Horror movies have always been one of the most iconic film genres. Whether it be a movie about monsters, serial killers, or supernatural forces, most people enjoy a good scare every now and then. While filmmakers usually provide plenty of scares for the audience, sometimes the cast and crew get spooked themselves while making a movie.
There have been several accounts of filmmakers claiming their set was haunted and even more accounts of strange coincidences happening during and after the film was made. Whether or not these accounts hold any truth remains a mystery, but the stories are terrifying none the less. Here are 10 horror movies that were said to actually have been filmed on haunted sets.
The Conjuring franchise is one horror series that claims to be based on true stories from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The first spin-off film titled Annabelle was released in 2014 and was directed by John R. Leonetti. Leonetti claims to have experienced not one, but two supernatural occurrences while on set. The first came when he found three lines drawn through a dusty window, which looked like finger marks.
The second came when they shot their first scene with the demon. The demon actor went up the elevator and headed to where the other actors were, but, as he was walking down a hallway, a giant glass light fixture fell on an actor’s head who was playing a janitor. To make matters even creepier, in the script, that same hallway is where the demon kills the janitor.
9 The Exorcist
The Exorcist is often cited as one of the most horrifying films in the history of cinema, but it is also notorious for having a supposedly haunted set. One of the eeriest examples is that the set of the MacNeil’s house caught fire, which destroyed the entire set, except for Regan’s room. Ellen Burstyn actually injured her back when she was thrown to the ground by Reagan, which resulted in a scream that can be heard in the film.
There were also several deaths linked to people who worked on the film including Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros, who both died during post-production. Their characters Burke Dennings and Mrs. Karras also die in the movie.
8 Rosemary’s Baby
Rosemary’s Baby is another film that is linked to real-life tragedy. Composer Krzysztof Komeda died in 1969 after falling off of a rocky slope at a party. Komeda entered a coma for four months until he died. This is very similar to a character’s death in Ira Levin’s novel Rosemary's Baby. Producer William Castle was also hospitalized for kidney stones and supposedly hallucinated in the hospital and yelled, “Rosemary, for God’s sake, drop the knife!”
Leading up to her death, Roman Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate is said to have become interested in the occult after not getting the lead role in Rosemary’s Baby. A pregnant Tate was brutally stabbed to death by the Manson Family in 1969, which was rumored as a ritual sacrifice. John Lennon was even killed across the street from The Dakota, where Rosemary’s Baby was filmed.
The Poltergeist curse supposedly started after Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper decided to use real skeletons during the scene were JoBeth Williams’ character falls into a swimming pool filled with skeletons. Unbeknownst to the cast, the skeletons were actually real since they were cheaper than fake ones.
Will Sampson also blessed the set of the sequel, which apparently didn’t work since Sampson soon died from a kidney transplant, Julian Beck died from stomach cancer, and Heather O’Rourke died at the age of 12 due to cardiac arrest and septic shock. After the release of the first film, actress Dominique Dunne (Dana) was strangled to death by her boyfriend and in 2009, an actor who played a construction worker in the original film was chopped into pieces by an ex-convict.
6 The Possession
The Possession stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a father who buys his daughter (Natasha Calis) an antique box, which happens to house a malicious spirit. The film was inspired by a true story, which involved the actual dybbuk box being sold on eBay, only for the owner to start experiences unexplainable phenomenons.
Morgan was skeptical of the report, but, after witnessing lights explode on set and feeling cold drafts come over the set while they were filming important scenes, he no doubt became a bit less skeptical. The production crew was also holding all of the film's props in storage, which unexplainably burnt to the ground.
5 The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror is a film based on a real-life tragedy that took place in November of 1974 when Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot six of his family members. There have been several movies based on these events, but the crew of the original film in 1979 experienced weird phenomena, particularly the star, James Brolin. Brolin was apparently not sold on the script just yet, but, when he was reading a horrifying part of the movie, a pair of his pants fell off of a hangar in his hotel room.
Even the remake in 2005 experienced strange occurrences. Ryan Reynolds claims to have consistently woken up at 3:15 AM (the Witching Hour), and police even found a body near the boathouse they were filming at.
4 The Conjuring
The Conjuring is arguably one of the scariest horror films of the last decade, but the behind-the-scenes of the film is even more terrifying. Joey King plays one of the young girls in the film that is attacked by the witch, but she actually got hurt in real-life. Despite not doing any stunts or getting injured on set, her body somehow became covered in bruises.
A similar thing happened to Vera Farminga, who first noticed three digital claw marks on her computer that later appeared as bruises on her thigh. Other spooky things that happened on the set include a wooden pig continuously changing spots in the artifact room and when Leigh Whannell visited James Wan, a group of pictures from Insidious showed up on his iPad even though he didn’t put them there.
3 The Ring 2
While The Ring got mixed reviews with fans and critics, the second film in 2005 got mostly negative reviews. The Ring was a remake of the Japanese horror film called Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata. The remake, however, was directed by Gore Verninski and starred Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, and Brian Cox.
During a behind-the-scenes featurette for the movie, Naomi Watts claimed to have felt weird vibrations on set. The set was also completely flooded at one point, which is strange since Samara drowned to death at the bottom of a well.
So Ghost technically isn’t a horror film, per se, but the story behind this film is too terrifying to not include. Ghost is the film from 1990 that revolves around a man getting murdered, only to return as a ghost to help his lover. The film starred Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, but it’s also believed that Heather O’Rourke’s ghost was on the set of the film.
O’Rourke passed away months before Poltergeist III was released. People working on the film claimed to have heard someone running up on the catwalks and also a child laughing. It’s believed that O’Rourke enjoyed climbing on the catwalks, and Ghost was filmed at Stage 19, where O'Rourke filmed episodes of Happy Days.
1 The Omen
The Omen is yet another film that is notorious for having a haunted production. To start off, the original star of the film Gregory Peck and executive Marc Neufeld both traveled in planes that were struck by lightning. Peck then shot himself in the head a few months before shooting was set to start. One scene was filmed at a zoo, which focuses on the reactions of baboons.
The baboons were so wild that an animal trainer had to be brought on set, but the animal trainer died the next day after a tiger got a hold of his head. One of the special effects technicians named John Richardson got into a car accident about a month after the film was released, and, while he survived, his passenger, Liz Moore, was beheaded. This was reminiscent of a scene in The Omen, and reports claim that the two were around 66.6 km away from a town called Ommen in the Netherlands.