Don't look now, but another Friday the 13th is upon us. Regarded by many as the unluckiest date on the calendar, the day (which can occur several times a year) hasn't quite become a holiday -- but it has taken on a life of its own.

Much of this is attributable to the success of Paramount and New Line's 'Friday the 13th' film series. This long-running franchise of slasher movies starring hockey-masked (and for a brief time, burlap-sacked) madman Jason Voorhees has become synonymous with the date -- even though the films really have very little to do with their namesake. It's kind of a cliché to run a 'Friday the 13th' article on Friday the 13th, but we wanted to mark the date anyway -- so we approached it from a different, yet still spooky, angle: our favorite cursed movies. (The cast and crew of 2011's 'Premium Rush,' which has already experienced head-butting and an injured Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will want to pay special attention.)

Since the conventional wisdom says it's best just to stay in bed until Saturday the 14th rolls around, here are some flicks you could watch to celebrate this ominous day from the comfort and safety of your home.

Don't look now, but another Friday the 13th is upon us. Regarded by many as the unluckiest date on the calendar, the day (which can occur several times a year) hasn't quite become a holiday -- but it has taken on a life of its own.

Much of this is attributable to the success of Paramount and New Line's 'Friday the 13th' film series. This long-running franchise of slasher movies starring hockey-masked (and for a brief time, burlap-sacked) madman Jason Voorhees has become synonymous with the date -- even though the films really have very little to do with their namesake. It's kind of a cliché to run a 'Friday the 13th' article on Friday the 13th, but we wanted to mark the date anyway -- so we approached it from a different, yet still spooky, angle: our favorite cursed movies. (The cast and crew of 2011's 'Premium Rush,' which has already experienced head-butting and an injured Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will want to pay special attention.)

Since the conventional wisdom says it's best just to stay in bed until Saturday the 14th rolls around, here are some plagued flicks you could watch to celebrate this ominous day from the comfort and safety of your home.


The 'Poltergeist' Trilogy

Perhaps the most well known of the cursed titles on the list, 'Poltergeist' has another distinction that sets it apart from the other "haunted movies" we're about to discuss -- the evil that lurked around this title spanned three films.

Apparently, all the bad mojo started with the first film, which was about a family moving into a house built on an Indian burial ground. What angered the spirits about this movie? The rumor is that it was the use of real human remains as props. Gross!


The effects of the 'Poltergeist' curse are no laughing matter, though. Between the first and third film, four cast members died. Dominique Dunne, who played older sister Dana in the first film, was murdered by her jealous boyfriend at the age of 22. Julian Beck, who played the creepy old guy Kane in the second film, passed away from stomach cancer at age 60 -- but to be fair, he was diagnosed before he ever agreed to the part. Will Sampson, the Indian medicine man in 'Poltergeist II', also passed on after post-operative kidney failure. He was only 53. And last, but certainly not least, Heather O'Rourke died of septic shock at the age of 12. Meanwhile, JoBeth Williams reported that she'd often come home from shooting the first film and find her pictures hanging crooked. Way to suffer for your art, JoBeth.


'The Passion of the Christ'

Mel Gibson's 2004 Biblical epic, 'The Passion of the Christ' stars Jim Caviezel as Jesus and chronicles the suffering Christ endured during the last 12 hours of his life. Needless to say, it was a bit controversial when it was released.

Apparently, even God himself became a critic, because at one point Caviezel was struck by lightning. "We were preparing to shoot the Sermon on the Mount and three seconds before, I was hit by lightning. I knew it was going to happen," the actor says. This was merely the culmination of his suffering. Along the way, the performer also endured a case of near-hypothermia and a dislocated shoulder, had both a lung infection and pneumonia, went through an eight-hour makeup routine that left him with headaches and skin infections, and was accidentally whipped on several occasions. Despite all these signs, the actor hung in there and finished the film – and his career has been a disaster ever since.

Meanwhile, Mel Gibson hasn't had it so easy after making the film, either. Between his DUI outburst a few years ago and his messy breakup with Oksana Grigorieva, it looks like he's buried the remainder of his career in the rose garden.


'The Exorcist'

William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist' is still regarded as one of the scariest films ever made. The tale of a young girl possessed by the devil is terrifying not only because of the events happening onscreen, but also because of the stories about what happened on the set and after the film's release.

There are so many stories about 'The Exorcist' that we can't recount them all here – seriously, E! did a two hour 'E! True Hollywood Story' episode devoted solely to the curse surrounding this film back in 2004.

The creepiest stories revolve around the deaths involved with the production. Depending on whom you ask, between four and nine people died while filming was underway or shortly after. Of that number, two were actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros. On top of that, sets caught fire under mysterious circumstances, Linda Blair reportedly "predicted" the death of a crew member with a line of dialogue, and even evangelist Billy Graham felt the darkness. Graham stated, "There is a power of evil in the film, in the fabric of the film itself."

When it comes to the sheer number of unexplained and wet-your-pants events surrounding a film, 'The Exorcist' is the heavyweight champion of cursed movies.


'Apocalypse Now'

Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam film 'Apocalypse Now' is much like 'The Exorcist' in that all the problems that define the "curse" of this film are well documented. Anyone wanting an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the movie that almost killed Coppola would be advised to check out the 1991 documentary, 'Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse', which chronicles all the issues Coppola faced in adapting Joseph Conrad's novel – which was deemed "unfilmmable."


The CliffsNotes version is that the filmmaker decided to shoot in the Philippines during the monsoon season (despite Roger Corman warning him against it), which resulted in the destruction of numerous sets. Meanwhile, Marlon Brando showed up overweight and essentially refused to learn his lines. Martin Sheen, who was drinking heavily at the time, suffered a heart attack. The film was delayed repeatedly as Coppola struggled to figure out an ending to the film, and the director was reportedly so sure his career was ruined that he threatened to kill himself several times during the filming.

While it remains unlikely that Coppola would ever subject himself to making 'Apocalypse Now' again, it's hard to argue with the results of his suffering. The film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.


'Rebel Without a Cause'

James Dean's most iconic role was in this 1955 tale of juvenile delinquency, which finds Dean arriving in a new town, taking on the local bullies, hooking up with Natalie Wood and becoming friends with Sal Mineo. Unfortunately, not long after it was completed, Dean died when he wrecked his Porsche. Ironically, he'd received a speeding ticket just a few hours earlier. He was 24 at the time of his passing.

Dean wasn't the only cast member in 'Rebel Without a Cause' to die before his time. Natalie Wood died in 1981, a drowning victim who passed away under very mysterious circumstances. While her death was ruled an accident, there has been rampant speculation that she was murdered or committed suicide.

Sal Mineo left us in 1976, when at the age of 37 he was stabbed by a robber outside of his Hollywood apartment after returning home from a play rehearsal. This is ghoulishly ironic considering Mineo's nickname was 'The Switchblade Kid.'

Nick Adams, who had a smaller part in the film as Chick, also died at 37 -- the victim of an apparent drug overdose. Some think the death occurred under suspicious circumstances as well.

There's nothing more suspicious than all three leads of a film dying before they were 40. If I had to pick one film from this list that might genuinely be cursed, I'd look long and hard at 'Rebel Without a Cause.'


'Superman'

Playing The Man of Steel has been a disastrous undertaking for at least two men who've donned the famous blue spandex and red cape combo. Actor George Reeves, who was Superman on the television show 'The Adventures of Superman', died in 1959 -- the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Reeves suffered from depression, and felt his career was in dire straits because he was typecast as Krypton's favorite son. His friends, however, believe it was murder -- and the result of the actor's affair with MGM executive E.J. Mannix's wife. There's no real evidence to support this claim, but it persists to this day.

Then, Christopher Reeve (cursed last names perhaps?) took on the role in the film versions between 1978 and 1987. Reeve became a quadriplegic in 1995, and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair (requiring breathing assistance), before passing away in 2004.

However, you weren't safe just because you weren't playing Superman. Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the films, suffered a violent manic episode years after the film's release, and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.


'The Omen'

Richard Donner's 1976 Satanic chiller 'The Omen' proves that there's something about making films with a supernatural element that courts disaster. Gregory Peck starred in the film, playing a U.S. Ambassador who learns that his kid is the Antichrist. Literally. The real deal.



While making 'The Omen,' Peck and the film's screenwriter, David Seltzer, took separate flights to England, and both were struck by lightning. The hotel where Richard Donner was staying at was bombed by IRA forces. Crew members were in a car crash. The plane the crew had originally chartered crashed -- killing everyone on board. 'The Omen' really is like the 'Final Destination' of cursed movies.

Luckily, no one was seriously injured making the film. Unluckily, the curse didn't seem to carry over to 'The Omen' remake. It would have been nice if the forces of darkness could have shut down production on that one ...
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