TORONTO — “They’re here!”
Three decades after the late Heather O’Rourke uttered the now famous phrase in Poltergeist, producers are prepping a new version of the horror classic to be shot in Toronto.
Global News has learned cameras will roll on Poltergeist from mid-September until the end of November at Pinewood Toronto Studios.
Casting hasn’t been completed but Gil Kenan (Monster House) has been hired to direct from a screenplay co-written by David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz the Great and Powerful, Rise of the Guardians). Sam Raimi, who directed the first three Spider-Man movies, is a co-producer.
The original Poltergeist was written and produced by Steven Spielberg. It told the story of the Freeling family, whose suburban home is invaded by supernatural forces that abduct their youngest daughter through a portal in her bedroom. The family comes to discover that the neighbourhood was built atop a cemetery.
The movie, starring Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, was directed by Tobe Hooper.
Poltergeist was the top horror movie of 1982, grossing more than $75 million, and earned Oscar nominations for Original Score, Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.
There were two sequels – 1986’s Poltergeist II: The Other Side and 1988’s Poltergeist III – which earned $41 million and a disappointing $14 million respectively.
The movies also spawned a TV series, Poltergeist: The Legacy, which ran from 1996 to 1999 and was filmed in Vancouver.
Some fans of the trilogy believe in the “Poltergeist curse” because four of its stars died within six years of the original. O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three movies, died of septic shock in 1988 at the age of 12 and Dominique Dunne, who played her sister Dana in the first movie, was killed by her boyfriend in 1982 when she was just 22.
Two actors in Poltergeist II: The Other Side died suddenly– Julian Beck of cancer and Will Sampson of kidney failure.
According to multiple sources, the new Poltergeist will pick up several years after the original and focus on the Bowen family, whose daughter is abducted by a supernatural force after they move to a new town. A parapsychologist at a local university is called in to investigate.
Toronto is becoming a destination for big screen remakes and reboots. In the last two years, new versions of Total Recall, Robocop and Carrie have been filmed in the city.