With the buzz of the “Oscar Curse” finally dimming down, we just grew more curious about some other legendary Hollywood curses—the kind where the whole set is “cursed” – and an unlucky few, whether it’s the cast, the crew or the film’s director, were never the same after they stepped on that fateful set. Whether or not the films were truly “cursed,” one thing’s for certain, you won’t be able to watch these movies in the same way again. Read on – if you dare.
Trilogy of films beginning in 1982
Key Players: Heather O'Rourke, who played the lead role of Carol Anne in all three of the Poltergeist films, died in 1988 at just 12 years old from septic shock.
Dominique Dunne, (sister of Griffin and daughter of Dominic) only lived to play the older sister, Dana, in the first movie. The same year as the film’s release, a possessive boyfriend strangled the 22-year-old actress.
Julian Beck, who played Kane in the second film, died at 60 years old from stomach cancer in 1985 before the filming of the third installment.
Will Sampson, who played Taylor the Medicine Man inPoltergeist II, died from post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems in 1987 at 53 years old.
Key Players: Rising mega-star Heath Ledger, who slipped seamlessly—maybe too well—into the Oscar-winning role of the Joker, a madman with zero empathy, died in January 2008, six months before the film's release. Heath died of an accidental overdose/mix of prescription pills.
Christian Bale was arrested the night before the film’s London premiere for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister.
Morgan Freeman was in a car accident in Mississippi a few months after the release of the film. Oddly, without influence from drugs or alcohol on the actor’s part, his car “skipped the road” and rolled down an embankment—Freeman was in serious condition with a broken shoulder and impaired hand.
A crew member named Conway Wicliffe died on a camera truck while running through a dummy action scene with the Batmobile—it crashed into a tree.
Key Players: For the 1975 film The Omen, Set Designer John Richardsondesigned a particularly grisly automobile death in which a character is decapitated. On a Friday the 13th in 1976, John and his assistant Liz Moore were in an accident in Holland—and Liz died in a manner eerily similar to the one he depicted in the film. Also creepy? The accident was near the road sign which read: “Ommen, 66.6 km.”
Two months before filming, son of lead actor Gregory Peck killed himself.
The IRA bombed the hotel where Executive Producer Mace Neufeld was staying with his wife. (The couple survived).
Post The Omen, stuntman Alf Joint went to work on his next movie A Bridge Too Far, but the professional was hospitalized after flubbing an “ordinary” jump from a roof on to an air bag. He fell suddenly and awkwardly—afterward he said he felt he’d “been pushed.”
Key Players: Roman Polanski's controversial horror film about a young Manhattan wife (Mia Farrow) whose husband makes a deal with the devil and gives their unborn child to a group of Satanic worshippers. A year after its release, the Manson "family" murders Roman’s pregnant wife, the gorgeous young actressSharon Tate.
1994 Key Players: Brandon Lee, son of celebrated martial artist film star Bruce Lee, believed his family was cursed after his grandfather angered a group of Chinese businessmen. Brandon’s father Bruce died in 1973 while filming the movie Game of Death in Hong Kong. Twenty years later, while filming The Crow, a dummy bullet killed Brandon – eight days before the film’s completion and at just 28 years old.
Key Players: Legendary heartthrob James Dean died in a car crash near Cholame, CA, while driving his Porsche 550 Spyder to a race in Salinas. James was only 24 when he died a month before the premiere of Rebel Without A Cause.
At 43 years old, Natalie Wood drowned in the harbor off of Catalina Island. Although her death was ruled “accidental,” many suspected that Christopher Walken and husband Robert Wagner—her boating partners—knew more.
Sal Mineo, who played John “Plato” Crawford, was stabbed in the heart by a robber outside his West Hollywood apartment in 1974. He was 37 years old.
At 37, actor Nick Adams was found slumped against the wall of his Beverly Hills bedroom, dead of an apparent drug overdose.