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Movie magic can be pretty dark.
Vic Morrow, along with two child actors, were killed on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie when a helicopter fell on them after a disastrous stunt had gone wrong. Morrow and one of the child actors were decapitated, while the other child was crushed to death.
Five people, including director John Landis, were tried on manslaughter charges, but they were later acquitted.
The families of everyone involved — including Morrow’s daughter Jennifer Jason Leigh — sued the filmmakers and settled out-of-court.
Actress Mercedes McCambridge swallowed raw eggs, drank whiskey, and smoked copious amounts of cigarettes in order to produce the demon voice in The Exorcist.
She had been living sober before taking on the role, and required her priest to be present to help counsel her. She was also tied to a chair.
She received no credit at the film’s premiere.
Brandon Lee was fatally shot and killed on the set of The Crow after a series of mishaps and oversights accidentally caused a live round to shoot out of an improperly prepared prop gun.
Lee was shot in the abdomen during a scene where his character was supposed to be shot by a thug. After six hours of surgery and multiple attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead on March 31, 1993.
The rest of the Lee’s scenes were completed using body doubles and special effects.
Coincidentally, Brandon Lee’s father Bruce Lee starred in the 1978 movie Game of Death where his character, a famous actor, was shot while filming on set.
And to make things even more bizarre, Bruce Lee died in 1973. So the majority of Game of Death was completed using body doubles and footage taken from his previous films.
Tammy Lynn Leppert, who played the blond girl who distracts Manny in Scarface, disappeared shortly after filming and was never heard from again.
During the filming of The Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus, and assistant director Jan Michelini were struck by lighting. They were not seriously injured. However, according to the producer of the film, there was “smoke coming out of Caviezel’s ears.”
Also, this was the SECOND time Michelini was struck by lightning while filming. He suffered light burns when lightning struck the umbrella he was holding.
Choi Min-sik, star of the Korean film Oldboy, had to eat four whole living octopi on camera before the director captured the perfect shot. Min-sik is also a Buddhist, and would pray for forgiveness after each take.
Jackie Cooper was eight when he starred in the 1931 film Skippy. When Jackie couldn’t summon tears for a scene, director Norman Taurog removed Jackie’s pet dog from the set and pretended to have it shot. This caused Jackie to cry hysterically and deliver a performance that earned him an Oscar nomination.
Jackie wrote about the event in his autobiography titled Please Don’t Shoot My Dog.
The logistics behind the famous chestburster scene in Alien were kept secret from the actors, in hopes of drawing genuine horrified reactions from them.
Veronica Cartwright, who played Joan Lambert in the film, passed out when she was splattered with blood.
Paul Bateson, who appeared in The Exorcist as one of the assistant radiologists, was convicted of murder for the killing and dismemberment of six men in New York City.
In Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the crew incorporated a real skeleton and the remains of several animals in the set decoration.
They got a real skeleton from Japan because it was cheaper to acquire a real skeleton as opposed to a fake one.
The last day of shooting on Texas Chainsaw Massacre was dreadful. The punishing Texas weather, along with the lights used for filming, made the set so hot that the real bones started cooking, emitting a stench that caused crew members to puke after takes.
And to top it off, 500 pounds of dead animals from the city pound were brought to the set by a garbage truck. When the director chose not to use the dead animals, they were soaked in gasoline and set on fire, causing smoke from burning fur and flesh to go through the set.