‘Poltergeist’ Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:15 pm,

Carol Anne in Poltergeist1 Poltergeist Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Apparently there are only so many ways that you can throw a chair across the room before the routine starts to get old, which is perhaps why Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper’s 1982 haunted house movie Poltergeist is the latest piece of classic horror to have a modern remake slated for imminent release.

This project has been kicking around for a long time now, but was recently put back on track by MGM with Nathan Kahane and Roy Lee (two of the producers of Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake) and attached to produce, along with Sam Raimi. Gil Kenan, who is best known for animated family spook movie Monster House, is the latest director to be hired for the project. Barring any more delays, he will be behind the camera when filming gets underway.

Casting calls for the remake have now begun, with plans to start shooting in September, and with them come details of some of the characters who will be making an appearance in the revamped version of Poltergeist, according to a source over at Bloody Disgusting. Firstly, the film is now about a family man called Eric Bowen (rather than Steve Freeling) who moves his wife and kids to a new town in the hopes of a fresh start, a plan which goes horribly wrong when his daughter, Madeleine, is abducted.

Carol Anne in Poltergeist Poltergeist Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Zelda Rubinstein, who played the unforgettable psychic Tangina in the original Poltergeist trilogy, sadly passed away a few years ago. Her character isn’t going to be revived for the remake, but is instead being replaced by a number of new experts in the field of the supernatural. Eric Bowen’s wife, Amy Bowen, has the ability to communicate with the dead, and his ex-wife, Dr. Brooke Powell, works as a parapsychologist at the local university, and will more or less play the same role as Dr. Lesh by bringing in a team of researchers to investigate the house. The final new addition is Carrigan Burke, host of a TV show called Haunted House Cleaners, who is apparently unfazed by the manifestations of the supernatural.

Based on these details, it sounds like the central plot points of the original movie – the family moving into a new house, the daughter being kidnapped, and psychic powers being used to retrieve her – are going to remain the same in David Lindsay-Abaire’s script, but because of Poltergeist‘s dominating influence within the horror genre these plot events have become clichés by this point. James Wan’s Insidious could probably pass for a loose Poltergeist remake, as could certain entries in the Paranormal Activity series. So, aside from the title, what will really set Poltergeist apart as a clear remake and – more importantly – would it have been better to simply make an original film in the Poltergeist mold, thereby bypassing the certain stigma that often comes with remakes?

Of course, the most obvious argument for making a Poltergeist remake is that the original film is among the highest-grossing horror films of all time, and is still fondly remember by many, so the title still carries a lot of weight. Not enough weight to keep this project from floundering in development hell for a decade, but enough that it’s finally managing to work its way into existence. If the producers stick to the PG-13 rating of the original, using the similar kind of gore-free scares that worked in the 80s, that will also work in the film’s favor by including young teens in the target box office demographic. After all, who needs blood and guts when you’re got evil clowns?

Evil clown in Poltergeist Poltergeist Remake Plot Details Revealed; Will Begin Shooting Fall 2013

Money aside, there are artistic reasons – though their value might be debatable – that justify remaking old horror movies. In this particular case, it will be interesting to see whether the spirits’ communication through appliances like the TV is expanded when the story is retold in the modern era, where technology is a ubiquitous part of most people’s lives. It’ would also be easy to use the remake as an anchor from which to subvert or question the tropes that Poltergeist helped to create within the horror genre.

The last remake that Sam Raimi delivered was of his own biggest claim to horror fame, The Evil Dead, and the commercial and critical success of that film no doubt played a significant role in finally shoving the Poltergeist remake into production. But is it enough to get audiences interested?

Let us know if you’re excited for this remake, or if you think it should have been allowed to rest in peace, in the comments.


There’s no release date set for Poltergeist yet, but if filming stays on schedule then it could be out by late 2014/early 2015. We’ll let you know as more details emerge.

Source: Bloody Disgusting

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. They say there is a curse attached to this franchise. The girl who played Carol Ann died and real skeletons that were thought to be props were used. Some of the cast members were struck down. Dominique Dunne was strangled by her boyfriend and taken off life support. I don’t know if this is a good idea….

    • Similar “curses” happened with The Exorcist, The Omen and Superman. I just think it’s bad luck and myth rather than actual truthful incidents.

  2. Should be interesting, especially with the popularity of ghost hunting shows across the world in the previous decade. They could also throw in a little bit of White Noise in trying to communicate with the dead with EVP sessions too.

    As long as it’s like Evil Dead’s remake (ie sharing similar plot points but being radically different) then all the better because what would be the point otherwise?

  3. Soooo…will the dad be uttering those poignant words at the end…”You Son of a b*tch, you moved the cemetery but you left the bodies didn’t ya??!!!”

    So many iconic and great moments like the mummified preacher’s head popping out of the closet 6′ tall, research assistant defleshing his face (my personal fave and deleted from the syndicated version), the clown terror……spirit floating down the stairs…….so many more.

    The original was an excellent and well thought out tale that still holds up today so to leech off the original by using it’s name is just bad taste imho.

    • I can just see the kid sitting in front of 60 inch LCD television, just won’t be the same…..

      • lol! That’s awesome. It would still be funny though if the kid started screaming for his mom when he hears his little sister’s voice on the tv.

  4. I’m sorry, but this is one movie that won’t benefit from a re-make. After all, you can’t improve on perfection and any attempt just won’t work.

    • I agree.. Just because it will be really hard to recapture the JoBeth Williama And Craig T Nelson chemestry. But Since It is being done I think They should have gotten creative and cast Leslie Jordan Too play A character in he Tangina place.

  5. I really liked the first one, and raced out and bought a copy for my home collection. However, i just can’t reall y see that it needs a remake, and doubt the first one can be topped. I will confess that while I myself would vote against a remake, I will undoubtably watch it if there is one made, just for comparison’s sake.

  6. The original movie still gives me the creeps. Some people hold The Exorcist being the scariest movie of all time. That movie makes me laugh. This movie… still scares me. Something about ghosts… bbbbrrrrrrrr

  7. This along with Jaws DO NOT NEED A REMAKE.

  8. I dont understand why we have to remake every movie that was made 30+ years ago. Please let them stand alone for the excellence they represent. Poltergeist is a classic, thrilling ride. I never want to see a new “Jaws”!

  9. The original story went it’s course, the only plausible way a sequel would fit is if it dealt with Robbie & his family being haunting or something.

    Otherewise there’s no need to touch this just as The Crow doesn’t need a Reboot.
    The only thing cliché here is another director saying he has new ideas while piggy backing off an original.

    With the latest technology & directors still can’t create something of their own.

  10. Hi, I’m from Brazil. In my opinion, the filmmakers of whatever can call this project has the obligation and duty up to remind us and much, from the previous films and not make us believe that the title would be just a marketing without any emotional bond with the film itself. unfortunately, as it should not please why do not we have any of the other actors in this previous project, even though it is a sequel. Mainly, no homenagen and reference to Heather O’rourke which would ensure, much, much more box office, though, oportunismo.E finally remakes take the charm of the originals, and all are well! No use foot tapping with Poltergeist, talves, 2014, will be so! Following pleases me. But the idea today is Fezer Rebbot, remake and sequel at the same time!

  11. Poltergeist is yet another classic horror film that is just too widely known and well loved for a remake. Younger generations still watch this movie and thoroughly appreciate it’s value as it stands…. even with the cheesy 80s effects. Just about everyone can hear two little words and see their favorite scenes flash in their heads! When I first heard about this project years ago, I was disappointed that movie makers were going there. Best news ever was when the project was shelved. Now it is moving forward again… ugh. Can’t you just make a new movie, call it something else and move on? LEAVE THE CLASSIC HORROR FILMS ALONE!!! All of the boogeymen remakes (Nightmare, Friday, Halloween) were terrible!!! Yet people still LOVE the originals! Take a hint and stop the madness!!

  12. Please none of this “Family moved for a fresh start” crap. I’m begging you please don’t do it. Stop being lazy and learn how to develop characters beyond the “Fresh start” label.

  13. I love Poltergeist! When I first heard of the remake I was disappointed. such a classic!!! But they would need to do a new story line and have a creative way of having the daughter abducted. Insidious did it in the dreams so they cant use that. And modern LCD tvs just wont work. I don’t even think there’s static anymore besides the blue screen. And most new homes (at least in OC where I live) have barely any yards for pools.

  14. like Sydney Prescott said in Scream 4…”there’s 1 thing you forgot about remakes….don’t &^%$% with the original” It’s ironic cuz Wes Craven didn’t want A Nightmare on Elm Street to be rebooted in the 1st place…

  15. NOOOO keep the characters and story line the same! Tangina was the star of all 3 films …why would u lose that character?

  16. Sick of all these remakes that ruin perfectly good horror classics. Hollywood needs to get a life and employ some decent horror writers who have an original idea in their heads.

  17. i was obsessed with poltergeist as a kid..am exicted for a remake..but yeah depends..hopefully it will fall in the right hands.

  18. I just watched the original tonight for the umpteenth time. The film still holds up today and a remake seems like the production company is being lazy. It is very easy to remake something rather than coming up with something original.

  19. I’m not usually a fan of remakes. BUT, if they can do it like Rob Zombie did the remake of Halloween, it could be good.

  20. Oh god! Why make it to where the father is divorced and married again, making a fresh start and characters with different names?! Keep it like the original! “Stay away from the light Madeline”! Sounds horrible compared to the original. If you’re going to make a remake of something there are somethings that just shouldn’t be changed.

  21. There are things in this world we cant explain. The pyramids, coral castle, roman concrete, andorigens of relgion. On the cource aspect of various movies.

  22. I think they should replace Carol Ann with a Different character name. :)

  23. A remake must have the elements of the original.
    Something to remember that has been long forgotten.
    The family characters was real to me, story, special effects and music makes the original the best.
    Good luck with the remake, I am looking forward to it.

  24. Filming is underway here in Toronto. They picked a creepy old historical home close to me and I just got notice that their equipment trucks will be parked on my street. The synopsis makes it sound like its not a straight remake and the story will be slightly altered (no Indian burial ground vs greedy developer?)
    They chose a good hood to shoot in. Long rumoured as one of the most haunted in the city. Heard some scary ish from neighbours….

  25. In the original, they did not move into a new home. Carol Anne was born in that house. I was fascinated by this movie when I was a little girl because, by the time I saw the movie, I was about the same age as Carol Anne and had long blonde hair. I guess I related to the character a bit. The movie didn’t scare me when I was little though. I find it much more creepy watching it as an adult. Anyway, I always thought that because Carol Anne was born in the house, there was a deeper connection to the “other side.” Maybe that was all just in my head. Also, they have to have the cemetary under the house. Those two aspects were always a significant part of the movie for me. Except, in the sequel, we find that Kane and his followers weren’t exactly buried in the cemetary. They died in a tomb-like cave underground, where the house later stood. So, now I am going to have to watch all these movies again. I know the first by heart, but I haven’t watched the second and third as much. Sorry to ramble. I am kinda talking to myself as I go.

  26. some said not to remake Evil Dead but they did and it was a success, I say go for it!!!

  27. Based on the description of the remake, I believe it takes away from the original film, thereby looking early on like a potiental waste of time and a flop. Furthermore, changing the characters and storyline further destroys a cult classic.

    In 1982, the original film was rare for the time. I watched the original film in grade school and it stuck with me forever. The 80’s were a time of uniqueness, originality and individuality, which can’t be duplicated in film. Proof of this is in the remakes of Friday the 13th (lacking Kane Hodder) Nightmare on Elm Street (Jackie Earl Haley as Krueger, really? Surely there is someone out there who could’ve played the role with the charm of Robert Englund) and Rob Zombie’s Halloween. (RIP Donald Pleasance)

    The remake of Poltergeist would’ve have had been better had the Freelings been involved in some way: I came up with an idea a few years ago that Robbie Freeling would be a parapsychologist, raising his own family and Carol Anne’s daughter. Carol Anne’s daughter would be haunted by the ghosts, and Robbie would have to make a choice of saving his own family, handing his niece over to the other side, or saving everyone. Steve and Diane Freeling could make an appearance in the film too.

    I think the remake will flop. Your thoughts?

  28. NO! NO! A thousand times NO! Poltergeist was and will always be my favorite scary movie. Why tamper with what was already great to begin with? I think Hollywood needs to quit rehashing old movies and stories and start getting some new creative ideas of their own. Leave Poltergeist alone! If they feel the need to carry on the legacy, why not cast a woman to play a grown Carole Ann, since the character would be an adult now anyway, and have her still having problems with spirits? Give her a husband, and children of her own, and then cast a new Dana as her sister, and the original Robbie, Diane and Steve Freeling? I much rather see that than a remake!

    • Nice! Although I wouldn’t mind seeing some type of remake, I’d still like to see a movie made similar to your idea. It would make sense though because the Poltergeist found her no matter where she went. Let’s just hope Bobby got those braces removed or else he’s in for a nightmare lol! Actually, I think it would make sense and be funny at the same time if Bobby has had to undergo years of mental therapy because of the events he had to witness at such an early age. Yeah, I really like your ideas and there’s so much depth they could add to the storyline.

  29. I really don’t know what to expect ,,,,,,the crazy deaths that took place is kind of scary ,,,,,so who knows what to happen to the current cast members of the remake ,,,,its only one way to find out,,,