Every now and then a movie comes along that is so beset by tragedy, so plagued by disasters (natural or man-made), that one can't help but wonder if it might be cursed. Here are our top-10 picks.
Producers of this much-maligned Genghis Khan biopic, featuring John Wayne in the title role of the Mongolian emperor, had the brilliant idea to shoot downwind from a nuclear testing site in New Mexico. As a result, nearly half of the film's cast and crew, including the Duke, eventually died of cancer. Compounding the tragedy is the fact that The Conqueror was a terrible, terrible movie.
Mere months after this spine-tingler about a woman who births the spawn of Satan was released, director Roman Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson during the infamous "Helter Skelter" killing spree. Star Mia Farrow, who received her divorce papers from husband Frank Sinatra while on the Rosemary's Baby set, was cursed to marry Woody Allen.
Tragedies linked to William Friedkin's horror classic are so numerous that its alleged curse later became the basis for an episode of E! True Hollywood Story. According to legend, at least nine people associated with The Exorcist died during the film's grueling year-long shoot, a production so plagued by ominous accidents that Friedkin actually enlisted a priest to perform an exorcism of the set.
It's a wonder that Francis Ford Coppola ever completed his Oscar-winning Vietnam flick, considering the array of challenges he faced -- massive budget overruns, set-destroying hurricanes, a heart attack that felled star Martin Sheen, and the late arrival of a bloated, drunken Marlon Brando. Since then Coppola's skills have steadily declined (though he did receive a Best Director nomination -- seemingly out of pity -- for 1991's The Godfather: Part III).
(1978 and 1980-87)
Two of the most famous actors to play the Man of Steel on the big screen, George Reeves and Christopher Reeve, were felled prematurely. While Superman Returns star Brandon Routh has thus far avoided tragedy, his career has certainly flatlined. (Which, admittedly, is more likely attributable to his acting deficiencies than any real jinx.)
Several actors associated with this horror flick and its various sequels perished under tragic and unusually painful circumstances. Most notable were the deaths of star Heather O'Rourke, who died of complications from acute bowel obstruction in 1988, and Dominic Dunne, who was strangled by her boyfriend shortly after the film's release.
Star Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed while filming a Vietnam flashback sequence when an errant explosion sent a helicopter careening out of control. Producers of the film neglected to destroy the grisly footage, ensuring that decades later any morbid bloke with an Internet connection could find the disturbing clip on YouTube.
Star Brandon Lee died on the set of this gothic thriller while filming a scene in which his character is murdered. The gun used during the scene had been improperly loaded, and when it was discharged a spent shell casing pierced Lee's chest, killing him instantly. According to legend, the "Curse of the Crow" dictates that any man who dresses up as the character for Halloween shall remain celibate well into his 30s.
In addition to suffering from hypothermia and being accidentally whipped several times, star Jim Caviezel was hit by lightning not once but twice during filming. Guess the Good Lord wasn't fond of his performance. Caveziel emerged from the production with no lasting injuries, but the same cannot be said for his career.
This comedy hasn't been released yet and it already appears cursed. First, star Bernie Mac died in August of complications from pneumonia. Then singer Isaac Hayes, who makes a cameo in the film and whose songs appear on its soundtrack, died the next day after suffering a stroke. An ominous promotional photo from Soul Men, featuring Mac, Hayes, and still-alive costar Samuel L. Jackson soon surfaced, prompting many to fear for the life of Jackson.
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