With Shudder’s release of ‘Cursed’, a documentary series focusing on the tragedies that surrounded the films The Crow, The Exorcist, Poltergeist and The Twilight Zone, the phenomenon of ‘cursed’ films is something that has become very popular in cinephile culture. However, when talking about ‘cursed movies’, it is important to make the distinction between a cursed movie, and simply a serious tragedy that happened on set.
When you look at the production behind certain movies, there’s quite a few stories which are tragic, such as the stuntman who died during the production of XXX, or the tragic death of Sarah Jones during the making of Midnight Rider: The Gregg Allman Story. But these are single stories of tragic accidents, or mishaps that happened due to incompetence; they don’t constitute a ‘cursed’ film, where unexplained fate has dogged the movie with misfortune.
However, if one were to hunt a little bit deeper, there are a few movies which were cursed with tragedy in spades, and this can give validity to the idea. These are ten such examples of those so-called 'cursed films'.
10. The Passion Of The Christ
Mel Gibson’s violent and bloody re-telling of the final days of Jesus Christ was an incredibly polarizing film once finished. Some people loved it, some people hated it, some people were just plain scared of it, and if the production stories are to be believed, there were powers beyond our fathoming that weren’t happy to see it finished either.
In multiple interviews after the film’s release, Jim Caviezel, who played the role of Jesus himself, gave eye-opening accounts of how the production was rife with problems. Some of it can be put down to the punishing way the film was made as Jim was accidentally whipped properly twice during the infamous torture scenes - leaving a 14-inch scar down his back - he dislocated his shoulder from the weight of the cross, and he contracted pneumonia from being strung up on said cross in the middle of an Italian winter.
It sounds brutal already, but that’s all explainable, but what is harder to explain is that, during the scene of the sermon on the mount, Caviezel was struck by lightning from the heavens, to which his hair caught fire because of it. He wasn’t seriously harmed, but maybe there was a certain heavenly body that also hated the fact this was being made, and decided to make itself known?