The Insane True Stories Behind 6 Cursed Movies

#3. Rosemary's Baby

The Curse:

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 Roman Polanski film about a Manhattan woman whose husband signs a Faustian pact with the Satan-worshipping cult next door.

The film's composer died of a brain clot one year after making the film, the same way a character in the film dies. Then producer William Castle suffered kidney failure soon after the film was made, and swore the movie was cursed after crying out "Rosemary, for God's sake drop that knife" while being treated.

But those stories aside, the curse is mainly built around the insanely shitty luck of Roman Polanski. In March of 1969 Polanski had bought a house for himself and his 8 months pregnant wife Sharon Tate. Unfortunately, Polanski had broken the first rule of real estate: never buy a house from someone who pissed off Charles Manson.

The former owner of the house was music producer Terry Melcher, who had previously refused to record Manson's music. Manson expressed his disappointment by ordering his cult to go to Polanski's house. There, they killed Sharon Tate, her unborn baby and four others, stabbing the victims multiple times. After the murders, one of the killers took a rag, soaked up some of Tate's blood and wrote "pig" on the front door with it. So as curses go it was a lot worse than the crooked pictures thing.

Polanski was in London at the time and thus survived the onslaught. He went on to have a successful career, critical flop Pirates aside, free from problems. Oh, except later when he was charged with statutory rape. He could try to blame the curse for that one but we don't think it would hold up in court.

Most Tenuous Link to the Curse:

The Manson family nicknamed their murder spree "Helter Skelter" after the Beatles song. Later, John Lennon would be murdered outside his hotel The Dakota. This was the same hotel used in some scenes of Rosemary's Baby. A coincidence? Yes.

#2. The Conqueror

The Curse:

When you think of Genghis Khan (Mongolian, conqueror of half the known world, shrewd military tactician, Mongolian, mass murderer, Mongolian, vengeful, Mongolian) who do you picture? John Wayne, right? Exactly. And that's why he was an inspired casting choice for Howard Hughes' 1956 epic The Conqueror. Speaking before the film was made, Wayne said "the way the screenplay reads it's a cowboy picture, and that's how I'm going to play Genghis Khan. I see him as a gunfighter."


On the set of The Conqueror.

Speaking during the film, as Genghis Kahn, Wayne said "There are moment's fer wisdom, Juh-mooga, then I listen to you. And there are moment's fer action, then I listen to my blood. I feel this Tartar wuh-man is fer me, and my blood says, 'TAKE HER!"

So clearly a film headed for success and mass universal critical acclaim. Damn you, supernatural curse!

At one point a flash flood nearly killed the entire crew. Having survived that, lead actress Susan Hayward survived an attack by a black panther.

Unfortunately for Susan and the rest of the cast, health and safety regulations weren't quite as strict in the 1950s as they are now. For instance, stuntmen didn't have to wear any kind of harness, fire drills weren't mandatory and movies could be filmed downwind from Nevada desert above-ground nuclear test facilities.

Thus the actors and crew were exposed to nuclear fallout for the 13 weeks they filmed in Snow Canyon, downwind from the Yucca Flats were the US Army tested 11 atomic bombs. The rest of the movie was filmed in Hollywood, but Howard Hughes managed to maintain the integrity of the movie's Mongolian setting by shipping 60 tones of nuclear contaminated dirt from Snow Canyon back to Hollywood.

Over the next few years, 91 of the 220 crew members developed cancer, 46 died including John Wayne, Susan Hayward and the director. One of the film's other stars, Pedro Armendariz, committed suicide when he found out his cancer was terminal.

In his last days, Howard Hughes, with his beard and fingernails grown disturbingly long, living a now reclusive lifestyle, reportedly watched The Conqueror over and over again, racked with guilt, as he waited for the sweet embrace of death.

Good movie though.

Most Tenuous Link to the Curse:

It's claimed that during filming, the actors had to endure temperatures of over 120 degree heat! That's unheard of, except, you know, in deserts, like the one they were filming in.

#1. The Omen

The Curse:

No film in history has had worse luck than The Omen. Hell, nothing in history has had worse luck than The Omen. The Jews have had better luck.

During filming scriptwriter David Seltzer's plane was hit by lighting, as was star Gregory Peck's, as was executive producers Mace Neufelds'.

Lucky for all of them, lighting doesn't strike twice. But know what does? IRA bombings. A hotel Neufeld was staying at during production was bombed by the IRA, as was a restaurant the director and actors were scheduled to eat at. Luckily no one died.

An assistant to special effects consultant John Richardson on the other hand, wasn't quite as lucky. On Friday the 13th of August 1976, Richardson crashed his car in Holland. His assistant was sliced through by the car's front wheel. Scrambling out of the wreckage, Richardson looked up and saw a road sign: Ommen, 66.6km.


Hey, you know that movie that killed everyone? Let's make it again.

One of the film's tiger handler's died. Gregory Peck's son shot himself. A plane scheduled for use in the film, which was rescheduled and used for a commercial flight instead, crashed and killed everyone on board.

We're not saying we believe in curses. We're just saying we should probably stop making movies about Satan.

Most Tenuous Link to the Curse:

A stuntman who worked on The Omen later hospitalised himself while working on the film A Bridge Too Far. Which is creepy. Except he's a stuntman. And deliberately threw himself off a roof.



Find out some much less awesome true back-stories in 7 Movies Based on a True Story (That Are Complete Bullshit) or read up on some movies you'll be glad were "cursed" in The 6 Worst Movies Hollywood Almost Made. And Cracked.com is once again back to normal on the iPhone. Sorry for the temporary lapse in hipness.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

542 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!