Horror Films Plagued by Real-Life “Curses”: A Human Touch

The horror genre transcends the realm of fabricated spooky tales on-screen; it delves into the eerie real-life mysteries that have plagued many films over the years. While iconic horror figures like John Kramer from Saw or the infamous Texas Chainsaw Massacre remain fictional, one can’t help but wonder if classics like Friday the 13th or Freddy Krueger draw inspiration from actual events.

The Horror Genre's Dark Side: Films Cursed by Accidents and Tragedies on Set
The Horror Genre’s Dark Side: Films Cursed by Accidents and Tragedies on Set

Instead of heinous serial killers and supernatural monsters coming to life, some notorious horror movies have gained infamy for being cursed. These films have experienced a string of peculiar incidents during production, on-set accidents, and even tragedies that unfolded after shooting concluded. Take, for instance, The Exorcist, where Linda Blair fractured her spine during a possession scene, and a fire on set miraculously spared only the bedroom.

These movies share unexplainable stories that extend far beyond coincidence, and here are a few spine-chilling examples:

  1. The Crow: More than a Tragedy
    The 1994 gothic comic book adaptation, “The Crow,” achieved cult status but also marked a haunting chapter in cinema history. Brandon Lee, who starred as Eric Draven, met an untimely end during filming. While not a traditional horror movie, its gothic atmosphere warrants inclusion. Tragedy struck when Lee was accidentally shot with a real bullet during a scene, as a prop gun had been loaded with live ammunition. Oddly, a voicemail warning of impending misfortune arrived before production, and bizarre incidents, including a crew member’s severe burns and a hurricane’s destruction, added to the eerie aura.
  2. Rosemary’s Baby: A Tale of Multiple Deaths
    This 1968 horror classic, based on Ira Levin’s novel, features a story that extends beyond its psychological horror. Composer Krzysztof Komeda fell into a coma, mirroring events in the film. Even more chilling, Sharon Tate, who auditioned for a role and appears briefly in the background, tragically met her end at the hands of Charles Manson’s followers while the movie was in theaters.
  3. Poltergeist: Infamous for Cursed History
    The 1982 horror film “Poltergeist” terrified viewers with its story of a family haunted by malevolent spirits. Yet, it also became one of Hollywood’s most cursed movies. Tragedy struck with the death of Dominique Dunne, who played the older sister, shortly after the film’s release. Julian Beck, who portrayed Reverend Henry Kane in the sequel, succumbed to cancer, and Will Sampson, Taylor in “Poltergeist II,” passed away following a heart and lung transplant. Most chillingly, child star Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Ann, died from septic shock caused by an undetected intestinal blockage.
  4. The Omen: A Warning Ignored
    The 1976 film “The Omen” tells the chilling tale of a child who turns out to be the antichrist. From the beginning, there were ominous warnings against creating the film, with claims that the devil didn’t want it made. These warnings seemed to materialize with a series of accidents and fatalities, including Gregory Peck’s son’s suicide, lightning strikes on Peck’s and an executive’s plane, and a fatal plane crash during aerial shots. Even the animal trainer for the zoo scene met a tragic end at the hands of a lion.
  5. The Conjuring: Scares Beyond the Screen
    The 2013 film “The Conjuring,” inspired by real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, kickstarted an interconnected horror universe. While filming, actress Vera Farmiga experienced eerie occurrences, including waking up at the same time as the witch’s death in the movie and discovering claw marks on her thighs. In the spinoff sequel, “Annabelle Comes Home,” actress McKenna Grace reported doors opening, shadowy figures, and lights mysteriously turning off.

These tales of curses and misfortunes add an extra layer of spine-tingling intrigue to these classic horror movies.

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