By: Grave Reviews Staff
5. HEATHER O’ROURKE – POLTERGEIST (1982)
Born in California, Heather O’Rourke was a child actress who was cast as Carol Anne Freeling at the age of six in the film, Poltergeist (1982). Poltergeist is about a family who is haunted by restless spirits and ghosts in paranormal-like conduct. The spirits torment the family and dangerously move objects in order to scare and perhaps hurt the family. The Freeling family soon finds out that the house they were living in was built over a burial ground. O’Rourke’s character is taken by the spirits and they must get her back. O’Rourke also appeared in the next two sequels, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988).
After the completion of the first two Poltergeist films, O’Rourke was diagnosed with giardiasis and Crohn’s disease in early 1987 while filming the third installment in the series. Both of these diseases affect the part of the gastral tract and often included signs of abdominal pains, weight loss, or inflammation. On January 31, 1988, O’Rourke began vomiting and the next morning she collapsed. While being rushed to the hospital, she suffered a cardiac arrest and surgery was performed. On February 1, 1988, O’Rourke has passed away due to an intestinal condition that she developed at birth. She was 12 years old. O’Rourke was entombed at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Notably, there have been three other deaths during the filming of the Poltergeist films. These deaths include Dominique Dunne, Will Sampson, and Julian Beck. Dunne played big sister, Dana Freeling in the series. She died months after the first Poltergeist released, when her boyfriend, John Sweeney had chocked her into a coma. Dunne died on November 4, 1982. Sweeney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1983 and only served a little over 3 years in jail for a 6 ½ year sentence.
Some say that because of the nature of the Poltergeist franchise and the plot, there is a curse on the production. As such, the possibly spirits that haunt this film franchise are paying tribute by taking their rightful victims for partaking in these films.