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Poltergeist III (1988) Poster

Trivia

Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne) and Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina) are the only two people to appear in all three Poltergeist films.
At the beginning of the film, the characters mistakenly believe that the weather outside is cold. When they descend from the upper floors to the ground level however, they find that it is in fact quite warm. This phenomenon of weather varying from the upper to lower floors actually does occur at the Hancock Center due to the building's height. Residents often call the lobby doormen before leaving their apartments to find out what conditions are like at ground level.
Lara Flynn Boyle's film debut.
Following the death of Heather O'Rourke in February of 1988 after she finished her work on the film (April-June 1987), it was the decision of director Gary Sherman to temporarily shelve the project during its post-production phase. However, due to the amount of money that had already been spent, MGM insisted that the film be finished and released as scheduled for June of 1988 or they would find someone else to do it. Apparently, after the film was given a PG rating by the MPAA in November 1987, the studio had already decided to have Sherman re-shoot the ending with more graphic scenes, in order to "up" the rating to PG-13. Planning for this re-shoot began in December 1987 and continued into January 1988, but was temporarily put on hold when O'Rourke died Feb. 1. The re-shoot (which used a stand-in for Heather) eventually took place in March, and the film was then "re-edited" and given a PG-13 by the MPAA in April 1988. Director Sherman would later claim that no such "re-shoot" took place, instead insisting that Heather died before they could film the "original ending" and that the current ending using the body double was what they hastily threw together when forced to "finish" the film by MGM. However, he is contradicted by at least six other people who also worked on the film who confirmed that the original ending was in fact filmed before Heather died and that the re-shoot of the ending took place after her passing. These people include producer Barry Bernardi, actor Kipley Wentz, assistant editor Jeanne Bonansinga, composer Joe Renzetti, special effects makeup artist Doug Drexler and the man who provided the voice for the Rev. Kane, Corey Burton.
Tom Skerritt makes a reference to Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976) to Nancy Allen. This is presumably an in-joke, as Allen had starred in that film, as Chris Hargenson, back in 1976.
In this film alone, Carol Anne's name is spoken a total of 121 times.
Heather O'Rourke's last film.
End credits explain that the role of Reverend Kane had originally been portrayed by Julian Beck.
Zelda Rubinstein had to leave the production midway because of her mother's death.
Although much of the film is set in Chicago's John Hancock Center, the shopping area and parking garage as seen in the film do not exist in the Hancock Center. The shopping area (especially the escalators seen immediately before the art gallery sequence) is across the street, in the Water Tower Place shopping mall. The parking garage is definitely not the Hancock Center's, it was filmed in a high rise dual tower complex called "Oakbrook Terrace" in a suburb west of Chicago.
After filming of the scene where the cars chase Patricia and Bruce, the car's explosion set the entire set on fire, almost taking a crew member and a few cameras he was rescuing. When Heather O'Rourke showed up for filming the next day and heard about the incident from director Gary Sherman, she was relieved that no one was hurt. She then asked Sherman, "Did you get the shot?"
Although there was an internet rumor that Jerry Goldsmith was originally contracted to score this film but quit due to budget cuts (and then supposedly used his "unused" P3 score later in The Haunting (1999)), this rumor is untrue. Goldsmith was unhappy with the results of Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and did not have an interest in doing the third film. Also, it's clear that MGM did not want to spend the extra money they knew it would cost to hire Goldsmith, considering that "Poltergeist III" was being made on a lower budget than the last film. Ultimately, "Poltergeist III" was scored by Joe Renzetti, who director Gary Sherman recommended, having worked with Renzetti previously on his other low-budget movies.
Thomas Lennon auditioned for the role of Scott.
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Producer David E. Kelley has quite a connection to this film. He cast Tom Skerritt and Zelda Rubinstein in his Emmy-winning TV drama Picket Fences (1992) after seeing them together in this film. The character of Skerrit's daughter was played by Holly Marie Combs on the show. That character is reminiscent in character and physicality to Lara Flynn Boyle's character Donna Gardner in this film. Nancy Allen was originally cast to portray the town's mayor in Season 2 of "Picket Fences" but had to drop out due to her contractual obligations to appear in RoboCop 2 (1990) and RoboCop 3 (1993). That role was then filled by Leigh Taylor-Young.

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