Every Hollywood movie wants a good curse story attached to it, to boost revenue. For every old-timey person who watches The Wizard of Oz for the cherished characters and storyline, there’s some burnout teen who’s just checking to see if that little person really does hang himself.
The same holds doubly true for horror movies. Filmmakers first figured this out in the 1950s, and started advertising films with absurd taglines like “everyone who sees this movie dies of a heart attack!” But it turns out, some horror films actually have an inexplicably gruesome underbelly, rife with death and gore.
Here are five blockbuster works of cinematic terror that seem to have been afflicted with absurdly scary curses…
People who make props for movies are usually of the same ilk as that quiet, weird kid in school who used to build giant balls out of his boogers.
But it’s that eccentricity that brings these artists to create works of gore that push the boundaries of imagination. Well, sometimes, at least. Other times prop guys get really lazy and instead of making fake dead bodies, they just used real corpses. Frankly, even that’s not too weird, nor is it the only example of a real skeleton in a film. But, what is really crazy is that the prop guys used gory cadavers in Poltergeist and didn’t tell anyone, particularly the actress who filmed with them in a swimming pool.
Because of this, people claim the sets of the Poltergeist films have been haunted. Deaths of two of young actresses who played sisters in the main family is the event people point to when claiming evidence of a curse. Or rather, it’s the only realistic piece of evidence. Frankly, we don’t even need more: Dead corpses being flung around and young women dying is a curse according to every third-world science textbook. Other claims of production delays, actresses being haunted, even an exorcism being required sound like Hollywood embellishment/a nutty director trying to blame weird shit for his on-set gaffes. In addition, other deaths of Poltergeist actors can be attributed to nothing supernatural, but rather older people dying from risky stuff like heart surgery and cancer. We bring up these things only to point out that there’s nothing a real curse hates more than when people pile on trivial shit to make it seem silly. So the upcoming remake by MGM should be full of “sacrilegious scenes” and “ghastly poor acting.”
This movie tells the tale of the return of Satan to Earth as an adorable child. That’s children for you: Cute on the outside, steamy black evil on the inside. A string of gruesome and tragic accidents surrounding the film have led many to claim that it is cursed.
One of the most difficult scenes was one where one of the main characters is sliced apart be a sheet of glass. Later, the special effects supervisor was in a car crash which sliced the head off of his passenger. Other weird and fantasy stuff began happening. After filming a scene with lions, two of them attacked and killed a security guard. Actor Gregory Peck was on a plane that was hit by lightning. Hours later, the film’s writer was on another plane that was also hit by lightning.
The curse apparently went into the sequel as well. Mysterious stabbings, and a giant cast outbreak of influenza plagued the shooting of the Omen II. Then the curse continued into the Omen III and IV by making them some of the shittiest films on the planet.
Rosemary’s Baby is all about a pregnant woman who just wants to make her own decisions. However, she is waylaid by a society that wants to control her and force her to make horrible decisions. If you guessed that this film is beloved by feminists everywhere, you’d be right.
Also apparently obsessed with the film was professional weirdball Charles Manson. We’re not entirely sure, but we believe Manson played a Beatles’ record backwards and it told him to murder whomever was currently at the house of some random guy he hated. That happened to be the very pregnant wife of Rosemary’s Baby director Roman Polanski. Charles Manson liked to do stuff like that on a whim, he was quite a romantic (just like Norman Bates). Scrawled on the wall at the murder scene was the name of a Beatles song. John Lennon would end up murdered outside the hotel building used for Rosemary’s Baby. We don’t even know if these things are related and we don’t care. Any time you make a film and it convinces a cult leader to come hack you up, you got some bad film mojo, there.
Other freaky correlations include the film’s composer dying in exactly the same manner that a character in the film dies. The producer almost died of kidney failure, a model who played herself in the film was arrested for murder. Although, these might just prove that Hollywood bigwigs lead fast and dangerous lives, which isn’t really horrific.
Notice a theme? Movies about demonic children are cursed. Such was true for the blockbuster scary film The Exorcist. Most of these things were reported by actress Ellen Burstyn, who utterly hated being in the film. Not without good cause: the director was brutal. The bedroom which sets most of the film was built in a freezer, simply so that the actors’ breath would be visible. Rumor has it that the amount of moisture in the air actually caused the set to start snowing at one point in time. Ellen Burstyn got permanent injuries from flying around the room in an unsafe harness. She recounts that nine people involved with the film died somewhere around the time of its production process. We’re not sure what would possess Burstyn to compile such a necrology, and we have to suspect the only rational thing: she murdered all nine of these people to give the movie slightly more press.
As if the unbearable cold wasn’t enough, the crew also had to deal with fire. At one point, an unused set burned down for no apparent reason. The crew was so agitated that producers had to bring a priest on to bless the set. While the blessing seemed to alleviate the problems enough for filming to finish, it surprisingly did nothing to repair Ellen Burstyn’s vertebrae.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Do accidents caused by ridiculously extreme negligence count as curses? If so, then this film is at the top of the spellbound list.
The film was intended to be an anthology of four classic series episodes. However, producers decided to just remake three, and include a new story. This extremely blunt and heavy-handed story features a bigot who suddenly finds himself on the other end of oppression. Sorry, I guess we should’ve said “extremely redundant spoiler alert.”
Popular actor Vic Morrow was cast as the star bigot. It would prove to be his final role, as the film’s director killed him. And some kids too. To clarify, director John Landis was so gung-ho about getting children to work a dangerous scene in violation of union hours, even the film’s casting agency refused to work with him. Still, Landis got Vic Morrow and two children to appear together for a dangerous orphan rescue scene. This was post-curfew and without a legally-mandated child supervisor. Landis created more labor disputes than the NBA players’ union.
Guess what? It turns out all of those “crazy safety regulations” are in place for a reason: safety. On the set, a helicopter crashed into Morrow and the children, killing them all. Investigations later revealed that Landis may just have been a crazy fuck. Spielberg was already mad at Landis for doing such unnecessarily risky things as using live ammunition on-set and, you know, assuming he could write as well as Rod Serling.
While these horror films do seem to have a higher-than-normal body count, we can’t help but notice that “cursed films” have a high incidence of completely batshit insane directors. We would think that producers would make this correlation, “shitty directors cut corners,” but instead the mentality is “those other freaks made hit films, let’s hire the craziest director we can find.” Which also explains why Uwe Boll keeps getting work.
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