It is often said that bad luck follows the production of a truly successful horror film. Maybe it’s because touching on themes of the occult and paranormal invites negative energy into the world, or perhaps it’s simply because a film production is a clockwork of moving parts that often goes awry. Whatever you believe, there are some truly fascinating tales from behind the scenes. What happens when the cameras stopped rolling during your favorite screen productions? Here’s a list of the ten eeriest real-life occurrences on-set of your favorite macabre classics.
10 The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)
Many of the films on this list will be exorcism films, mostly because they tend to be highly emotional films and because the devil himself is often the chief adversary. The beloved shocker ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ is first on the list because of the strange energy fluctuations surrounding stars Jennifer Carpenter and Laura Linney, who both clamed that radios and televisions would turn on and off in their presence.
9 The Conjuring (2013)
A modern classic of the haunted house subgenre, James Wan’s ‘Conjuring’ series has always centered around the fuzzy edge between the natural and supernatural worlds, with its psychic investigators attempting to discover the source of the manifestations. Vera Farmiga, who plays psychic Lorraine Warren, said that she had discovered claw marks on her legs after doing research in the paranormal to prepare for her role.
8 Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Plenty of misfortune followed the cast and crew of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, the story of a woman whose husband bargains with a cult for success in exchange for her carrying the AntiChrist to term. It’s a claustrophobic, paranoid film, where the sweetest faces hide the most sinister secrets. Shortly after the film was completed, director Roman Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate was killed in the notorious Manson family killings. The composer of the movie slipped into a coma and passed away, and the producer was hospitalized with several kidney stones.
7 The Amityville Horror (2005)
Some of the best scary movies are based on real world hauntings and one of the most memorable is the story behind ‘The Amityville Horror.’ According to legend, the house is haunted by the tragic deaths of the DeFeo family, who were killed with Ronald DeFeo Jr. went through the home late at night and shot his family while they slept. During filming, Ryan Reynolds claimed that he and several members of the cast and crew woke up at 3:15AM every night, which was the same time as the killings.
6 Poltergeist (1982)
One of the most iconic ghost stories of all time, this Steven Spielberg-produced film brings the ghosts out of the creaky mansion and into the modern suburban developments, thanks to an unscrupulous developer building over an abandoned graveyard. Unfortunately, tragedy struck the cast repeatedly. the actress who played Dana Freeling, Dominique Dunne, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend who was convicted for manslaughter. Not only that, but actress Heather O’Rourke passed away at 12 years old not long after appearing in Poltergeist 2.
5 The Omen (1976)
Another film with a bunch of behind the scenes tragedies, ‘The Omen’ is the story of the AntiChrist being raised by a wealthy American diplomat who slowly realizes the true nature of his child after a series of mysterious deaths plague his home. While flying over to London to shoot the film, lighting struck star Gregory Peck’s plane. It also hit the plane of the film’s executive producer. Finally, producer Harvey Bernhard was almost struck by lightning during the shoot in Rome. Someone really didn’t want this film finished!
4 Innkeepers (1976)
Ti West, the director who made the acclaimed ‘The House of the Devil’ returned with a horror film called ‘The Innkeepers’ set in the supposedly haunted Yankee Pedlar Film. As the two bored employees search for the ghost bride, they discover that it’s sometimes a bad idea to look for ghosts. According to the cast and crew, the doors would open and close on their own, phones would ring with no one on the other end, and other eerie events would regularly occur.
3 The Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
One of the most infamous examples of negligent filmmaking led to the deaths of actor Vic Morrow and two children during the filming of the first segment of ‘The Twilight Zone: The Movie.’ They were filming a scene set in a Vietnamese village under a helicopter attack but the director’s willful carelessness put the actors in danger and ultimately lead to their deaths when a helicopter crashed down onto them.
2 Annabelle (2014)
This killer doll flick had one of the gnarlier stories of behind-the-scene haunts. According to legend, a janitor was struck in the head by a falling light. The actor who played the demon was present during the accident and, in the film, the demon kills a janitor. Probably a coincidence, but the filmmakers had a priest come in and bless the set anyway.
1 The Exorcist (1973)
Generally considered to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time, ‘The Exorcist’ was wildly controversial and suffered no small amount of misfortune. Many deaths surrounded the production of the film and, most notoriously, a fire consumed almost all of the sets except for the one that the actual exorcism was filmed in.