Are you someone who believes in the supernatural? Or maybe you just enjoy a good scary movie from time to time. Well, you may have not realized that these films have very creepy and scary occurrences while working on set. Some people even died while working on these films.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist was released in 1973. It is an American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, which was adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The film starred Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller.
The book, inspired by the 1949 exorcism of Roland Doe, deals with the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl. The story explores the mother’s attempts to win back her child through an exorcism conducted by two priests. The film is part of The Exorcist franchise and the original book has also been commercially successful. It even hit the New York Times bestseller list.
The Exorcist Curse
The movie has been scarred by several very unfortunate events; the film has nine deaths during filming that involve the cast and crew. A crew member and technician both died during production. But as far as what happened to them has been unreported. The brother of Max Von Sydrow (Father Merrin in the film), passed away. Linda Blair’s grandfather also passed away during this time. Before the film was released, Burke Dennings (played by Jack McGowan) died of flu complications and Father Damien Karras’ mother (played by Vasiliki Maliaros) died. This was after her participation in the film but before the film was released.
And if these deaths weren’t enough, there was a fire that destroyed a set causing a 6-week delay. The cause of the fire is still unknown today. While filming, Linda Blair suffered serious injuries after being tossed around for a bed shaking scene. But the audience was not immune to the curse: The original release of the movie affected many audiences so strongly that paramedics were called to treat people who fainted—one man even fainted and broke his jaw on the seat in front of him.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby was released in 1968. It was an American psychological horror film written and directed by the Polish director Roman Polanski. It is based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name and it was written by Ira Levin. The cast stars Mia Farrow, along with John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy, and Maurice Evans, just to name a few.
The film chronicles the story of a pregnant woman whose body changes to carry an unknown baby. This horror classic is one of the most controversial horror movies but it is also well-known for its series of unfortunate events on and off the set. In the film, the pregnant woman discovers that her husband has made a deal with a religious cult, which makes her then believe that the father of her baby is Satan.
Rosemary’s Baby: Unfortunate Events
Some unfortunate events occurred to people involved in the film. A year after the film was released, the composer, Krzysztof Komeda, died of a brain clot. Coincidentally, this is the same way Rosemary’s friend, “Hutch” (played by Maurice Evans), dies in the movie. Oddly similar or paranormal?
The grisliest story to come from this film is the horrific murder of Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate and four others. They were killed by a mass-murdering group led by Charles Manson. Tate was eight months pregnant and stabbed sixteen times, which is probably considered to be the definition of “horrific.” William Castle, a producer on the film, was taken to the hospital due to kidney failure and as he was being admitted, he yelled out, “Rosemary, for God’s sake, drop the knife!” He died of a heart attack soon after. And did you know that Rosemary’s apartment building was the same building where Beatles star John Lennon was shot and killed? The building has been known to have frequent ghost sightings to this day.
The Omen (1976)
The Omen was originally released in 1976. It is an American-British supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner and written by David Seltzer that has been remade in 2006. The original film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Spencer Stephens, and Billie Whitelaw.
As the first installment in The Omen series, the film is a story about a young child substituted at birth by the father unbeknownst to his wife. He makes this decision when their son is stillborn and they are surrounded by mysterious and ominous deaths afterward. It turns out the child is actually the Antichrist.
The Omen Was Right
Richard Donner’s original Antichrist tale had its fair share of unexplainable coincidences. Strange things were happening to anyone involved in the crew. First, several weeks before filming, the son of Gregory Peck committed suicide. Then on the first day of filming, some crew members got into a head-on car crash—luckily, no one was harmed. Then, lightning struck Gregory Peck’s plane on his way to the shoot. And to top it all off, there was the bizarre death of set designer John Richardson’s girlfriend; it was a horrific incident of a car crash that left her sliced in two— which is just like what happens in the film.
Another very chilling experience happened after a pivotal day of shooting. The production team was met with a camera error that read “Error 666.” Later, the lab where their film was processed lost 13,500 feet of footage and it was unexplained but you have to wonder, was it the work of the devil?
Poltergeist originates from folklore and parapsychology. A Poltergeist is a German word meaning “noisy ghost.” It is a type of ghost that is responsible for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved or destroyed; they are even capable of pinching, biting, hitting, and tripping people. So knowing all of this, the film Poltergeist falls right in line with this scary occurrence.
Poltergeist was released in 1982. It is an American supernatural horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. Steven Spielberg also participated in the film through writing and producing, but he was directing another movie—maybe you have heard of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? Hooper was selected to direct this film based on his work on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
This original film is the first and most successful in the Poltergeist film series. Set in a California suburb, the story focuses on a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family’s young daughter, Carol Anne. After getting into this list, it probably doesn’t come as much surprise that there were a number of crazy occurrences that happened during and after production.
The films’ producer, Steven Spielberg, decided to use real skeletons for the muddy pool scene because they were cheaper than using plastic skeletons—which seems incredibly odd—but this decision was made unbeknownst to the actors. Actress JoBeth Williams, (who played Diane Freeling) recalled a personal strange occurrence. When she would return home after shooting the film, she would find her pictures hanging crooked on the wall; after straightening them and returning home in subsequent days, she would find them crooked again. And even scarier, Oliver Robins, who plays Robbie Freeling, had a near fatal accident while filming. It was the scene of the clown attacking him—it was due to a “malfunction” in the prop clown and Robins was actually being choked for real.
The Ring (2002)
The Ring was released in 2002. It is an American supernatural psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski. The film stars Naomi Watts and Daveigh Chase. It is actually a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which many people don’t realize. It was based on Ring, a novel by Koji Suzuki about a reporter who investigates a cursed videotape that kills anyone over the course of a week.
Gore Verbinski’s remake centers on the same plot; a videotape that will kill its viewer seven days after he or she watches its grainy, shocking content. Now, would you believe that The Ring is also said to contain actual footage of ghosts? Have you seen The Ring? Maybe you have seen some of these infamous ghosts who wanted their close up.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror was originally a book by Jay Anson. It was published in September 1977 and became a series of films released from 1979 onwards. The book is claimed to be based on the paranormal experiences of the Lutz family who moved into a home that caused major problems to their lives. But this story has led to controversy and lawsuits over what actually happened.
The film was directed by Stuart Rosenberg. The Amityville Horror is known as one of the many horror films based on a true story. The story is about a real-life family who was shot and killed by their eldest boy, Ronald DeFeo, and DeFeo was possessed and heard voices.
The Amityville Horror Curse
The Amityville Horror film has had several strange things happen that surrounded the filming of the movie. Actor James Brolin, who plays George Lutz in the original film, was hesitant about accepting the role and decided to read the novel. When he arrived to a very tense part, his pants suddenly fell off a hanger, causing him to jump up. After this happened, he agreed to take the role. He believed that there was “something” to the story.
The real life couple who inspired The Conjuring movies, Ed and Lorraine Warren, decided to investigate the Amityville home by placing cameras all around the house. They found in one of the pictures, a young boy with glowing white eyes; later, Ed said he heard heavy footsteps approaching his office. In the 2005 remake, Ryan Reynolds reported that he and other crew members kept waking up at 3:15 am every day. This was the exact time that Ronald DeFeo murdered his parents and four siblings. Just before filming began, a dead body washed up on shore by the film set. Any one of these occurrences would have been enough to quit!
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge is unlike other films on this list. It is a television film directed by Martha Coolidge. The movie was filmed over a span of a few weeks in early 1998, and aired in 1999. The film is based on the biography of Dorothy Dandridge by Earl Mills and is marketed with this tagline: “Right woman. Right place. Wrong time.”
The biography of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies. She was most notably known for becoming the first black actress to win a Best Actress Nomination in 1954 for Carmen Jones. Her final demise was to prescription drugs, which has been debated as to whether it was suicide or accidental.
The Ghost of Dorothy Dandridge
The 1999 biopic of Dorothy Dandridge starred Halle Berry, who wore an actual gown owned by Dandridge. Soon after the film wrapped, Berry brought the dress home and paranormal activity began to brew. Berry claimed that one night, she was awoken by the sound of boiling water. When she went to check out the noise, she saw a doll dress floating in it.
There are people who believe that Halle Berry wasn’t haunted by the ghost of Dorothy Dandridge, but that she is actually the reincarnated spirit of her biopic character. The film Cloud Atlas, which is eerily realistic, is cited as evidence of Berry’s connection to reincarnation.
Ghost was released in 1990. It is an American romantic fantasy thriller (yes, all in one!) film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tony Goldwyn. The very interesting story was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker and includes a lot of romance that spans from life through death.
The plot centers on a young woman (Moore) who is in jeopardy after the ghost of her murdered lover (Swayze) has some very important information to share with her. He entrusts this message to a reluctant psychic (Goldberg) who is actually known for her scams than her truthful readings. But the psychic assists him in saving her.
Ghost and More Ghosts
There haven’t been stories that this film was plagued by actual spirits, though the location it was filmed at was inherently haunted. It was shot on Stage 19 of Paramount Studios. This particular production space, which also housed popular productions such as Citizen Kane and Happy Days, is said to be one of the most vibrantly haunted places in Hollywood.
So, you’re probably wondering what happened here? Well, crew members have reported hearing the sounds of running in the rafters and childlike laughter while being on set. Many believe this to be the ghost of Poltergeist‘s actress Heather O’Rourke. She appeared on several episodes of Happy Days before her death.
The Innkeepers (2011)
The Innkeepers was released in 2011. It is American horror film written, directed and edited by Ti West. The film stars Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis. The film explores characters Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are two young employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn. It was a once-grand hotel that is about to close; Claire and Luke are the only employees working during its final weekend of operation.
Claire has recently dropped out of college and suffers from severe asthma, and Luke runs a website chronicling the hotel’s supposed hauntings. Both are ghost hunting enthusiasts. They become fascinated by the hotel’s supposedly haunted history. This includes the legend of Madeline O’Malley, a bride who hanged herself in the 1800s when her fiancé jilted her at the altar. Her body was supposedly hidden in the basement by the hotel owners, so you can imagine how this horror story plays out.
The Innkeepers’ Secrets
While shooting The House of the Devil, another horror film, Ti West and his crew experienced a parallel ghost story that took place in their hotel. The staff of the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Connecticut are convinced their lodge is haunted. Sure, they were all skeptical while staying there but West couldn’t help but acknowledge some very strange happenings. There were slamming doors, flickering lights, and “Did-I-See-What-I-Think-I-just saw” silhouettes that plagued the entire crew.
The creepy and scary atmosphere inspired West to shoot The Innkeepers in and around the Yankee Pedlar. He even recalled a time when his star actress of the film experienced her own frightening occurrence, “Sara Paxton would wake up in the middle of the night thinking someone was in the room with her.”
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island was released in 2012. It is an American adventure film directed by Brad Peyton and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzmán, and Kristin Davis. It is the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth.
So while this is an adventure film, there are some weird and spooky things that happened on set. Turns out, being abducted by Alien wasn’t the most paranormal moment in Vanessa Hudgen’s career; she claimed that a ghost followed her around her hotel and she would hear creaking noises in the hallway each night. Searching for a source proved unsuccessful and Hudgens eventually chalked it up to ghosts.
Three Men and a Baby (1987)
And here is a more family-friendly film: Three Men and a Baby. You are probably thinking, “what the…?” Three Men and a Baby was released in 1987. It is an American comedy film directed by Leonard Nimoy. The film stars Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson as the three men. It follows the mishaps and adventures of three bachelors when their lives are suddenly halted when a baby lands on their doorstep.
As they attempt to adapt their lives to pseudo-fatherhood, they come across a variety of challenges from changing diapers, to who’s dating and going out to who’s babysitting while they investigate a shady scheme. The script was based on a 1985 French film.
Three Men and a Baby or Paranormal Activity?
Nothing kills a light-hearted family comedy like a lost soul. In the pre-Internet, grainy VHS days, Three Men and a Baby was released on home video. That is when rumors swirled that a scene featuring Ted Danson’s Jack Holden mulling about house revealed a childlike figure. These sightings by viewers sparked a paranormal investigation.
There were claims that a nine-year-old boy committed suicide with a shotgun in the house where the movie was filmed. Snopes has since debunked this theory. The site claimed the figure to be a cardboard standee of Ted Danson in a tuxedo (which was part of his character’s persona as a self-involved actor) and that this never occurred. Well, you can be the judge and check it out for yourself.