When watching a movie, most of the time you realize that the action sequences and suspenseful moments are fake. It’s very unlikely that any of the scenes could actually happen in real life. A lot of times they are filmed with a green screen behind them, and there are tons of safety measures in place to ensure nobody is injured on set. However, we all know that some actors will push themselves to the limits in order to portray their character just right or to make sure the scene is as amazing as everyone pictured it when reading the script. But sometimes, all of the safety features set in place, fail. And when this happens, tragedy strikes on set. This tragedy can be terrible, resulting in career ending injuries, but on a few occasions, these tragedies can end with the death of a crew member or actor. Here is a list of 19 horrible movie accidents and curses that will change how you view these movies the next time you watch them.
1. The Dark Knight – When filming a scene for The Dark Knight, they were filming a movie stunt car. During this scene, cameraman Conway Wickliffe was killed because his car missed a 90-degree turn and ended up tragically crashing into a tree.
2. The Hangover Part II – When you think of this movie, you try to wonder where exactly something tragic could have happened. But when Scott McLean, who was a stuntman for the film, was leaning out a window his head collided with another oncoming car. This was during one of the scenes where the taxis were moving. Because of this he suffered from permanent brain injuries, along with physical injuries. He ended up suing Warner Bros. for an unspecified amount and damages.
3. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Daniel Radcliffe had a stunt double named David Holmes. While filming a flying stunt, he was thrown against a wall. During this incident, he suffered a fractured neck which caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down. He now has very limited mobility in his arms and legs, but at the time of the accident he was only 25 years old.
4. Now You See Me – In the above picture, you see actress Isla Fisher locked inside of a water chamber. In this scene, she was supposed to escape but she ended up nearly drowning instead. She was stuck underwater for nearly three minutes.
5. The Crow – Brandon Lee, who is the son of the infamous Bruce Lee, was the star of this film. However while filming scenes for this movie, a slug was misplaced during a scene where Brandon Lee’s character gets shot. This slug ended up penetrating his body and Brandon Lee died on set.
6. The Expendables 2 – There was a terrible accident on the set of this movie when a rubber boat explosion took a tragic turn. The rubber boat exploded killing one stuntman and critically injuring a second stuntman. The stuntman who did survive required five hours of operations just to get him into stable condition.
7. Top Gun – While filming one of the plane scenes for this movie, stuntman Art School was killed. He lost control of his plane and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. They were never able to recover his plane or his body.
8. Twilight Zone: The Movie – This film suffered a huge tragedy when a helicopter accident caused Vic Morrow along with two child actors, My-ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen, to be decapitated while filming a scene based around the Vietnam war. Because of this tragedy, director John Landis was sent to trial, but after seeing the footage, the jury found that he was not guilty.
9. XXX – When this film came out, Vin Diesel was VERY popular. He did not perform his own stunts for this movie, but had a stuntman named Harry L. O’Connor who performed them for him. There is a scene where Vin Diesel’s character had to rappel down a line and land on a submarine. However, O’Connor missed the landing and slammed into the side of a bridge, killing him on impact. This scene was actually left in the final cut, not the part where he died though, as a way to honor O’Connor and his last bit of work.
10. Atuk (unreleased) – This movie was supposed to star John Belushi, as he portrayed an Eskimo visiting New York. He ended up passing away from a drug overdose before filming in 1982. But every person they asked to fill the star role ended up passing away as well. First was Sam Kinison who was killed in a car crash while they were rewriting part of the script. Next up was John Candy who died 14 years after John Belushi’s death from a heart attack. They ended up asking Chris Farley to fill the role, but then he ended up dying of a drug overdose before he could officially be signed on for this lead role. The movie still has not been made.
11. The Exorcist – During the filming of this movie, the set burned down and filming was stopped for 6 weeks. Once filming resumed, there were two separate incidents where crew members were killed. The first one involved a night watchman, while the other incident involved a special effects expert.
12. Godspell – While nobody was killed on set, four of the men who played Jesus’ apostles died at a young age. The first one was Lynne Thigpen who died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Then Jeffrey Mylett passed away from AIDS. Merrell Jackson died at the age of 38 from an unknown cause. And David Haskell who was both Judas Iscariot and John the Baptist in the movie, died of a brain tumor.
13. The Passion Of The Christ – During the filming of this movie, actor James Caviezel and assistant director Jan Michelini were struck by lightning. Jan Michelini was actually struck twice during two different storms.
14. Poltergeist – While nobody died on set, the cast did have a lot of cast members die within a short amount of time. When the first film was released, within six years, four of the cast members passed away tragically. First was Dominque Dunn who was killed by an ex-boyfriend. Next was Julian Beck who passed away from stomach cancer. Will Sampson died of liver failure, then Heather O’Rourke died of septic shock. Do you think the set could have been cursed?
15. Rebel Without A Cause – We all know that James Dean passed away at the age of 23 in a car chase, but did you know that it happened before this iconic film was released. Then his co-star Natalie Wood ended up drowning a few years later. But tragedy doesn’t stop there. Sal Mineo, who played a teenager smitten with James Dean’s character, was stabbed in the heart after returning home from a rehearsal for another movie. Then the person that purchased James Dean’s car, was also killed in a car crash years later.
16. Rosemary’s Baby – Before filming the movie, the producer of the film, William Castle, received a letter that was very hateful and even mentioned that he was going to die from a horrible illness. He ended up dying of a heart attack. Just one year after the release of this film, director Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson family. She was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
17. Superman The Movie – This movie was definitely cursed. Christopher Reeves, who played Superman, was thrown from a horse and became a quadriplegic due to the accident. The actress who played Lois Lane, Margot Kidder, was later diagnosed with a mental illness after filming and was found wandering Los Angeles in 1994.
18. The Conqueror – During the filming of this movie in 1956, the entire crew was almost swept away and killed in a flash flood. Next, Susan Hayward was almost eaten by a panther. That’s not necessarily the worst of it either. The film took 13 weeks to shoot. But they shot the film on an area that had been used by the Army to test atomic bombs. There were a total of 220 crew members on this film, and 91 of them were diagnosed with cancer. John Wayne, along with 45 other crew members, had their lives taken by cancer.
19. The Omen – Gregory Peck was the star of this movie. Before filming started, his son committed suicide. Then on the way to film the movie, Peck’s plane was struck by lightning. His wasn’t the only plane that was hit though. The planes carrying the scriptwriter, and also the plane carrying the executive producer, were also struck by lightning. While filming, the hotel where the producers were staying was bombed by the IRA. It doesn’t stop there though. An animal handler for the film was killed by a tiger. When the movie was over, special effects consultant John Richardson was in a car accident. This accident claimed the life of his assistant. The road sign that was closest to the accident read “Ommen, 66.6km”. This accident also occurred on Friday the 13th, 1976.
It’s hard to believe that such accidents can happen on the set. I think it’s even harder to believe that certain movie sets are cursed, but after seeing what happened to some of these actors and film crew members, it is hard to not deny the fact that they were cursed. It’s amazing to me that a lot of the cursed film sets were where horror movies were filmed. Knowing that people can lose their lives during the filming of the movies we pay to enjoy is a little disheartening, and it’ll definitely make me appreciate the effort they put into my entertainment a whole lot more!