Movie production sets can be a magical place. A place where fiction and fantasy are manufactured into an on-screen reality.
But sometimes, things can go south on movie sets. There’s so much going on, so many people doing different things, that it’s only natural that accidents can happen.
But what if I told you that some mishaps that happened on movie sets were downright inexplicable? That some events cannot be explained by putting down to just bad luck?
In this article, we’ll be listing some of the most mysterious events to take place on a movie set.
1. The Amityville Horror
The story behind The Amityville Horror movie is tragic and very real. A story of a family fatally shot and murdered by the oldest son, Ronald DeFeo.
But the horror doesn’t stop there. During the filming of the 2005 remake of the original film (released in 1979), Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds claimed that every morning, at exactly 3:15 am, he and other cast and crew members would wake up. Peculiar, but not exactly sinister.
Then you learn the fact that 3:15 am was the exact time that Ronald DeFeo shot and murdered his father, mother and siblings, and it becomes a whole lot more creepy.
There was also that time an actual dead body washed up near the filming set. Actors and crew members always suspected there was an ‘other worldly’ presence during the filming of the movie.Whether they were right or just overly paranoid, we may never know.
Pictured on the right is the real Amityville house. To know more about the tragic story, you can find a detailed video here.
2. The Exorcist
The Exorcist filming is notoriously scary. A little girl being possessed by an evil, demonic spirit. Creepy as hell. And it’s based on a true story, apparently. So you can imagine the shock and horror of the people on set when one day, part of the set went up in flames mysteriously.
No one was even near that part of the set that day. It was not a fun set to be on, as Linda Blair, one of the stars of the film, had a mental breakdown, attacked her co-star and caused her a permanent spinal injury.
There were nine deaths surrounding the making of the film. That alone should have pointed the producers to the fact that maybe making this movie wasn’t such a good idea.
This movie was said to be cursed or haunted. There is simply no other explanation for the amount of freakish incidents that occurred in and around the set of the movie.
A carpenter working on the set was burned and shocked as he was fixing something on set, a stuntman fell through the roof between the filming of the scenes, a truck spontaneously went up in flames and a crew member stabbed his own hand with a screwdriver.
But all of these events pale in comparison to when actor Brandon Lee’s life was accidentally and tragically taken away by a bullet that was unintentionally loaded into a prop gun.
4. Poltergeist Trilogy
Strike one for the Poltergeist producers was using real dead bodies as props as opposed to buying fake, plastic dummies, simply because it was cheaper.
Since that decision, many strange and seemingly sinister events have surrounded the cast and crew members on and off the filming set.
Two young actresses who played sisters in the movies both died at their young age. Dominique Dunne, one of the stars of the film, was notoriously strangled by her boyfriend.
During the filming of the third Poltergeist film, the little girl, who had appeared in all three films, lost her life after battling with a septic infection.
There was also Julian Beck who was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died soon after. Julian portrayed a ‘bad spirit’ in the Poltergeist films in what was his last ever role. Another that one child actor almost met his tragic fate on the filming set, after a mechanic malfunction almost caused a puppet to choke him to death.
Clearly the studio was convinced that the set was cursed, and even brought in an exorcist to get rid of any lingering evil spirit that has been causing havoc. It had a reverse effect – the man brought in to perform the exorcism died less than a year later.
5. The Possession
You’d think at this point that people would just stop making horror films if it means one of the cast members is likely to kick the bucket at some point during production. But no. Still they went on to make more horror films, and still creepy things happened on set.
Lights would explode, seemingly for no reason. Random, cool breezes would be felt inside closed, sealed off buildings. But the cast and crew reached a tipping point of freaking out when one storage unit, where all the movie’s props were kept, inexplicably burst to flames and burned down to the ground.
Further investigation showed that the fire was not down to arson or to an electrical malfunction, and the reason remains unknown. Suffice to say, tensions were at a high throughout the filming of this 2012 film.
6. The Omen
One of the most talked about horror films in recent history, and not purely for the reasons that the producers want. There was a disturbing number of events and deaths surrounding the making of this film. It was almost like it was a sign, like an omen — pun intended. Anyway, back to the creepy things and the dead people.
Number one on the list of creepy things that happened to people around the movie was the screenwriter’s plane getting hit by lightning. Ominous, but regular enough not to arouse paranoia and suspicion. Gregory Peck, one of the leading men on screen, booked a flight and cancelled it at the last minute. He later found out that the plane he was scheduled to be on had crashed, leaving absolutely no survivors.
Later during the production of the film, the director of the film, Richard Donner, was left shaken after the IRA bombed the hotel he was staying at. More gruesome and shocking was the fate of an animal handler, who was required on set during the filming of a scene involving baboons in a safari park. The animal handler was attacked and eaten by a lion, literally, the day after the scene was shot.
It doesn’t stop there. On the first day of filming, several crew members got into a head-on car crash, but escaped largely unharmed. Special Effects Supervisor, John Richardson, and his assistant, Liz Moore, were not so lucky. They were also involved in a car crash, and lost their lives tragically.
If you believe in omens, you should know that the accident took place on Friday the 13th, 66.6 km away from the town of Ommen. Even more disturbingly, Moore’s body was sliced in half during the accident, which was exactly how one of the characters lost their lives during the movie scene which Richardson and Moore had orchestrated.
7. Rosemary’s Baby
Another classic of the horror genre, Rosemary’s Baby is known for its shocking occurrences off-screen as much as it is known for its horrors on-screen.
The film talks of a pregnant wife who is shocked to know that her husband has a deal with a religious cult, leading her to believe that Satan is the father of her unborn child.
The most shocking of all the events surrounding the movie was how the director, Roman Polanski, lost his wife, Sharon Tate. She, and four other women, were killed in a ritualistic mass-murder by a cult led by none other than notorious serial murderer Charles Manson.Sharon, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her death, was found, stabbed a total of sixteen times. Not only that, the killers went on to dip a towel in Tate’s blood and spell out the word PIG on the front door.
One of the film’s producers received death threats about a year after the film was released. He was hospitalized a few days after. As he was being admitted into hospital, he loudly yelled, ‘For God’s sake Rosemary, drop the knife!’ He later died of cardiac arrest. Bizarre.
On and Off Screen Horrors
It seems that movie sets, and particularly horror movie sets, are not the place to be if you do not plan to die a horrible, painful, ironic death. But in all honesty, while most rational people would chalk these incidents down to bizarre consequences, it still does not explain some of the incidents that cast and crew members have faced to this day.
Ultimately, no one can be sure. Maybe people were being overly paranoid, quick to blame ghosts/demons/spirits for any misfortune they may run into. Some of it has to be just poor luck. Or maybe, just maybe, there is an evil, sinister demon lurking around Hollywood studios attempting to kill off anyone involved in making another cliche horror film.
There is no denying that something has to be going on at least some of these movie sets, but as to the exact nature of this ‘something’, we don’t know.