5 Spooky Movie Myths: When Movie Magic Becomes Black Magic

Top Five Movie Myths

 

Everybody loves a good movie, but EVERYBODY loves a good movie with an even better behind-the-scenes urban legend. When making movies about the darker side of life, sometimes bad things happen, sometimes weird things happen, and sometimes people even get hurt. Outlined here is a countdown of 5 of the weirdest, scariest, and darkest things to happen behind-the-scenes (and sometimes right on screen!) of our favorite movies.

 

5. The Munchkin Hanging in The Wizard of Oz

Top Five Movie Myths Munchkins

[ Source: Left I Right ]

 

Film Summary: Girl (Dorothy) gets transported to the magical Land of Oz. She meets a Scarecrow, a Tin-Woodsman, and a Cowardly Lion, who all team up to bring down the evil Wicked Witch of the West.

Movie Myth: During the scene just after the rescuing of the Tin Man, our heroes continue on their path down the Yellow Brick Road. Ominously in the background, however, something large, dark, and swaying, draws the viewer's eye. In early cuts of the VHS, the object horrifically looks like a body hanging from one of the set piece trees in the background. Wide-spread rumor has it that this is proof of a munchkin's untimely death.

Supporting Facts / Debunking Possibilities:

  • Many animals were loose on the set, as can be seen in various forest scenes, which led many to believe the shape in background could very well be a large bird of some type.
  • No deaths were recorded on the set.
  • The object in the back looks very different depending on the cut of the film you're viewing.

 

4. The Body in the Blood in The Shining

The Shining Body Movie Myth Shining Body in the Blood

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Film Summary: A family of three travels to a remote hotel that becomes snowed-in during winter months. As the solidtude begins to set in, so too do strange and escalating occurances of the paranormal variety. 

Movie Myth: Stanley Kubrik is notorious for including subliminal messages and symbolistic imagery in his films. There was even an entire documentary created based on possible hidden meanings in Kubrik's The Shining, titled What's Behind Room 237. Sparing you any spoilers, during the climax of the film an elevator opens to a torrent of blood pouring out, and some say something which looks like a body in the crimson deluge can be seen in the left side of the shot.

Supporting Facts / Debunking Possibilities:

  • Kubrick never admitted to nor denied hiding a body in the shot.
  • Some believers claim that the supposed body is that of Danny's imaginary friend Tony.


3. The Omen Curse

the Omen Movie Myths the Omen Curse

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Film Summary: A powerful couple concieve a child who is not all he appears to be. On Damian's 5th birthday, the death of a person close to the family begins a series of events that no one could have imagined.  Who is Damian, really?

Movie Myth: When you make a movie about the devil, many would argue that you are inviting bad things into your life. An onslaught of occurances happened both before, during, and after the filming of The Omen. It began with the suicide of Gregory Peck's son a few weeks before filming. Planes were hit by lightning, crew members were involved in car crashes, and a death after the filming, have lead theorists to believe that the film cursed those who were involved in the movie. 

Supporting Facts / Debunking Possibilities:

  • Gregory Peck (Star), Mace Neufeld (Executive Producer), and David Seltzer (writer) all had their planes hit by lightning during the course of shooting. 
  • Director Richard Donner's hotel was bombed by the IRA during production.
  • Animal handlers were attacked by a pack of dogs, and one was mauled by a lion.
  • SFX Director John Richardson and his assistant Liz Moore were involved in a car accident. Richardson survived, but Moore was decapitated.

 

2. Poltergeist Curse

Poltergeist Movie Myths Poltergeist Curse

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Film Summary: A family of five faces ghosts, ghouls, and demons, when it is discovered their house is built on a former graveyard. Bumps in the night quickly become more and more violent as the family takes "facing your demons" quite literally.

Movie Myth: Poltergeist's story is one of people treading where they don't belong and the consequences of what happens when you do. The real-world consequences in this case are far worse than anything that happens on screen. The cause of this curse is said to orginate in Steven Spielberg's desire to cut production costs on special effects by using real human skeletons.

Supporting Facts / Debunking Possibilities:

  • Dominique Dunne, who played the teenaged daughter in the first Poltergeist film, was strangled by her possesive ex-boyfriend in her driveway in 1982 at the age of 22.  
  • Heather O'Rourke, who played the youngest of the family famous for her "They're HEEEERRREE" line, died from cardiac arrest and septic shock resulting from intestinal blockage. The third film in the series was released after her death.  
  • Will Sampson, a Native American shaman who performed an exorcism on the set, died from complications from a kidney transplant. 
  • Julian Beck died from stomach cancer at age 60.

 

1. The Exorcist Curse

The Exorcist Movie Myths Exorcist Curse

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Film Summary: After finding an old relic during an archaeological dig, a priest believes he will battle with a demon from his past. Turns out, he's right, as a girl in Washington D.C. comes down with an acute case of posession. 

Movie Myth: Another film that dabbles in the demonic, The Exorcist curse is not nearly as deadly as that of some of the other occupants of our list, however it is no less dangerous. There were so many issues during and after filming that listing them all here would be an entire blog post in-and-of-itself. Suffice to say, there was most definitely a destructive force working against the people involved in The Exorcist.

Supporting Facts / Debunking Possibilities:

  • Ellen Burstyn, who played the distraught mother, was injured during the filming of a particularly controversial scene where she was thrown across the room by her demon-possesed daughter. She claims that her back still troubles her greatly to this day.
  • Jack MacGowran, who played Burke Dennings, died unexpectedly before the film was even released.
  • Linda Blair, who played the possessed daughter, was never able to have a stable film career. She eventually resorted to doing adds for PETA, which involved the oh-so-classy tagline, "Animal cruelty makes my head spin."

 

What is your favorite movie myth that may not be listed here? Perhaps the creepy ghost in Three Men and a Baby? Any of the not-so-G-rated subliminal messages in various Disney movies? And let's not forget the rumor that the Blair Witch Project was actually real. (Do people still believe that?) Let us know in the comments!

David Rosencrance David “Rosey” Rosencrance is an Inbound Marketing Specialist for Halloweencostumes.com. Rosey is a lover of food, friends, whiskey, and words. As a student of the written word, Rosey prides himself on his ability to create run-on-sentences, to make up words, and to convince others that these pseudo-words were real the whole time. When he’s not either writing or cruising Reddit, you’ll probably find him in front of his computer adventuring in Azeroth with his lovely wife, or in the kitchen experimenting like some sort of mad scientist.

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