‘Poltergeist’ crew member claims the film was secretly directed by Steven Spielberg

The movie is credited to 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre''s Tobe Hooper

A crew member on Poltergeist has claimed that the horror movie was actually directed by Steven Spielberg.

Tobe Hooper is currently credited with the film’s direction. He also worked on films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Lifeforce.

However, a rumour has suggested that Spielberg shadow directed the 1982 movie, but couldn’t put his name to it because of a clause in his contract for E.T. The alleged clause apparently prevented him from directing another film while he was working on that project.


Spielberg was given producer and writer credits on Poltergeist, but many believe he had a much bigger role.

Director and cinematographer John Leonetti worked as first assistant camera on Poltergeist. On the Shock Waves podcast, he said “there’s no question” Spielberg directed the film, as Consequence Of Sound reports. “However, Tobe Hooper – I adore. I love that man so much,” he added.

He continued: “But, If I had known you were going to ask me that question, I would’ve brought this one picture I have, which is the whole movie in one shot! It’s the scene where the tree comes in and grabs the boy out of the bedroom.

“We have two cameras set up … in the foreground on an apple box is Tobe, standing right to the left and behind him is Spielberg pointing. Behind him is my brother [and me].

“[Hooper was so nice] and just glad to be there,” he said. “Steven developed the movie, and it was his to direct, except there was anticipation of a director’s strike, so he was ‘the producer’ but really he directed it in case there was going to be a strike and Tobe was cool with that. It wasn’t anything against Tobe. Every once in a while, he would actually leave the set and let Tobe do a few things just because. But really, Steven directed it… [But Tobe] creatively had input.”