Horror movies have been popular almost since the beginning of cinema itself, and this genre is sure to bring in viewers for many more years to come. There is a strong fanbase of people who simply love to get scared beyond belief. To many of us, this makes no sense. Why would you purposely put yourself through all that stress and suspense? For horror movie junkies, it’s all part of the thrill. A recent study has even suggested that people actually burn calories by watching horror movies, because the heart is beating like crazy and you sweat like a pig!
Some people might think that for the film crew, horror movies are just another movie. After all, they are the ones who know that it’s not real blood spewing out of a victim’s chest, it’s ketchup! They know that there is no evil ghost possessing that person, and that she’s just a really good actor. They know all the little tricks the director has chosen to make the film seem scary. So there’s no way they could get scared, right? Wrong. Over the years, many directors, film crews, and actors have noticed very strange and creepy things happening before, after, or while they were filming the movie. Some of these are unexplained to this day.
There are also many other facts about your favorite horror movies that may creep you out. These might not involve the crew seeing ghosts or things randomly setting on fire, but they are still very unsettling. Sometimes the real life serial killer that inspired the movie is actually a lot more frightening than the movie itself. Sometimes the props department is forced to use actual pieces of human remains and animal blood. The list goes on, but I guarantee you will be surprised at the secrets surrounding your favorite horror movies.
15. The Possession
The first movie on our list, and one more recent, is a film entitled The Possession. It was a 2012 movie directed by Ole Bornedal, and there were a TON of weird things that happened during and after the filming of this movie. The story revolves around a “Dybbuk box,” which is a wine cabinet that holds a malicious spirit who is capable of possessing people. It is a creature from Jewish folklore. Speaking about the filming process, the director said that “Some really weird things happened. I’ve never stood underneath a neon light before that wasn’t lit, that all of a sudden exploded. The worst thing was, five days after we wrapped the movie, all the props burned. This storage house in Vancouver burned down to the ground, and the fire department does not know the cause. I’m not a superstitious man, and I would like to say, ‘Yeah, it’s just a coincidence.'”
14. The Ghost Of Goodnight Lane
Another recent movie, which came out in 2014, was The Ghost Of Goodnight Lane. The director, Alin Bijan, had a very strange idea about how to make this movie. He had heard rumors that a particular film set was haunted, and decided this was the perfect place to film his movie. The film set was located in Texas, and was owned by Media World Company. When previous movies were filmed there, the film crew reported seeing visions of strange things, most commonly an unknown male figure. Their equipment was moved around when no one was even there. Reportedly, one crew member was slapped in the face by an invisible hand. So when the crew of The Ghost Of Goodnight Lane arrived to start filming, weird things immediately started happening. Crew members reported seeing flickering lights when they were filming, as well as things falling off the walls without warning. They also allegedly heard their own names being called by invisible sources.
13. The Omen
We now go back in time to the classic 1976 horror film, The Omen. This was directed by Richard Donner, and was plagued by all sorts of strange and creepy paranormal activity. The story revolves around an adopted child who, unbeknownst to his parents, is actually the reincarnation of the antichrist. Even before the movie started filming, horrible things started to happen. Gregory Peck, the leading man, suffered a massive blow when his son committed suicide 2 months before the movie started filming. Then, a crew member got into a car accident, from which he just barely survived. Then, the plane the scriptwriter was travelling in was struck by lightning. Eight hours later, a plane carrying Gregory Peck and the executive producer was also struck by lightning. The producer was walking in Rome a few days later when he was just barely missed by a bolt of lightning. Gregory Peck was later eating at a restaurant when it was bombed by terrorist group IRA. During filming, a plane they had hired to take aerial shots crashed into a car on a highway, killing everyone. An animal handler who was hired for the movie was later eaten alive by lions. This began to be known as “The Curse Of The Omen.” Even after the movie ended, people who had worked on the film continued to have strange accidents which often resulted in deaths.
12. The Conjuring
The next film on our list is 2013’s The Conjuring. Directed by James Wan, this film centers around the true story of the Perron family. This family moved into a house in Rhode Island, and were plagued by unexplained paranormal experiences while staying there. The real Perron family were invited to visit the film set, but the mother refused to go anywhere near there. When the rest of the family visited, the film crew reported seeing massive gusts of wind surround the family. These winds seemed to come from nowhere, as the trees they were standing next to at the time were not moving. While the rest of the family were visiting the film set, the mother collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. Several months into filming, the hotel where all the actors and crew were staying caught fire, and everyone had to be evacuated. The director said that his dog kept growling at some kind of unseen presence at his home. In addition, one of the lead actresses would not bring the script home with her because it gave her a deep sense of dread when she was alone. She also reported seeing 3 slashes across her laptop, like someone or something has scratched it.
11. The Exorcist
The Exorcist is one of the most well-known horror films of all time, and it was not without its own fair share of strange and creepy occurrences. The film was released in 1973, and it was directed by William Friedkin. The movie centers around a 12-year-old girl who has been possessed by a demon, and the efforts to exorcise said demon from within her. Many directors and actors turned down the offer of working on the film, out of fear that the movie was cursed. This was because the toddler of one of the lead actors was hit by a motorbike and seriously injured. But the film went ahead, and Friedkin used some very unorthodox directing techniques for that time. He yanked the actors around on harnesses, giving them back injuries and using their very real screams of pain in the final cut of the movie. He slapped one actor in the face without warning before a scene to help him give a solemn performance. He fired blanks without warning to shock the actors and keep them scared. Midway through filming, the house they were using as a set caught fire, and the entire building had to be built – except for the little girl’s room who was possessed in the story. That led the director to hire a real exorcist to try to cleanse the area of demons. After filming was complete, but before the film hit the theaters, two of the main actors died tragically.
10. The Crow
The Crow was a 1994 dark horror fantasy action film featuring none other than Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son. It’s famous for being Brandon Lee’s last film, as he was tragically killed on the set of the movie. The film was directed by Alex Proyas, and it was filmed at EUE Screen Gem Studios in North Carolina. It was here that Brandon Lee was fatally shot. The scene in which actor Brandon Lee died featured a thug shooting a .44 revolver at the actor. The bullets were supposed to harmless, but there was a bullet trapped inside the barrel from a previous scene. Blanks were loaded into the gun, and these rounds feature a powder charge. Although blanks are considered harmless because they have no actual projectile, they still have the powder charge. So when the actor fired the gun at Brandon Lee, the powder charge from the blank caused the bullet that was already lodged in the barrel to fire and strike Brandon Lee in the abdomen. He was rushed to hospital, but doctors couldn’t save him.
9. Jeepers Creepers
Jeepers Creepers is a cult classic horror movie, but there are some disgusting details about its production that you may not be aware of. The 2001 film was directed by Victor Salva, and he is the reason this movie has such a bad and frightening reputation. The movie itself has nothing to do with this. It was a scary movie, yes, but it is nowhere near as scary as what happened when cameras weren’t rolling. Nathan Forrest Winters, a young 12-year-old star of Salva’s 1988 movie Clownhouse, was the victim of sexual molestation by the director, Victor Salva. He became interested in the boy, and later coerced him into a sexual act. He actually filmed himself having oral sex with the boy. For this crime, he was sentenced to 3 years in jail, but was released after a measly 15 months. Nathan Forrest Winters has spoken out against Salva, saying that he should not be able to live his life as if nothing happened.
8. The Craft
The Craft was a 1996 supernatural horror movie directed by Andrew Fleming. It centers around a group of four teenage girls who start to delve into witchcraft. Strange things started to happen when a child was injured quite seriously when the film crew erected an occult structure which was going to be part of the movie. But perhaps the strangest thing about this movie was the fact that the director insisted on hiring a real expert in witchcraft to serve as a consultant. The person they chose was Pat Devin. Pat Devin is a Wiccan, and is a member of the largest Wiccan organizations in the US, The Covenant Of The Goddess. She’s basically a confirmed witch, and she once held the position of First Officer in South California’s Council (whatever that means). She made a lot of suggestions about the Wiccan practices that were depicted in the film, and instructed the actresses on how to properly cast spells and conduct rituals.
7. Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity is one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and it was directed by Oren Peli in 2007. Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg was considering distributing the movie, and so he had a copy of the film on a DVD, which he was watching at the offices of DreamWorks Studios. He was impressed with the film, which had cost only $15,000 to make. When the film was first screened, the director was horrified to see people walking out of the theater. But he then realized that they were leaving because they were so scared. So when Steven Spielberg was watching the movie, he was taking it very seriously as something he would possibly distribute. But there was something very strange about the DVD. When he was watching it, the door to his room locked while he was still inside. He had no idea how this room locked from the inside, and immediately suspected it had something to do with the DVD. He was so freaked out that he carried the DVD to set the next day in a garbage bag. In spite of all this, he loved the movie, and decided to distribute it.
6. The Blair Witch Project
Like Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project started with a very small budget, and enjoyed enormous economic success. It was directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez and released in 1999, grossing almost 250 million dollars. But there are a lot of strange details about this film that you may have missed. First of all, those teeth that you saw on the twigs in one shocking scene? Those were real human teeth, supplied by a local dentist. The hair was also human, and it was taken from one of the actors. The directors tried a lot of different methods to genuinely scare the living daylights out of the actors, including playing the voices of children at extremely high volume outside of the actors’ tent, which they admitted was one of the scariest things they had ever experienced. The “shaky cam” effects of the handheld style of filming actually caused many of the audience members to become physically sick!
This list wouldn’t be complete without the vastly popular horror movie, Saw. Released in 2004, it was directed by James Wan. There are actually a ton of weird, creepy details about this movie that even the biggest fans of the franchise might not be aware of. Like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, Saw was on a tight budget. So when the director needed realistic-looking human innards, he went the cheaper route of visiting the local butcher shop instead of getting a film studio to make some for him. The Jigsaw character wasn’t designed by a film studio either – Wan personally created the puppet and sewed it himself. The character of Jigsaw came to fruition after Wan suffered severe migraines, and was convinced he had a brain tumor. He began to think about what it would be like knowing you only have a limited time left to live. That’s how he thought of the Jigsaw character that spooked so many people out.
Another intensely horrifying film in the same vein as Saw was Hostel, a 2005 film directed by Eli Roth. It was also executive produced by legendary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. The story centers around people who pay to torture and kill captured tourists. The idea came after the director heard about a very disturbing website. On this website, you could pay $10,000 and go to Thailand to shoot a stranger in the head for fun. The idea started to develop in Roth’s mind, and he eventually told Quentin Tarantino about it, who encouraged him to go to Europe and make it low budget. The idea later became a take on American tourists, who go to Las Vegas or Amsterdam for cheap thrills. As Roth explains, “I saw parallels between guys I knew who would go to Europe or even go to Vegas and go, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna go get hookers and do drugs,’ or ‘We’re gonna go to Amsterdam,’ and it’s kind of this American thing of going abroad and doing all these things you’re not supposed to do. That’s why I made Amsterdam purposefully look like an X-rated Disneyland.”
3. The Ring
One horror movie that went down in history as one of the scariest ever was The Ring. It was released in 2005 and was directed by Gore Verbinski. The film was based on a previous Japanese film called Ring (or Ringu in Japanese). With a gross income of almost 250 million dollars, it was one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time. It used some very innovative camera techniques that were highly praised. One of the most iconic scenes in the film is when the little girl climbs out of a well and walks toward the camera. The manner in which she walks is incredibly creepy and weird. But how did they make her look so creepy as she walked? The answer is that they employed an innovative technique that involved getting the child actor to walk backwards towards the well, and then rewinding the footage. The result is that she looks like she’s walking forward, but in a very unnatural way. This technique has been used in many other horror films, especially since it was used in The Ring.
Another extremely scary movie that deserves a place on this list is Poltergeist. Released in 1982, it was directed by Tobe Hooper, but written and produced by Steven Spielberg. The story revolves around a family living in a haunted house, where ghosts eventually abduct their youngest daughter. During and after the filming of Poltergeist, a series of strange and unfortunate events caused many to claim that the film was cursed. There were 3 young actors who played the young siblings in the film, the Freeling siblings. Two out of three of these children died in the years following the release of the movie. One died during surgery, and another was strangled to death by an ex-boyfriend. The third was almost choked to death by the puppet of the “Evil Doll” during filming, and was just barely saved by Steven Spielberg. In addition, Steven Spielberg used real human skeletons in the film for certain scenes.
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reigns as one of the creepiest horror movies of all time, and it has spawned a number of sequels and remakes. The original film was also directed by Tobe Hooper and released in 1974. It was banned in several countries. The film’s antagonist, Leatherface, was actually based on a real, high-profile serial killer called Ed Gein. This killer also inspired movies such as Psycho and The Silence Of The Lambs. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface wears the skin of his victims, and this is actually something Ed Gein did on more than one occasion. When Ed Gein’s apartment was searched, furniture was found that was made from human skin. Also, Ed Gein admitted to trying to create a “woman suit” out of female skin, so he could “crawl into his mother’s skin.” This act was later described as an “insane transvestite ritual.” These acts directly influenced Leatherface, who wears his victim’s severed faces like a mask.