Quite a few of these have been doing the rounds which is why I thought it warranted some research. In going into some detail I’ve found that they actually appear quite lame so, where did the link to these “terrible deaths” come from? Was it pure co-incidence or did those very superstitious people in the acting/film world let their imaginations run away with them? Does this
ATUK (I’d never even heard of THIS one!)
STEPHEN JOHNSON tells us: “The most haunted movie in history isn’t a horror flick. It’s not The Omen, The Mummy, or Maid In Manhattan. The most haunted movie in film history is ATUK, an unproduced middlebrow comedy that has been kicking around Hollywood development hell since 1971.
Based on the novel The Incomparable Atuk, Tod Carroll’s screenplay tells the story of an Inuit from Alaska who stows away on an airplane, lands in New York City, falls in love, and presumably learns a little something about himself. Little in this benign high-concept screenplay suggests a legacy of carnage, but ATUK is said to be responsible for the premature deaths of John Belushi, Sam Kinison, John Candy, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, and Michael O’Donoghue.”
I’m not convinced there’s anything to this “haunted film caused deaths” scenario. There’s a reasonable chance that any 3 or 4 happenings close together, in spite of being co-incidental, will be viewed as “spooky”!
Three Men and a baby I’ve previously discussed in my blog
As I explain there: “It’s unfortunate that this is yet another instance where hoaxes just get perpetuated by people who blindly believe what they read on the internet, without caring to do a simple internet search which would explain the truth of it.
As ever, Snopes (a wonderful resource for researching and debunking!) has the full information as http://www.snopes.com/movies/films/3menbaby.asp
American Horror Story (2011)
Yet another photo which gets trotted out every once in a while:- girls suspended from walls with the shocking title “Picture said to be from a Russian mental institution, 1952.” People are SO gullible! It’s a film goddamit!
The scene in question was actually inspired by a performance of Bela Bartok’s “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle” featuring Pina Baush. During the performance, a series of women seemingly were able to hang in the air while facing a wall (there were holes in the wall helping keep them in place.) You can read all about it on my blog:
Return to Babylon (2013)
Most of the websites that refer to this are quite sensationalist in their reporting so I’m not going to use them for reference.
It would appear that nothing untoward was noticed during the filming process. It was later, at the post production stage, when the shots were being reviewed that actors‘ faces were reported to be be seen “morphing” into grotesque shapes.
If you carry out a google search for ‘morphing software‘ you’ll find numerous references to apps and computer programs that are designed to provide this function.
CGI techniques and Photoshopping (the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to images in art, printed media, video games, film etc.,) are now an accepted and important component of the film industry) making this easily achievable in post-production.
A quick look at the film’s release date, 11th August 2013, and I’m already thinking “that’s a good hoax to advertise the film!” Because it was photographed with a hand-cranked camera, and scored with music of the roaring twenties, I suspect that viewers misconstruted this film as one made decades earlier. It’s shot as a silent film stringing together th elives of the most famous, and infamous, stars of the 1920s including Rudolph Valentino Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, Lupe Velez, Fatty Arbuckle and William Desmond Taylor. Personally, I consider the hype to be just a good bit of advertising to get people to watch the film. If you can find anything to prove something paranormal was involved, then please, DO let me know! In the meantime, you can read more about that film here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_to_Babylon
The Exorcist (1973)
Many tragedies, injuries and deaths reportedly occurred during the filming and post production of this film. These caused a number of setbacks during filming, almost tripling the amount of production days and the final cost.
Actress Ellen Burstyn, who played Regan’s Mother in the film, has been quoted as saying “there was an enormous amount of deaths connected with the film” and went on to tell that there were nine deaths connected to the movie in all (connected or just co-incidences?)
One of these deaths was actor Jack MacGowren, who played Burke Dennings and died at the age 55, a short time before the film was released. His character also died in The Exorcist, and it was the last role MacGowren played.
Two other actors also died shortly after filming, as did several of the crew.
The actor Jason Miller, who played Father Karras, had a strange experience during the film’s production. Early into production, Jason Miller was eating his lunch and reading some lines for the day’s scenes, when he was approached by a Jesuit Priest. The priest handed him a medallion of the Blessed Virgin and told Miller “reveal the devil for the trickster that he is, he will seek retribution against you or he will even try to stop what you are trying to do to unmask him.”
Several of the crew, Blatty included, recall seeing objects move about on their own accord on occasion, notably the telephone that was used to communicate between the set and the production house. The receiver would rise off the hook on its own, before falling to the floor. On one of these occasions Blatty was sitting right next to it.
Eerie feelings were felt by all during the filming of the movie. With so many odd events taking place, the film’s religious technical advisor, Thomas Bermingham (also religious supervisor on The Amityville Horror and Amityville 2) was approached to perform an exorcism on the set. Question – he may have been an adviser but what “qualification” did he have that entitled him to carry out such a task, whether it be deliverance or exorcism? A quick look at IMDB advises that this gentleman as Reverend or Father Thomas Bermingham and credited as an actor! The Exorcist: However History Today tells us:-
“The project was sufficiently plausible for three Jesuits to give their services as technical advisors to the film; two of them, William O’Malley SJ and Thomas Bermingham SJ, even acted in it (playing Father Dyer, a friend of Karras, and the president of Georgetown University respectively). However, the web site of Penn State’s Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies mentions him thus:-
The Reverend Thomas Bermingham, S.J. Scholarship in the Classics was created by Penn State’s football coach, Joe Paterno, honoring his high school Latin teacher. The Bermingham Scholarship provides recognition and financial assistance to full-time Penn State undergraduate students enrolled or planning to enroll in Greek and or Latin studies in the College of the Liberal Arts at University Park. Bermingham Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis. I’m presuming his ceremony of exorcism allayed any fears that those working on the set had had.
As previously mentioned in this article, stage, tv and film people are notoriously superstitious so it’s no wonder that their sensitivities, knowing that they’re working on a horror film, and that the book of that film was based on a true story.
The novel was inspired by a 1949 case of demonic possession, an exorcism that Blatty heard about whilst a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University. A little more research (good old Wikipedia to the rescue, yet again) revealed that the Exorcism of Roland Doe was the story which set the ensuing events in place. Some time in the late 1940s, Roman Catholic priests performed a series of exorcisms on an anonymous boy but this was documented under the pseudonym ‘Roland Doe’ or ‘Robbie Mannheim’. The boy, said to have been born around 1935, so presumably as young as 7 or 8 years, was the alleged victim of demonic possession. The events were recorded by Raymond Bishop, one of the priests in attendance, and the supernatural claims were those reported in the class which Blatty attended in 1950!
Of course, I’ve just skimmed the surface here, and there are numerous other films rumoured to have been jinxed – it seems to be part of the course with horror films.
I wonder whether this is good for bums on seats marketing ploy, or just down to over-active imaginations. I’m not able to state categorically one way or another so am still open to rational debate but, to conclude, here’s a list for a little light reading:-