The film and television industry is a magical land of make believe. We see places and things on screen that look real but they almost always are not. Still, the props that are used on set to make things appear real are often real, or at least still quite dangerous. The bigger the production, the better chance that the props on set are fully functional items. As technology has advanced, props have become more realistic and, often, more dangerous. This is our fault. As viewers, our eyes have become expert crap detectors. We can spot fakes in an instant, even if we've never even seen the real thing up close. This has made the prop creators and set designers weary, working tirelessly to create items that look and feel as real as possible. You would think it would be the opposite, that the more advanced our technology gets the more realistic the fakes get and the safer a set becomes. This is true in some spaces, but almost anything can be dangerous. Props that make explosions or blasts still require pyrotechnics, and controlled or not, pyrotechnics are dangerous. Likewise, realistic set pieces need to be hard and heavy to pass the eye test. Gone are the days of cardboard and Styrofoam pieces passing for cinderblocks and metal. Heavy and hard usually equates to some form of danger.
Over the years, props have malfunctioned on film and TV sets countless times. Often we never hear about these happenings, but when someone gets hurt, maimed or killed, it becomes major news. We've gone through and collected some of the biggest prop mishaps in history. Every one of these events made the news, but maybe you were too busy or not born soon enough to hear about it. Maybe you were too caught up in the latest [enter brainless celebrity here] drama to know that a poor actor was cut in half by a machete on set. Well, we've taken it upon ourselves to catch you up. Here are 15 times that props malfunctioned and caused horrible injuries.
15 The Lord of the Rings – Prop Grappling Hook
14 The General – Prop Cannons
13 Young Ones – Exploding Wall Prop
12 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – Prop Car
11 Cardinal (TV Series) – Prop Gun
10 Spartacus – Prop Cauldron
9 Enter the Dragon – Prop Bottle
8 Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Prop Hydraulic Door
7 Haunted Spooks – Prop Bomb
6 Cyborg – Prop Knife
5 Charlie Wilson's War – Prop Missile
4 The Twilight Zone – Helicopter
3 The Crow – Prop Gun
2 Cover Up – Prop Gun
1 They Died with Their Boots On – Prop Sword
There are films that are renowned for having tragedy on set, like Resident Evil: The Final Chapter for instance, and then there is the 1941 film They Died with Their Boots On, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. While making that film, three members of the cast and crew died in three different situations. One stuntman had a heart attack, which could have happened anywhere but is still no fun. The other two, however, were a direct result of the film. One actor fell from his horse and broke his neck. Another actor, Jack Budlong, demanded that he use a real sword instead of a rubber one for his scenes. When a staged explosion sent him flying off his horse, Budlong threw his sword, thinking it was too dangerous to fall with it. Unfortunately, the thrown sword landed hilt down and blade up, and Budlong landed on it, impaling himself. That's bad luck and even worse aim.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; MovieAccidents
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