3 Movie Curses That Haunted Film Makers

Wednesday, May 9 by John Coon

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	Some movies take on a life of their own off screen. Call it a strange set of coincidences. Call it a curse. Certain <a href=movies grow from just being a film into the subject of myth and urban legend because of reported spooky occurrences on the set or untimely deaths among the cast. Hearing the stories associated with these movie curses makes it seem plausible that the surviving cast and crew are actively searching for rabbit's feet, four-leaf clovers or whatever good luck charm they can get in their possession.

These three movies stand out in their ability to inflict spooky episodes on the cast and crew associated with the movie:

Poltergeist

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The number of tragic deaths of cast members in the "Poltergeist" trilogy is startling. Dominque Dunne, who played the oldest daughter in the first film, was strangled to death by her boyfriend in 1982. Julian Beck and Will Sampson, who both played supporting roles in the second movie, each died from medical issues. Beck succumbed to stomach cancer in 1985. Sampson died from complications related to a kidney operation in 1986. Young actress Heather O' Rourke died a month before the third movie was released after a bowel obstruction caused her body to go into septic shock. The legend is that these deaths occurred after filmmaker Tobe Hooper used actual human corpses as props on the set of the first movie. Moral of the story: do not mess with dead people.

The Exorcist

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Rule no. 1 about making horror movies should be "never do anything about Satan." "The Exorcist" was already frightening enough to people from all walks of life with its chilling portrayal of two Catholic priests performing an exorcism to drive a devil from the body of a young girl. The on-the-set stories associated with it only serve to make everything feel even spookier. A stunt went wrong and caused lead actress Ellen Burstyn to suffer a spinal injury. Nine different crew members died during filming — including one whose death was predicted by Linda Blair herself. Even the sets routinely caught on fire under mysterious circumstances.

Rebel Without a Cause

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James Dean became iconic among movie stars from the 50s because he died in a tragic car accident just as his career as a leading man was starting to take off. Some people wonder if starring in "Rebel Without a Cause" had something to do with it. All three of the lead actors suffered untimely deaths under tragic circumstances. Dean died in a head-on collision in his Porsche 550 Spyder one month before the movie was released in 1955. Sal Mineo was stabbed to death outside his apartment in 1976. Natalie Wood drowned after falling off of her yacht in 1981. Even the car that Dean died in was not immune. The wreckage was salvaged and used to make two other cars. Both of those vehicles were later involved in head-on collisions.

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