• Stephen Jones

Haunting films with haunted sets

Are you that person that scares easily?


Do you hide under the blankets when you hear the floorboards creak? Or are you the type of person who will look in the mirror and shout ‘Bloody Mary’ three times just because you’re bored?


Whatever person you are, I can guarantee that these stories will send a chill down your spine and make you never want to watch a horror movie ever again, never mind act in one.


Happy Halloween folks, and remember those who give sugar-free candy on Halloween night deserve to be haunted by the spirits and demons from all the movies on this list.


1) The Exorcist (1973)

If you're a horror fan, then you should already know about the ungodly stories from the set of the 1973 film, The Exorcist. Let's just say that things got pretty heated during filming.


And we aren't talking about actors losing their temper because someone from sound production ate the last bagel from the buffet cart. Nope, we're talking about an actual goddamn fire.


The blaze happened on the set of the MacNeil home, but spontaneously left the room of the possessed Regan (Linda Blair) seemingly unscathed.


Oh, you thought we were done?


Sadly not, many deaths have been attributed to this film, including Jack MacGowran, whose character also died in the movie. The real spooky thing about MacGowran’s passing is that it happened only a week after the release of The Exorcist.


Other deaths linked to the said curse of the film include Linda Blair’s grandfather, a night watchman, and a special effects technician who all spent vast amounts of time on set.


2) The Omen (1976)

Many strange incidents preceded the 1976 release of The Omen, the type of events that made you think a real-life antichrist could’ve been behind them all along.


The main actor Gregory Peck and writer David Seltzer were both on planes that got struck by lightning. When shooting the famous rabid dog scene, a stuntman got attacked by Rottweilers as they gnawed their way through the protective gear. Ouch.


The most tragic occurrence came after special effects director John Richardson and his wife, Liz Moore, were involved in a serious car accident. Moore was decapitated in the crash that was pretty much identical to a scene from the film. The spookiest thing is that this crash happened on Friday the 13th, with a nearby street saying, ‘Ommen 66.6km’ which is possibly the most bloodcurdling thing we've ever heard.


3) The Innkeepers (2011)

According to countless cast and crew, it was well documented that the set for The Innkeepers was pretty haunted. Lights would switch on and off with no explanation at all. Doors would suddenly fly open and slam shut scaring those nearby. But the scariest thing of all is that cast members would often receive phone calls that, when they picked up, would have nobody on the other end.


Pretty scary s**t.


The hotel where The Innkeepers was shot, the Yankee Peddler Inn in Connecticut, is a sought after location for aspiring ghost hunters, due to the paranormal activity that supposedly takes place there.


4) The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring series is a hair-raising experience from start to finish that will have you reaching for the cross and holy water midmovie. The film follows Ed and Lorraine Warren real-life paranormal investigators, whose research and findings are said to be an inspiration for The Amityville Horror film franchise.


Vera Farmiga, who played Lorraine in the film, was very dubious about making the film as she refused to have the script on her property. It didn’t help her though, as she woke up one morning to find three slashes on her laptop screen - a demonic marking that is meant to signify a mocking of the Holy Trinity.


The Conjuring clearly has some monster energy, and I’m not talking about the drink.


5) Return to Babylon (2013)

Strap yourself in because this one is unnerving and then some. The silent film, Return to Babylon is believed to have captured demonic activity on film (reaches for the nearest blanket and cries into it).


The films’ director Alex Monty Canawati used a vintage camera with black and white film. But when he watched the footage back, he probably wished he stayed with the trusty Kodak because all the lead actors' faces had morphed into demonic creatures.


Don’t believe us? Take a look below.


Special mentions


Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Ah, a true horror classic.


Rosemary’s Baby was first released as a book by acclaimed writer Ira Levin when he took inspiration from his pregnant wife with the story’s main protagonist, Rosemary, unknowingly carrying and conceiving the antichrist.


The scary stuff comes when Rosemary’s Baby was turned into a film by Roman Polanski. The producer for the film, William Castle, was hospitalised with kidney stones when he started to experience hallucinations and claimed to have seen the film’s lead character approaching him with a knife.


One year later, Polanski’s heavily pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was brutally murdered by the Manson Family. They left The Beatles song title 'Helter Skelter'’ written in blood at the scene to pay homage to their deranged leader - Charles Manson.


Ghost (1990)

The only scary thing about this film is the title... and maybe that godforsaken pottery scene.


But if you choose to believe (we do) one of the biggest Hollywood urban legends, you’ll find out that the Poltergeist child star Heather O’Rourke haunted the film set for Ghost. Many of the crew encounters include hearing the footsteps of an unseen figure and a child repeatedly laughing (that’s enough for today).


The fact that Ghost was filmed on the exact same stage where O’Rourke had filmed scenes as a child is what makes this even scarier.


We are truly sorry if you find yourself clinging onto your childhood toy while rocking back and forth calling out for your ‘mummy.’


Good luck sleeping tonight - Why don’t you watch one of the above films to help send you off?


Happy Halloween from all of us at Fresh Take!


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