20 of the Most Cursed Movies Ever Filmed

Martha Sorren | Feb 20, 2020 Movies
20 of the Most Cursed Movies Ever Filmed
Image: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The Wizard of Oz
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The movie business is a tough one to be in, especially when it seems like the universe is working against a particular film production. That's certainly what it seemed like for these 20 movies that are rumored to have been cursed. The curses never came in exactly the same way, but they very often plagued horror movies that were already delving into some pretty creepy stuff -- which, of course, makes the movie even scarier.

The lesson that many of these scary movies teach us is not to mess with the paranormal, but is making a movie about the paranormal also messing with it? Just saying, a lot of these spooky ghost-focused films ended up leaving cast and crew with terrifying memories.

Some movie curses were way worse than others. For some, being able to talk at a press junket about how objects would move around on set of a horror movie was almost like better press for the film. But some movies suffered cast and crew injuries -- and even tragic deaths -- that totally derailed the movie's original vision. Two films on this list never even ended up getting made because so many of the actors died in the process of trying to make them happen.

We've selected 20 of the creepiest entries for everyone to read from a list of cursed films. Don't already believe in things such as ghosts and curses? Well, everyone might after reading this. We're not gonna lie -- it was even kind of spooky to research and write this article. 

And, after reading, no one will ever be able to watch these 20 movies the same way having known what really went on behind the scenes. These cursed movie facts send shivers up our spines.

  • 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'

    1

    This movie bounced around in production Hades for decades. Multiple attempts with different sources of financing kept falling through at the last minute. It was finally made in 2018, starring Adam Driver, and the struggle for director Terry Gilliam to make the film happen was later chronicled in the documentary He Dreams of Giants.

  • 'Waterworld'

    2

    Waterworld was a production disaster, with budgetary issues costing almost double the allotted sum. At the last minute, Joss Whedon was brought in to make heavy script changes, but he had to work alongside actor Kevin Costner -- and the process was something that Joss ended up calling "seven weeks of hell." Additionally, the ocean scenes led to multiple jellyfish stings for some of the cast.

  • 'Quantum of Solace'

    3

    Few James Bond movies ran into as many struggles as Quantum of Solace. Production was plagued with multiple car accidents, a sudden director change-up, and actor Daniel Craig suffering a shoulder injury and severing his finger during filming. That didn't stop anyone, though. After Quantum of Solace, Craig went on to star in several more Bond films.

  • 'The Possession'

    4

    The Possession was based on the true story of an old box that some people believed was possessed. When the box's owner offered up the item to the movie's production team, they were too wary to accept. Star Jeffrey Dean Morgan said he doesn't really believe in that kind of thing, but even he wouldn't risk it. "I won't sit around mocking the box," he said. "I'm not going to play with that. So I remember at some point the guy that owns the box wanted to come to the set and bring the box and I was like, 'Absolutely not!'"

    Even though they didn't bring the box to set, weird things still happened. Five days after the production wrapped, the storage facility for all the props burned to the ground.

    Freaky.

  • 'The Innkeepers'

    5

    This spooky film featured the real Yankee Pedlar Inn, a supposedly haunted hotel. Director Ti West said he didn't believe in ghosts, but the inn had weird energy. "A lot of us generally felt the hotel was creepy. After a few nights, I started talking with the staff here and that’s when I heard about the ghost stories. I don't believe in ghosts, but weird s--t did happen." 

    Among the strange happenings, West said, "lights have turned off and on by themselves in my room. My phone rang and no one was on the line, which the hotel staff says happens all the time. There are nights when I wake up in my room and it feels like somebody is in there."

    Creepy.

  • 'The Passion of the Christ'

    6

    Jim Caviezel played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ and endured a lot of hardship while filming the role. Among the incidents on set, he was struck by lightning, dislocated his shoulder, got pneumonia and a lung infection, and suffered debilitating headaches. What's more, he wasn't even the only person to be struck by lightning on set. Assistant Jon Mikalini was also struck -- for the second time in his life. The odds on that are astronomical. 

  • 'The Amityville Horror' (2005)

    7

    In The Amityville Horror, the main character often finds himself waking up at 3:15 a.m., when weird things occur in the home. Ryan Reynolds, who acted in the 2005 version of the real ghost story, said that during production many of the cast and crew mysteriously found themselves waking up at 3:15 as well. "I think a lot of people make that stuff up to sell their movie, but there was some weird stuff that happened," Reynolds said.

  • 'Poltergeist'

    8

    The lesson of Poltergeist is supposed to be that we should leave dead people alone. But for some reason, Steven Spielberg used real skeletons in a scene with actress JoBeth Williams. She later said that she'd thought they were fake skeletons -- as had the crew -- and found out afterward that they were real to make them look more realistic. "I think everybody got real creeped out by the idea of that," she said.

  • 'The Omen'

    9

    During the filming of this horror film, lightning struck three separate planes carrying cast and crew. Additionally, a number of mysterious deaths and near-death experiences plagued those involved. All of these events started to make everyone think the real omen was the making of The Omen. It's considered one of the most cursed film productions ever.

  • 'The Conjuring'

    10

    Any time a movie is based on a real tale of the supernatural, things can get spooky. Actress Vera Farmiga claimed that her computer showed digital claw marks on it when she opened it one day, and that photos taken on set showed mysterious claw marks over her thigh. Director James Wan also claimed to have felt a presence in his home, and writers said their phone calls were interrupted by strange static. 

    Spooky.

  • 'Apocalypse Now'

    11
    Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now
    Zoetrope Studios/United Artist/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

    Francis Ford Coppola directed Apocalypse Now, a movie that nearly destroyed his marriage it was such a stressful adventure. Not only did typhoons destroy the set, but one of the actors almost died. Martin Sheen had a heart attack while filming, but fortunately made it out OK. Coppola later admitted that through filming the movie, "little by little we went insane."

  • 'Brainstorm'

    12

    While in the midst of production on the sci-fi thriller Brainstorm, Natalie Wood drowned during a boat outing. Her costar, Christopher Walken, had also been on the boat that fateful night. Natalie's scenes were mostly finished by that point, however, so with a little reshooting, the movie was still able to come out in 1983 as her final film.

  • 'The Wizard of Oz'

    13

    The Wizard of Oz wasn't quite a fairy tale for the actors involved. Jack Haley was called in to play the Tin Man, but only after the original actor was hospitalized for being severely allergic to the aluminum dust used to turn his skin silver. The makeup was reconfigured, but it still caused an eye infection for the second actor. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, was severely burned on set in a pyrotechnic accident.

  • 'The Exorcist' (1973)

    14

    A lot of freaky things happened around The Exorcist filming. One of the actors who died in the film ended up dying shortly after in real life. Also a set fire destroyed the home they were shooting in. All the rooms were turned to ash except possessed Reagan's room, which was left unscathed. Some crew members claimed that objects would also move around on their own, and actress Ellen Burstyn was severely injured during a fight scene with her fictional daughter. Nevertheless, the movie spawned four sequels.

  • 'The Dark Knight'

    15

    The Dark Knight franchise is considered cursed for several reasons. First of all, actor Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, died of an accidental overdose prior to The Dark Knight's release. Additionally, one of the special effects coordinators died during a car accident while filming. Then, there was the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado, during a screening of the sequel The Dark Knight Rises.

  • 'The Crow'

    16

    Bruce Lee's son, Brandon Lee, starred in The Crow, which ended up being Brandon's final film. He was killed on set in an accident with a gun. The prop firearm was supposed to shoot blanks, but ultimately malfunctioned, fatally wounding Lee in the stomach. He was rushed into surgery, but doctors were unable to save his life. He died at 28 years old in 1993.

  • 'Twilight Zone: The Movie'

    17

    Sadly, while this movie was filming, an accident led to the deaths of three of the film's actors. In one scene, Vic Morrow and two child actors were supposed to run from a helicopter. But the pilot lost control during the shoot and crashed into the actors, killing them all. It happened on the final day of filming. The movie did get released, but the accident cast a pall over its premiere.

  • 'The Conqueror'

    18
    John Wayne in The Conqueror
    Mondadori via Getty Images

    The Conqueror stars John Wayne and Susan Hayward, director Dick Powell, and lots of crew members had no idea what was in store for them when they began shooting this movie about Genghis Khan movie. Their set in Utah was 100 miles away from a nuclear testing area, and many of the movie's cast and crew would later fall ill and eventually die, seemingly as a result of being within proximity of the nuclear fallout.

  • 'A Confederacy of Dunces'

    19
    zach galifianakis
    Splash News

    Based on the novel of the same name, Hollywood has been trying since 1982 to turn this story into a movie, and all of the attempts have so far failed. Collider reported that previously John Belushi was set to take on the lead role, but then he died. So did John Candy and Chris Farley, who were also briefly up for the role before their own deaths. Will Ferrell was cast years later, but Paramount shelved the project. In 2012, Zach Galifianakis was attached to the project, but nothing has come of it in nearly a decade.

  • 'The Incomparable Atuk'

    20
    John Candy
    Splash News

    This movie is another one that has still never been made. Despite multiple efforts to get the ball rolling, several actor deaths led to the project seemingly getting canned for good. John Belushi, John Candy, and Chris Farley were among the actors attached to the project whose deaths delayed production time and time again. Guess it just wasn't meant to be.

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