Hollywood's Scariest Rumors, Myths, and Legends
10.31.11 by Chris
Though Hollywood has frightened audiences for decades with horror movies like the The Exorcist, The Thing, and Silence of the Lambs, some of the scariest things about movies are what takes place off camera. From haunted movie sets, to curses, Hollywood can be a scary place. Here's a list of Hollywood's scariest rumors, myths, and legends.
Serial Killer Ed Gein
Not everything in horror movies is 100 percent fiction. Take killer Ed Gein. He was a serial killer who murdered at least two women in Plainfield, Wisc., in the 1950s. Police discovered Gein when he was caught exhuming bodies from local graveyards, fashioning trophies and keepsakes from the corpses' bodies and skin. Police also found several body parts in his home, including nine masks made of human skin, heads with the tops sawn off, and a lampshade made from the skin of a human face. Gein served as the influence for a number of characters in horror movies, including Norman Bates in Psycho, Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
The Poltergeist Curse
The Poltergeist Curse is one of Hollywood's better known legends. The curse derived from the fact that four cast members died in the six years between the releases of the first and third movies. Dominique Dunne, who played the oldest daughter in the first movie was strangled to death by her boyfriend in 1982. Julian Beck, who played Henry Krane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side died of stomach cancer. Will Sampson, who played the medicine man in Poltergeist II died of kidney failure.
But no death is more haunting than that of 12-year-old Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three movies. She died in 1988 of septic shock.
Also haunting is the fact that real human skeletons were used in the swimming pool scene in the first movie. It's rumored that many on set blame the curse for this. Special effects artist Craig Reardon said it was cheaper to purchase real skeletons than plastic ones. Though a lot of this can be shrugged off as coincidence, even more than 20 years after the movies, the Poltergeist Curse still lurks.
Stanley Kubrick torturing Shelley Duvall during The Shining
Throughout The Shining, Shelley Duvall's character looks distraught, stressed, and nearly scared to death (of course, being married to Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance would make most wives a little on edge), it reportedly wasn't all an act.
Director Stanley Kubrick, known for demanding movie sets, reportedly tormented Duvall and encouraged other crew members to do so as well, all so she would feel off balanced and give a better performance. Well, it worked. Duvall became so stressed during the shooting of the movie that she lost a lot of her hair and fell ill.
The Ghost in Three Men and a Baby
Sure, on the surface there is nothing haunting about the 1987 comedy starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenburg, and Ted Danson right? But did you know there's a supposed ghost that can been seen in the movie? When Jack's (Danson) mom visits, in the background there looks what may be a little boy standing in the doorway. It was rumored that the vision was of a boy who died in the apartment where the scene was filmed. The rumor was the stuff of Hollywood legend but it's not true—the scene was actually filmed in a studio and not in an actual apartment. The "ghost" is actually a cardboard cutout of Danson. The prop was used in the movie. However, the scariest thing about 3 Men and a Baby? It was the highest-grossing movie of 1987. Yikes!
Other Hollywood Horror Tidbits:
One of the investors in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead was a butcher who paid Romero in blood and guts.
The Exorcist director William Friedkin would fire an air gun before shooting to "scare" his actors into character. Also the scream of the demon being exorcised was a recording of pigs being driven to slaughter.
The mask worn by Michael in Halloween was actually a Captain Kirk mask that was painted white. Director John Carpenter composed the movie's eerie film score.
The famous shower scene in Psycho took seven days to shoot and involved 77 different shots. Not one shot shows Janet Leigh's character actually being stabbed. Chocolate syrup was used as blood.
Before the movie premiered, the cast of The Blair Witch Project were listed as missing on IMDB.com.