Cursed movies have fascinated people for decades. From unexpected deaths to career-killers, some movie projects have become the stuff of legend. Of course, no director wants a cursed movie, and no actor wants to be a part of one. However, with Hollywood’s history, they’re likely to happen. Here are the 25 Most Cursed Movies Ever Filmed.
The Possession movie is based on a real box called “The Dybbuk Box” that’s supposedly possessed. Apparently, bizarre things happened on set and even skeptic Jeffrey Dean Morgan admitted some eerie stuff went down while filming, like light bulbs exploding and props catching fire. When asked if they wanted to bring the real box on set, Morgan refused, and many of the cast members had a mantra, “Don’t mock the box.”
Production problems plagued the set of Waterworld. Originally budgeted at $5 million, it ballooned into $200 million. At the time, it became the most expensive movie in Hollywood history. To make matters worse, it only made $88 million at the box office. On set, it was even more of a disaster with the crew quitting, getting sea sick, or stung by jellyfish. Joss Whedon was brought on to rewrite most of the script and said it was seven weeks of hell.
The Hitchcock classic, Psycho, is about a woman staying at a rural hotel being watched by the innkeeper. While in the infamous shower scene, the woman played by Janet Leigh is slashed to death. On set, one of her stand-ins was Myra Davis, a working actress. Years later, Myra Davis was raped and murdered by a handyman who also turned out to be a huge Hitchcock fan.
The Innkeepers is a movie about the Yankee Pedlar Inn and how two employees try to expose its haunted past. What most people don’t realize is the Yankee Pedlar Inn is a real location in Connecticut and is supposedly haunted in real life. The director Ti West reported bizarre happenings during shooting, including doors closing and TVs turning on and off on their own, lights burning out all the time, and the crew having vivid dreams every night. Even stranger, he picked the Honeymoon Suite as the haunted room in the story because he could easily do a dolly shot. He found out later that is considered the most haunted room in real life.
The Twilight Zone Movie
The Twilight Zone is filled with bizarre and strange stories. But this real life story during the filming of The Twilight Zone movie is especially horrifying. In the movie, Vic Morrow played a bigot who was sent back in time to experience the suffering of those he persecuted. During one scene, he was rescuing two children, and the director wanted a helicopter to fly overhead. The helicopter crashed, crushing one child, and cutting off the heads of Morrow and the other child.
In The Crow, Eric Draven and his fiance are brutally murdered, but Draven comes back to life in order to inflict revenge on his murderers. Made in 1993, The Crow was supposed to make Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, a big star. However, a stunt involving a firearm went all wrong and ended up killing Brandon Lee.
The Passion of the Christ
During the filming of The Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus, endured a slew of unfortunate accidents. He got hypothermia, pneumonia, a dislocated shoulder, as well as being thrashed by a whip. But the worst came when he was struck by lightning. Notably, after the film, both Caviezel and Mel Gibson suffered in their career as well.
While Apocalypse Now received tremendous success both financially and critically, the production was less than smooth. Francis Ford Coppola self-funded the film which almost put him into bankruptcy. Marlon Brando came on set extremely overweight and refused to memorize lines, forcing Coppola to rewrite the script and shoot it differently. To make matters worse, his lead actor Martin Sheen struggled with alcoholism and suffered a heart attack. A typhoon destroyed several sets, payroll was stolen, and several helicopters couldn’t be used because they were rerouted to help fight against rebels in the area.
Poltergeist is about the consequences of disturbing the resting places of people who have died. So, why in the world would Spielberg use real live cadavers during filming? Over a six year time, many of the main actors in the film franchise died in rather disturbing ways, including stomach cancer, bowel obstruction, getting strangled by a boyfriend, and murdered by an ex-con with an ax.
At the time, The Matrix was a cinematic revolution, unleashing not only groundbreaking special effects but an original story not many had seen before. However, as production continued into the sequels, disaster after disaster put the movies in turmoil, including the death of Aliyah, the death of Gloria Foster (The Oracle), and an accident by Keanu Reeves, which put him in the hospital. Production costs also spiraled out of control. The whole franchise was put in jeopardy of collapse. The series ended in a belly flop as Matrix Revolutions was a commercial and critical failure. The once famed directors have yet to make a comeback, releasing mostly box office and critical failures ever since.
The bizarre events surrounding The Omen feel too eerie to brush off as coincidence. Let’s start with Gregory Peck. Shortly after he accepted the role of the adoptive father of a devil child, his real life son shot himself in the head with no explanation. Regardless, Peck continued on, flying out to shoot the film. On the flight over, his plane was struck by lightning. The plane’s engine caught fire and almost crashed. Both screenwriter David Seltzer and producer Mace Neufeld on separate occasions both had their planes struck by lightning, too. This was just the tip of the iceberg. Car accidents, dog attacks, and several other close dances with death continued throughout the whole production.
Basing a movie off of real life paranormal activity will likely attract the wrong kind of attention. While there were no deaths, many of the cast and crew had bizarre experiences. Often the screenwriters would talk with the Perron family, who was affected by the hauntings, over the phone to discuss the film. Frequently, static would interfere with the conversations or the line would disconnect. Carolyn Perron, who was in Atlanta during production, felt an odd presence in her home and fell over, putting her in the hospital. Afterward, the cast and crew had to evacuate their hotel because of a fire.
Starting with George Reeves and going all the way up to Henry Cavill, Superman has had a long and rich history in the movies. However, he’s also one of the only superhero characters to have a curse. First, George Reeves played the character so much that he couldn’t find work elsewhere. He got type-cast and was forever known as Superman. His life ended tragically with a bullet wound. Christopher Reeve was also type-cast, and the role of Superman essentially ended his career before it got started. He also had a tragic accident on horseback and was paralyzed for the rest of his life. Brandon Routh played Superman in the movie Superman Returns, and his career has never recovered. Dean Cain and Tom Welling, two actors who played Superman on television, had careers that never went anywhere after Superman either. Time will tell if Henry Cavill’s career can survive the curse.
The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz has racked up quite a few myths and legends over its lifetime. And while some are totally false, like the Munchkin who hanged himself that you can see in the movie, there are others which are very true. First, the production itself was a disaster. A rotating door of directors came and went on set. The silver makeup on the Tin Man left the actor, Bobby Ebsen, in the hospital due to lung complications. Plus, a pyrotechnics accident burned the Wicked Witch of the West actress, Margaret Hamilton, putting her in the hospital. After the movie, the curse continued. Frank Morgan, who played Oz, was in a horrible car accident. And both Clara Blandick (Auntie Em) and Judy Garland (Dorthy) killed themselves years later.
The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Dark Knight trilogy has a scary amount of tragedy surrounding it. A stuntman working in China on the set of The Dark Knight, unfortunately, died when the truck he was filming on crashed. In 2008, Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) was badly injured in a car accident. And Heath Ledger who played the infamous villain The Joker died from a drug overdose. Years later, on premiere night for The Dark Knight Rises, James Holmes walked into a theater and started shooting, killing twelve people.
The Amityville Horror (1979 and 2005)
Similar to The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror is a true story about a family haunted by spirits in their newly purchased home. In the first movie made in 1979, James Brolin was up for the role of George Lutz but was reluctant to play it. While he read the book, he got to a tense scene and his pants fell off a hanger, causing him to jump. After that, he agreed to play the part. In the 2005, version starring Ryan Reynolds, Reynolds claims he and the crew would all wake up at 3:15 AM, the same time as the killer. Before they started filming, a dead body washed up on shore near the house.
Brainstorm, starring Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood, was a movie about a machine that allows people to live out other people’s experiences. During the filming of the movie, Natalie Wood, her husband Richard Wagner, and Christopher Walken were on a yacht. Supposedly, Natalie Wood fell into the water while drunk and drowned because no one saw her fall in. Years, later, however, the captain of the ship said Richard Wagner killed her. No charges against him were ever made. Her death forced the production to use a body double and after years of delays, the studio released it with no marketing and buried it. It ended the director Douglas Trumbull’s career.
A movie banned in multiple countries and considered by many to be inherently evil is likely to have a curse or two attached to it, and The Exorcist is no exception. During production, the set of the McNeil home caught on fire and delayed filming. Apparently, Reagan’s room was untouched by the fire. Ellen Burstyn, who played the mother of Reagan, was injured during a take when Raegan threw her to the ground. Even more upsetting, while the film was in post-production, two actors who played characters that died in the film also died in real life.
Confederacy of Dunces
The Confederacy of Dunces is a Pulitzer-prize winning novel by John Kennedy Toole. Despite several efforts by Hollywood to adapt it into a movie, it has been cursed for over thirty years and has yet to make it to the big screen. Starting in 1980, the production wanted John Belushi to play the lead role, but after he passed, they went through nine other actors over a long period of time, including John Candy, Chris Farley, John Goodman, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and Zach Galifianakis, among others. It’s currently in the early production stages with Zach Galifianakis still cast but has not moved forward to date. Steven Soderbergh, who was at one time attached to the film, believed the movie was cursed, saying it had “bad mojo” surrounding it.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Terry Gilliam has had his fair share of production problems, but his movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote takes the cake. A long-in-the-making passion project, Quixote started production in 2000 with a small budget but was hit with every act of God imaginable, including floods, loud fighter jets, and Gilliam’s lead actor becoming paralyzed by herniated discs. The project collapsed, but Gilliam didn’t give up. In 2008, he started it back up again but the financing collapsed and put the project back on hold. Determined, Gilliam later found financing from Amazon and was close to production, but John Hurt’s (the latest actor to play his Quixote) pancreatic cancer put the whole project on hold again. The latest effort of his to get the film going was in October 2016. It was days away from filming when it financially fell through once again.
The Conqueror movie was so cursed it literally killed John Wayne and 91 of the 200 cast and crew. Filmed near a nuclear testing site in Utah, they were believed to be exposed to too much radiation, resulting in many of them getting cancer later in life. John Wayne got stomach and lung cancer, and his son, who visited him on the set, was also diagnosed with cancer. The film itself was a critical and box office flop and is considered one of the worst movies of the 1950’s.
The Quantum of Solace
The Bond franchise has seen its fair share of mishaps but none more than the Quantum of Solace. During filming, Daniel Craig accidently sliced off the tip of one of his fingers. On another occasion, he cut his face so badly he needed to get stitches. But that’s not all. A fire caused extensive damage to a set, and several stuntmen at different times were severely injured in car crashes. The film resulted in mixed reviews and less than stellar box office numbers for a Bond movie.
Directed by Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby saw tremendous success, but it was after the movie’s release when everything went wrong. B-movie horror producer William Castle originally wanted to direct Rosemary’s Baby but instead became a producer. Soon after the movie, he received a torrent of hate mail. Then, his health quickly deteriorated. He suffered severe kidney stone pain for most of his life afterward. The film’s composer died shortly after the release of a blood clot, the very same thing that killed Rosemary’s friend in the movie. Finally, and most stomach churning, Roman Polanski’s wife and friends were brutally murdered by the Manson gang.
Rebel Without a Cause
Everyone expected James Dean to be a massive star. Sadly, before Rebel Without a Cause was even released, he died in a car crash in 1955. He would be the first of three actors to star in Rebel Without a Cause to die too soon. Sal Mineo went on to do some other roles, but his career fell to the wayside. Just as he was making a potential comeback, he was stabbed to death while on his way home from a rehearsal. While Natalie Wood lived longer than her other co-stars, she died during the shoot of the movie Brainstorm.
Sometimes the most cursed movies aren’t horror films. In this case, Atuk, a comedy about an Alaskan Inuit, reigns as the most bizarre cursed movie in Hollywood history. Similar to a Confederacy of Dunces, Atuk started off with John Belushi being offered the role but soon after he finished the script, he passed away from a drug overdose. Then, Sam Kinison took the role. When he arrived on set, he demanded the entire script be changed. He was soon fired and shortly after died from a car crash. John Candy was up next but died of a heart attack. Michael O’Donogue was a popular SNL writer who discussed the film with Candy but died of a brain hemorrhage. The last two to be offered the role were Chris Farley and Phil Hartman, one which died of a drug overdose and the other from a gunshot wound. As far as we know, the movie is no longer in production. Probably because the studio got the hint.
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