Maybe some key players die. Maybe the film reel catches fire and burns the projectionist’s face off. Maybe the director and actors overlook the accidental homoerotic subtext in the first-day-of-school scene. For whatever reason, many films – even those not intentionally advertised as such – have had one or more streaks of such bad luck that they have come to be regarded as out-and-out cursed.
The Superman franchise, especially the leading role, is among the most notable. George Reeves, star of the 50s television incarnation, was killed in mysterious circumstances. Christopher Reeve, star of the later movie revival of the series, was paralyzed in a horse show accident. And Dean Cain, star of Lois & Clark, has had difficulty finding work (Super or otherwise) since the end of the show.
But the Superman curse is just the tip of the evil iceberg – join us now as we ferry deeper into the cruel, karmic eddies of the River Pix ‘n Flix!
Birth of a Nation (1915)
The first true blockbuster film, it’s a well-known story told in dimly-lit bistros all over L.A. that everyone involved in the production of Birth of a Nation died afterwards.
The Great Dictator (1940)
Released in October of 1940, many blame this cursed satire of Hitler for leading to the start of World War II in December 1941. This is disputed by some who claim that World War II actually began much earlier than this, leading yet others to believe that it is the first film whose cursedness manifested itself well before the film was ever planned on being made.
The Godfather (1972)
Irascible director Francis Ford Coppola declared the film cursed on the first day of production, shortly after declaring his Wetzel’s Pretzel to be “sub-par”, “corporate” and “intransigently intransigent”.
After the large robotic shark sank into the Pacific Ocean and scheduling difficulties prevented Robert De Niro from taking over the part, Stephen Spielberg was reluctantly obliged to use a real shark in his man-versus-getting-eaten suspense tale. Time, money, and extras were wasted when it was discovered that the shark is a non-unionized and notoriously uncontrollable fish. In the end, the shark part is almost entirely eliminated from the film, leaving audiences irritated that they don’t know what the hell it is that’s killing everyone so damn much.
Magic Honeymoon 2: The Colossus Effect (1981)
So cursed was the Magic Honeymoon franchise that neither this sequel nor the original film were ever made or conceived.
Contact, which Carl Sagan died while writing, is often viewed as cursed because it fucking sucks.
Titanic may have earned the most money of any film ever released, and won the most Academy Awards, but often overlooked is the fact that the model of the Titanic tragically sank during filming – an event eerily presaged by the real Titanic sinking shortly before filming began.
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
The mysterious inclusion of the word “Curse” in the title leads many to speculate that this film may be cursed.