By Alyson Duncan
Who doesn’t love a good horror movie? There is something truly exhilarating about watching a terrifying tale unfold leaving you at the edge of your seat. However, we do so safe in the knowledge that it is just a movie and all of that horror ends when the camera stops rolling… or does it? Through the years there have been a number of reports of horror movies that were plagued by some very real horror leaving many to believe that the movies themselves might have been cursed. Let’s take a closer look at some of the horror movies that have been subjected to an apparent curse.
One horror movie which found itself struck by multiple tragedies was 1976 classic ‘The Omen’. The first tragedy occurred during production, although it was more of a freak accident. An animal handler ended up being eaten alive on set by a lion! Had this been a lone occurrence, it would probably have been brushed off as just a horrible accident. However, the freak accidents soon began to mount up. Gregory Peck, who played Damien’s father Robert Thorn and executive producer Mace Neufeld were both struck by lightning while travelling on separate planes. Thankfully, both of the men survived, but another of the movie’s crew was not so lucky. The film’s designer John Richardson was involved in a strange car crash shortly after the movie wrapped. In the accident his girlfriend was decapitated in almost the exact same fashion as the character of Jennings was in the film. With so many strange accidents befalling those linked to the movie it is no surprise that many believed it to be cursed!
The 1982 horror movie ‘Poltergeist’ had a number of young cast members and they were either very unlucky or subject to a evil curse depending on your take on things! Oliver Robbins, who starred in the movie as Robbie Freeling, almost died during filming of the scene when an evil clown puppet dragged him under the bed when he ended up being choked by the puppet’s arms. Oliver survived, but Heather O’Rourke, who played his sister Carol Anne Freeling, was not so lucky. Shortly after filming the third movie in the trilogy Heather died during a routine surgical procedure aged just 12 years old. Finally, the third of the actors who portrayed the Freeling children – 22 year old Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling) died just months after the release of Poltergeist after being strangled by a violent ex-boyfriend.
The Exorcist was considered one of the most terrifying, not to mention controversial, films of its time, but perhaps more terrifying than the movie itself is the number of deaths and injuries linked to it! Cast members Jack McGowran and Valsiliki Maliaros both died before the film was even released. In addition to this, both Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn suffered fairly significant spinal injuries during filming. A night watchman and a technician both died unexpectedly during production and both Linda Blair and Max Von Sydrow had family bereavements. Mercedes McCambridge also experienced a run of very bad luck which some say stem from her suing the movie producers after her name was left out of the credits initially. Mercedes was a vocal actor responsible for Regan’s demonic voice. She went through various personal trials and her son murdered his wife and kids before taking his own life, blaming Mercedes in his suicide note!
Aside from the death and injury surrounding the film, there were also a number of other freaky occurrences! For example, when the movie premiered in Rome, there was some extreme weather occurring that included lashing rain and some very atmospheric thunder and lightning! Movie goers also claim to have heard growling inside the theatre that they say did not sound like thunder. Most of the set was destroyed by an unexplained fire and had to be rebuilt, but strangely Regan’s room was unscathed!
That’s a great deal of bad luck if you are going to claim it is all a coincidence. It is easy to see why many feel that The Exorcist movie was cursed by the very demon it was about – the tale is based loosely on a true story.
The Conjuring & The Conjuring 2
So far, it seems like these curses have revolved around some older classic horror movies, so let’s get a little bit more up to date by looking at The Conjuring (2013) and it’s recently released sequel which both seemed to have experienced some real life paranormal activity!
As with many movies that are based on true hauntings, The Conjuring seemed to attract some unwanted attention from unexplained forces. The cast and crew had to be evacuated from their hotel after it mysteriously caught fire. Additionally, Vera Farmiga reported feeling very uneasy on set and actually refused to bring her script into her home. One night on set she opened up her laptop and found 3 unexplained slashes across the screen. She also says that her dog would growl and bark at thin air when brought to the set with her. Crew members also stated that when The Perron family, on whom the movie is based, visited the set there were strange gusts of ice cold winds and Carolyn Perron was pushed to the ground!
The strange happenings seemed to have carried on over to the sequel as well! The movie was shot on a notoriously haunted sound stage on the Warner Bros lot and the strange occurrences soon began to mount up, starting with strange photos suddenly appearing on Leigh Whannell’s iPad during a visit to the set – ones that he did not take and which has thus far been unable to delete from the device. There were also reports if a heavy curtain violently waving around when there was no wind. Cast and crew were apparently so disturbed that Patrick Wilson called in a priest to bless the set! In a strange related tale, a man died while watching the movie at a theatre in India. It is believed that he had a heart attack which is probably just bad timing, but things get decidedly weird when you learn that his body and the man transporting it have gone missing without a trace while en route to a hospital for a post mortem!
Whether these occurrences are mere coincidence, elaborate PR campaigns or genuine unexplained activity it is certainly interesting to see just how many weird circumstances have been linked to our favourite horror movies over the years!
About the Author: Alyson Duncan is a freelance writer with a passion for the weird and the wonderful! As an amateur paranormal investigator she spends much of her free time in dark abandoned buildings chasing