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Haunted Hollywood - Cursed Movies and Haunted Sets

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 4

Everyone has heard the stories of hauntings for one movie or another, they are a popular ploy for putting butts in seats for their movies. Most movie hauntings seem to be this sort of advertisement scheme, especially for scary movies. It adds a little bit of a paranormal thrill to our otherwise mundane and ordinary lives. However, there are a few random movies that aren't in the horror movie genre to have ghostly appearances pop in.

Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, you cannot deny that spending a few minutes reading over these stories is not a recipe of a fun time.

Though if you are interested in cursed movies, there are tons more cursed movies than found here.

exorcist

The Exorcist

The Exorcist boomed into box offices in 1973 as an instant classic and scary horror movie. During its filming a technical advisor named Rev. Thomas Bermingham visited the set and was asked to do an exorcism over the movie set by director William Friedkin. He refused and told the director that you must apply to do an exorcism. The Reverend did visit the set and bless it with holy water though.

The film had quite the reputation for having disappearing props, sick actors, and dangerous sets. The young actress Linda Blair, who played the possessed young girl, just about had her back broken during filming by a mechanical malfunction during one of the bed shaking scenes. During the filming several lights mysteriously fell on sets during filming. Among that, the actor who played the veteran priest, Max Von Sydow, had several bouts of illness during the film although he was a healthy man. There was also the ominous fire that happened to the set one weekend.

Apparently there were nine people who died  who were involved with production, however, the internet has failed to produce names. So that rumor may be a little fakelore.

What is a little disturbing about the movie is that it had the strangest audience reaction of all time. During the filming of the movie, deaths increased in Georgetown where it was filmed. During the premiere of the movie, several people dropped dead in theaters from heart attacks. There is also the rumor of the 400 year old cross that was struck by lightning and burned during the movies premiere in Rome.

You ask anyone who saw the movie in 1973, it was the most disturbing movie that anyone had seen in a long while. It is easy to come up with this spooky lore for such a disturbing film. If it is just an advertising device, it was a damn smart move by the producers. The way these events sort of repeat themselves near ten years later in the Poltergeist sort of make it seem like this is all one big hoax.

The Exorcist: Director's Cut (Extended Edition)
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poltergiest

Poltergeist

This is a popular story of a cursed Hollywood set. People believe that the Poltergeist and all the following movies were cursed because of the series of deaths that came with them. Though this tale is strikingly similar to the deaths that occurred in the filming of the Exorcist.  As the story goes, the curse originates from the pool scene in the first movie. The movie used real human corpses in that scene and as you can imagine, the owners of the corpses probably would not like to be used for entertainment value. It is not that they used these corpses to spice up the movie, but rather they were cheaper than plastic corpses.

Who knew, right?

They also used these corpses in the second movie. In fact, Will Sampson, who played a good shaman in the second movie and was an actual shaman of his tribe in real life, attempted an exorcism one night in hopes to purge the tricky spirits who haunted the set. He died one year later.

In fact, a whole bunch of people involved in the movie died.

Dominique Dunne who played the sparsely seen teenage Dana Freeling, was on the fast track to stardom after her role in the Poltergeist. She was rehearsing lines with a fellow actor when her ex-boyfriend John Sweeney showed up at her house on Halloween 1982. After telling him their relationship was over and dashing his hopes for reconciliation, Sweeney strangled Dominique for several minutes. She lay comatose for a few days before passing away.

Several bizarre occurrences happened on the first film, things moving around, disappearing, and ending up where they should not be. You know, normal ghost stuff. However it had Craig T. Nelson and Jo Beth Williams, the parents in the first film, so uneasy that they did not want to sign on for the second movie. However, promises of fat cash changed their minds.

In the second installment, both the previously mentioned Will Sampson and Julian Beck, who played the evil spirit, died. Though they were both ill, so it did not shock people quite so much. Sampson died of complications during a heart and lung transplant and Beck died of cancer shortly after the release of the second film.

On the set of the second film, it seemed like every thing that could go wrong, did. It left actors nervous and plagued by an uneasy feeling. So when it came to a third movie, Craig T. Nelson and Jo Beth Williams had definitely had enough.

No one can doubt that the star of all the films was the talented young Heather O' Rourke, she seemed to be the brave star that would act in all three films. However, during the making of the third movie, she became frequently ill. Though she visited the doctor several times, the bowel obstruction that killed her went unnoticed. She died February 1st 1987. The film was completed in June, but with a different ending using a stand in. The original ending was deemed to morbid after O'Rourke's death.

The problem with this curse is most of those deaths are relatively ordinary. People get cancer, bowel obstructions go unnoticed, complications during surgery occur, and yes, sometimes boyfriends strangle their girlfriends. Most of it just seems like ill timing.

Poltergeist II / Poltergeist III (Double Feature)
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wizard fo oz

The Wizard of Oz

This is a fun one and popular to boot. You cannot think of haunted Hollywood sets without thinking of the popular Wizard of Oz legend. The story goes that shortly after Dorothy frees the Tin Man, as they go skipping into the distance towards the Emerald City, that you can see something moving in the background. It is supposedly a munchkin hanging from his noose, presumably dead.

Dorothy herself, Judy Garland, spread the rumor over numerous appearances on talk shows that the munchkin suffered from unrequited love for a female munchkin. This is also how the rumors of wild munchkin orgies got started, giving plausibility to the stories.

However, the scene in question was filmed before the munchkin scene, so the munchkins would not have been on set at that time. The most popular notion is that a stagehand noticed he was on set and either dropped everything and ran or took a dive. This story also loses credibility because there were no reported suicides of any of the munchkin actors on set. So either Hollywood has a long help big dark secret, which is unlikely due to drugged up and chatty Judy Garland, or this is a big old fun hoax.

rosemarys baby

Rosemary's Baby

This is a lesser known curse, but infinitely more creepy than that of the movie curses we have explored thus far. Released in 1968, this films curse is the predecessor to that of the Poltergeist and even the Exorcist.

Rosemary's Baby is a film that follows the story of Rosemary Woodhouse. She is a seemingly normal young woman who lives with her husband. However, as he husband gets even more chummy with the strange neighbors she realizes that she and her unborn child are in danger from a high society Satanist cult.

Rosemary's Baby was not all blood and guts like the horror of the modern age, in fact there was very little blood in the film at all. What made Rosemary's Baby so inexplicably creepy was how real everything seemed.

sharon tate
For the director Roman Polanski, things did become a little too real.

Before casting Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski had envisioned casting his wife Sharon Tate. Only fourteen months after the release Rosemary's Baby, Sharon Tate (who was 8 months pregnant) and several friends were brutally murdered in her home by members of the Manson family. She was stabbed 16 times and the killer wrote pig on the door in her blood.

Manson of course believed that The Beatles had put messages in their songs instructing him on what to do, which makes things a little more creepy when you realize that John Lennon was shot in front of the same building Rosemary's Baby was filmed in.

There is quite the interesting theory that Roman Polanksi sacrificed his wife's life to get success in Hollywood, similar to how Rosemary's husband John sacrificed his wife to bear the child of Satan in the movie. As at the end of Rosemary's Baby, her husband suddenly becomes successful after the birth of the Anti-Christ.

Though Polanksi was not involved in the murders, he did go on to have a successful career afterwards. Until he became wanted for rape of a 13 year old child seven years later. It is really quite the poppycock theory though.

Rosemary's Baby
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three men and a baby

Three Men and a Baby

3 men and a baby ghost detailed

 

 

Three Men and a Baby is the finale to our exploration of Hollywood movie haunts. Why is such a movie the finale to this piece? Because this one comes with some good old hardcore photographic evidence. As you notice in the picture above, there is something in the scene that should not be there. As Ted Danson prowls the room with his on screen mother and the baby, you begin to notice odd things in the background. At first, it looks like a gun pointed at the ground. Then it transforms to the image of a little boy.

 

As the story goes, a little boy committed suicide in the apartments that were used for filming. The parents sold the apartments shortly after. The studio bought them up and started the film. The mother noticed her child and began to go insane after she saw him in the movie and she lived the rest of her days in an insane asylum.

 

The trouble with that story, is that it is all a load of bull. The boy is actually a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson that was seen earlier in the movie. It just changes shapes when shot from different angles. Sadly, no haunting here.

 

Though this is the most widely believed ghost legend in hollywood, even though it was debunked by those involved in the movie.

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Comments

Feb 3, 2013 1:03pm
Imprimatur
Good article. It is interesting how some very berserk conspiracy theories seem to take off.
Feb 3, 2013 3:41pm
Finallyfast
Very interesting article!


Thumbs Up!
Feb 4, 2013 10:20pm
goingforbroke
That is funny about the cardboard cutout of Ted Danson.
Jan 25, 2015 1:51pm
Minnie27
I thoroughly enjoyed this article!! Very interesting!
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