As horrific as some things are on screen, behind the cameras can be even worse. Supernatural forces at bay have proven to be more than just fictional fodder if the lore of horror set stories are anything to go by, and Shudder’s own Cursed Films docu-series sets out to prove whether it’s fact or fiction when it comes to the sinister nature of filmmaking.
Shudder, the American video-on-demand service that specialises in horror titles (and STILL hasn’t surfaced as a streaming option in Australia), is the perfect home for a production like Cursed Films, and with only 5 episodes running at a neat 30 minutes, will be easily digested by horror enthusiasts.
As much as Cursed Films aims for entertainment value, it’s difficult to not be a little unnerved by several of the on-set stories the show opts to focus on; the horrific deaths of actors caused by baffling negligence on the set of the Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) set, and the infamous shooting of Brandon Lee whilst making The Crow (1994) being two of the more emotionally-driven topics for two of the episodes.
The Omen (1976) and The Poltergeist (1982) were the subjects of the two particular episodes screen for media prior to the show’s airing, both similarly touching on tragedy revolving around cast-members (The Poltergeist‘s Heather O’Rourke passed away at the age of 12 due to a misdiagnosis of Chrone’s Disease, whilst her co-star Dominique Dunne was murdered by her ex-boyfriend), as well as bizarre incidents that fuelled internet fire years later; the doco seems to confirm suspicions that the skeletons used in a pivotal scene in The Poltergeist weren’t fake.
Given the material the show covers it’s almost a shame that they run so quickly, but in covering so much information in the span of time means you’re never without an interesting anecdote; I mean, The Omen‘s Gregory Peck cancelling one of his flights only to learn that it crashed and claimed all the lives on board? That’s a story!
Set to air on April 2nd (The Exorcist), April 9th (The Poltergeist and The Omen), and conclude on April 16th (The Crow and Twilight Zone: The Movie), Cursed Films should satisfy those that appreciate horror as both a genre and a temperament.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)