In the horror genre, there is a tendency to regard certain films as cursed. This title does not refer to the quality of the movie, but more about serious bad luck sustained during production. We are not talking here about little mishaps like lost cameras or costume malfunctions. For a film to be deemed as such, it must have enough off-camera deaths, tragedies, and overall weirdness to make people talk. This is precisely the premise of Shudder’s original documentary series known as Cursed films. In the span of five episodes, we can see why some classic movies gained their reputation as such. It does not matter if you are superstitious or not, this series will make you wonder if evil indeed attracts evil enough to seriously harm the living.

What’s Cursed Films (2020) about?

Shudder Launches Clever Series About the Legacy of Cursed Films | TV/Streaming | Roger Ebert

As its title implies, this series explores all the stories involving tragedies during the filming of cult-classic horror films like The Crow (1994), and The Omen (1976) to name but a few. Each episode focuses on one film and explains the extent of its supposed jinx and how the media as well as fans portrayed it. In between these takes, they usually interview people involved in the production who can offer a first-hand point of view of what happened. Directors, writers, or actors usually demystify many rumors, but, surprisingly, sometimes they confirm it, like the one about using real skeletons in the pool scene from Poltergeist.

Beyond knowing some new juicy backstage info, these interventions have a more honorable intention. They humanize again the people who died during production and remind us that they were more than casualties of a hypothetical curse. The death of Heather O’Rourke or Brandon Lee clearly took an emotional toll on their families and on those who met them on set. The series is very good at putting things into perspective and reminds us they are more than just a capricious death.

Shudder's Cursed Films: Season 1 Review - IGN

On the other hand, Cursed Films also explores why the public tends to latch on so much to urban legends and magical thinking. Experts talk about how humans infuse objects with agency and how these stories help us to cope with the unknown. It sounds morbid but blaming the death of a young actress in the hands of her boyfriend or a tragic accident on cosmical energy is apparently more passable than accepting that life is unpredictable, and often very cruel. All these angles bring balance to a series that, on the wrong hands, could have been a high-production creepy pasta compendium.

Final Thoughts

Fans around the world have always been fascinated by production details regarding their favorite movies. Anecdotes like Viggo Mortensen breaking his foot during that scene in the Lord of the Rings or Tim Curry doing his own Dr. Frank N. Furter makeup are nice pieces of info we just love to share with others over a meal or some drinks. However, sometimes we can lose sight and give the same levity to more serious misfortunes.

We are not saying that having your theories about certain films is bad, but Cursed Films reminds us there is always more to the situation. Without being patronizing, it offers the viewer all the points of view you need to form your own opinion about what could have happened and indeed, some movies were challenging in a more mysterious way.

Cursed Films Season One is available to purchase here.*

*Affiliate Link


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