Top 10 Film Productions That Were Supposedly Cursed

This has been a crazy week. From elections to celebrity break-ups, the news has been full of shocking and unexpected events. One of the biggest stories involved my beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series and breaking a 108 year old curse. Whether you believe in curses or not, they sure do make things more dramatic. So, I thought about the mysterious curses that haunt some classic films and attempted productions. Here is our ranking of the Top 10 film curses and the stories behind them. If you think we missed one, let us know in the talk backs below.


Before audiences began vomiting and blacking out during screenings of William Friedkin's film, the production itself was beset by numerous bizarre occurrences. From the death of a nightwatchman and a special effects worker to film crew suffering from dysentery and sunstroke, everything that could have gone wrong did on the set of the film. Ellen Burstyn injured her back and was bedridden, actor Jack McGowran died suddenly a week after wrapping the film, and the set burned down at one point and the film back six weeks. Eventually, Friedkin had an actual exorcism performed on the production and once that happened, no further disturbances were recorded. Now that is a curse.


An animal handler died in a tiger attack a day after filming the baboon scene. A plane to be used during production crashed and killed everyone on board. A special effects supervisor was involved in a car crash that decapitated his girlfriend, mimicking a scene in the film (it happened on Friday the 13th, too and near a road sign that read Ommen, 66.6km). During production, the planes of David Seltzer, star Gregory Peck, and producer Mace Neufeld were all struck by lightning. Yeah, this movie is cursed.


The Tobe Hooper directed classic about a home built on an ancient Native American burial ground has a fairly tenuous history. There is a rumored curse associated with the film in that four actors involved in the trilogy died at some point after the films were made. Dominique Dunne was murdered by her boyfriend, actor Will Sampson died a year after supposedly performing an exorcism on set of the sequel, creepy old man Julian Beck died after completing the sequel, and series star Heather O'Rourke died before the final film was released. Some stories claim real human remains were used during production, but that cannot be confirmed.


While Roman Polanski's film is a critically lauded classic, many have theorized actual connections to Satanism during the film's production. While involvement from known Satanist Anton LaVey have been refuted, the Manson Family murders that claimed the life of Polanski's wife Sharon Tate a year later have entered into the urban legends surrounding the film. Add to that the sudden death of the film's composer Krzysztof Komeda whose death mimicked that of character Hutch. Also, producer William Castle received a disturbing message that read “Bastard. Believer of Witchcraft. Worshipper at the Shrine of Satanism. My prediction is you will slowly rot during a long and painful illness which you have brought upon yourself.” Castle would collapse soon after and require surgery along with ailments that recurred during production of the film.


Mel Gibson's film is a polarizing one and the events that occurred during production may strike some more as divine intervention than curse. During filming, star Jim Caviezel underwent traumatic physical issues as he endured pain and suffering to portray Jesus' final days and crucifixion including being struck by lightning. In addition, Assistant director Jan Michelini was also struck by lightning, twice. What are the odds?


Another eerie tragedy, the John Landis-directed segment of the film anthology featured Vic Morrow playing a racist forced to live through times in history as an oppressed minority. During a scene involving a helicopter rescue, Morrow and an illegally-hired child actor were decapitated by the crashing vehicle. To make things more scary, Morrow had taken out a life insurance policy a year earlier after having a premonition about dying in a helicopter accident. An artist also drew a crashed helicopter in a sketch for the same scene during pre-production, echoing the horrible event that would follow.


One of the most tragic on this list, THE CROW is the cult favorite that would have been star Brandon Lee's breakout role. Instead, he was accidentally killed by a prop gun on set. Oddly, the death echoed events in his father, Bruce Lee's, final film GAME OF DEATH which featured a similar incident. The biopic DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY, released two months after THE CROW incident, featured a demon going after Brandon Lee during a dream sequence. Multiple others on set were injured or hurt during production which lead to the curse surrounding the film.


Less a curse than a truly tragic tale, THE CONQUEROR was a massive epic about Genghis Khan that became an epic scale failure due to tone-deaf casting and an insane budget. Couple that with the fact that it was filmed in Utah only 200 miles downwind from a United States nuclear testing range. Almost half of the 220 person crew along with multiple visitors to the set died or were diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to the nuclear radiation with some committing suicide after diagnosis. John Wayne was not sure if his cancer was due to this film or not, but you have to admit the ratio of those affected is pretty disturbing.

#9 - ATUK

Based on the novel about an Eskimo who comes to New York, ATUK was also a project developed with John Belushi in mind for the lead, but he died before it could get made. Oddly, Chris Farley and John Candy were also attached to this project and died. Even comedian Sam Kinison was linked at one point and kicked the bucket before it could get made. It could be just a series of coincidences, but the film has never made it to production as rumors of a curse abound.


A film long lingering in development hell, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES has been linked to everyone from John Belushi to John Candy with other actors in between. Others like Chris Farley and Divine were attached to the lead role. What do they all have in common? Yeah, they died at early ages while linked to the film. Still, actors like Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell are alive and kicking despite rumored involvement with the film, so keep an eye on them.

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