Everyone needs a good scare once in a while, but we’re guessing the actors and crew got more than they bargain for on the set of these films!
Check out these horror films that were a real nightmare behind the scenes.
1. The Birds (1963)
It is no secret that Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t the “nicest” director. Actress Tippi Hedren starred as Melanie Daniels in The Birds, a film about flocks of pecking, flapping, squawking birds terrorizing the San Francisco bay area. Hitchcock was obsessive about every detail of Hedren’s appearance, and forced her to endure a week’s worth of torture by shooting with real birds!
She takes a horrifying stroll down memory lane, “By Friday they had me down on the floor with the birds tied loosely to me with elastic bands, which were attached through the peck-hole in my dress. Well, one of the birds clawed my eye and that did it. I just sat and cried.”
2. Things Conjuring 2 (2016)
There are a lot of scary things that are happening on film, but there were plenty of things that didn’t make it into the film, because they happened on set. Director James Wan, recalls curtains swaying in an air-tight room.
They just kept moving. None of the doors were opened, and the air conditioning was switched off. They just moved on their own, he said. And I just watched the video Patrick [Wilson] showed me and this person who was filming just walked right up to the curtain and he saw the whole thing swaying non-stop. And he goes to look behind the curtain and theres no one there swaying it and theres no wind in the room.
3. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Did you know that A Nightmare on Elm Street is inspired by a a true story? That’s night the film was inspired nightmare deaths that affected male Southeast Asian refugees. 130 male Asian immigrants mysteriously died after experiencing extreme night terrors.
In the Philippines, its called bangungut, in Japan pokkuri, in Thailand something else, David Kirschner, the films producer, says. But it all translates as the same thing: nightmare death These are all healthy men with no previous symptoms; the average age was 33. The situation is almost always the same. It only occurs in men and it only occurs in their sleep. The report is they cry out and die or are found dead the next morning.
Good luck sleeping tonight!
4. The Ghost Of Goodnight Lane (2014)
The Ghost of Goodnight Lane, directed by Alin Bijan, was inspired by the haunting of Bijans Texas production company, Media World Studios.
Weve known for a long time we had a ghost here, in the studio, Bijan said. “Over the years, we kept a running log, kind of a diary, to document incidents as they occurred.
In that log includes reports of the staff getting invisible slaps in the face, visions of an unidentified man, and equipment moving around on its own. In 2010, they had a team of paranormal activity experts test the studio and recorded Electronic Voice Phenomena. The studio has officially been deemed haunted.
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5. Psycho (1960)
Psycho contains the most iconic moment in horror film history, the shower slashing scene. The star of that scene Janet Leigh actually had a body double for that scene. Her name was Marli Renfro, but Marli Renfro also had a stand-in called Myra Davis. It sounds like the beginning to a bad joke, “how many women does it take to film a shower scene?” Well, unfortunately for the reality of the situation is a little less humours, as one of the women would suffer a horrible fate.
In 1988, a handyman who was obsessed with Hitchcock films, attempted to recreate the iconic scene by murdering Myra Davis when he mistook her for Renfro.
6. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on the real-life story of Anneliese Michel, a German woman who died after a failed exorcism. Jennifer Carpenter, who stars as the title character, has said said that while filming her radio would mysteriously turn on and off.
I thought about that when it happened, and two or three times when I was going to sleep my radio came on by itself. The only time it scared me was once because it was really loud and it was Pearl Jams Alive. Lauras [Linney] TV came on a couple of times, Carpenter said.
7. The Innkeepers (2011)
The Innkeepers, was set at the real-life haunted Yankee Pedlar Inn. In an interview, director Ti West admitted that there were more than a few spooky on set incidents.
Ive definitely seen doors close by themselves; Ive seen a TV turn off and on by itself; lights would always burn out in my room. Everyone on crew has very vivid dreams every night, which is really strange, he said in an interview with IndieWire.
Not knowing it was the most most haunted room in real life, West chose the Honeymoon Suite to be the most haunted room in the film… coincidence?
8. The Shining (1980)
Although the set of The Shining was a horror movie in itself for actress Shelley Duvall, everyone in the crew got a fright when a massive fire broke out and destroyed several sets. It was a huge fire in there one night, massive fire, we never really discovered what caused that fire and it burned down two soundstages and threatened a third at Elstree Studios. It was an eleven alarm fire call, it was huge, reports the set still photographer.
There is a now famous photo of Stanley Kubrick laughing in front of the brunt down set, not because he’s a monster, although you’ll get a different story from his lead actress, but because at the end of Stephen Kings novel, the book the film is based upon, the Overlook Hotel did in fact burn down.
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9. The Possession (2012)
The plot of The Possession revolves around a little girl who buys a small box from a yard sale, and becomes possessed by an evil spirit who lives within it. It is inspired by events surrounding a real item, the Dibbuk Box.
For those of you who may not know Jewish mythology, a Dibbox is an entity that is capable of possession. A story had circulated that a man who bought a cabinet once owned by a Holocaust survivor, was sickedn and haunted by a mysterious entity. The legend goes that everyone who possessed the cabinet had also experienced explainable things, or became ill. The final owner hid the cabinet, which was known as the Dibbuk Box, for his safety because he believed a Dibbuk was trapped inside.
The Possession was filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and weird things began to happen on set. A neon sign that was off had mysteriously exploded, and a fire broke out in a storage area, where the props had been stored… after filming was finished.
10. The Last House On The Left (1972)
Most horror fans already know a real chainsaw was used during the final fight in Wes Cravens masterpiece, but there are other little known horrors that happened on the set.
Actress Sandra Peabody, plays the ill-fated Mari, was tormented by her co-stars to get a realistic performance from her. This includes at one point being held over a cliff to get “in the mood” for the next take.
11. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A Clockwork Orange tells the story of Alex, a restless, sadistic youth in a dystopian England. After being imprisoned, he is rehabilitated using an experimental technique where he is drugged and forced to watch violent films.
Actor Malcolm McDowell plays Alex in the film, and had to endure a lot of pain so we all could enjoy an iconic moment in that film. During the filming of the rehabilitation scene his eyes were propped open with lid locks causing him to get a scratch on his cornea. This caused him temporary blindness, and then on he had to have a doctor put drops in his eyes to several times a minute in order to prevent it from becoming permanent.
12. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
The film is your basic exploitation film about a documentary crew that follow an Amazonian cannibal tribe, the title pretty much says it all.
This was the original Blair Witch, everyone thought the film was real. The actors had been laying low for a year after the film finished. It was gruesome, and shocking, and led to the director, Ruggero Deodato’s arrest for murder. The actor’s appeared in court, and the charges were dropped.
The film includes the portrayal of graphic human, and animal death. Filming was a nightmare, because in order to get a “realism” seven of the animal deaths on film were real. The crew were later charged with crimes because of them.
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13. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
In the summer of 1982, 3 actors were killed in a helicopter crash while filming Twilight Zone: The Movie. In the script a man, played by Vic Morrow, goes back in time, and emerges in a village in Vietnam, during the war. He sees two children as a U.S. chopper appears and opens fire. The children were played by 7-year-old Myca Dinh Le and 6-year-old Renee Shin-Yi Chen.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned while filming the fateful scene. The helicopter pilot had lost control and crashed into the actors, all three died.
It has since been revealed that the child actors were hired under the table, to avoid labor laws so they could film the scene at 3 a.m. Director John Landis, along with several other people working on the film, were charged with, manslaughter, and later acquitted of the charges.
14. The Crow (1994)
The Crow stars actor Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, as a young man who is fatally shot after coming home to find gang members attacking his fiance the night before the wedding. He returns from the dead as The Crow, a corpse-painted anti-hero, to exact revenge. It truly is a great film, that unfortunately will be remember for the horrific accident that occurred while filming.
The eerie on set moment is that Lee died on set after being fatally shot, just like his character in the film. A dummy cartridge was lodged in the barrel of a prop gun from a previous scene. Actor Michael Massee was using that gun in a scene where he was supposed to shoot Lee. He did and that’s when the bullet was released, and struck Lee in the heart. He died in the hospital after several hours of surgery. The film was finished using Lee’s stunt double and CGI.
Many people have speculated theories as to a Lee family curse, that many fans believe lead to his death. Was his death inevitable, or a freak accident?
15. The Poltergeist I (1982) & II (1985)
Fans believe the film is cursed because of the many deaths that surround it.
Actress Heather O’Rourke, died of septic shock at the age of 12, and Domminique Dune was strangled by her ex-boyfriend months after the film was released.
The curse extends it’s reach beyond the first film. The actress, Julian Beck, who was featured in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died of stomach cancer before the film was released, and Will Sampson died the year after following a heart-lung transplant.
16. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is based on the, debatable, true story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, and the film follows there involvement in The Perron Family case. The film was a success, but the time on set was not without a few odd paranormal occurrences.
Being based on her life, who better to consult on the film than Lorraine Warren herself. However, when the screenwriters tried to speak with her on the phone they had a hard time getting through. Not only that, the hotel the crew stayed at caught fire, director James Wong reported his dog growling and attacking an “invisible entity” on set, and Vera Farminga reported claw marks appearing unexplainably on the screen of her laptop.
The Perron family visited the set and reported feeling wind whip around them, but nearby trees remained still, and the same day a member of the family fell and broke her hip.
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17. The Omen (1966)
The Omen’s plot is pretty simple, a couple adopts a little boy, Damien, who is the antichrist. Happens everyday, right?
During filming, actor Gregory Peck along with write David Seltzer, and executive Producer Mace Neufeld, had their planes hit by lightening, and later the hotel Neufeld was staying at in London, was bombed by the IRA.
However, the spookiest moment occurred a decade later in Holland when John Richardson, the film’s visual effects consultant, and his assistant, Liz Moore, were in in a car accident. Moore was decapitated similarly to a character in the film. While, Richardson crawled out of the car, and found a road sign reading, “Ommen, 66.6 km.”
18. The Amityville Horror (2005)
The Amityville Horror set was exactly that, a horror. It is based on real life murders that took place at 112 Ocean Avenue in Long Island, New York.
The story goes that 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo woke up at 3:15 a.m and killed his family. The film follows the true story of George and Kathy Lutz, who moved in with their family, and their experience of paranormal phenomena over the next 28 days. Including George waking up at 3:15 a.m, every night.
In 2005, a remake of the 1979 film was made starring Ryan Reynolds as George Lutz, and a slew of unexplainable phenomena began happening. Before filming began, a dead body washed up on set, actors and crew began waking up at 3:15 a.m, and the real life Kathy Lutz died while the film was in production.
19. The Exorcist (1973)
Turns out the “scariest film ever made” was even more terrifying behind the scenes. In case you haven’t seen it, shame on you, the film follows the life of an actress whose daughter, Regan, becomes possessed by the deomon Pazuzu.
Production started off with a bang, literally as the MacNeil home set caught fire, all except Regan’s bedroom. there were a number of other deaths and injuries that plagued the cast, crew, and their families. Actress Ellen Burstyn, who plays the mother, was injured in her harness while filming a scene. Actor Jack MacGowran and actress Vasiliki Maliaros both not long after they finished filming. Linda Blair, Regan, had her grandfather and actor Max Von Sydow’s brother both died during production of the film. The son of Mercedes McCambridge, who voices the demon in the film, murdered his wife and two daughters before taking his own life in 1987.
20. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
In 1968, a horror film was released that would shock the world. The film is directed by Roman Polanski, and stars Mia Farrow as Rosemary. The film follows Rosemary and her husband as they embark on creating a family together. Their world is changed when they move into a new building, The Bramford, which houses some odd neighbors.
One of the film’s producers, William Castle, has stated he received that after the film’s release he received angry letters that accused him of witchcraft. Soon after, he would be stricken with kidney stones. While the next year, the film’s composer would face a death that had stricken one of the characters in the film, a blood clot in the brain.
The horror only continues, when one of the most horrific and notorious crimes would befall Hollywood. Polanski’s wife, actress Sharon Tate was murdered a year after the film’s release by the Manson Family, while he was out of the country. What’s even odder is the fact that this “curse” could carry out to the death of John Lennon.
Charles Manson claimed his crime was inspired by The Beatles White Album. In 1980, John Lennon would be shot and murdered byMark David Chapman in front of the Dakota Building. The Dakota appears in Rosemary’s Baby as The Bramford building.