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Rare Test Shots Show How Different ‘Poltergeist’ Villain Almost Looked

Yes, we’re talking about the original film. Not that pointless remake.

We’re now living in a time where even obscure movies are getting Blu-ray releases packed with special features, which is pretty damn awesome. But what’s not so great is when a true classic hits Blu-ray and, well, is totally barebones in the bonus features department. Oddly enough, 1982’s Poltergeist is one of those films, which just seems like a crime against humanity, doesn’t it?

Okay, so maybe that was a little dramatic, but come on!

Since there are no special features to provide us with insights about Poltergeist, I recently found myself doing a little digging of my own to see if I could find anything cool to share. And when I stumbled across a Poltergeist fan site the other day, I indeed did find something pretty damn cool. Matt Knowles, a super fan of the film, recently sent the site a series of rare production photographs that he purchased on eBay, and they showcase original character designs that effects artist Craig Reardon came up with. Coolest of all, the lot he purchased included actual still images of an original design for the “Demon in the Doorway” that was filmed but ultimately scrapped by producer Steven Spielberg, who felt the creature looked too human.

How is this shit not on the Blu-ray?!



Below you’ll also find a piece of concept art for the demon when it was seen outside the kids’ bedroom. As you’ll see, the design looks pretty similar to the Craig Reardon-sculpted creature we saw in the film, with the ethereal “Beast” walking on its knuckles.

Props to Matt Knowles for preserving these awesome peeks behind the curtain!




  • jacobia

    Looks like Anthony Hopkins……..Clarice!..

    • Jefferson D’Arcy

      A cross between him and Leprechaun. Hopefully we don’t ever have to see a ‘Poltergeist in Tha Hood’ flick, ehh.

      • Saturn

        Don’t give them ideas!!!!

  • Jimmy Cthulhuhan
  • Jack Thompson

    It’s Reverend Kane!

  • Tarman_85

    In ’82, I think that face would’ve been a hell of a lot more scarier than the one they went with.

  • JNaNA

    Smart choice on Spielberg’s part. That spider-looking thing was plenty creepy.

  • Erik The Red

    I like the original demon because it’s a classic, but that face is creepy as fuck. I love it. It looks like something that could’ve been in one of Wan’s films..Insidious or The Conjuring.

  • Good article, but the title RARE is pretty ludicrous as these stills of the door ghost have been around for years. This design was reflected later on as they try to pull Carrie Anne from the other side. The face appears again, except now it’s rotten and angry.

  • CR

    Hi…glad you liked it! In the script it was referred to, always, as ‘The Horror Head’. I think the manner in which it was filmed contributed to its being replaced by what I think of as a skull covered with tissue paper! The drawing on the other hand is one in a series by a talented guy named Nilo Rodis Jamero, and relates to the wraith seen in the hallway. In this stage, the head is buried within its chest. Another drawing showed it emerged, leonine in appearance. I sculpted this for use by ILM, but it wasn’t used. Craig Reardon

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