance. He also said I'd be the first to know if they do decide to do a SE DVD.
The 100+ boxes most likely contain the film's original negative, outtakes, deleted scenes, SFX tests, etc. I've started a new site/campaign called "Free Carol Anne!" If you'd like to help, visit