Top 15 Movie Sets Believed to Be Cursed15. The Ghost of Goodnight Lane
Alin Bijan is a famous filmmaker whose career comes from humble paranormal origins. As such, he is probably one of the few directors that has been directly inspired by ghosts. Twenty-three years ago Alin bought two buildings and converted them into a single movie studio. An old ranch once stood on the property in the late 1800s, where no less than five people are rumored to have died.
When Alin started to hear shuffling noises around corners and in closets, he soon concluded that he wasn’t working alone. Coworkers began to vouch for him, saying that they saw heavy filming equipment move on its own, as well as phantasmal visions of a strange figure. One of his colleagues said they felt an invisible hand harshly slap them in the face. Visitors started to experience the same unexplainable sightings, and a team of paranormal investigators soon verified that the studio was indeed haunted a short time later.
While a paranormal presence would be enough to send most directors packing, Alin found inspiration from the ordeal instead. He decided to write a script about a ghost haunting a movie set. He called the script “The Ghost of Goodnight Lane”, and he decided to use his real haunted studio as a set. Sure enough, the stars of the film all started to experience paranormal encounters of their own.
Lights would go on and off when no one was around, and ceiling fixtures would fall from the ceiling. It wasn’t uncommon for distant voices to call them by first name. Although this was all very disturbing, nothing too dangerous happened (unlike the other movies on this list). This could be because Lacey Chabert [“Sha-bear”] (from “Mean Girls”) says that she made a friendly pact with the spirits early on.
14. Three Men and a Baby
Ted Danson’s 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby was supposed to be a classic feel-good movie, but people weren’t laughing after a ghost made a cameo. In one scene, two characters walk into the room to look at a baby. As they pick him up and start to walk away, you can catch a glimpse of something that was clearly unscripted. In the background is what appears to be a young boy staring through a crack in the door. The figure is not smiling at all as he looks straight into the camera. Touchstone Pictures has since explained the ghost as nothing more than a cardboard cutout that was used in a deleted scene. However, not everyone is convinced. When you compare a still frame of the cardboard cutout with that of the ghost, there are enough discrepancies that the rumor continues to live on. Take a closer look. Do you think these two images look alike? Ghost, or no ghost?
13. “The Ring”
Most people will agree that this movie is creepy enough in its own right, but what if I showed you a little something extra in the background that you might not have noticed the first time around? The scary surprise happens during a scene where the father is picking his son off the kitchen floor. Pay close attention to the window in the center of the background. You should see what I’m talking about as soon as the window comes into focus. A haunting silhouette silently leans into the window sill from the left.
The shadowy figure seems to casually regard the camera for a brief moment. As the actors approach, it slowly leans out of sight. This clip, originally shown on a Japanese paranormal television show, has since become the center of much debate. While some people say that it looks like a stagehand who forgot to get out of the way, others say that the figure looks like a ghost. Could this set be cursed? If the YouTube description for this video is to be believed, then even the producers could not come up with a proper explanation.
12. “The Wizard of Oz”
This timeless classic is also timelessly cursed. There were so many accidents on set that the film has since earned itself quite a reputation in the following years. It didn’t take very long for things to go wrong. Just nine days after production had started, Buddy Ebsen, the actor who played the tin man, found himself gasping in the hospital. The aluminum powder that the makeup team had coated his face with now coated the inside of his lungs instead. He had inhaled too much of it. His skin turned blue and he could barely breathe, but he survived.
An actor named Jack Haley soon replaced him, but he suffered an eye infection from the makeup. Meanwhile, the Wicked Witch was nearly killed after a special effects mistake left her covered in flames. This pushed production back for another two weeks as she slowly recovered. Even the animals weren’t spared from the set’s wretched curse. The flying monkeys reportedly fell from their wires quite often. At one point, somebody even stepped on Toto [“Toe-toe”] and broke the poor dog’s paw. With all of this bad luck and turmoil, it should come as no surprise to learn that the production company was not exactly eager to make a sequel. Simply put, nobody was brave enough to see what would happen if they tried to film a second time.
11. “The Matrix”
For such an iconic movie as “The Matrix”, the series itself surely has been riddled with bad luck. As much as the fans would like to see another installment, it seems a curse has brought the series to a halt. It all started after shortly after a sequel was in the works. The pop singer Aaliyah [“Ah-lee-yah”] agreed to play the part of Zee, but a freak plane crash suddenly ended her life in 2001. Her death was the first of many. Just two months later, Gloria Foster, who played the Oracle in the first movie, died of diabetes-related complications in the middle of filming the sequel. Around this time, Keanu [“Key-ah-new”] Reeves’ sister was diagnosed with cancer, which she still struggles with to this day.
As if all of this tragedy weren’t enough, Keanu Reeves’ girlfriend had a stillbirth on Christmas Eve of all days. She was killed just four months later in a car accident after leaving a party in L.A. While all of this was going on, multiple special effects companies, all of whom had worked on the first movie, suddenly went under. Their crucial contracts were now void, and now the new companies all wanted a ridiculously large amount of money.
According to one rumor, Keanu had to give a portions of his earnings just to fund production. Speaking of Keanu, when he and Carrie-Anne Moss (the actress who plays Trinity) were training for fight scenes, they both came down with painful injuries on the same day. Carrie-Anne Moss bruised her knees so badly that she had to walk on crutches for over a month. Keanu, in the meantime, hurt his ankle badly enough that it had to be X-rayed for a possible break. He was put into a cast and filming was delayed even further. A motorcycle accident also reportedly ruptured his spleen and broke his ribs.
10. “The Possession”
Steeped in Jewish folklore, this horror movie examines a haunted box that spreads evil wherever it goes. As it turns out, the very subject matter itself was evil enough to curse the entire set. The cursed box is known for destroying lights, and director Ole Bornedal [“Ol” “Bor-ned-dal”] said that a neon light exploded overhead . . . while unplugged. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan remembers lots of other lightbulbs exploding on the set as well. The set destruction does not appear to be limited to mere lightbulbs. Just 5 days after filming the movie, the storage house containing all of the props mysteriously burned down.
No items from the movie survived. The cause of the blaze has never been determined, but if you ask the cast and crew, they will tell you it was angry ghosts. On a related note, a good portion of the movie was filmed in the Riverview Hospital, an old psychiatric ward in British Columbia that is notoriously haunted. One YouTuber claims to have worked there as a janitor, and he says that he often heard cackling laughter and whispers coming from a long hallway on the top floor. The hospital is also connected by a large network of underground tunnels that are reportedly equally haunted as well.
9. “The Conjuring”
Based on a true story, this movie is about a supernatural presence that makes itself known after a family moves into an old farmhouse in the country. Apparently, whatever was haunting the poor family moved onto the set shortly after they began filming. This could be because because the Perron [“Pear-ron”] family often visited the set to see how things were coming along. Being the same family who was originally haunted by the ghost in the 1970s, they very well may have brought the spirit with them.
One day, a strange gust of wind passed through the set. It ruffled only the Perron family, nobody else – not even the nearby trees. Only one member of the Perron family was too afraid to visit the set, and her name was Carolyn. As the wind passed over her family, Carolyn fell to the ground hard enough to require hospitalization. Even though she was in a different state, she said that she felt a dark presence around her before the fall. Shortly after this occurrence, bad luck started plaguing cast and crew alike. A freak fire forced everyone out of their hotel, an eerie static would tie up phonelines whenever the screenwriters had to discuss something important, and the director’s dog started barking and following invisible figures as they moved from room to room.
Then there were the claw marks. When actress Vera Farmiga was researching the story, she said that no less than 5 claw marks slashed across her computer screen from the inside. She quickly closed her laptop, threw a panicky fit, and then bravely turned it back on. The marks were gone. Later, when they were done filming, she said that she looked down and saw the exact same claw marks again, this time on her inner thigh. With all of these strange happenings, it’s no wonder that Warner Brothers hired priests to bless people after watching the movie in theatres. Some people have even claimed to have been haunted themselves after even a single viewing, so watch at your own risk.
8. “Amityville Horror Remake”
This remake of the 1979 horror classic was released in 2005 to a lukewarm reception. In reality, what was happening behind the scenes was just as scary as anything that they put up on the big screen. Three creepy occurrences in particular come to mind. While filming at a boathouse, real police detectives entered the set and started to question people, seemingly at random. All they would say was that a dead body was discovered nearby. Some reports say the dead body washed ashore, but according to one interview with actress Melissa George, the body simply, quote, “floated to the surface”, unquote. Ryan Reynolds plays the male lead, and he began to take on some strange traits soon after filming began.
For example, the ghosts in the movie would always strike at 3:15 in the morning. Sure enough, he would find himself waking up at 3:15 a.m. each and every night. You might think that this is merely the power of suggestion in effect, that he was playing a character who would wake up at a certain time every night and soon began to do it himself in real life. In one interview, Ryan admits that it wasn’t just him waking up at 3:15 in the morning, but a large number of the crew, too. If you still suspect this is all merely coincidence, then here is another strange one that is hard to deny. Kathy Lutz [“Luts”] is the woman who actually lived in the haunted house that the movie is based on. She died within the first week of filming. She was only in her 50s when she passed.
7. “The Innkeepers”
Director Ti [“Tie”] West was shooting a movie called “The House of the Devil” when he and his crew crashed at a random hotel that the locals thought extremely haunted. During Ti’s stay, doors would close by themselves, the television would turn off and on, lights would burn out, and the crew would have strange dreams every night. So what did Ti do? Make a movie about it, of course. “The Innkeepers” is not only about a haunted hotel, it actually uses the haunted hotel for its set.
As such, strange disturbances happened almost every night while filming. At least one actor was almost too scared to continue, but as Ti puts it, “I have enough things bothering me, so a ghost’s not going to be my problem”. He pushed on and completed filming despite the ghostly activity. He continues to spread the hotel’s through his work to this day.
6. “Twilight Zone”
This movie adaptation of the popular television series is widely regarded as an 80s horror classic. Yet for such a popular movie, not many people are aware that the set was quite cursed, or that three actors gave their very lives. It was early morning in July of 1982, the last day of filming. For this scene, an actor named Vic Morrow and two child actors were supposed run away from an attack chopper during the Vietnam War.
The only problem was that the special effects were much more powerful than anyone had anticipated, and these fake explosions caused a very real disaster. The pilot was hovering only 25 feet above the three of them when the pyrotechnics popped off too closely and made him lose control. The helicopter spiraled towards Vic, who was clutching onto the two kids as he treaded water. It was a direct hit.
One of the boys was crushed instantly. The other child – along with Vic – were decapitated by the blades in full view of everyone. After this tragic event, the “Twilight Zone” curse latched onto John Landis [“Land-dis”] next. As the film’s director, he was held personally responsible for their 3 wrongful deaths, and he was charged with involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, he could have faced 6 years in prison. It was the first time a director had ever been charged for a decision made on set.
The lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court, but not without dragging on for years and costing him millions. His career was also severely damaged as well. First, he had to reject an offer to direct Dick Tracy so that he could focus on his trial, and second, hardly anyone trusted him with directing movies anymore. Aside from directing Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video the same year as “Twilight Zone”, he hasn’t done much worth noting since.
5. “The Crow”
You might have heard this one before, but you probably haven’t heard the whole story. Allow me to fill you in on all the gory details. Problems plagued the set of “The Crow” from literally day one. As soon as production started, a carpenter was severely burned all over when the crane he was standing on struck a powerline. Shortly after, a different crew member slipped and put the sharp end of a screwdriver straight through his hand. Strange as these two mishaps may be, they are just the beginning. A sculptor who had helped design set props was upset about the way something was being handled, so they drove their car straight through the studio as revenge.
Meanwhile, a publicist managed to get themselves in a separate car accident and was injured. Yet another car caught fire on the set for seemingly no reason. All of this occurred between heavy rains that further damaged the set. The worst tragedy happened to Brandon Lee, star of “The Crow”. He was killed after a prop gun accidentally fired a small piece of bullet casing directly into his spine. The fatal wound oozed blood as on-hand emergency technicians began CPR. He died in the hospital about 12 hours later. Here’s the twist. Many people already know that Brandon Lee’s father was none other than martial arts master Bruce Lee himself.
However, not as many people know that Bruce Lee bought a house in Hong Kong that was legendarily haunted. Strange demons inside of the house were said to curse not only him, but also the next three generations of his family. With this in mind, it seems that the family curse followed Brandon Lee onto the set that year when production for “The Crow” began. It also apparently branched out to affect many of the crew, too. Had he known that the curse would have caused so much damage, Bruce Lee would have almost undoubtedly chosen somewhere else to live.
4. “The Omen”
As you may or may not have noticed, most of the cursed movies on this list are about Satan. There’s just something about portraying the beast on the big screen that just seems to awaken Lucifer himself. Having said this, it should come as no surprise that “The Omen” is one of the most cursed movies of all time. Just two months before filming was scheduled, actor Gregory Peck’s son shot himself in the head. When Gregory boarded his plane and departed to London, where most of “The Omen” was to be filmed, his plane was struck by lightning.
Believe it or not, executive producer Mace Neufeld [“New-feld”] was flying to London as well, and lightning struck his flight just moments later. Neither fellow’s luck changed once they got to London. The Irish Republican Army threatened to blow up the area where both actors were staying. Police actually found bombs at two different sites, meaning that the IRA was ready to make good on their promise. John Richardson was in charge of designing special effects for the movie, and he was driving around in Holland when he got into a serious car crash. John lived, but his assistant was brutally sliced in half. Keep in mind that this was shortly after he was put in charge of the movie’s decapitationscene.
The date of the accident was Friday the 13th. Could this have been Satan playing a cruel joke? The curse of “The Omen” seems to follow crew members wherever they go. John Richardson went on to work on another movie called A Bridge Too Far. Coincidentally, he was working with a crew member from “The Omen” again, this time a stuntman named Alf Joint. As it turns out, Alf severely injured himself when he dropped from a high distance and completely missed an air mattress that was supposed to break his fall. According to one account, when Alf awoke in the hospital, he said that it felt like something had pushed him from the ledge.
Most people suspect that this movie is cursed simply based on the amount of famous actors who died after they starred in it. I’ll cover their deaths in just a second, but first, let me address another creepy rumor that not many people mention: the set might have used real skeletons. JoBeth Williams played the mother in “Poltergeist”, and on an episode of VH1’s I Love the 80’s, she said the skeletons were real. Apparently, it’s cheaper for filmmakers to sometimes buy real skeletons that were once people from other countries than it is to buy a fake plastic replica.
Of course, there’s no telling for sure if they used real skeletons in the first movie, but on an episode of E! True Hollywood, they do admit to using real skeletons in the sequel. So if they’ve admitted to using real skeletons in the sequel, then it stands to reason that real skeletons in the original isn’t so far-fetched after all. Could these skeletons be the reason why many of the cast members were plagued by such painful and violent misfortunes later in life? Will Sampson died at 53 after heart surgery, Lou Perry was murdered at 67, Dominq ue Dunne [“Done”] was strangled to death by her boyfriend at 22, and Heather O’Rourke died at the age of 12 after her insides ruptured and went septic. If they did use real skeletons, then could one of the restless spirits have cursed the cast as revenge for disrespecting the dead?
After all, having your corpse used as a prop for a horror movie sounds like a good enough reason for haunting people as any. Oh, and if the clown scene from “Poltergeist” ever scared you, then this next rumor won’t help calm you down. Apparently the low-budget mechanical clown temporarily malfunctioned and really did choke the child actor. The cast and crew thought he was really selling a strong performance until he turned blue in the face. So the real question is, was this a simple malfunction, or a malicious possession?
2. “The Exorcist”
This is a horror movie with a horrible backstory. Deaths, injuries, and immense suffering . . . “The Exorcist” has it all. To start with, actress Ellen Burstyn [“Bur-stin”] permanently damaged her spine during a stunt where she was yanked back by wires. The scream you hear during that scene was real. Aside from this injury, death touched a large number of cast and crew members. A security guard, a technician, and as many as 7 other crew members all mysteriously died. Multiple actors also had deaths in the family before, during, and after the film’s completion. One time, a strange fire suddenly broke out on the set and reportedly damaged every room except for one.
The room of Regan, the possessed girl, had no fire damage at all. Still not convinced that this movie is cursed? Well, when it first premiered in Rome, lightning struck a 400-year-old cross in a 16th-century church that was nearby. “Honorable Mentions”: Here are some worthwhile bonus curses. Jennifer Carpenter was the star from The Exorcism of Emily Rose. When asked if anything scary happened while making the movie, she said that her radio came on at least twice during the middle of the night. It played Pearl Jam’s “I’m Still Alive” at full volume. Could this be Satan’s way of ironically announcing his existence? Another co-star’s television turned on at least twice.
On the set of Final Destination 3, a series of engineering miscalculations caused a live firework to nearly take out a crew member’s eye – much in the style of the series. Camera technicians for the Omen remake said that they lost two days of footage due to a strange equipment malfunction. According to director John Moore, a remote-controlled camera kept displaying a message that read “Error 666”. The only problem, at least according to the repairmen who came out to fix it, was that no such error code exists. Lightning struck cast and crew members of the Passion of the Christ no less than two times.
1. “The Conqueror”
This 1956 movie about Genghis Kahn [“Gehn-gis” “Con”] was the single biggest mistake of John Wayne’s acting career. It has earned numerous awards for being one of the worst films of all time, and it’s a good example of why John Wayne mostly did westerns. Aside from harming his reputation, the set seems to have harmed his health, too, and the health of many others. Director Dick Powell chose to film The Conqueror in the mountainous dunes of Snow Canyon, Utah [“You-tall”]. Unfortunately for him, the landscape was as beautiful as it was dangerous, for the government was regularly testing atomic bombs a mere 137 miles away.
In fact, just one year before they started filming, no less than eleven bombs were detonated at the nearby site. “Simon” and “Harry” were the names of two particularly nasty nukes designed to deposit a long-lasting blanket of radiation. Nevertheless, the government assured Dick and his crew that the radiation levels were not high enough to pose a threat, and that it was safe to film. So film they did. The public was largely ignorant of atomic radiation in the 1950s. Everyone was fully aware that the sandy set was irradiated, but since the government had said that the radiation levels were very low, everyone trusted their judgement. They simply didn’t know how dangerous the set really was. Sadly, years later, roughly half of the 220 cast and crew developed cancer.
Dick Powell and John Wayne died of the disease, and many others followed. Co-star Pedro Armendariz [“Are-men-dare-riz”] got kidney cancer 4 years after filming. He survived, only to have it return in a fatal form. He killed himself at the age of 51 with a bullet to the heart. “I should have never taken that part,” actress Agnes Moorehead [“Ahg-nis”] told a friend as she died of cancer. Another actress, Jeanne Gerson [“Gur-sen”], started out with skin cancer, but soon lost her breast when the disease spread.
The death toll grew so large that cast members thought of suing the government for negligence, though nothing came of it. John Wayne himself died of tumors inside of his lungs, throat and stomach, which certainly is tragic enough, but to make matters worse, not even his family was spared. His children regularly attended the set, and three of them were diagnosed with cancer shortly afterwards. The Conqueror did manage to gross a smooth 9 million, but if you asked the surviving participants, they’d probably tell you that the collateral damage was beyond compare.
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