Throughout the ages, there have been tales of cursed objects that have brought numerous people great misfortune or even early death. One of these items is called the Black Orlov gemstone necklace stolen from a Hindu shrine and had the effect of causing its owners to jump to their death. Another example surrounds the discovery of a man they called ‘Iceman’ buried in the ice and found in 1991. In the thirteen years following the discovery, seven of the researchers all died unnatural deaths like perishing in an avalanche, falling off a cliff, a blood disease, and car accident.
Events like this seem to also tie in with certain films that have a stigma about them as being ‘cursed’. They are called such due to the uncanny pattern of early death for those that worked on the films. Some of the incidences happened during and even after the films were wrapped. Here we’ll explore some of the more popular stories that surround this phenomena and question why these particular movies seem to manifest horrific events through somewhat supernatural means.
Popular Films Associated With Accidents And Death
The Omen (1976)
First up we have The Omen a film about a boy named Damien adopted by a well-to-do family. Through a series of brutal “accidents” and a suicide, he reveals himself as the Anti-Christ now born on Earth. The lead was played by Gregory Peck whose son killed himself two months before production of the film began. Gregory’s plane was also struck by lightning while traveling. The Special Effects consultant designer James and his assistant Liz Moore were involved in a head-on-collision that took the life of Moore and left James badly injured.
The actors that were in the Poltergeist films were cursed throughout the whole trilogy! Four of the actors in the Poltergeist series died within six years of each other. Domnique Dunne who played older sister Dana, was murdered by her boyfriend at the age of 22. Actor Julien Beck was diagnosed with stomach cancer before accepting the role of terrifying Reverend Kane. He died on September 14, 1988 at 60. Native American actor Will Sampson, who played Taylor the medicine man in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died of kidney failure in 1987 from surgical complications. And of course Heather O’ Rourke, little Carol Anne who died tragically of septic shock while shooting the third film in the trilogy. Another creepy thing in Poltergeist was that the pool full of corpses that Diane was stuck in were real. She wasn’t told about this until after the scene was filmed. Whoops.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Here’s the classic story about a troubled boy that moves to a new town looking for love, friendship, and the parallels between teenage and adult years. The three main characters in this American classic all died in mysterious and tragic ways. Cultural icon James Dean died in 1955 while engaging in a car chase resulting in his death at just 23 before the release of the film. His co-star Natalie Wood died at 44 when she drowned because of ‘unusual circumstances’. In 1976, Sal Mineo was stabbed to death in an alley in West Hollywood. He played opposite Dean as his shy, sensitive friend winning an Academy Award for his performance.
Perhaps one of the most popular stories is that of actor Christopher Reeves who starred as the caped hero Superman. Sometime after the film was released he was thrown off a horse resulting in him becoming a guadriplegic. He died in 2004 at age 52. Margot Kidder, who played reporter Lois Lane, had a mental break in 1996 and was found wandering around the streets of L.A. filthy and in a state in confusion. Richard Pryor, starring in Superman III, died later of Multiple Sclerosis. George Reeves, who played in the 1950’s show “Adventures of Superman” was found dead of suicide yet some believe he was murdered.
The controversy surrounding this 1973 classic about a girl named Regan, who summons spirits through a Ouija board only to become possessed by a malicious demon, has become infamous for the death and destruction that followed. Actor Jack MacGowran (Burke Dennings) died from flu complications shortly before the release. Lee J. Cobb (Lieutenant Kinderman) suffered a heart attack and died three years after the film. Max Von Sydow (Father Merrin) had a brother that passed away during filming as confirmed by actress Ellyn Burstyn (Regan’s mom). She also confirmed that one of the cameramen had a baby that passed away during production as well as a carpenter that lost some fingers while building the set. Ellen Burstyn herself didn’t escape the curse as her spine was permanently injured during the scene where she was thrown backwards from the bed so the scream you hear from her in the film was very real. More examples of the horrors connected to this film can be viewed here: Exorcist Curse
Coincidence Or Malevolent Cross-Over From Screen To Reality
These are only but a few examples of films over the ages that seem to have a stigma connected with them. Strangely, the ones that deal with subject matter of a supernatural nature seem to have the most death and weird anomalies happen. It’s almost as if some of the darkness of the story lines manifested into a very real force that impacted or stole the lives of those associated with these classics. So whether curse or coincidence, you can clearly see how many of the cast and crew suffered tragic and sometimes mysterious death in the name of entertainment.
Check out this segment from “The Curse of Poltergeist” documentary: