Thursday, 15 September 2016

Our top 10 most cursed movies

We should probably preface this with the clear statement that we don't really believe in curses.

That said, some films are certainly unluckier than others. What follows is a list of movies ranked not by their quality, but by the strength of the curse – or simply bad luck – that struck them.

You should probably throw some salt over your shoulder before you read it.

The Conjuring (2013)

There are a lot of horror films that claim to be cursed – which of course has got absolutely nothing to do with the fact it is a great (and ultimately cheap) marketing method.

The Conjuring's apparent curse saw the cast occasionally getting their telephone calls cut off during conversations and director James Wan's dog barking at nothing. Not that spooky.

Actress Vera Farmiga also opened her laptop one day to find five claw marks across the computer screen. Which is actually pretty spooky if it is not made up.

These events were apparently so scary that the crew hired an on-set exorcist for the sequel, which, again, definitely had nothing to do with marketing.

The Passion Of The Christ (2004)

Cursed movies are often associated with the devil, but The Passion Of The Christ seemed to invoke God's fury. That is because both Jim Caviezel (who played Christ) and assistant director Jan Michelini were struck by lightning during the filming of the Sermon on the Mount. For Michelini, it was actually the second time he had been struck during production.

One person getting hit by lightning is unlucky, two certainly seems to be a vendetta. Still, at least director Mel Gibson made it off the set without accruing any bad luck. His career was just fine after this film was released.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

While it possible to understand how certain films could potentially invoke terrible miss fortune, we are not entirely sure why the popular musical Moulin Rouge! could befall such bad luck. It may not have suffered lightning strikes, but it did feature a litany of unlucky events including broken bones, serious falls and Courtney Love.

Nicole Kidman broke her rib... twice, and fell down the stairs tearing the cartilage in her knee. Luhrmann was forced to film several of her scenes from the waist up because Kidman was in a wheelchair.

Meanwhile Love was one of the actresses who auditioned to play Satine, and didn't take too kindly to being passed over. Legend has it that during a 1999 tour she dedicated Miss World – a song about secret self-loathing – to Kidman.

But Love had Luhrmann over a barrel, scoring a cool $125,000 for the rights to use her late husband Kurt Cobain's song Smells Like Teen Spirit in the film, as well as a contract that allowed her to block the plan for her nemesis Marilyn Manson to perform part of the song for Moulin Rouge!'s opening montage.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

Another popular movie with a set plagued by trauma was The Wizard Of Oz. The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, had to hang up his metal outfit and quit after getting a lung infection from the  aluminium dust in his make-up. But that is not all. Winged monkey extras fell from their wires, Margaret Brainard Hamilton – who played the Wicked Witch – caught fire and had to take time off to recover, and even Toto broke a paw.

That is certainly a lot of nasty events, but, that said, we are not sure if this film was so much cursed as it was really bad at health and safety.

By the way, the myth that a munchkin hanged themselves on set and can be seen on camera is obviously total nonsense.

Superman (1978)

The apparent Superman 'curse' has covered both TV and movies, and is actually too serious to joke about. In fact, this is the section of the feature where we stop making fun as each cursed film from here on in has suffered serious tragedy.

George Reeves heartbreakingly committed suicide in 1959, after playing the iconic character on the hugely popular TV series The Adventures Of Superman. Conspiracy theorists note that his fingerprints weren't found on the gun, and suggest that the actor was in fact murdered – but whatever the cause of death, it took Reeves too soon.

As for the movies, Christopher Reeve had retired from the Superman role when he was thrown from his horse and paralysed from the neck down and also died too soon, aged 52.

Mean spirited theorists point to the careers of Dean Cain, Brandon Routh and Tom Welling, who all played the Man Of Steel, as further evidence of a curse.

Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Rebel Without A Cause is a legendary film that will be remembered forever. Sadly, three of its leads weren't able to see its reputation grow, as they were all taken before their time.

James Dean died in a car accident shortly after completing filming, aged just 24. Sal Mineo was killed by a mugger outside his house in 1976, aged 37. Natalie Wood drowned in 1981, aged 43, in an event that was initially deemed an accident, but has subsequently been recategorised by police as potentially suspicious.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

The plot of Rosemary's Baby sees an actor selling his soul to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune, sacrificing his beautiful wife as part of the bargain.

It was director Roman Polanski's breakthrough film, bringing him major success and widespread acclaim. The film was released in 1968, and in the same year, Polanski married model turned actress Sharon Tate.

Just a year later, Tate died at the hands of Charles Manson's 'family', who broke into their home announcing: "I'm the devil and I'm here to do the devil's business."

That horrific event, alongside the early death of Rosemary's Baby composer Krzysztof Komeda months after the film was released – and the obvious Satanic connection – have led many conspiracy theorists to label Rosemary's Baby as a truly cursed film.

The Exorcist (1973)

Not only was shooting delayed by a set fire – which eerily left Regan's bedroom unharmed – Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair seriously hurt their backs during filming, and there are multiple deaths associated with the Exorcist 'curse'.

Actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros died while the film was in post-production – both played characters who died in the movie. In 1987, actress Mercedes McCambridge, who was the voice of the demon Pazuzu, suffered bleak tragedy when her son murdered his wife and children before taking his own life.

Poltergeist (1982)

Over a six-year period following the creation of the Poltergeist franchise, three crew members died in tragic circumstances. In 1982 actress Dominique Dunne, who played the Freelings' oldest daughter Dana, was strangled by her ex-boyfriend – she was just 22. Will Sampson, who played medicine man Taylor, died in 1987 from complications following surgery.

One year later, Heather O'Rourke, who played young Carol-Anne, the main character of all three instalments, suffered cardiac arrest and died. She was only 12 years old.

The Omen (1976)

Topping our list of apparent 'cursed' movies is The Omen, because even if the stories surrounding this film are just coincidences, they are still really disturbing.

Not one but three planes carrying cast or crew suffered extreme weather – Gregory Peck and screenwriter David Seltzer took two separate planes to the UK, and both were struck by lightning. Executive producer Mace Neufeld's plane from Rome was also forced to fly through a lightning storm. Later, Peck's plane to Israel crashed, killing everyone on board. Peck had cancelled his ticket moments before.

Director Richard Donner's hotel was bombed by the IRA. Special effects artist John Richardson was involved in a car crash that killed his girlfriend. All hugely tragic events, which, when tied to the film's plot – about the Antichrist killing off his enemies – certainly have an added air of creepiness.

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