ByCassie Benter, writer at Creators.co
Breaker of Games, Mother of Bug Finding. Co-creator of AdventureJam. Twitter: @FenderBenter
Cassie Benter

Life is full of unexplainable events. One could argue that what happened on and off these sets is just purely coincidental or bad luck. But after so many terrible things have happened, you have to wonder... could it be something more? Here's 3 films that have some truly horrifying stories behind them!

The Omen (1976)

Meet Damien - one of the classic kids of horror.
Meet Damien - one of the classic kids of horror.

Plot: The Omen's story puts the focus on some mysterious deaths that have been occurring around an American ambassador. It is quickly speculated that the deaths are related to the ambassador's son, Damien, that may be the Antichrist.

Why Is It Cursed?: The movie was one of the most successful horror titles of its time, fueled by both the eerie plot, and sadly, by some of the unfortunate events that happened on and off the set. Lord only knows if the film's story had anything to do with said events, but even the crew themselves have stated that it was as if "someone" didn't want the film to be made.

Watch some of the crew members talk about their experiences!

What transpired on and off the set of The Omen?

1. Two months before filming, the son of the lead actor, Gregory Peck, committed suicide. Shortly thereafter, Peck decided to cancel his flight reservation at the last minute, which ended up saving his life. All passengers on that flight perished.

2. Gregory Peck was flying from Los Angeles when the plane he was on was hit by lightning. Just three days later, the scriptwriter, David Seltzer, was flying on the exact same flight which was also hit by lightning.

Harvey Stephens as Damien Thorn in The Omen
Harvey Stephens as Damien Thorn in The Omen

3. While at the Windsor Safari Park, the crew shot a scene with lions that never made the final cut of the movie. The guard was stationed in his booth when two lions came into the booth and killed him. This happened the same day that the crew left the lion compound.

4. John Richardson, who handled the special effects, was driving with his girlfriend in Belgium when they collided with another car. Richardson lived, but sadly his girlfriend was decapitated. Coincidentally, Richardson was the person who came up with the idea for the decapitation scene in The Omen. Finally, when he woke up from the accident, the car gauge read 666 kilometers.

Poll

What do you think? Cursed or coincidence?

Poltergeist (1982)

The alleged curse of Poltergeist starts here.
The alleged curse of Poltergeist starts here.

Plot: Poltergeist features a family who just moved into a brand new home. Things quickly turn sinister when some paranormal things start happening in their house - from minor things like items moving on their own, to severe incidents like the youngest daughter being brought into another dimension. It is later discovered that the house was built on an ancient burial ground.

Why Is It Cursed?: The skeletons that were used in the pool scene (pictured above) were human skeletons. Real ones were used because they were cheaper than purchasing manufactured props. Many people believe that it is because of the misuse of human remains that the Poltergeist franchise is cursed.

Watch some of the cast & crew members talk about the events!

What transpired on and off the set of Poltergeist?

1. The first shocking event was Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling)'s passing, just a few months after the movie's release. Dunne was strangled by her ex-boyfriend at only 21 years old.

2. On February 1, 1988, shortly after filming had finished on the third and final Poltergeist film, 12-year-old Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling) became ill. Doctors originally thought she had simply come down with the flu, but her condition quickly escalated and she died on the operating room table.

Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne in Poltergeist III
Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne in Poltergeist III

3. At least four other deaths have occurred since the film's release. Three of which were people who starred in Poltergeist II: The Other Side. Julian Beck (Kane) of stomach cancer in 1985. Will Sampson (Taylor) from heart/lung transplant complications in 2004. Brian Gibson (director) died of bone cancer in 2004. And finally, Poltergiest's Lou Perryman (Pugsley) was murdered in his home by an ex-convict in 2009.

4. Ten years after Poltergiest's release, Richard Lawson (Ryan) was on a flight when it crashed into Flushing Bay in March 1992. A total of 27 people (out of the 51 on board) were killed. Lawson escaped death's grasp, and was one of the 24 who lived.

Poll

What do you think? Cursed or coincidence?

Atuk (Unreleased)

The Incomparable Atuk (novel) by Mordecai Richler
The Incomparable Atuk (novel) by Mordecai Richler

Plot: Atuk is an unfilmed comedy screenplay written by Tod Carroll, loosely based on the 1963 satirical novel, The Incomparable Atuk (a.k.a. Stick Your Neck Out in the United States). The screenplay evolves around Atuk (Inuit for “grandfather”), an overweight Inuit Eskimo who moved from Alaska, who tries to adapt to the fast-paced life of New York City.

Why Is It Cursed?: With Atuk not being a horror movie, it’s harder to imagine why this unreleased film could possibly be cursed. However, the fatal events that happened to those who read the script will surely make even those who don’t believe in curses wonder if there’s something unexplainable involved.

Atuk's director, Allan Metter, talks about some of the events below!

What transpired during production?

1. Norman Jewison purchased the rights to the film adaptation in 1971. The screenplay was written by Tod Carroll, with comedian and actor John Belushi in mind for the lead character. Belushi first read the script in early 1982, and immediately expressed interest in the project and was set to play Atuk. On March 5, he was found dead in his hotel room at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, California. His startling death was initially believed to be from accidental drug intoxication. However, it was discovered two months later that it was not his own doing.

2. Production began for Atuk for a second time in Toronto in February 1988. Production halted after eight days. Stand-up comedian and actor Sam Kinison said that his manager promised him creative control without having to clear it with the studio. There were later disagreements, and lawsuits filed against Kinison. During the period of negotiations, Kinison was driving with his wife in the car when they were struck head-on by a pickup truck. Kinison was pronounced dead on the scene, while his wife survived with minor injuries.

John Candy as Buck Russell in Uncle Buck
John Candy as Buck Russell in Uncle Buck

3. Atuk began productio again in 1994, this time looking to use comedian and actor John Candy as their lead, and he began reading through the script. On March 4, Candy died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Additionally, several months later, his friend Michael O'Donoghue (who was also friends with Belushi) died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage. Rumors of the Atuk curse started here, as O'Donoghue had also read the script with Candy.

4. Finally, the role of Atuk was offered to Saturday Night Live star Chris Farley. Following his final guest appearance on SNL in 1997, Farley started appearing ill by his hoarse voice and flushed skin. Like Belushi, Farley also died of an accidental drug overdose at only 33 years of age. Tod Carroll denied any rumors of a curse in 1999, saying "No matter what anybody's impression was, I think it's either coincidence or practical explanation."

Poll

What do you think? Cursed or coincidence?


From stories involving the Antichrist and using human remains as stage props, to an allegedly cursed movie script, I don't think I'll need the help of horror movies to get frightened this Halloween! How about you?

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