The Creepy 'Poltergeist' House Is A Little TOO Close To L.A., If You Ask Us
The original Poltergeist house is one of the more recognizable movie homes from the past few decades. It got a fair amount of screen time, as the home itself was a central character—in the movie it was part of the Cuesta Verde planned community, which we quickly learn was built on top of an old burial ground.
I've consulted myself-as-a-child and confirmed that the 1982 classic is one of the scariest movies of our time, and the home is a big part of that. It looked like a lot of other homes at that time—a late 1970s cookie cutter in the suburbs—so it instantly felt familiar to many. (In the trailer, the narrator even declares: "The house looks just like the one next to it, and the one next to that, and the one next to that.") Its generic look made it a sort of "everyhome," and because of that it was easy to psych yourself up into thinking your own home would come to get you. Hey, it's okay, maybe you were young, too... or incredibly stoned, like Mr. and Mrs. Freeling:
The house used is a real one, located on Roxbury Street in the Simi Valley, just outside of L.A. And while it's not really built upon a cemetery, you may not want to live there. Some believe the movie—the entire franchise, even—is cursed. The main reason for this is that death has seemed to follow those attached to the franchise—Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling), Heather O'Rourke (Carol Ann Freeling), Will Sampson (Taylor, a good spirit), and Julian Beck (Kane, an evil spirit) have all died. Two of these were premature and unexpected deaths.
In the below video, one theory is brought up that Spielberg & Co. cursed the film by using real human remains.
The original movie’s production designer, Jim Spencer, told Yahoo last year, "Steven liked that house because it was the end of the road. It was a two story Valley-type mock Tudor and it just fit everything. The neighborhood [was what] we call ‘Spielbergia,’ where E.T. and a couple of his other films were shot. He always wanted to be in normal residential areas.” (Note: while Spielberg didn't direct the movie, he was producer, and wrote the screenplay.)
The interior of the home wasn't used, only the exterior, and there was a model built for the final scene, when the home (spoiler alert) "implodes into a portal." According to one recollection, to make this scene happen "a replica about four feet across was constructed ... the model was positioned face up over an industrial vacuum through which wires were run and attached to points inside the house. When the camera was ready, the vacuum was turned on and the effects guys blasted the house with shotguns." That's some old school special effects! Check it out:
The home (a private residence, so if you plan to visit please do so respectfully by just driving by) was last sold in 1979 according to online records, so it's possible the original owners still reside there.