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Actress only found out she filmed with real corpses after ‘nightmare’ scene
Featured Image Credit: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

Actress only found out she filmed with real corpses after ‘nightmare’ scene

It turned out that it was cheaper to use real skeletons than manufacture fake ones

Making movies can sometimes result in some extreme things happening on set.

For example, in Withnail and I, a scene in which a character drinks lighter fluid before vomiting saw the director replace the water in the bottle with vinegar to get a real gag reaction from Richard E Grant

And who can forget poor Viggo Mortensen's toe in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

But one film has taken things to a whole other level of shock in what happened on set.

This is the 1980s horror classic Poltergeist, which sees a young family plagued by a group of spirits at their home, including 'the Beast'.

The movie has become a classic for many of its scenes, including the disembodied voice of the couple's young daughter coming from the television.

But one scene has a rather gross bit of trivia attached to it.

This the climactic scene at the end of the film where distraught mom Diane (JoBeth Williams) is running around the backyard as the excavation for the pool floods with disgusting muddy water.

The film is a horror staple.
MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

Of course, she slips and falls into the water, emerging gasping for breath only to be confronted by several skeletons which emerge around her.

As we learned earlier in the film, the house was built on a cemetery and no one bothered to move the bodies.

You might think that they would use prop skeletons for such a scene, surely?

Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Yes, the skeletons in that scene are in fact the real deal.

This is a real skeleton. Yikes.

For actor JoBeth Williams was less than impressed when she discovered years later that real skeletons were used for the scene.

She told Vanity Fair: “I always assumed that the skeletons were made by the prop department.

"A few years later, I ran into one of the special effects guys, and I said, ‘You guys making all those skeletons, that must have been really amazing.’

"He said, ‘Oh, we didn’t make them, those were real.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yeah, they were real skeletons.’"

JoBeth Williams was not impressed when she found out.
MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

She added: “I don’t know where they were bought from, but that really grossed me out.

"I'm glad I didn’t know that then, because I would’ve really been screaming a lot—for real.”

This is not the only time that real human remains have featured in a production.

Polish concert pianist André Tchaikowsky left his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the hope it would be used in a production of Hamlet.

In 2008 the deceased pianist's wish was finally granted, and he was the Yorick to David Tennant's Hamlet.

In a video after the production, Tennant respectfully referred to Tchaikowsky as a 'member of the cast'.

Topics: News, US News, Film and TV