Urban legends, curses and controversy surround many films, background tales that often add layers of mystique to a motion picture. Stories about The Exorcist and Poltergeist curses have been around for a long time, stringing together truth, rumor and coincidence.
It comes as no surprise that many of these urban legends are usually based on a grain of truth. Sometimes that grain is very small. In other cases, it’s who you want to believe.
The films we look at here are first and foremost worth seeing. Most are worth seeing again, if it’s been a while. Each of these movies has been the subject of controversy or legend, and we make every effort to report just the facts about the urban legends surrounding them.
10. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
When Nikos Kazantzakis published The Last Temptation of Christ in 1953 (English translation 1960), the book quickly received condemnation from both the Catholic church and the Greek Orthodox church, of which Kazantzakis was a member.
Martin Scorsese had tried to bring the novel to the screen since the late 1970s. It was green-lit at Paramount in 1982, with Aidan Quinn and Sting in the cast before the studio pulled the plug. It eventually gained support at Universal, and was slated for a 1988 release with a low budget of $7 million.
While we want to avoid making any judgments as to whether or not the film is blasphemous (watch the film and analyze it through the lens of your own religious beliefs) the primary reason for its inclusion on this list has to do with the final shot of the film.
Jesus (Willem Defoe) is on the cross, and when he dies, there is no fade out, no cut to black. The image of Christ on the cross blurs, colors, pink and orange, bleed onto the screen over the image of the Christ then fades to white.
No camera or post-production effects were used in the final shot. In fact, while the shot was being taken, there was a camera malfunction, and light bled onto the film stock, causing the effect that remains in the final film. Scorsese did not know that this had happened until he viewed the rushes, and the effect was such that the director decided to leave it in.
Coincidence? Or divine intervention?
This article was first posted on July 11, 2013