After the alleged ‘curse’ associated with the original 1982 movie, some might say remaking Poltergeist was a brave move.
More than 30 years after its release, Poltergeist still has the capacity to give film fans the chills – and not just for its paranormal premise, in which a young girl is held captive by ghouls that climb out of the TV screen.
The tragic deaths of the movie’s young stars – Dominique Dunne, 22, who was murdered in 1982, and 12-year-old Heather O’Rourke, the film’s main character who died during surgery in 1988 after a misdiagnosed intestinal problem – coupled with the deaths of two older actors involved – prompted rumours that the film was cursed.
And now, with a new version about to hit cinema screens, attention has turned back to the franchise’s alleged bad vibes.
Starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mad Men’s Jared Harris, the film’s director Gil Kenan opened up about the spooky goings-on he felt during production.
Although there have thankfully been no deaths, Kenan claims the house he rented for his family during the shoot was haunted by a woman in a black dress.
But what other horror films have seemingly been hit with a hex? We brace ourselves and find out…
The cast and crew of this supernatural tale fell foul to some spectacularly creepy happenings during the making of the movie. Star Gregory Peck’s plane was allegedly struck by lightning, as was another plane carrying the executive producer.
To make matters worse, the hotel that director Richard Donner was staying in was bombed, and a plane the crew chartered – and later cancelled at the last minute – crashed, killing all on board. Eeriest of all, a crew member was involved in a car accident which saw his companion killed in a manner horrifically similar to that of one of the film’s characters. Spookily, he said the accident happened on a highway where a sign in the distance read ‘Ommen: 66.6km’.
Although the cast and crew of the newer version avoided the freaky disturbances of the original, director John Moore lost two days’ worth of footage due to a faulty camera.
When he looked at the camera screen, a message flashed up saying, ‘Error 666’, which according to the engineer who later fixed the equipment, doesn’t even exist. Creepy…
The cast and crew of The Conjuring were given the heebie-jeebies when they set to work on the film, about a house possessed by an evil spirit.
Based on the true story of the Perron family, who believed they were haunted, actress Vera Farmiga reportedly found three slashes across her laptop screen after accepting her role in the film, and then found three slash marks on her thigh.
When the real Perron family, minus mum Carolyn, visited, they experienced a ferocious wind that shook the whole set – yet the trees around the place remained completely still.
At the same time, while at home miles away, Carolyn felt an unnerving presence, resulting in her tripping over and needing a visit to hospital.
While this was going on, the cast and crew were evacuated from their hotel after a fire mysteriously broke out.
Leading man Ryan Reynolds was soon spooked out when he worked on the 2005 remake of classic scare-fest The Amityville Horror, about a family who are terrorised by a demonic presence, after moving into a house which was once the site of a grisly murder.
The actor claimed to wake every morning at 3.15, which was incidentally the estimated time the real-life murders took place. And just to add to the horror, the body of a fisherman washed up near the set, just before the cameras started to roll.
Creepy classic The Exorcist was also racked with bad luck. Nine people connected with the original Seventies film died during production, and a mysterious fire destroyed the set one weekend.
There are also rumours that members of the crew had the set blessed, for fear that it was cursed.
Poor Jennifer Carpenter had a right scare when she took the title role in this spine-chiller, about a lawyer who takes on a case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a girl.
At the time, Carpenter told how her radio would turn itself on during the shoot, one time repeating the line ‘I’m still alive’ – from Pearl Jam’s song Alive – really loudly.
So this one isn’t a spooky film, but even classic comedy Three Men And A Baby couldn’t escape a Hollywood haunting.
Avid viewers claim a scene where Ted Danson and his mum are tending to the baby of the film’s title quite clearly shows the ghost of a young boy lurking in the background.
But others are less convinced, claiming that the ghoulish vision is just a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson – used as a prop in another scene – which was mistakenly left in shot.
Poltergeist is released in cinemas on Friday, May 22