STREAMING PICK OF THE WEEK: ‘Cursed Films’ delves into the strange world of cursed film sets

Films like ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Poltergeist’ are covered in the documentary series


Graphic by Bradley Hinkson

Bradley Hinkson

Every week, I’ll be recommending a film or television show currently available on certain streaming websites. New or old, it does not matter. I’ll recommend anything that I feel should be seen by many people.

When tragic and unexplainable things start to happen on film sets, what sort of answers will we come up with?

That’s exactly what the new Shudder short documentary series “Cursed Films” looks at.

“Cursed Films” is a fascinating look at some of the most notorious stories of film sets that appear to have been cursed. It doesn’t give them validation but explores more about why people would believe them.

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As a huge horror fan, I’d heard many of these stories before. I distinctly remember knowing about the “Poltergeist Curse” before even seeing the film. So I was hesitant with this series because I worried it would just reiterate what I already knew, but it went further than I expected.

For those unfamiliar, the supposed curse surrounding the “Poltergeist” films has to do with the sudden passings of a number of actors involved in the franchise.

The series looks at five different films: “The Exorcist,” “The Omen,” “Poltergeist,” “The Crow” and “Twilight Zone: The Movie.” Each episode focuses on the events that took place on set, and why people view them as “cursed.”

The series talks with film critics/historians and people who worked on these movies as well as with experts in some of the topics they discuss in the show, like demons and possessions. So, the show talks with professors of religious studies and even some actual witches.

Yes, really.

Even when the series goes into what may have caused these supposed curses, it never tries to give definitive answers. Did someone put a curse on the set of “The Omen”? Was Brandon Lee shot on the set of “The Crow” because of a family curse? Who knows?

The main question the series wants to answer is why someone would believe these theories.

One of my favorite moments from the series is when they talk with someone who worked on “Poltergeist” to get their thoughts on the curse.

The former crew member flat out puts down anyone who believes that the use of actual skeletons cursed the movie. He says that many films have used real skeletons before and that actors Heather O’Rourke and Dominique Dunne unfortunately lost their lives for no reason.

For me, in this moment the series proves itself to not just be a way to cash in on some crazy events but actually something that digs much deeper into these ideas. It’s a much more fascinating watch than some shallow special you’d find on E!.

Some episodes can actually get quite draining in terms of their emotional weight. The episode on “Twilight Zone: The Movie” is especially hard to watch, because you have to see people recount such an awful tragedy. Thankfully, it’s never glamorized in any way.

Even if you’re not big into horror films, “Cursed Films” can still prove to be an entertaining watch. If you don’t know a whole lot about the stories surrounding these films, you’ll learn. If you do, you’ll get a more in depth analysis into curses and demons.

Shudder isn’t the most popular of streaming services, but it’s one of my favorites. If “Cursed Films” sounds appealing to you, you can currently get a 30-day-free trial.