There is always a buzz of activity on a movie set. Directors, actors, and stage hands work tirelessly to make the set come to life on screen. Sometimes, however, a different kind of energy takes over—one that makes everyone pause for a moment as the hairs rise on the backs of their necks. This list names 10 instances where people involved in certain movies have experienced a taste of the bizarre. Some are no longer alive to tell their tale.
Waterworld was supposed to be the Avatar of the ’90s. Starting out with a budget far below $5 million, the movie ended up costing around $200 million. So clearly it was a blockbuster, right? Not even close—Waterworld only made $88 million at the box office in 1995.
The movie ran into trouble right from the start. The first producer, Roger Corman, was used to working with a low budget, and when he saw that the movie would need sets that could float, he passed up the opportunity to work on it. He couldn’t fathom the budget of the film going over $5 million. They ended up spending that amount just on the main set.
Furthermore, bad luck seemed to be stalking the Waterworld production: Cast and crew suffered seasickness. One of the sets floated away and got stuck underwater. Strong winds brought filming to a halt on more than one occasion. Kevin Costner’s stunt double nearly lost his life while doing a diving stunt. Crew members were stung by jellyfish. On top of all this, the crew members’ unions demanded compensation for what it described as labor violations. It’s a wonder the movie made it to the big screen at all.
9The Passion Of The Christ
They say that lightning never strikes twice. Well, tell that to the guy who did get struck twice by lightning while filming The Passion of the Christ—Jan Michelini, assistant director on the set.
The main actor, Jim Caviezel, had his own problems as well. He had a piece of his flesh ripped out during the “fake” whipping scene, and he dislocated his shoulder while carrying the wooden cross. Caviezel was also struck by lightning—smoke literally came out of his ears, to the shock of others of the set. Witnesses of the incident said that Caviezel’s whole body looked like it was illuminated.
And it doesn’t end there. Caviezel also suffered hypothermia, a lung infection, and severe pneumonia while filming. He also got terrible headaches and skin infections because of the long make up sessions he had to sit through.
The Possession is an unconventional horror movie that includes rabbis and a cursed Dybbuk box that attaches itself to a young girl. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, one of the stars, is no stranger to playing roles in paranormal flicks or TV series. He is well known for his role as the dad on Supernatural. Morgan has been an actor for 25 years now and has never had anything weird happen while filming a movie. That is, until he started working on The Possession.
Morgan admits to being a skeptic, but couldn’t help being freaked out by some of the things that happened on set. This included lights exploding for no good reason and chilly breezes wafting through closed sets. It only seemed to happen when integral scenes were in the process of being filmed.
The creepiest incident, however, was when the storage facility where all the props were being stored caught fire and burned to the ground. An investigation into the blaze confirmed that it could not be blamed on arson or an electrical fault. The Dybbuk box used in the movie was destroyed in the fire. There is, of course, a real-life Dybbuk box out there, and its owners offered to bring it to the set. Being as spooked as they were, the cast and crew refused to allow the box anywhere near them.
What is known as the “Curse Of The Matrix” culminated in a heartbreaking fashion when star Keanu Reeves’s girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to a stillborn. Unable to cope with the loss, they broke up soon after. Not long after the breakup, Syme died in a car accident. Shortly after this tragedy, 22-year-old Aaliyah lost her life in a plane crash. She was in the middle of filming her role as Zee in the movie. This tragic event threw everything off course, and filming was postponed by a few months.
Not long after, another cast member passed away—Gloria Foster, who played the role of The Oracle. At one point during all this drama, Reeves himself landed in the hospital after a motorbike accident. Later during filming, he went right back to the hospital after sustaining a foot injury on set. His sister also suffered a relapse in her struggle against leukemia, and Reeves rushed to be with her.
The cost of making the film also continued to spiral to the point where Keanu Reeves agreed to sign away $24 million of his own paycheck to keep the entire production from collapsing. Luckily, the movie did very well at the box office despite the bad luck that haunted it.
6The Ghost Of Goodnight Lane
This horror movie was inspired by a haunted movie set owned by Media World Company in Texas. The producer of the film, Alin Bijan, knew that the staff had had visions of an unknown male while on set. Film equipment was moved when no one was around, and someone even got a slap in the face by an unseen hand. These types of unnerving incidents had been going on for quite a while. Bijan confirmed that he and his crew actually kept a record of all the unexplained incidents. In 2010, paranormal investigators confirmed that the set was haunted based on the results from several tests and EVP recordings.
The producer was inspired by this and started working on the script for The Ghost of Goodnight Lane. He also thought it would be a good idea to use the same haunted set to film the movie. The cast and crew reported flickering lights while they were on set, as well as fixtures falling from the ceiling without warning. Perhaps the creepiest of all, some of the crew heard their names being called by disembodied voices.
Most people would agree that the kid who played the role of Damien in the 1975 version of The Omen was seriously creepy. The movie is seriously creepy, too. It relates the story of an American ambassador who gets the shock of a lifetime when he realizes that his son (Damien) is no ordinary boy. He just so happens to be the Antichrist.
Unfortunately, bad things didn’t only happen in the movie, but on set as well. The tragedies began when the son of Gregory Peck, who had the lead role, committed suicide two months before filming was scheduled to start.
When production started, a crew member was in a car accident. Luckily, he survived. The scriptwriter’s plane was struck by lightning, then the plane in which Gregory Peck and the executive producer of the movie were traveling was also struck just eight hours later.
In a tragic turn of events, the crew decided to hire a private plane to use in a couple of scenes. However, their scheduled flight had to be postponed because a couple businessmen needed it. Just after takeoff, something went wrong and the plane crashed onto a road, hitting a car which then crashed at high speed into another vehicle. Everyone involved in the accident was killed.
Over the years, plenty of tragedies and accidents have been blamed on the “Batman curse.” The Colorado cinema shooting in which 12 people died was the most recent and one of the most famous: Moviegoers were just getting into the action of a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises when a gunman wearing a gas mask suddenly got up and set off a tear gas canister, then began firing into the crowd.
Four years earlier, the sudden death of Heath Ledger shocked Hollywood and the world. Ledger played the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Jack Nicholson warned him against taking the role, but Ledger found out the hard way that this was no easy part to play. He averaged only two hours of sleep a night and was fighting a battle against depression. Ledger also kept a diary to help him prepare for the Joker role. Chillingly, he wrote the words “Bye Bye” on the last page next to a photo of himself in the Joker makeup.
On the set, a technician died in a truck accident while filming a stunt. A stunt double lost her balance and crashed into filming equipment during a scene. Luckily, she was not injured.
The curse of Batman didn’t stop here—in 2008, Morgan Freeman was in a serious car accident. Adding insult to injury, he and his wife separated and filed for divorce not long after.
3The Ghost Whisperer
Granted, The Ghost Whisperer isn’t a movie, but technically they still use a set to film on. And this set is said to be haunted. Or at least, that’s what Jennifer Love Hewitt told Ellen Degeneres in 2007. She even had footage to back up her claim.
Jennifer was busy shooting a scene of the popular TV series when the film crew noticed something strange going on behind her. It seemed like something was moving around in a shadowy spot just over her shoulder. Eager to find out what it was, they replayed the footage that had just been filmed. To their shock, they saw what looked like a ghost turning around right behind Jennifer. It all happened in just a few seconds.
Other instances of paranormal activity on the set included cast and crew members feeling something tug on their clothes. Hewitt herself felt something tug at her dress. Some of the lights moved around on their own, and one or two even exploded over actors’ heads. Objects vanished without a trace only to turn up elsewhere. Jennifer confirmed that these events have made other actors and actresses think twice about agreeing to play a guest role on the show.
This horror movie is based on the true story of the Perron family, who experienced unexplained ghostly activity in their home in Rhode Island in the ’70s. The family actually visited the movie set a few times, but could not convince Carolyn Perron to set foot near the place. Carolyn is the wife and mother in the family.
Strange events surrounded the making of the movie. Once, while the Perron family were on set, a strong wind came up and seemed to swirl around them. Members of crew standing nearby noticed that the trees just opposite them were not moving. At the same time, Carolyn, who stayed home in Atlanta, felt a strange, evil presence in her house. The next moment she fell down and had to be taken to the hospital.
Things went from bad to worse. Just a couple days later, the hotel the actors and movie crew were staying in caught fire and everyone had to be evacuated.
James Wan, the director of the film, recalls working late in his office one evening when his dog started growling at something. Getting up to investigate, Wan couldn’t find anything that would antagonize the dog. However, the puppy kept growling and seemed to focus on an unseen entity across the room.
Vera Farmiga, who plays the role of a paranormal investigator in the movie, refused to take the script home with her as she said it made her feel uneasy. She also couldn’t read it at night because she became paralyzed by fear whenever she tried. She remembers opening her laptop once and seeing three slashes across the screen, as if some creature had dragged its paw across it.
1The Amityville Horror
The first Amityville movie was made in 1979 and starred James Brolin. It was also based on a true story. Brolin was not too keen on doing the movie and only accepted it after something strange happened. While reading the script in the early hours of the morning and getting to a frightening part of the story, a pair of Brolin’s pants suddenly fell off a hanger, causing Brolin to leap out of his chair in terror.
The movie was remade in 2005. Just before filming was due to start, a dead body washed up on shore right by the movie set. Ryan Reynolds starred in the remake and claimed that members of the crew kept waking up at a quarter past three each morning while filming. This was also the time that the real murders took place.