There are urban legends surrounding every walk of life and the world of movies is no different. Some are rebuffed – like the supposed “ghost child” on the set of Three Men and a Baby turning out to be a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson – while others remain a mystery.
In some cases, mysterious events happening on and around movie sets have led people to believe that the sets in question were actually cursed. Strange occurrences, freak accidents and even, in some cases, the deaths of crew and cast members, have resulted in such conclusions.
It’s an often tragic topic, but it’s certainly an interesting one – and it’s what this video is all about. Here are ten movies with shockingly cursed sets.
The Passion of the Christ
Movies that deal with religion are notorious for having cursed sets and none dealt with the subject more controversially than Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ – and it was the movie’s star Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus, that suffered the supposed curse most severely in this case.
Caviezel was struck by lightning during filming, as was assistant director Jan Michelini on two occasions. But Caviezel also obtained lacerations during whipping scenes, dislocated his shoulder while performing the crucifixion scenes, suffered with hypothermia, and contracted both a lung infection and pneumonia. He also suffered painful skin infections from the makeup that was used to depict his gruesome injuries in the movie. Poor guy!
Given the subject matter of the infamously controversial 1973 movie The Exorcist, is it any wonder that the movie’s set was said to be cursed? Not only did strange and terrible things happen to the movie’s cast and crew, but even audiences were affected by the supposed curse.
Where do we even start here? Well, the movie’s set inexplicably burned down and delayed filming for six weeks. Star Ellen Burstyn hurt her back and missed weeks of filming whilst bedbound. Actor Jack McGowran died suddenly just one week after he finished filming his role in the movie. Half of the crew were struck down with sunstroke or dysentery whilst filming on location in Iraq. A night-watchman and a special effects expert died during the making of the film and, ultimately, things got so bad that the director recruited a priest to exorcise the set. During screenings of the movie, viewers blacked out, vomited, had heart attacks, and one woman even miscarried.
Most of the movies on this list are from the horror genre – which often makes the fact that the sets were cursed even creepier – but that’s not always the case. 1999’s The Matrix is a sci-fi classic, but events that occurred during production led people to believe in something called “The Curse of the Matrix”.
Two cast members – Aaliyah and Gloria Foster – died during filming (in a plane crash and from diabetes respectively), Keanu Reeves’ real-life relationship broke down after the birth of his stillborn child during production, Reeves himself had to spend his own money to ensure production continued after mounting costs threatened to bring it to a halt, a number of the special-effects houses commissioned to produce individual shots went bust – and that’s not even everything, but we’d be talking all day if we tried to cover it all.