Horror movies are known for scaring the living hell out of us innocent movie-watchers…that’s what they’re for, after all. But we assume that shooting and producing said films would be like being in any other kind of movie. There are good days, there are bad days, there’s lots of CGI, and boom, done. Because even though the horror movie itself is scary, it doesn’t mean the haunted part is real, right? Right?
Wrong. Apparently, working on a scary film means experiencing some weird sh*t on set. From classic films like The Omen to newer flicks such as Annabelle, many horror movies have had some creepy troubles happen while they were being made. So the next time you watch your favorite scary movie – under the covers, in the dark, with a teddy bear – keep these incidents in mind for an extra spook factor:
The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville movie was based on a true story of a family living in a house where a mass murder had taken place only a year before. The first film in 1979 starred James Brolin. The star didn’t particularly want to take on the movie, only accepting it after something strange happened. While he was reading the original book in the early hours of the morning, he got to a very “tense” part of the story. At that moment, a pair of his pants suddenly fell off their hanger, causing Brolin to jump from his seat in terror. He then believed that there “was something to this story,” and accepted the lead role of George Lutz.
For those of us who were born later than the ’80s, the movie was remade in 2005. But right before filming was supposed to start, a dead body washed up on shore right by the movie set. Ryan Reynolds starred in the remake and claimed that members of the crew kept waking up at 3:15 every morning while filming the remake, which was the time that the real murders happened.
The Conjuring (2013)
Also based on a true story, The Conjuring tells of the Perron family who experienced mysterious ghostly activity in their Rhode Island home back in the ’70s. The family actually visited the movie set a few times while it was being filmed; however, Carolyn Perron, the wife and mother, refused to set foot near the place. Many weird events happened during the film’s production.
Once, while the they were visiting the set, a strong wind started to swirl around them. But the weird part is that crew members standing nearby noticed that the trees just opposite them were not moving with the wind. At the same time in Atlanta, Carolyn felt an evil presence in her house. She then fell down and had to be taken to the hospital. A few days after that event, the hotel that the actors and crew were staying in caught on fire, so everyone had to be evacuated.
The film’s director, James Wan, recalls his dog beginning to growl at something while he was working late in his office one evening. When he got up to investigate, Wan couldn’t find anything that would cause his pup to growl. But the dog kept growling and seemed to be focusing on an unseen entity across the room.
Additionally, Vera Farmiga, who plays the lead paranormal investigator in the film, couldn’t take the script home with her as it made her feel really uneasy. Farmiga also couldn’t read it at night because she claimed to become paralyzed with fear whenever she tried. She remembers opening her laptop once and seeing three slashes scratched across the screen, like as if a creature had dragged its paw across it. She also continued to wake up between 3am and 4am, an important time in the movie.
If you hate dolls, this isn’t the movie for you. Annabelle includes the most bone-chilling toy there is, and is a spin-off from The Conjuring. During the first film’s production, mysterious finger marks were found on a window at one point, which drew many comparisons with the demon in the movie.
Even worse, a lighting fixture fell and slammed into an actor who was playing a caretaker. This, of course, happened right as they were shooting a sequence where the characters are killed by an evil presence. Classic Annabelle.
Leah Butler, the costume designer for Annabelle 2 which is set to be released in 2017, told Cosmopolitan that the doll itself also freaked people out. Duh, that makes sense because there is an actual Annabelle doll who is also scary AF. But even though the film’s doll wasn’t the real one, it’s still a weird thing to be around. According to Butler, the team brought in a priest to bless the doll on set. “There was an actress who has a very Catholic belief system,” she explained, “and she sort of insisted that a priest come bless the doll so that nothing would happen during [shooting].”
The Omen (1976)
This movie is seriously creepy too, despite film heartthrob Gregory Peck starring as the lead role (To Kill a Mockingbird, anyone?). It tells the story of an American ambassador who unfortunately realizes that his son Damien just so happens to be the Antichrist. Super casual, right? But Peck himself experienced tragedy with his own son. His son committed suicide two months before filming was scheduled to start, making the horror and shock Peck’s character shows hit you right in the feels.
Rottweilers that were brought onto the movie set suddenly turned against their handlers.
After production started, a crew member was in a car accident, which he survived. Shortly after, the plane the scriptwriter was in was struck by lightning. Eight hours later, the plane in which Peck and the movie’s executive producer were traveling was also struck.
The crew then decided to hire a private plane to use for a few of the scenes. However, their scheduled flight was postponed because some businessmen needed the plane instead. Just after takeoff, something went wrong with the plane and it crashed onto a road, taking out cars along the way. Everyone involved in the accident was killed, something the film’s team, including Peck, narrowly avoided.
Ghost of Goodnight Lane (2014)
Although it looks a little cheesy, this particular movie is actually inspired by real events that happened a haunted movie set owned by Media World Company in Texas. The film’s producer, Alin Bijan, found out that the staff who worked on the set had visions of an unknown male. Additionally, film equipment would be moved when no one was around; someone was even slapped in the face by an unseen hand.
These types of unnerving incidents had been going on for quite a while. Bijan revealed that his crew in fact kept a record of all the unexplained incidents. In 2010, paranormal investigators confirmed that the set was haunted, based on results from tests and Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) recordings.
That’s when Bijan began working on the script for The Ghost of Goodnight Lane. He also believed it would be a good idea to use the same haunted set to film the movie, which naturally meant trouble. The cast and crew reported flickering lights while they were on set, and fixtures falling from the ceiling without any warning. Some of the crew heard their names being called by disembodied voices, which is giving us chills just thinking about it.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is yet another “based in real life” stories, depicting the prosecution of Father Moore after a girl died in the middle of his exorcism of her. The story is loosely based on the actual tale of Anneliese Michel, who died of neglect after her parents had her exorcised but didn’t seek out proper medical care for her afterwards.
Lead actress Jennifer Carpenter claims that she felt a presence in her hotel room during the shooting of the film. Her alarm clock seemed to grow a life of its own too, turning on at random moments and always blasting out the same Pearl Jam song, Alive. Carpenter claimed it was playing only part of a Pearl Jam song over and over: “I’m still alive”.
The Possession (2012)
The Possession is a somewhat unusual horror movie that includes a cursed Dybbuk box which attaches itself to a young girl, who is then (you guessed it) possessed. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been an actor for 25 years now, including a role on the hit TV show Supernatural, and has never had anything strange happen while filming. Until he started working on The Possession.
Although Morgan claims to normally be a skeptic, he also couldn’t help being freaked out by certain on-set phenomena. Lights exploded for seemingly no reason and chilly breezes would waft through the closed-off sets, according to an interview with the actors. These incidents would happen only when significant scenes were being filmed too.
The creepiest event, however, was when the props storage facility caught fire and literally burned to the ground, destroying every prop for the movie which included the Dybbuk box. An investigation confirmed that it couldn’t be blamed on arson or an electrical fault. Like the real-life Annabelle doll, there is a real-life Dybbuk box, which the owners offered to bring to set. But the cast and crew refused to allow the box anywhere near them. Smart choice, if you ask us.