The plot of Rosemary’s Baby eerily mirrored the real life murder of the director’s wife
Rosemary’s Baby, a 1968 horror film about an actor who sacrifices his wife to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune, led to Roman Polanski’s career taking off and made him one of the most well-known directors in Hollywood. A year after the film was released, Polanski’s wife – model and actress Sharon Tate – was murdered by the Manson Family whilst pregnant with the director’s child. Charles Manson claimed to be doing “the devil’s work,” leading many to link the real-life tragedy to the fictional plot of Polanski’s breakthrough film.
Lighting struck twice on the set of The Passion of the Christ
Given the subject matter of 2004’s The Passion of the Christ – not to mention the fact that some considered the film blasphemous – it’s no surprise that many assumed something supernatural was afoot when Christ actor Jim Caviezel and assistant director Jan Michelini were struck by lightning whilst filming the Sermon on the Mount scene. The odds of two people getting struck by lightning at the same time are incredibly long and, to make matters even spookier, for Michelini it was his second time getting zapped.
Multiple Superman actors have suffered tragedy
The “Superman curse” began in 1959 after George Reeves of 50s TV series The Adventures of Superman took his own life. Next, the first big screen Superman actor Christopher Reeve was paralysed from the neck down after falling from his horse. Proponents of the theory that the role is cursed have also pointed to the fact that the careers of Dean Cain, Tom Welling and Brandon Routh all went off a cliff after playing the superhero. Meanwhile, Man of Steel star Henry Cavill – though successful – has been called the unluckiest actor in Hollywood due to the number of major roles he’s narrowly missed out on (including James Bond and Edward in Twilight).
Three actors from Rebel Without a Cause died prematurely
One of the most iconic American movies of all time, Rebel Without a Cause was lauded by critics and cemented James Dean as the symbol of teen angst. Unfortunately, Dean never got to see the cultural impact he ended up having, as he lost his life in a crash shortly after the film was released. Two of the film’s other leads – Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood – also died prematurely; Mineo was killed outside his home by a mugger at the age of 37, and Wood drowned in suspicious circumstances aged 43.
The curse of Atuk claimed the lives of four legendary comedians
Unproduced screenplay Atuk (a comedy about an Eskimo in New York) has been called cursed, as every actor linked to the lead role met an early death. John Belushi was originally attached, but died from a drug overdose shortly after reading the script in 1982. Later, stand-up comedian Sam Kinison was set to replace him, but died in a car crash in 1992. Next to accept the role was John Candy, but he too passed away from a heart attack in 1994. Finally, Chris Farley – who idolised John Belushi – entered into talks to take on the role. Tragically, he soon died from a drug overdose in 1997, aged 33 – the exact same age Belushi had been. Ultimately, Atuk was scrapped outright.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan was convinced that ghosts exist after starring in The Possession
According to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, before he starred as Clyde Brenek in 2012’s The Possession he didn’t believe in ghosts or any other paranormal phenomenon. However, a string of spooky experiences whilst working on the film eventually converted him into a believer. Throughout production, Morgan was followed by a persistent cold breeze whenever he was on set, and he witnessed a number of lightbulbs spontaneously exploding. The possessed box that the film’s plot revolves around was also later destroyed in a fire at a storage facility, further confirming for the actor that supernatural forces were at work.
The curse of The Exorcist is legendary
Right from the off, production on The Exorcist was surrounded by peculiar happenings. Before filming started a fire broke out on set, destroying everything except for Regan’s bedroom, which was mysteriously spared. Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair both suffered serious back injuries whilst filming, and Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros – actors whose characters died in the film – both unexpectedly passed away whilst the movie was in post-production. The curse struck again 14 years after the film was released when the son of Mercedes McCambridge – the voice of the film’s demon – killed his wife and children before taking his own life.
Tragedy and misfortune plagued the cast of The Omen
1976’s The Omen proved to be exactly that, and not a good one. Following the film’s release, three separate flights carrying cast and crew were struck by lightning, almost leading to catastrophe. A plane that actor Gregory Peck was supposed to be on then crashed, killing everyone on board, and the hotel that the film’s director was staying in was bombed by the IRA. An animal trainer working on the film was then killed by a lion a day after he was on set. Finally, The Omen’s special effects artist was involved in a severe car crash that claimed the life of his girlfriend.
Romancing The Stone screenwriter Diane Thomas died in a car Michael Douglas gave her
In 1985, a year after the release of Romancing the Stone, Diane Thomas, who wrote the screenplay for the film, was killed in a tragic accident when her sports car skidded off the road and hit a power pole. Thomas, who was a passenger at the time, had been gifted the car by Michael Douglas – who produced and starred in the film – as a thank you for her work. The curse also afflicted the film’s sequel The Jewel of the Nile, whose production was hampered by an outbreak of hepatitis and a string of lawsuits.
Jennifer Carpenter was haunted whilst making The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Based on the real-life story of Anneliese Michel, The Exorcism of Emily Rose follows the court case of a priest accused of negligent homicide after the teenager he is performing an exorcism on dies. Jennifer Carpenter, who portrayed the eponymous Emily Rose, later revealed that she experienced spooky events whilst working on the film. According to Carpenter, whenever she returned home after shooting for the day, a radio in her home would spontaneously turn on. Apparently, this spooky phenomena abruptly ended when production came to a close.