Dr. Venkman Presents: Movie Curses: based on Actual Events

by Joey Paur

Most of us have come across stories of movies that have been cursed, or haunted. I thought it might be fun and interesting to go through and talk about some of these crazy cursed movies. First of all what makes a cursed movie cursed? Most of them involve one or more deaths during the film or shortly after, or just some crazy accidents that are just hard to explain. When I was doing my research on this I found out some pretty crazy things, stuff I didn't know before. Whether it's a curse or Coincidence, it still amazing how all of these terrible events happened. It's pretty scary to think about some of these things but here we go.

The Conqueror

About the Movie:

In ancient times, the Mongolian warlord Temujin must do battle against the rival tribe that killed his father. The battles pale in comparison with Temujin's home life, as he attempts to woo the heart of the red-haired Tartar prisoner Bortai whom he has captured in a raid. He must also deal with various intrigues within his palace. Eventually, Bortai falls to his manly charms, Temujin defeats his enemies within and without, and is crowned Genghis Khan.

The Movie Stars John Wayne and was a Howard Hughes Film

What Happened?

Durring the making of the film A flashflood swept through and almost killed the entire crew.

After that the lead actress Susan Hayward was attacked by a panther but survived.

These days health regulations weren't what they were back when this movie was made in 1956. No one really paid attention or just didn't give a crap. The movie was filmed in the desert at a location called Snow Canyon near St. George UT. Here is the thing about Snow Canyon, it was near an atomic bomb testing site. 11 atomic bombs dropped in that area to be exact. Snow Canyon is downwind which means that nuclear radiation was hitting them all 13 weeks of filming. After they were done shooting on location everyone had to come back to Hollywood to finish filming on the sound stages. Oh yeah! Howard Hughes wanted to keep the look of the film consistent so he had a bunch of that radioactive nuclear dirt shipped down to Hollywood to dress the sets with. 60 tons of it!

Over the next few years after filming 91 people out of the 220 person crew developed Cancer 46 of these people died including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, the director of the film, and an actor Pedro Armendariz killed himself when he found out he had terminal cancer.

As Howard Hughes was nearing his death, it is said he laid in his bed with his nappy long hair and crazy fingernails, watching the movie ‘The Conqueror' over and over again because he was overwhelmed with guilt about what had happened.

Apparently there are pictures of John Wayne holding a Geiger Counter on the set of the movie. I couldn't find them.

Rosemary's baby

About The Movie:

Rosemary's Baby is a film directed by Roman Polanski in 1969. After moving into a creepy old apartment in Manhattan with her husband Guy, Rosemary Woodhouse begins to experience odd, unpleasant things happening to her. Guy becomes enchanted with their nosy neighbors, Minnie and Roman Castevet, after the older couple's ward commits suicide. Then Rosemary gets pregnant after a bad dream in which a horrible creature makes love to her. A caring Minnie keeps giving her some weird concoction for the pregnancy and Rosemary doesn't feel at all well. The only solution is, as the tag-line says, to "pray for Rosemary's baby. Her husband signs a Faustian pact with the Satan-worshipping old people cult.

What Happened?

There is a character in the film named hutch that dies of a brain clot. A year after the movie was made the film's composer Krzysztof Komeda died of the same thing the character in the movie did.

After the film was made the producer William Castle had kidney failure. He swore the movie was cursed. At one point while he was being treated he cried out "Rosemary, for God's sake drop that knife!"

Then there is of course the Tragedy of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski's wife. In march of 1969 she and her unborn child were brutally murdered by those dumb ass Manson followers. The Manson Family called their murder spree ‘Helter Skelter' after the Beatles song. John Lennon of the Beatles was murdered outside of his hotel The Dakota. This is the same hotel that was used in Rosemarys baby.

The Omen

About the Movie:

Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all. He is the US Ambassador to Italy and they want for nothing in their lives, except one thing: they do not have children. When Katharine has a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a priest at the hospital who suggest that he take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife he agrees to to so but after relocating to London, strange events - and the ominous warnings of a priest - lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.

What Happened?

I have to say this film has the worst curse ever. They should make a movie about the things that happened during the making of this movie. Let's talk about lighting first. During film screenwriter David Seltzer's airplane was hit by lighting. Oh yeah! Gregory Pecks Airplane was hit by lightning as well. Hold on I forgot that producers Mace Neufelds plane was hit by lightning to. No. They were not all flying on the same plane. Different planes, different times during the production. Now that just crazy. What are the chances of that happening?

Then there are the crazy IRA bombings. Durring the production producer Mace Neufelds and director Richard Donner were staying in a Hotel that was bombed by the IRA. Then the director and actors were scheduled to meet up for some grub at a restaurant. The restaurant was also bombed by the IRA. No one died.

On Friday the 13th, Aug. 1976 special effects consultant John Richardson on the film and his assistant got in a car wreck in Holland. His assistant was sliced in half by the cars front wheel. No joke, when John scrambled out of the wreckage he looked up and saw a road sign:

Ommen, 66.6km.

On top of that, the Rottweilers hired for the film attacked their trainers.

Richard Donner was hit by a car.

On day one of the shoot, several principal members of the crew survived a head-on car crash.

Gregory Pecks son shot himself right before filming started.

A plane that was scheduled to be used for the film cast and crew was rescheduled and used for a commercial flight instead, crashed and killed everyone on the plane.

A stuntman who worked on The Omen later hospitalised himself while working on the film A Bridge Too Far. Which is creepy. Except he's a stuntman. And deliberately threw himself off a roof.


About The Movie:

While living an an average family house in a pleasant neighborhood, the youngest daughter of the Freeling family, Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the televison. It is not for long when the mysterious beings enter the house's walls. At first seeming like harmless ghosts, they play tricks and amuse the family, but they take a nasty turn- they horrify the family to death with angry trees and murderous dolls, and finally abduct Carol Anne into her bedroom closet, which seems like the entrance to the other side.

Directed by Toby Hooper and Produced By Steven Spielberg

What Happened?

Lots of people died. Heather O'Rourke is the most well known. She played Carol Anne in all 3 films and died right before the third movie was released. Apparently they thought she had the flu, she was taken to the hospital and died from complications from intestinal stenosis.

Julian Beck who played the scary ass old guy in Poltergeist 2 died of cancer. That guy is so freakin creepy.

Will Sampson the Native American actor also from ‘One flew Over the Cookoo's Nest' died during a operation.

The there is Dominique Dunne who played the oldest sister in the original Poltergeist movie. She was strangled to death by her dumb ass boyfriend the year the movie was released.

JoBeth Williams, who played Diane Freeling, claims she returned home from the set each day to find pictures on her wall askew! She would then straighten them out, only to find them crooked again the next day!

So you know what the filmmakers did to piss off the spirits from beyond? The filmmakers used real human remains as props in the first Poltergeist film. Can you believe that!? That would be scary as hell!

Heather O'Rourke and Dominique Dunn are buried in the same cemetery Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

The Exorcist

About the Movie:

You know what the hell its about. The Exorcist is based on the book by William Peter Blatty that you might think is made up. It's not. A similar incident occured in New England with a 13-year-old boy. Yeah that's some crazy shit. I wonder if he really puked up pea soup.

What Happened?

There are rumors out there that say 4 to 9 people involved with the film died during the 15 month filming period.

Jack McGowen died of a heart attack right after he wrapped up shooting his small role in the film.

Another rumor says that the man who Regan said would die up there was killed accidently while filming.

Other deaths include Max Von Sydow's brother and Linda Blair's grandfather. A night watchman for the set, a crewmember that refrigerated the bedroom for the exorcism scenes, and a cameraman's newborn baby were also part of the unexplained Deaths.

Apparently Linda Blair had mental breakdowns while playing the role of Regan. Apparently there was strange behavior and panic on the set by cast and crew. Everyone said in interviews after the movie was made that it was a creepy experience.

Do ya think? Your making a movie about the devil!

The set of the film caught fire one night when no one was around. The cause of the fire was never solved.

People went nuts during the screenings of the movie! People were vomiting, fainting, and breaking into hysterics. I honestly think it was one of the strangest audiences reaction ever for a movie. It just scared the shit out of people.

Now check this out. Death tolls rose in the areas surrounding Georgetown after the movie was released. Heart attacks of people watching the movie were recorded all over the world. Lightning struck and destroyed a 400 year old cross during the Italian premier at the Metropolitan Theater in Rome.

The director of the movie William Friedkin says that a priest was brought in several times to bless the set and production. After he did this filming would be fine for awhile but slowly get worse. So they kept bringing in the priest.

Linda Blair was injured during a scene where she was thrashing on the bed and her harness broke.

The original director for the prequel Exorcist: The beginning John Frankenheimer died before filming began.

Now here is some crazy. There are cases of psychological disturbance among an incredibly amount of people that watched the movie including Jeffrey Dahmer. He was obsessed with Exorcist III, watching the film over and over again before killing his victims. He had the video going on his TV when he was arrested by police.

Well that's it folks. I think all of this stuff is fascinating. There are more movies out there with similar stories and connections. I picked the most interesting ones out of the bunch. Maybe there is even more information to come out for these movies, but this is what I was able to find. Notice the majority of the films are movies that deal with The Devil. The Devil sure is not a very nice guy no matter what anyone tells you. Just say No. It's a great marketing tool to get people to watch the movies. But when people are really dying you don't want to use that. I am just shocked at all the people that have died during the making of these movies. It's pretty intense.

Do you have any information I missed? Or any cursed movie tales you want to talk about? I would love to know!

-Dr. Venkman