Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Urban myths of cinema

Remember those mad stories you'd hear when you were younger about a certain film. That it was cursed or that a certain actor had died during the film and the film actually showed his death. Here's a few of the most famous ones.

Three Men And A Baby 

Remember this one vividly. Supposedly you could see the ghost of a young boy who died in the house where the film was being made in the background of one of the scenes. This one was actually quite freaky. I remember watching it and standing up shouting "I SEE IT I SEE IT". Eventually it came out that it was a cardboard cut out of Ted Danson from a storyline that had been removed from an early version of the film. Meh, boring, the ghost story is better.

The Wizard Of Oz

First time i heard about this was in Premiere magazine back in the 90's but the rumour had been around for a lot longer. Supposedly in the background of the Yellowbrick road scene you can see the body of someone hanging from a tree. The rumour was it was a munchkin actor who took their life. This has been happily debunked many times though. The foreground & background scenes were film separately so no munchkin actor's were on stage during filming and then finally detailed analysis of the footage proved that the shape in the background was large bird spreading its wings. It's still creepy looking at the pic below though.

Cannibal Holocaust

A truely controversial film. Made in 1980 during the craze of early 80's Italian horror. Controversial because it contains real scenes of animal cruelty and killing and also because people were so certain that the actor's in the movie had been murdered for real on camera. Before the film was started the actors were made sign documents to make sure they didn't appear in any other film, advert or tv for a year after this film's release to make it look like they were actually dead. This backfired on the filmmakers when the film (the first example of a found footage film) turned out to be so realistic that the director ( Ruggero Deodato) had to bring the actors to court to prove they were still alive. Even still the rumour has persisted for years and the film's notoriety and censorship issues it always faces mean it probably always will.

Don't Look Now

This Nicholas Roeg film is a masterpiece drenched in tension and unease. In the 44 years since it's released its been lauded and praised by everyone. And its also had a rather ridiculous myth attached to it too. Julie Christie and Donal Sutherland play a grieving couple who travel to Venice to help them come to terms with the loss of their daughter. In one scene they make love. The rumour is that they had sex for real on camera and let the director film it. No, they didn't. It's called acting. They are actors. They've repeatedy denied it in interviews. I'm baffled how this rumours has persisted for so long. Everytime you seen this film mentioned you can be sure you'll hear this rumour within a few lines. This paragraph proved it once again!

The Conquerer

The film where John Wayne played Genghis Khan. Ya, seriously, John Wayne played Genghis Khan. It's awful. The myth about this one is that it was cursed somehow. There was no other explanation for the amount of people, both actors and crew who developed cancer and died in the months and years after this film was made. This one is no myth though. The film was made in Utah, not far from where the US government had only 3 years before conducted 11 nuclear missile tests. The film maker's knew this but proceeded anyway as the government assured people there was no health risk. Pretty fucking reprehensible stuff for a film that the funder (Howard Hughes no less) considered so bad that he bought all the prints of it to try and hide it.

No comments: