The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons as – Tymoff

The Controversial revelation in the 1982 movie “Poltergeist” shocked audiences when it came to light that real skeletons were used in a pivotal scene. This revelation sparked widespread outrage and disbelief, as viewers grappled with the unsettling thought that human remains were utilized for cinematic effect. The use of real skeletons in the film raised serious ethical concerns and prompted a reexamination of industry practices within the entertainment business.

Unsettling Discovery

The skeletons being used in “Poltergeist” shed light on the darker aspects of filmmaking, revealing the lengths some productions would go to for authenticity. The revelation not only disturbed audiences but also led to questions about the treatment of human remains in the film industry. The morbid nature of using real skeletons for a horror movie underscored the need for stricter regulations and oversight in the handling of props and set materials.

The Backstory

It was disclosed that obtaining real skeletons was not an uncommon practice in Hollywood, as they were often cheaper and more readily available than synthetic alternatives. However, the controversy surrounding “Poltergeist” forced a reckoning within the industry, prompting a closer examination of sourcing practices and ethical considerations when it came to using human remains in filmmaking.

Ethical Concerns and Industry Practices

Many questioned the morality of using human remains for entertainment purposes, highlighting the need for greater transparency and accountability in the film industry. The controversy spurred calls for stricter guidelines and regulations governing the use of props, particularly those involving sensitive materials like human skeletons.

The Debate Unfolds

The Debate Unfolds as industry insiders and the public grappled with the implications of the “Poltergeist” controversy. While some defended the use of real skeletons as a cost-saving measure or artistic choice, others condemned it as disrespectful and exploitative. The debate raised broader questions about the ethical responsibilities of filmmakers and the boundaries of acceptable practices within the entertainment industry.

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Changing Industry Standards

The public outcry and backlash prompted filmmakers and studios to reevaluate their practices and prioritize ethical considerations when it came to sourcing props and set materials. Stricter regulations were implemented to ensure that human remains were not used without proper consent and that ethical guidelines were followed in all aspects of filmmaking. The “Poltergeist” scandal served as a catalyst for positive change, leading to a more conscientious approach to prop sourcing and set design within the film industry.


Why were real skeletons used in the movie “Poltergeist”?

Real skeletons were used in “Poltergeist” due to budget constraints and the desire for authenticity in the film’s special effects. At the time of production, real skeletons were more cost-effective and readily available compared to synthetic alternatives.

Was the use of real skeletons legal?

While the use of real skeletons in filmmaking was not illegal per se, it raised ethical concerns and prompted calls for stricter regulations within the industry. The controversy surrounding “Poltergeist” led to greater scrutiny and oversight regarding the sourcing and handling of props, including human remains.

How did the revelation affect the legacy of “Poltergeist”?

The revelation of real skeletons being used in “Poltergeist” had a lasting impact on the film’s legacy. While it remains a classic in the horror genre, the controversy surrounding its production practices has become a significant aspect of its cultural narrative, prompting discussions about ethics in filmmaking.

Have industry standards changed since the “Poltergeist” controversy?

Yes, the “Poltergeist” controversy sparked a shift in industry standards and practices regarding the use of props and set materials. Filmmakers and studios have become more mindful of ethical considerations, leading to stricter regulations and guidelines governing the use of sensitive materials like human remains.


The controversy surrounding the use of real skeletons in the 1982 movie “Poltergeist” revealed the darker side of filmmaking and sparked widespread debate about ethics and industry practices. The unsettling discovery of human remains being used for cinematic effect prompted a reevaluation of sourcing methods and a push for greater transparency within the film industry.

While the legacy of “Poltergeist” endures as a classic in the horror genre, its production practices serve as a cautionary tale, reminding filmmakers of the importance of ethical considerations and responsible stewardship when bringing stories to life on the silver screen. As industry standards continue to evolve, the “Poltergeist” controversy remains a poignant reminder of the need for accountability and integrity in all aspects of filmmaking.

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