Gramma-Jess’ House from “Poltergeist II: The Other Side”Oct 12th, 2015 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
I have never seen Poltergeist, which, considering my love of the ‘80s and all things spooky, is rather shocking. I tried to remedy the situation this past weekend, but the Grim Cheaper was having none of it, unfortunately. I did recently stalk a location from the sequel, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, though. I had come across a post on the Then & Now Movie Locations blog about the residence used as Gramma-Jess’ (Geraldine Fitzgerald) house in the flick and became quite intrigued. Not only is the dwelling gorgeous, but it is located in Altadena, in close proximity to my old home. So I ran right out to see it in person.
Their house having imploded in Poltergeist, the Freeling family – Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) – moves in with Diane’s mom, Gramma-Jess (Geraldine Fitzgerald), in Poltergeist II: The Other Side. Virtually all of the movie takes place at the large Craftsman-style residence, which is said to be located in Phoenix, Arizona.
Amazingly, the house looks very much the same today as it did onscreen in 1986.
Love the images below!
And LOVE that the driveway is exactly the same as it appeared onscreen!
A few areas of the home were used in the filming, including the front exterior . . .
. . . the backyard . . .
. . .and the front porch.
Interiors were filmed on a soundstage at MGM Studios in Culver City (which is now Sony Pictures Studios). According to the Poltergeist II production notes, “Preceded by months of intensive preparatory work, the production fully occupied two of the largest soundstages at MGM’s famed Culver City studio lot. On Stage 30, [production designer Ted] Haworth and his crew constructed a full-scale house, duplicating in exacting detail the real-life house selected to represent Gramma Jess’ home in the film –– inside and out.”
Because it is obvious that most of the exteriors were shot at the actual home in Altadena, I am guessing that the replica exteriors mentioned in the notes were only used for more close-up, tight shots of the outside of the residence, such as in the scene below. UPDATE – I recently spoke to David, who runs the amazing Poltergeist Fan Website, and it turns out that my hunch was correct. David informed me that the residence’s backyard and garage were re-created on a soundstage for use in a few night scenes, including the scene in which the Freelings ran out the back door of the house, through the backyard and into the garage, where they found Carol Anne hiding in the station wagon.
In real life, Gramma-Jess’ house, which was built in 1913, boasts three bedrooms, two baths, 2,766 square feet of living space, and a 0.53-acre plot of land. The property was last sold in 1973 for $18,500, which cracks me up being that Zillow now estimates its worth at around $1.5 million.
The home is absolutely gorgeous in person and I am quite surprised that it is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
While researching this post, I was floored to discover that the Poltergeist franchise is laced with behind-the-scenes mystery and intrigue. According the the television special Real Fear: The Truth Behind the Movies, the original 1982 film is said to be loosely based on supposed real life events that took place at a one-story ranch-style house belonging to the Hermann family in the Long Island suburb of Seaford. In early 1958, the Hermanns began experiencing many odd occurrences at the home. James and Lucille and their two children witnessed random objects flying across the room and furniture toppling over for no apparent reason. The disturbances only lasted about five weeks and the family attributed them to an Indian burial ground located nearby. You can read a more in-depth article about the Hermann hauntings here, though there is some contention about their connection to Poltergeist. There is also quite a bit of contention over who actually directed the first installment. While Tobe Hooper is listed on the credits, many believe that Steven Spielberg was actually at the helm. Mystery also shrouds the re-shot ending of the third movie, which no one involved in the production seems to want to discuss. And, of course, there is the so-called “Poltergeist curse,” which I talked about in my post about the house from the original film. For those who want to delve deeper into the intrigue surrounding the movies, I highly recommend checking out the Poltergeist Fan Website.
Big THANK YOU to the Then & Now Movie Locations blog for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Gramma- Jess’ house from Poltergeist II: The Other Side is located 1589 Homewood Drive in Altadena.