February 12, 2014

5 Famous Movie Curses Debunked?!

Have you ever not done something because you have the mentality that anything that can go wrong will go wrong? Or not to mess with stuff of a unknown nature because you're scared what could possibly happen. Or just that unexplained coincidences happen to you on the daily? It's not surprising then that there are multiple movies through history that have had strange, tragic, and sometimes fascinating events attached to them, even stranger when they are inter weaved  with almost disturbing coincidences. 

Of course, throughout the years, these events have grown into a status of a movie being cursed. Do you believe in curses? Or just plain bad luck. Some of these curses are so inbred into the mind that there's no questioning it. This list started out as me just giving information about famous movie curses, but as I developed my research, I realized some of these events just spawned from nowhere. Did they really happen? If so, is there something to be said for these movies that have all this darkness attached to them?

5. The Omen

The Omen is a 1976 film starring Gregory "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view" Peck, about a US Diplomat who secretly swaps his wife's stillborn child with (unknowingly) the child of Satan. What a heartfelt family sitcom!

Oven?...like...flames of hell? Bun in the...oh god!

It's considered a classic in the suspense/thriller genre, and my own father claims it is the scariest movie he has ever seen. However, what's possible even more sinister and terrifying about the movie is the behind the scenes brushes with death faced by many of the cast and crew attached to the film. 

Director Richard Donner was first hit by a car but was not injured, then he stayed at  was bombed by the IRA in 1975 during production of the film. Producer Harvey Bernhard and star Gregory Peck took separate planes into London but both were struck by lightening. The first being a minor inconvenience  and the latter's having to perform an emergency landing. To top that off, Gregory Peck later would cancel his flight on a plane that would later crash on it's way to Israel with all souls on board dying. He seems to have bad luck with aircraft. 

Dear Young Love struck woman, GET OFF THAT PLANE.

It Get's Weirder: During production of the film "A Bridge to Far" (1977), stunt coordinator John Richardson (who was responsible for the decapitation scene in the film) was in an accident during production where his girlfriend ended up getting decapitated. 

Credibility: I have found no credible source for most of these events, with most everything just linking back to "The Omen is Cursed!". There was an IRA bombing at The London Hilton in late 1975, which would match up with the time of Donner being in the city. I have found no evidence supporting Gregory Peck canceling a flight to Israel that crashed, as there are no documented flights crashing en route to the country. All sources for the girlfriend getting decapitated link back to articles about how, again, "The Omen is Cursed!". The only source not mentioning The Omen being "trivia" from IMDB. I did find out, though, that John Richardson was a special effects supervisor in the Harry Potter films, so even if the facts are wrong, we still have a fun fact!

4. The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan's 2008 sequel to Batman Begins, though universally acclaimed with a memorable performance by Heath Ledger, was plagued by a few dark, tragic, and unfortunate events during and after production. First, a cameraman was killed when the vehicle he was filming in crashed into a tree. Then, right before the London premiere of the film, Christian Bale (the goddamn Batman and overall sexiest actor around), was arrested due to allegations from his mom and sister that he assaulted them. Actor Morgan Freeman (who plays Lucius Fox in the films) was in a car crash that nearly killed him and left him in serious condition just weeks after the films release. To this day he still does not have feeling in one of his hands caused by an injury from the accident.

Contrary to popular belief, that glove is NOT used
to keep his pimp hand fresh

It Get's Weirder: I'm sure everyone is well aware that Heath Ledger, who plays The Joker, died of a drug overdose in January of 2008, before the film was even released. He received a posthumous Oscar for his performance. This isn't really an "it get's weirder" thing, just another tragedy connected to the film. 

Credibility: All these events happened. There are news sources, and I'm sure a lot of you remember them being on the news. Is this to say the movie is cursed? Heath Ledger is noted to have had struggles after having to go to a dark place while getting into the dark, demanding role of The Joker, and it's always been thought that could have contributed to his heavy use of prescription drugs. These sad events did create a dark shadow over the opening of the film. This movie doesn't have any crazy coincidences like some of the other films on the list, which almost makes it even more sad that so much misfortune surrounded this one film. 

3. Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film starring the epitome of cool guys, James Dean, Actress Natalie Wood of Gypsy and West Side Story fame, and Sal Mineo, a two time Academy Award nominated actor. It's a social commentary about american youth in the 1950's which made blue jeans cool as shit to teenagers. Dean was only in three films his whole career, East of Eden and Giant (adapted from two of my favorite books of all time) being the other two, which are both great movies. So he's basically 3 for 3. His life was tragically cut short in 1955 (a month before the movie came out) when he crashed his Porsche 550 Spyder head on with another car on Highway 466 in California. 

Unfortunately, that's not the end of deaths of people connected to the film Natalie Wood died mysteriously at the age of 43 when she drowned after falling off a yacht in 1981. At the time the death was ruled accidental, but recently the case has been in talks of being reopened or at least re examined due to new evidence. Sal Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was stabbed while parking his car.

It Gets Weirder: You know James Dean's Spyder? That thing has some bad vibes attached to it. After Dean's Death, the Spyder, so sweetly named "Little Bastard"  was bought by George Barris who originally customized the car (he also designed the Batmobile in the original live action television series). It later slipped off the trailer and broke the mechanics leg who was working on it. Parts of the car were sold to two physicians. One died hitting into a tree during a race, and the other was seriously injured when his car rolled after locking up. Add to that, a thief injured himself trying to steal the steering wheel from the owner of the rolled car. Keep in mind, these were only parts of the car that were salvaged after the wreck and because of all the separated parts, nobody know where the parts of the Porsche are now. Dun Dun!

"Holy Porsche" takes on a whole new meaning

Credibility: Though all three actors did die (also very young like others on the list) tragically, the information about the Spyder doesn't match up. Multiple posts and articles about it all give varied information about the "events" including the parts, injuries, when, and where's. The two men who bought parts to the cars were both Doctors, but I found no other information on them except when linked to articles stating "the curse of James Dean's car!". One blogger gives similar information, but at the end updates it with more information about where the parts might be now. This was interesting because he supposedly spoke with George Barris about the infamous Porsche. I'm sure some of these events did happen, it's just not clear to what degree. Also, the car parts are SOMEWHERE. So, if you believe in curses, watch out! Scary demon car.

2. The Misfits

The Misfits is a 1961 film starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift  about a old cowboy, his new girlfriend, and his rodeo buddies who come up with a plan to turn wild horses into dog food. It's a melancholy Western...that's how I can sum it up. It was a box office failure at the time of it's release, and only recently has the movie, and the performances of it's three leads has been praised by modern critics. That's sort of unfortunate for a cast and crew who faced 106 degree Nevada weather, along with one of the lead's (Monroe) marriage to the guy who wrote the movie (Play write Arthur Miller) broke down...and shortly before the premiere they were divorced. Those are some hapless circumstances for a film that wasn't even well received during it's time. 

This describes the situation perfectly. 

So, maybe that's all just some bad luck, but want to know the interesting thing about The Misfits? It was was both Monroe and Gable's last films. Gable had a heart attack two months after filming, and died ten days later. Monroe died a year and a half later from an apparent drug overdose. Monroe stated in her memoir My Story (a fascinating highly recommended read written during her life but published posthumously) that she had the idea that her birth father looked like Clark Gable and imagined that he was her father...and the two end up working on their last film together?! However, both are considered on a small list of the greatest movie stars of all time, and a lot of those actors worked with each other at least once through the years, so it's not really a "what are the chances?!". Either way, I did always found it sweet she got to be in a film with him. Of course, he played her boyfriend so that's sort of creepy now that I think about it since this was her father figure and childhood idol. 

And now I bet you're uncomfortable

It Get's Weirder: Montgomery Clift, also one of the greats, had three more films after The Misfits. However, he did not have a successful career after the movie, as his personal demons took over and he slowly deteriorated. Clift passed away in 1966 of a heart attack in New York City. His last reported words were "Absolutely Not!" to his personal secretary when asked if he wanted to watch a movie that was playing on TV. What was the movie, you ask? Yup. The Misfits.

Credibility: All three stars did die at a fairly young age. Gable was 59, Monroe 36, Clift 49. However, Gable was a heavy smoker, drinker, crash dieted for roles, and did insist on performing his own stunts in The Misfits. Monroe died from prescriptions bills and Clift was admittedly just as self destructive. It's probably can come to no surprise that all three were taken too soon, but the fact that each was surrounding the same movie they all starred in is slightly eerie or at the very least, fascinating. 

1. Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 film directed by Roman Polanski starring Mia Farrow as a young, naive pregnant  woman who starts to believe her baby is going to be used in a satanic ritual, and later finds that her husband made a pact with their neighbor's coven to further his career  and that the baby is, in fact, the spawn of Satan (another sitcom Satan baby daddy plotline!)

Because Ross was always the fucking worst

Not so creepy as unfortunate  but during the beginning of filming Mia Farrow was served divorce papers on set by then husband Frank Sinatra. After the film was released, producer William Castle claimed  to have received many threatening emails concerning the movie and developed a condition that required a spinal tap to remove blockage in his urinary tract. 

Disturbingly, a year later director Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered at their home along with three others by a small group of Charles Manson's followers. Tate was 8 and a half month's pregnant at the time. The following night, they carried out another series of murders when they killed grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife...Rosemary

What's the big deal, it's just an herb. Oh.

Where it get's Weirder: Charles Manson, leader of The Manson Family (not a cheery family band, btw, even though Manson had a music career) believed in "Helter Skelter" a term taken from a Beatles song by the same name. Shelf that in your mind for a minute (or longer if you read slow as shit)...

Or  if you also have another window open while reading this,
Take Your Time.

Rosemary's Baby was filmed in New York City, with it's exterior shots being The Dakota, a historical apartment building. It was called The Bramford in the film. John Lennon, a former Beatle, lived at The Dakota when he was gunned down in front of it in 1980. 

Credibility: The events that happened following the movie were tragic enough, but added to the connections to specific details of the film add a new level of eeriness. The movie centers around a pregnant woman...the director's wife was murdered when she was pregnant. Charles Manson's term "Helter Skelter" was based off a song by The Beatles who's member lived and was killed at the same hotel the movie was filmed at. These are twisted connections that certainly make one question what and why bad ju ju surrounds this film.