It’s the month of Halloween and that means it’s time to bring out the spooky stories. Sometimes the production of a movie is merely troubled, but sometimes it seems straight up cursed. An unusual amount of early deaths for the people involved in the movie, strange accidents and unexplained happenings- sometimes making movies can be downright eerie. Ironically, a lot of these 'cursed' movies are horror movies. So strap in and let’s take a look at movies with serious bad mojo!
'The Exorcist' Curse
This movie about the exorcism of Satan from a young girl supposedly had to call for an actual exorcism. Nine separate deaths were connected to the movie, including the death of actor Jack McGowran. Ellen Burstyn suffered a permanent spinal injury due to a stunt. Linda Blair was also injured.
The set caught fire and creepily, it was only the room of Regan, the demonically possessed little girl, that didn’t burn. After this incident, a Jesuit Priest was bought in to bless the film.
However, the mishaps continued even when the film hit theatres. During the film’s premiere in Rome, a nearby cross was struck by lightning. One woman passed out during the film and broke her jaw. She sued Warner Bros for “subliminal messages” causing her injury and they settled out of court.
'The Omen' Curse
The famous horror film about a young boy who is actually the Antichrist was devilishly unlucky. During filming, both the lead actor, Gregory Peck and producer Mace Neufields had planes they boarded struck by lightning. Executive producer Harvey Bernhard was also almost struck by lightning. He began carrying a cross while on set afterwards. He later said “the devil was at work and he didn’t want that film made.”
More misfortune followed- Gregory Peck’s son shot himself. Both the hotel Neufields was staying at during filming and a restraint the cast and crew were scheduled to eat at was bombed by the IRA. An animal handler who worked with the movie was killed by tiger shortly after the movie wrapped. A plane was chartered for the film, but the flight was cancelled. Instead the plane did a commercial flight, during which it crashed and everyone on board was killed.
The final eerie story is the accident special effects artist John Richardson got into. He had helped with the film’s decapitation scene. During post production and while in Holland, he was in a car accident and his assistant, Liz Moore, was beheaded for real as a result. Supposedly, after extracting himself from the wreckage, Richardson saw a sign nearby that read “Ommen 66.6 km”.
The 'Rosemary's Baby' Curse
This well-known horror movie tells the tale of a woman whose husband gets involved with a Satanist cult, which complicates her pregnancy later on. The composer of the film, Krzysztof Komeda, died a year after the movie in the exact same way one of the characters in the movie died. Rosemary’s friend Hutch died of a blood clot in his brain and so did Mr. Komeda.
A producer for the movie suffered kidney failure shortly after the movie and blamed the curse. He even yelled “Rosemary, for God’s sake, drop the knife” while in the emergency room. He was apparently tormented up until his death.
Another horrific tragedy is loosely connected to the movie. Sharon Tate, director Roman Polanski's pregnant wife was murdered by Charles Manson’s cult along with her friends. Apparently she was targeted because the Polanski family had purchased the house of someone Manson had a problem with.
But really, when it comes to tragedies like this, I think it's important to remember Sharon Tate's murder outside the context of how it affected Polanski and "proves him cursed". She was the casualty of very human murderers here and should be thought of as such. Actually, recent events make it hard for me Polanski COULD be cursed with bad luck. He admitted to raping a 13 year old girl, but fled the country before he was convicted and is now living free with a bunch of Hollywood bigwigs ready to come to his defense.That doesn’t exactly scream “cursed to preternatural misfortune”.
The 'Superman' Curse
The Man of Steel is an icon of hope and heroism, but the actors who play him tend to have a hard time. George Reeves, who played him in the 1950’s show The Adventures of Superman, was found shot in the head. It happened during a small party was going on in his home downstairs. The guests and his fiancé were somewhat delayed in calling the police, as they were kind of drunk. The death was ruled a suicide. Reportedly, Reeves had been depressed because he had difficulty finding roles after Superman (likely because he was typecast).
However, many, including Reeves mother, insisted Reeves was murdered. There were no fingerprints on the gun, though police say this is because the gun was too oily to hold fingerprints. Reeves was also having an affair at the time, giving several people motive to kill him.
Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in the 1979 movie and its three sequels, also struggled with typecasting. And he suffered further misfortune when he was paralyzed in horseback riding accident. He died nine years later from a heart attack that was due to his condition. Lee Quigley played baby Clark Kent in the same film and died due to inhalant abuse at the young age of 14.
Other actors who played Superman didn’t die, but had their careers killed. Kirk Alyn, who played Superman in the 1940’s serials, was unable to find work afterwards due to being too closely associated with the role. Dean Cain (Lois and Clark) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) have fared somewhat better, but haven’t really gotten any big parts since playing the role, being mostly relegated to small parts in TV shows.
Other actors involved in the movies have also suffered various misfortunes and premature deaths. Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane in Superman Returns) blamed the Superman curse for breakup with Orlando Bloom, which MIGHT be stretching it a little.
The 'Poltergeist' Curse
The Poltergeist trilogy’s curse is famous enough it got a E! True Hollywood Story episode. The horror trilogy focusing on a family who are terrorized by spirits and demons after they inadvertently disturb human remains by living on top of a graveyard….used real human remains in its production. Actual skeletons were used in the movie, which feeds speculation that the spate of tragic deaths that followed the movie were caused by wrathful spirits. Four cast members died in the mere six years that passed between the first and third Poltergeist movie.
The actress who played the oldest daughter of the movie’s family, Dominique Dunne, was strangled to death by her abusive ex-boyfriend the same year the movie came out (and he only got three years in prison. I’m not saying that that (or his horrible actions- again, very real human murderer here) are because of the curse. Just pointing out what incredible unjust bullshit that is.) Julian Beck, who played a character in the second Poltergeist movie, died from stomach cancer (he’d had it before he went on the movie, though). Will Sampson, who played a medicine man in the second movie, died after a kidney operation Child actor Heather O’ Rourke, who was in all of the movies from the time she was six, tragically died of septic shock at age 12.
As a series of coincidences, it’s all quite sad. And if it was a curse, those are some misguided spirits, because it wasn’t the actor's idea to use real skeletons.
'The Wizard of Oz' Curse
Though it might be blamed on the poor safety regulations of the 1930s, The Wizard of Oz actors suffered a lot of misfortunes. The Tin Man, Buddy Ebson, nearly died thanks to his aluminum makeup and had to be replaced. Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch, caught on fire during a pyrotechnic scene. Poor Toto even broke his paw!
'The Crow' Curse
The movie about a vengeful undead rock musician had fatal consequences. Actor Brandon Lee was killed by a real bullet that somehow got put in a prop gun. He supposedly had premonitions that he would die soon shortly beforehand. There were also a ridiculous amount of other on-set injuries,including a truck spontaneously combusting, a carpenter getting burned and a crew member stabbing through their hand with a screwdriver.
'The Passion of the Christ' Curse
Maybe God wasn’t completely down for Mel Gibson’s movie about his son. The titular Christ's actor, Jim Caviezel, was struck by lightning during a shoot. Jon Mikalini, an assistant, came to ask if Jim was okay, then was promptly hit by lightning himself. Apparently this was his second time getting hit during the film. Caviezel also suffered a lot of injuries and illnesses, but that was definitely due to his supervisors not keeping things safe during filming and pushing him to do way too much. The poor guy’s career pretty much crashed and burned afterwards too.
'The Conjuring' Curse
The Conjuring tells the supposedly “true story” about a 1971 haunting investigated by a ghost-hunting couple. And the cast and crew of the movie claim supernatural incidents happened while filming the movie. This included mysterious phone calls, dogs growling at nothing and the lead actress getting claw marks on her leg and not knowing where they came from. Her laptop also suffered the same claw-marked fate. I guess the ghost was a technophobe.