CINEMA NEWS – Oliver Robins, who played middle child Robbie, shares his thoughts on ‘The Curse of Poltergeist’ and Steven Spielberg facts.
Fans of the hit haunted house movie and the 1982 blockbuster Poltergeist will remember how the Freely family, starring Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as the parents and their three children, had to deal with the angry ghosts that invaded their new suburban home. Oliver Robins, who played middle child Robbie Freely, recently spoke to Yahoo Entertainment about the cult classic film. Robins was happy to dispel the long-held Poltergeist myth that Spielberg, not Tobe Hooper, actually directed the film. Robins says that while director Spielberg co-wrote the screenplay and was an active presence on set, he insists that it was always Hooper who held the baton, at least when he was in front of the camera.
Another interesting tidbit that Robins said he witnessed was the facial peeling scene, in which the actor peeled his face in front of a mirror. According to Robins, the hands that did the peeling were Steven Spielberg’s. Tobe Hooper directed him, saying
“Okay Steven, your hand should be here.”
As for the infamous Poltergeist curse, Robins had something to say about that as well.
“I hope there’s no curse because I’m still here. I believe in the paranormal to some degree, but I don’t think there’s a curse because those deaths are explainable. These tragedies happened, but they would have happened anyway, even in [the actors] were in the movie or they weren’t. Like Heather, she had an illness that wasn’t treated. So, I don’t think they’re related.”
Five months after the film’s release, Dominique Dunne, who played the eldest Freeling daughter, Dana, was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. In 1988, the youngest film sibling, Heather O’Rourke, died at the age of 12 from severe intestinal strictures. Both deaths were tragic and shocking. Robins told Yahoo
“He was my friend and he lived with me all the time. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with him. It was such a terrible tragedy and I honestly didn’t know how to process it. It was kind of a turning point in my life where it made me realize that life is finite and every day is truly precious.”
Another oft-mentioned victim of the curse is Julian Beck and Will Sampson, both of whom appeared in the 1986 sequel, Poltergeist II: The Other Side. Both men died of disease. Richard Lawson, who starred in the original film, narrowly escaped death in 1992 when USAir Flight 405 crashed into Flushing Bay. A total of 27 of the 51 people on board died. In 2009, another character was also murdered. Lou Perryman played the small role of Pugsley in the original film. He was 67 years old when a recently released ex-convict killed him with an ax in his own home.