Today a new link in James Wan’s terrifying universe is released, but there were other religious horror movies that did not end well at all

The Conjuring franchise continues to make steady progress in the cinematic world, the strength of the Warren family allowed to create a saga that already has almost ten films under its belt. Of course, the fact that it is a story based on real cases and with religious content may be largely responsible for its success.

The Exorcist - Trailer - Warner Bros.

There are three classics of religious horror that went through hardships, accidents and deaths, which became a reference of the genre and are still shocking today.

The Exorcist (The Exorcist, 1973) is based on a true story: one that William Peter Blatty (the book’s writer and screenwriter) knew about a young Georgetown University student who was possessed and exorcised by a local priest, in the final script the gender of the protagonist was changed. Messing with the devil and his plans can be fateful: nine direct and indirect confirmed deaths were counted (the first three happened at the beginning of filming, almost at the same time), the studios were set on fire (leaving only the room of the possessed protagonist immaculately safe) and they had to resort to the blessing of the filming by Thomas V. Bermingham, a priest.

Each of the situations experienced by the cast and their close circle led to consider The Exorcist as one of the most powerful cursed films of horror cinema, with fatal consequences long after its release. But in that same decade another horror classic was released that also messed with the devil, we are talking about The Omen (The Omen, 1976).

The film, directed by Richard Donner (the same man who two years later would direct Superman, and later The Goonies and Lethal Weapon, among others) and starring Gregory Peck (star of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird -1962- and the original Cape Fear, that same year), narrates the arrival of the Antichrist in the form of a boy named Damian. What no one imagined was what happened next: several people in charge were chased by lightning (which we know never strikes in the same place, but can chase people from the same film), direct relatives died at the start of the shooting, a bomb exploded in the hotel where the director and producer were staying (an IRA attack), and many accidents with cars and planes.

There were even situations with animals that went mad and mutilated their caretakers, and a fact that already has the appearance of legend: John Richardson, the visual effects supervisor had an accident where his assistant was decapitated, when he got out of the car and came across a sign indicating a distance of 66.6 kilometers to the nearest location. Believe it or bust.

But before these two films came another one that changed horror cinema and turned it into what we know today: Rosemary’s Baby (Rosemary’s Baby, 1968). The definitive Satanist film, directed by Roman Polanski, where a young actor in need of success (John Cassavetes) makes a pact with the Devil himself so that his wife, played by Mia Farrow, will carry the demonic offspring in her womb. Based on the novel of the same name by Ira Levin, it has chilling facts to this day.

Dakota, the hotel where it was filmed, has its own black legend for having hosted the sorcerer Aleister Crowley, and also for being the scene of the murder of musician John Lennon years later. The film showed rituals that were secret, scenes that revealed private aspects of Satanism that had no reason to be known. This led to one of the most famous events in the world of cinema: the murder of Sharon Tate (Roman Polanski’s wife) by the Manson clan.

The group called “The Family”, led by Charles Manson, decided to take revenge on Polanski for his audacity in revealing forbidden aspects of Satanism in his film by murdering his wife (who was discarded as the protagonist in favor of Mia Farrow) and the child she was carrying in her womb. The house where the events took place could never be sold or rented.

The devil and cinema are elements that should not mix so much, we will see if the exorcism of Irene (Taissa Farmiga) can save us in the premiere of The Nun 2.

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