Whereas some films are a nightmare to make because of underestimated budgets, egotistical actors, harsh weather conditions and bad caterers… some films are a nightmare to make due to something far more sinister…

It’s not uncommon for a film’s director to cite bad luck when his latest masterpiece receives a poor critical or public reception or low box office sales. But what about when a film suffers so much “bad luck”, the only conclusion one can make is that there are sinister paranormal forces at work? Here we take a look at the most cursed movies of all time…

There have been cases in the history of cinema in which the “unfortunate” appellation has taken on a much more distressing meaning. I do not speak of your everyday bad luck like when the main actor  ill with bronchitis on the first day of filming, or when the intern misplaces a reel of film. I refer instead to events, so singular and disturbing, occurring during and after the shoot, to make one believe that someone has placed a curse on the entire project (a rival studio perhaps?) Let’s look at the 5 most cursed films ever made…

The Omen

The Omen, by Richard Donner of 1976, deals with the birth of the Antichrist so you could say that this film was asking to be cursed from the outset! Throughout the period of filming the movie fell victim to several extraordinarily unfortunate events. The lead actor in the film, Gregory Peck, was on a scheduled flight from Los Angeles when suddenly lightning struck the plane. Nothing unusual in that so far but just three days later that very same plane was hit by a second bolt of lightning and this time the writer of the film (David Seltzer) was travelling on board. A few weeks late Mace Neufeld was travelling to L.A on a plane which was also struck by lightning. And after that, the producer Harvey Bernhard was very close to being struck by lightning whilst researching in Italy. It was shortly after this that Bernhard started to carry a crucifix with him!

One of the scenes in the film involved several Baboon’s. The zookeeper hired to look after all the animals on set was mauled to death by a tiger a few days after filming wrapped up.

In order to take some aerial shots the director hired a small airplane. At the time of filming the plane, shortly after taking off, lost altitude and crashed, landing on the car on which the pilot’s wife and children were traveling, there were no survivors.

Another incident concerned the Green Park underground station in London, which blew up as the film crew came to film some scenes of the film.

As if that were not enough, the special effects specialist John Richardson,the special effects specialist who had made the famous scene of the film in which the photographer is beheaded by a sheet of glass, was in Belgium on the set of the film “That Last Bridge” when he had a tremendous car crash. What made the tragic event most disturbing was that his fiance, who was in the car with Richardson, died decapitated by a metal plate. (In the film a character is decapitated by a glass plate.) When the artist recovered himself and discovered that the girl was dead, he saw a road sign saying “Je bent weg van Ommen 66.6 km” or “You are 66.6 km from Ommen”.

Superman

In this case it is not a film in particular but a role. It seems, in fact, that a considerable number of performers of the famous superhero have experienced terribly unfortunate events shortly after the filming of their respective films and TV series. Some fans even believe that the role is cursed and call it  “The Curse of Superman”.

Kirk Alyn played Superman in two TV series in the forties but later he could no longer find a job. The cause would be due to the fact that, for the casting directors, his image was too tied to that of Superman to act in a different role. Oddly enough, the only other role he ever played was a cameo in the role of Lois Lane’s father in the movie “Superman”. Alyn was later hit by Alzheimer’s disease.

George Reeves played Superman in the movie Superman and the mole man of 1951 and the TV series The Adventures of Superman. On June 16, 1959, a few days before he was due to get married, Reeves was found dead at his home with a gunshot wound. Death was filed as suicide, but other theories persist.

Christopher Reeve played Superman in 4 films of the Superman series between 1978 and 1987. In 1995, the actor was thrown from his horse during a riding competition, fracturing two vertebrae and remaining paralyzed from the neck down until the day of his death. (10 October 2004).

I would advise Henry Cavill to keep his wits about him!

The Exorcist


During filing, Ellen Burstyn suffered a permanent spinal injury while shooting a scene where Regan throws her from the bed. The scream of pain her character cries isn’t good acting, it was real. And finally, a short circuit caused a fire that almost completely destroyed the famous Macneil house used in the film, causing  200,000 dollars worth of damage and delaying filming for 6 weeks. Regan’s demonic bedroom somehow remained undamaged.During this film the unfortunate events were so numerous and tragic that  director William Friedkin asked the Reverend William O’Malley (who in the film played the role of Father Dyer) to perform a real exorcism to purify the set. Nine people related to the film died during the shoot. Actor Jack MacGowran died a few months after the release of the film in theaters. The son of actor Jason Miller was almost killed in a motorbike accident just a few meters from the set.

Poltergeist

According to some, the curse that hit the film Poltergeist was triggered by the desecration of the sacred American Indian burial ground on which the film’s house was built on. After the end of the shooting, six cast members died, two of whom unfortunately were very young.

Hether O'Rurke
Heather O’Rourke star of Poltergeist

Dominique Dunne died in 1982 when she was just 22, strangled by her ex-boyfriend. For this reason his character (Dana Freeling) appears only in the first film. The young actress Heather O’Rourke, died on 1 February 1988 (just before the release of the last film in the series) only 12 years due to complications arising from Crohn’s disease.

Director Brian Gibson (2004) and actors Julian Beck (1985) and Will Sampson (1987) all died of the disease. While actor Lou Perry (2009) was shot dead at his home by a former convict.

Rebel Without A Cause

Older and perhaps less known than others, it is the film that has contributed most to building the legend of James Dean. Perhaps also because of the fact that unfortunately the actor died in a car accident a few days before the release of the film in theaters (September 1955).
After him, the other three protagonists of the film also died in mysterious circumstances. Dean’s friend, Nick Adams, died of an overdose of painkillers at his home in Beverly Hills, it was never clear whether he had committed suicide or had been murdered. Sal Mineo was stabbed in the heart on the street, even today nobody know’s  who the killer was and Natalie Wood died while she was on a yacht with her husband Robert Wagner – another incident which nobody seems to know much about.

Despite the incredible amount of bad luck attributed to these films, they remain absolute masterpieces, milestones in the history of the seventh art and deserve to be seen and appreciated from the first to the last. I hope you enjoyed this article and remember,  it’s just a movie … What’s the worst that can happen?

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