There’s a lot of argument about whether actors genuinely get scared while filming horror movies. Some think that they’re professionals and can get people to think that they’re being genuine, while others think that there have been enough unexplained happenings on movie sets that it’s easy to think that some folks are genuinely fearful if only because they can’t give validation to what they’ve experienced. But then there are folks that claim that these ‘happenings’ are contrived occurrences made to get the fans on board with believing that a specific set is cursed when there might be a perfectly good explanation for what’s happening. There’s a good reason to think that actors participating in a horror movie might have a reason to feel uneasy at times if things happen while filming that they can quantify, but as far as being scared when the scene is unfolding, that’s pretty much their job. Anything that happens on screen is usually an act, but anything that happens while filming can be an anecdote without any truth to it or something that might be explained from a different perspective.
Here are a few times when actors might have actually been scared while filming a horror movie.
5. Jennifer Carpenter – The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Apparently Jennifer Carpenter reported that she felt a bit uneasy on set, and in the middle of her night her stereo would simply shut off repeatedly for no reason. It’s possible that her stereo was malfunctioning, but the idea that it continually stopped on the Pearl Jam lyric “I’m still alive” does sound a bit creepy. A lot of people might say that her CD was skipping, or that the stereo might have needed replacing, or something else that might explain just why it happened every evening, but it’s easy for many to claim that there are forces out there that we don’t know enough about, even if science says that there isn’t.
4. Shelley Duvall – The Shining
This moment was more of Kubrick’s doing than anything since he was particularly hard on Duvall throughout the filming of The Shining, as he wanted her to be strung out and to look as though she was just a few frights from trekking out into the snow, screaming like a madwoman. There’s no doubt that Shelley needed therapy when she was done with the movie since Kubrick was running her pretty ragged and wasn’t about to let up since he wanted the scene that showed her breaking down to look as genuine as possible. One might think that it worked in a great way, but it’s still pretty brutal to do to someone.
3. Vera Farmiga – The Conjuring
The problem with anecdotes is that they’re difficult if not impossible to corroborate since Vera Farmiga noted that she felt uneasy and didn’t even bother to take her script home with her. Regardless of this, she said she found slash marks across her laptop at one point. Even the director of the movie said that his dog started barking at something that couldn’t be seen, though some might say that dogs bark at the darndest things sometimes. The visit of the Perron family, who were the basis of the movie, was creepy enough since there always appeared to be a gust of wind following them.
2. JoBeth Williams – Poltergeist
The pool scene had to be insane enough since actual skeletons were used for the scene apparently. But if anyone remembers, two of the main cast lost their lives not long after the movie. JoBeth Williams even went so far as to say that every time she went home her pictures were hung improperly. She fixed them every time apparently, but if there’s any truth to the story then it’s likely wise to say that some movies are cursed and that the effects tend to follow those that work on the movies from time to time, though whether they’re bound to be negative or harmful effects is hard to say.
1. Veronica Cartwright – Alien
This instance was more fright with a great deal of surprise to be fair since the cast didn’t expect the explosion of blood to be so forceful or plentiful when the alien came bursting through the chest of their fellow crewman. The whole debacle caused Veronica to scream so convincingly that a lot of people figured that she hadn’t been told what was going to happen, which was impossible to certain since she was a big part of the movie, but apart from this, Veronica’s part has been pored over again and again and been given so much exposition at this point that this little tidbit has almost been forgotten. Keep in mind, some folks believe that Lambert was raped by the xenomorph before she was killed. It’s gruesome and detestable, but some folks are sticking to that theory.
It’s possible for actors to be scared, but it’s usually not the movie that does it.