child holding hands up to television screen that has static on it

They’re Baa-aack … Here’s What We Know About The Spooky New ‘Poltergeist’ TV Series

The original Poltergeist movie scared the pants off of me when I was a kid. The scene with the tree? The evil clown toy? The guy pulling off his own face in the mirror? These scenes all live rent-free inside my brain, and they probably always will.

Recommended Videos

That being said, the 1982 film is still a classic that earned its place in the horror canon. The story is the brainchild of Steven Spielberg, who co-wrote the screenplay and produced it. Poltergeist came out on June 4, 1982, just one week before another one of Spielberg’s biggest hit movies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The haunting story was a box office smash that earned about $121 million worldwide and was nominated for 3 Academy Awards.

The original story follows Steve and Diane Freeling, played respectively by Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, and their three children. Steve works for a real estate development company that is putting up cookie-cutter housing complexes all over southern California. One of the perks of his job is that he and his family get to live in one of the houses, so the action starts with the family moving in.

Almost immediately, strange things start to happen. Dining room chairs move by their own accord, the dog keeps barking at a particular spot on the wall, and their young daughter, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), keeps getting up in the middle of the night to talk to their staticky television set. When the little girl innocently informs her parents, “They’re here,” things go from bad to worse.

woman cowers in corner away from giant ghost monster coming out of closet
(MGM/UA Entertainment Company)

Soon, Carol Anne is kidnapped by the active poltergeists who also call the Freelings’ house their home, and they have to bring in a psychic medium and parapsychologist to rescue her.

Two more movies followed the original Poltergeist, but neither of them captured the critical acclaim or success of the first movie. The same can be said for a 2015 Poltergeist reboot starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt.

This is not the first time Poltergeist has been tapped for the small screen. In 1996, Showtime aired a television series called Poltergeist: The Legacy, which told the story of a subversive group called The Legacy that worked to save the world from the supernatural. The show aired for four seasons and concluded on the Sci-Fi Channel in 1999.

What do we know about the newest Poltergeist TV show?

Variety reports that Amazon MGM Studios is currently developing the project. There are no writers or director attached to the newest incarnation, but we do know that Spielberg is peripherally involved. Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey are the executive producers working on behalf of Amblin Television, the production company that worked with Spielberg to produce the original film in the ’80s.

We also know that the TV show will return to the Freeling family’s story, though in what capacity, we’re not sure. The only thing we know for certain is that the Poltergeist franchise has a longstanding ability to terrify audiences. That … and you should never believe anyone when they tell you, “This house is clean.”

(featured image: MGM/UA Entertainment Company)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.