Most horror films are filled with special effects, but sometimes things go too far and actors themselves get injured during filming, in an attempt to go above and beyond to make sure that their character feels authentic. Here are a few times that things went too far.
Dakota Johnson went through a lot of agony while filming the 2o18 remake of Suspiria. Filming messed up the actress so bad that she told EW that she ended up in therapy. Filing conditions were absolutely brutal. Much of the film was shot in an abandoned hotel on top on a mountain where it was so cold the cast and crew were left freezing constantly. The physical strain from dancing scene after scene left the cast exhausted and in pain much of the time.
During a conversation with film critic Robert Ebert, Shelly Duvall was asked what working with director Stanely Kubrick. Her response, “almost unbearable.” Duvall put in at least 12 hours of work a day, screaming and crying. It’s been said that Kubrick demanded over 120 takes of the scene with Duvall and the baseball bat which left her physically and emotionally drained. When the film was released, critics gushed of Kubrick’s genius but neglected to give Duvall any praise for her role which left her heartbroken. Duvall has had both financial and health problems over the last decade, leaving some to believe she never fully recovered after making the classic.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre not only featured furniture and decor made out of real human bone, but it also features real blood in some scenes. The heroic moment where Merilyn Burns escapes by jumping through a window actually happened. She jumped through the window, leaving herself cut, bruised and bloody. In the scene where she jumps into the back of a truck, most of the blood that she is covered in is her own.
Ellen Burstyn who played Regan’s mother in The Exorcist was left with permanent damage in the scene were Regan pushes her hard onto the floor. Attached to a rope, after the first Burstyn complained to director William Friedkin that the crew member pulled her too hard. The next take she was pulled to the ground so hard that she suffered a permanent spinal injury.
Brandon Frazier almost met his end during a scene in the movie. His character was set to be executed by hanging. When the trap door is triggered he falls through but his feet do not hit the ground and he hangs as the noose tightened around his neck for real. The scene lasts several minutes before he is freed. The scene made it into the movie, but many people don’t realize that the actor nearly gave his life for it.
While there have been rumors that the set was cursed, actress Joebeth Williams experienced a scene that left her shaken and sick. In the scene where she falls into the pool and is surrounded by bodies, she had no idea before filming it that they were real corpses. It turns out that real bodies were cheaper than fake ones. Imagine swallowing that pool water (*gags).
The Blair Witch Projects
The horror we see on screen is nothing compared to the torture that the cast experienced. The cast was basically psychologically tortured by directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. The cast was dropped in the woods with little food and water or supplies. As they tried to sleep crew members would make noise to frighten them meaning that many of the reactions in the movie were real. The cast was purposely made to get lost, angered, and scared to get a better reaction during the movie and to make their fear more authentic.