Cursed Films opened its season with explorations of the superstitions surrounding The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and The Omen. The religious and spiritual nature of the themes these films touch on seemingly atrracted the mythology that now haunts their history. That’s not to say that there wasn’t any truth in some of these tragedies. A lot of strange and terrible things did happen on these sets. But with the mere mention of actual curses, things can get a bit campy. And quick. If I could reorder the first half of the series, I would hold off on the extra cheese. The final two installment, however, are more firmly rooted in reality.
Episode four of Cursed Films debuts on Shudder on April 16th and features a deep-dive into 1994’s The Crow and the tragic death of Brandon Lee. The Crow doesn’t lack it’s share of conspiratioral conjurers. From a curse that followed Brandon, gifted to him by his father Bruce Lee to a hit by the mafia, the theories are endless and wild. The unfortunate truth is, as pointed out by actor Michael Berryman, Brandon Lee was killed so a studio could save a few bucks. Due to a contractual loophole, the studio was able to hire a local contractor to handle the weapons and projectiles instead of the provided professional.
The final episode of Cursed Films tackles perhaps the most grim case of neglecence displayed in filmmaking. When I saw The Twilight Zone: The Movie as a kid, I was not aware of the fate of Vic Morrow and two children he was attemtping to save in the infamous helicopter scene. Ryan Turek, VP of Develpment at Blumhouse Pictures says, “Film sets are a controlled chaos.” The funny thing about chaos is it doesn’t like being controlled. Longtime stuntman and horror actor Kane Hodder is right, though. Sometimes things happen and no one is truly to blame.
Though in the case of The Twilight Zone: The Movie, director John Landis and his insistance of Michael Baying his imaginary Vietnam set resulted in the tragic death of three people. The truth is, the children should never have been working in those conditions. Actor Vic Morrow was in no position at this point in his career to voice his concerns and soldiered on. And he paid with his life.
The final two episodes of Shudder’s Cursed Films premeire on April 16th. Be sure to tune in!