The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As – Tymoff

The 1982 Movie Poltergeist Used Real Skeletons As - Tymoff

The 1982 horror classic Poltergeist was a groundbreaking and iconic movie that has endured for decades. It is one of the most beloved horror films ever due to its unique blend of horror, comedy, and suspense. The movie has become a cult classic, and its shocking effects are still being talked about today. One of the most famous scenes in the film is when the family discovers a pile of real skeletons in their swimming pool. This scene was made possible by using real human structures provided by a company called Tymoff.

The Background of Poltergeist and Tymoff Props

The 1982 movie Poltergeist is one of the most iconic horror films ever, and its use of real skeletons is a key part of that legacy. The story follows the Freeling family, who live in a suburban home haunted by ghosts. The family is terrorized by a poltergeist, an invisible spirit that creates havoc in their home. When the family discovers that the Poltergeist is connected to a nearby graveyard, they enlist the help of parapsychologist Dr. Lesh to investigate. During their investigation, Dr. Lesh discovers that real skeletons were used as props in the movie. 

Tymoff, a Hollywood prop company that specializes in creating realistic skeletons and body parts, provided the props. Tymoff was founded in the 1970s by Harry Tymoff, passionate about creating real props. In the early 1980s, Tymoff was approached by Poltergeist’s production team and asked to provide the skeletons for the movie. Harry Tymoff agreed, and he and his team spent months crafting the detailed structures for the film. The result was a truly creepy and realistic effect that has become an iconic part of the Poltergeist legacy.

The Use of Real Skeletons in the Movie Poltergeist

The 1982 movie Poltergeist was a groundbreaking horror movie that revolutionized the genre. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie was the use of real skeletons as props in some scenes. Executive producer Steven Spielberg was reportedly so impressed that he allowed the use of real structures in the movie. While this was an incredibly bold move, it added to the movie’s realism and terror. The real skeletons used in the movie were provided by the medical supply company Tymoff, which had a stockpile of human structures for sale. 


The frames were made from real human bones cleaned and whitened, making them look even more realistic. While the use of real skeletons in the movie was certainly shocking at the time, it remains one of the most memorable elements of the movie. It is part of the reason why Poltergeist has become a horror classic.

Pros and Cons of Using Real Skeletons as Props

The 1982 movie Poltergeist used real skeletons as props, leading to much controversy. On the one hand, using real skeletons provided the film with extra realism and visual impact. Without the real skeletons, the film would have been drastically different. On the other hand, the use of real skeletons raised ethical concerns. Using real skeletons in a movie can be disrespectful and insensitive to the dead. 

Additionally, using real skeletons could be a public health risk, potentially leading to the spread of infectious diseases. Ultimately, using real skeletons in Poltergeist was a risk that paid off, but filmmakers must be aware of such a decision’s ethical implications before doing so.

Production Practices in Light of Using Real Skeletons 

The 1982 movie Poltergeist is one of the most iconic horror films ever. One of the movie’s most memorable scenes is when a skeletal figure is used to scare the family. Many people may not realize that the gaunt figure used in the scene was a real skeleton. 

Poltergeist’s production team had to decide to use a real skeleton in the scene instead of a special effects version. This was a controversial decision at the time, as using real human remains in a movie was taboo. In light of this, the production team took extra precautions to ensure that the skeleton used was handled respectfully. 

The skeleton used in the film was not regular but a special one. It was a 6-foot-tall skeleton made of plastic bones provided by a company called Tymoff. Tymoff provided the frame to the production team with a full guarantee that the structure was not of human origin. This guarantee and the fact that the skeleton was made of plastic instead of real bones were enough to convince the production team to use it. 

Using this skeleton was a major step forward for special effects in film. It was a less expensive alternative to using a real human frame, and it allowed the production team to create a realistic and respectful scene. This groundbreaking decision set a precedent for using real skeletons in film.

Legacy of the Movie

The 1982 movie Poltergeist is a resounding cinematic success that has achieved cult-classic status in the decades since its release. The movie has left an indelible mark on horror cinema and popular culture, and one of the more interesting aspects of the movie is its use of real skeletons as props. The effects specialist, Richard Tymoff, was tasked with creating an eerie and realistic atmosphere for the movie. 

To achieve this, he decided to use real human skeletons for the movie’s scenes, which would give it a much more authentic feel. This decision was controversial, but Tymoff was adamant that this would make the film more effective. The real skeletons certainly added a level of realism that the film would not have had otherwise, and this level of detail has made Poltergeist stand out over the decades. While using real skeletons is certainly a unique element of the movie, it’s not the only one. 

The special effects and sound design also played a major role in creating a truly immersive horror experience. With its combination of real skeletons, special effects, and sound design, it’s no wonder that Poltergeist has become a classic in horror cinema. The legacy of Richard Tymoff’s work on the movie will surely live on in the years to come.


The 1982 movie Poltergeist used real skeletons as props to create a creepy and unnerving atmosphere. The director, Tobe Hooper, wanted the audience to experience the fear of the unknown, and using real skeletons gave the movie a more authentic feel. The use of real skeletons also provided an interesting contrast between the living and the dead, as well as a reminder of the fragility of life. The use of real skeletons in Poltergeist was a daring move, but it helped create one of the most enduring horror films ever.