A Breakdown of Movies That Are Rumored to be Cursed
Many film and television sets have fallen victim to dangerous accidents. But some of those are believed to be haunted-- or worse-- cursed.
From tragic deaths to a spooky warning from a priest, these movies may have something more sinister going on than simple bad luck.
In this episode, I'll cover the legends surrounding the "curses" on Poltergeist, The Exorcist, and The Omen.
*This is not an exact transcript, but rather an outline of my notes.
I’m so excited because it’s October yall!! So today’s episode is going to be a little bit different because I wanted to do something kind of spooky.
But before I get into that, I have a quick update to give…
R. KELLY WAS FOUND GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS ON MONDAY!
Idk if any of you guys followed this trial but man, it was not like the first trial. His former entourage members took the stand, a lot of his victims took the stand, they showed a NEW TAPE where R. Kelly has sex with a girl and both him and the girl repeatedly mention that “she’s 14.”
His sentencing isn’t until May 4th 2022 but he will likely be facing decades in prison.
Today I’m going to tell you all about famous movies that are known to be cursed.
These are films that had strange accidents happen on and off set. Some of the actors got sick and died.
A lot of people argue whether some of this stuff is just coincidence, but some of this stuff is so eerie that it’ll make a non-believer question everything.
Some of the better known cursed films are Poltergeist, The Exorcist, The Omen, and Superman.
So first, let me tell you about the movie Poltergeist and why people believe it’s cursed.
“"I assumed that they were prop skeletons made out of plastic or rubber . . . I found out, as did the crew, that they were using real skeletons, because it’s far too expensive to make fake skeletons out of rubber."”
Jo Beth Williams (played the mom)
Poltergeist is a classic horror film from 1982. It was about a family that lived in a haunted house and starred 6 year old Heather O’Rourke as well as Dominique Dunne.
Dominique Dunne was a young actress, she was only 22 when she appeared in Poltergeist. She was also in Fame and CHIPs.
Dominique died just 4 months after release of Poltergeist.
She was dating a guy named Jon Sweeney, who was an angry, abusive dude. This relationship was absolutely terrifying. They would fight, even when they had company over. Friends of theirs said that they had witnessed Jon ripping out chunks of her hair. Another friend said that he saw him strangle her and tried to kill her, before he intervened.
One time, Jon beat her so badly that she was covered in bruises. Like she had a big black eye and busted lip. She was filming an episode of Hill Street Blues where she played a victim abuse and they actually didn’t put any makeup on her. They had her appear just like she was. So if you watch that, all those bruises and marks on her face, they’re all real.
Which is kind of alarming? Like did anyone do anything to try to help or were they just like “oh you look perfect, lets do this.” and then move on?
In October 1982, Dominique was at home rehearsing with actor David Packer, when Jon showed up and insisted on talking to her on the porch. David says he heard them arguing before he heard smacking sounds, and a loud thud. He went outside and saw Jon standing over her body and Jon said “call 911”.
David called 911 and they told him it was out of their jurisdiction.
(they can’t contact the right jurisdiction???)
He also called a friend and told him “if I’m found dead, Jon Sweeney is the killer.”
Police did show up and Jon met them in the driveway with his hands up and said “I killed my girlfriend and I tried to kill myself.”
So that’s the first death from the Poltergeist cast and yea, probably unrelated to the curse. But it doesn’t end there.
Actor Will Sampson
was concerned about the use of real skeletons in the first film and offered to perform a real life exorcism.
He's believe to have conducted the ceremony alone and in the middle of the night, but the cast reportedly felt relived afterwards.
However, less than a year after the film's release - the curse had claimed another victim.
Sampson had longtime health problems as he suffered from a degenerative condition called scleroderma, which affected his heart and lungs.
He underwent a heart and lung transplant in the summer of 1987, but died of post-operative kidney failure on June 3.
Heather O’Rourke played Carol Ann (the girl who got sucked into the TV) at age 6. She was in Poltergeist I, II, & III.
She died just four months before the movie's release aged just 12.
In January 1988, Heather fell ill with what appeared to be flu-like sytmptoms. She collapsed at home the following day and was rushed to hospital.
She underwent surgery, but went into cardiac arrest again in recovery and doctors were unable to save her.
She passed away on February 1988, just weeks after her 12th birthday, and it was later reported she died from congenital stenosis and septic shock.
Character actor Lou Perryman became the second castmember to fall victim to murder. He played Pugsley in the original movie and suffered a brutal end in 1992 when he was hacked to death with an axe aged 67.
A convict recently released from prison, Seth Christopher Tatum, confessed he'd killed Perryman at his home after coming off his medication and going on a drinking binge.
Actor Richard Lawson played one of the parapsychologists and he almost fell victim. He narrowly survived a plane crashe that claimed the lives of 27 of the 51 passengers, but Lawson was among the survirors.
He put his lucky escape down to a last-minute seat change that saved his life.
The urban legend says that anyone associated with the film would be cursed for life.
If you haven’t seen The Exorcist from 1973, you gotta go watch it. Now’s the perfect time. This movie was the first scary movie of this magnitude. It was the first horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. People threw up in the movie theaters, some theaters started handing out barf bags; people straight up fainted. One lady actually passed out and slipped out of her seat, and her face hit the chair in front of her and she broke her jaw. She sued, btw, and Warner Bros. settled with her outside of court.
Believe it or not, The Exorcist movie was actually based on a true story.
There was a case that happened in Maryland in 1949 and it’s known as “The Exorcism of Ronald Doe”. The victim, “Ronald Doe” was a 14 year old boy who was believed to be possessed by a demonic spirit.
Supposedly, his Aunt Harriet gave him a ouija board, and when Aunt Harriet died, spooky stuff started happening. Apparently, wherever Ronald was, furniture would move on its own and things would start levitating.
The family took him to their pastor, who was like “nah, you gotta see the catholics about this.” So they saw a priest, who took them to a hospital and performed an exorcism on Ronald there.
Allegedly, during the exorcism, Ronald had hand restraints but was somehow able to get his hand out and reached under the bed and like, broke a spring from the mattress, and slashed the priest’s arm with it. So they had to end the exorcism.
Before the next exorcism ritual began, another priest, Walter Halloran, was called to the psychiatric wing of the hospital, where he was asked to assist Bowdern. William Van Roo, a third Jesuit priest, was also there to assist. Halloran stated that during this scene words such as "evil" and "hell", along with other various marks, appeared on the teenager's body. Allegedly, during the Litany of the Saints portion of the exorcism ritual, the boy's mattress began to shake. Moreover, Roland broke Halloran's nose during the process. Halloran told a reporter that after the rite was over, the anonymous subject of the exorcism went on to lead "a rather ordinary life."
Cast and crew members were said to have witnessed things levitating or moving on their own. Like a phone floating in the air and then dropping on the floor.
The film faced a few production delays but one of the most notable was a fire that engulfed the set for Regan’s family home, which was where most of the movie takes place, including the exorcism. Allegedly, a pigeon flew into a circuit box and that’s what caused the fire.
What’s interesting is that the entire set burned down, except for Regan’s room, which is where the exorcism scene takes place.
This happened while no one was there, so no one was hurt. But it did set back production by about 6 weeks.
During filming, actor Jason Miller who played a priest in the movie, was approached by a real priest on the street. He apparently knew nothing about the movie but he said to Jason “Reveal the devil for the trickster that he is, he will seek retribution against you or he will even try to stop what you are trying to do to unmask him.
The first time the film was screened in Rome, there was a lightning storm and the theater was located right in between two churches. A lightning strike hit a giant 400 year old cross and made it fall.
There are reportedly 9 deaths associated with the film. They all occurred before filming was completed. And when I say “associated” I mean deaths that happened to the cast or crew members, or their relatives.
The first was actor Jack MacGowran. In the movie, he was Regan’s first victim. In real life, he died from complications from the flu shortly after they finished filming, at just 54 years old. He died in January 1973, 11 months before the movie’s release.
Less than a month later, the actress who played Father Karras’ mother and died in the hospital in the movie, she died of natural causes too.
Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn were injured on set. Both injured their backs really badly from the scenes where they’re harnessed and like, thrown around the set. People attribute this to the curse, but Ellen has said that the crew members who controlled their harnesses were too rough; and Linda said that they just weren’t always secured properly.
Those are the main ones that are directly connected to the cast and crew.
The last one I want to mention is The Omen.
The Omen came out in 1976 and it was about a couple and the boy they adopt named Damien, who was the antichrist.
This movie is said to be one of the most cursed movies ever. Rumors started spreading around Hollywood that Satan was trying to stop the film from being made.
In October 1975, Gregory Peck was on a plane to start filming and
The lightning strike caused an engine to catch fire and the plane came dangerously close to crash-landing in the Atlantic. Just a few weeks later, Mace Neufeld, a producer, was on his way to film and his plane was ALSO struck by lightning while crossing the Atlantic. And, because all things happen in threes, screenwriter David Seltzer also was riding on a plane towards the set as well...and, you guessed it, he also had a non-fatal lightning strike.
There was also an incident where the crew was supposed to get on a plane, and their flight was changed at the last minute. The original plane that they were supposed to get on, apparently took off and flew right into a flock of birds, obstructing the view and disorienting the flight crew.
Oddly… the plane crashed into a car, and that car actually had the family of the pilot inside of it.
There were no survivors.
The film’s producer, Mace Neufeld, had made plans to go to a restaurant one evening. Before they got there, the building was destroyed in an explosion.
Some believe that the film isn’t actually cursed, but rather “blessed by the devil”. The idea is that the devil loves the attention so he wasn’t actually causing harm to the crew, but rather protecting them while violence happened around them.
Not long after that, Neufeld and his wife checked out early from their hotel in London, and shortly after that, the hotel had another explosion.
Most reports blame the IRA, the Irish Republican Army for the explosions.
The special effects designer who was responsible for the famous decapitation scene fell victim to an event that was.. Eerily similar to that scene.
He was driving with his wife and was in a head-on crash that decapitated his wife.
Even spookier, he said that on the side of the road, there was a sign that pointed to a town called Ommen, it said “Ommen - 66.6 km”
There was an animal trainer working with the baboons they used in the film. The day after they filmed that scene, the trainer was mauled by a tiger. The tiger grabbed him by the head and killed him instantly.
There was a scene where they used trained Rottweilers. One day, Gregory Peck’s stuntman was attacked by the dogs. They ignored commands from their trainer and were able to cause pretty heavy injuries. Fortunately, he did not die.