The horror movie Poltergeist came out in 1982 and was such a hit that they decided to make two sequels. But when it came time to film, it wasn’t easy find actors that wanted to take on the roles.
The reason: The Poltergeist Curse.
There were several reasons for the story behind the rumor of a curse on this film that started shortly after the shooting of the first film. Dominique Dunne, who plays the oldest sister, was met by her ex-boyfriend and strangled to death shortly after the premiere and died after a five-day coma. It was his reaction to the fact that she didn’t want him back in her life.
Shortly before the filming of the second film started, the lead actor, Julian Beck, found out he had cancer. He made it through the film’s production but died shortly thereafter.
Will Sampson, who played the Indian Shaman, also died shortly after filming during a lung operation. Throughout production there were so many paranormal instances that they decided to perform an exorcism to get rid of any curses. But this didn’t seem to get the job done. The worst case of the curse carrying out its duties was when the young, blonde lead actress Heather O’Rourke died of Crohn’s disease in 1988 at just 12 years old.
In the end, no one wanted a role in the third part of the series. Nevertheless, it came, but they had to dig deep in their pockets. Money apparently helped ease the shock. Later, lead actress JoBeth Williams told a talk show that director Steven Spielberg had used real human bones during the filming. He did this because it was cheaper at the time than having fake skeletons made. Her claim has never been contradicted and many are convinced that this action put a curse on the film.
The movie about a girl who is possessed by the devil, played by a young Linda Blair, was the cause of one of the most intense jump scares in film history. But the many strange occurrences during and after the shooting were possibly even more terrifying than the film itself. The Exorcist is based on the book of the same name by William Peter Blatty, who wrote it based on a true story about a little boy who had to deal with priests at Georgetown University Hospital who wanted to drive the devil out of him. One priest was injured.
The filming had to be stopped immediately after they started because the house where they were supposed to film was completely burnt to the ground. Well, completely… Only the bedroom of the lead actress, played by Linda Blair, was left entirely untouched. They never found the cause of the fire. A pigeon may have caused a short circuit. Actress Ellen Burstyn was seriously injured during the movie when her daughter in the movie, Reagan (Linda Blair) jumped on her and she fell. The images of this were used in the film, by the way, so that Burstyn’s cry of pain is not the result of good acting. She still suffers from the back injury she sustained. Blair herself also suffered a serious back injury in another shot. Two of the movie’s actors, Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros, died shortly after filming stopped. They both played the roles of people who died in the film. During filming, Blair’s grandpa and Max von Sydow’s brother died. Warner Brothers took advantage of this misery. They suggested the curse followed the movie which wasn’t bad for publicity, of course. For years The Exorcist was the highest grossing horror film ever.
The movie about a woman who – possibly – was carrying the devil’s baby, is also cursed according to many. Immediately after the movie came out, director Polanski and many other members of the crew were overwhelmed with threats. For example, producer William Castle received a letter from a satanic sect predicting that he would develop a painful illness. Not much later he ended up in hospital and had to undergo surgery for gallstones. At the same moment in the same hospital, the musical composer for the movie, Krysztof Komeda, died of a brain aneurism. Just like one of the lead characters in the movie. The greatest shock was yet to come. In August 1969, barely a year after the film’s premiere, Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate and some of her guests were brutally murdered in their home by members of the Manson Family. Tate was eight months pregnant at the time. Some even link the murder of John Lennon to the curse on this movie. Lennon was shot in front of his apartment in the Dakota, a New York building complex where much of Rosemary’s baby was filmed.
Another frightening movie about a man who arose from the dead. The lead role is played by Brandon Lee, the son of the legendary Bruce Lee. The film was supposed to be his first big success, instead it led to his death. Some of the film’s workers had already been hit by disaster. A carpenter pierced his own hand with a screwdriver, a stuntman fell through the roof, and a member of the crew was nearly electrocuted. But the worst was the death of Brandon Lee on set. During the scene where he was shot dead, a real bullet was in the gun being used, which killed Lee. This has also been attributed to the Lee family curse. Father Bruce also died at a young age and under strange circumstances.
Source: Panorama | Image: Unsplash, Stefano Pollio