Film sets have a habit of being dangerous. Ever since the birth of cinema more than 100 years ago, there has been no end to the amount of accidents that have taken place and throughout history, there have been some seriously remarkable cases. From freak illnesses to unexplained happenings, these historic film sets have arguably the worst reputations out there. While the movies themselves did eventually get made, life behind the camera was not as easy as it might have appeared to be.
- The Twilight Zone: The Movie
If you’re producing a film like The Twilight Zone: The Movie, you can be sure that some pretty freaky stuff is going to go down. From the off on the set of the 1983 movie, strange things were afoot, culminating in an accident that would change the lives of those involved forever. While shooting some of the early scenes, three cast members tragically died in a mishandled helicopter incident. Main actors Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Ye Chen were all killed when a low flying helicopter came into contact with a number of pyrotechnics on set, ending their lives almost instantly. The film was still made, but work was never the same on the movie set.
One of the most expensive films ever to have been made, Titanic was a mammoth task for director James Cameron and along the way, he ran into a great deal of difficulty. Having to shoot for long stretches in cold water, actors’ were put at serious risk during some of the most intense underwater scenes. Principal actor Kate Winslet even caught pneumonia when she opted out of wearing a wetsuit under her costume and later nearly drowned filming one of the sinking scenes. As well as this, 50 members of staff and crew ate a batch of clam chowder that had been laced with PCP. While nobody was hurt, large groups of people did suffer from intense feelings of anxiety.
- A Clockwork Orange
As well as being one of the most intense cinematic narratives out there, A Clockwork Orange was littered with issues from the get go. During one of the most notorious scenes in the film, central character Alex is subjected to brain conditioning, having his eyes forced open by a metallic device. In reality, actor Malcolm McDowell was indeed wired up to the device, suffering temporary blindness during the shooting. While his vision eventually came back, McDowell’s cornea was permanently damaged, destroyed beyond repair.
- Top Gun
A classic in modern cinema, Top Gun still continues to be enjoyed around the world, relived 20 years later. With so many complex aviation scenes on show, however, it should come as little surprise to discover that the film was rife with issues and accidents. During one scene in the film, pilot and aerial cameraman Art Scholl put his plane into a full spin when attempting to capture a shot. Tragically, however, he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the ocean below. While search parties were sent out, Scholl’s body was never found and to this day, he remains a missing person.
- Back To The Future Part III
Despite being a hugely popular children’s film, Back To The Future Part III was almost never completed, due to a dangerous accident involving the scene’s main actor. In one scene, Michael Fox’s character is hanged by his adversary, narrowly escaping with his life. In reality, however, things weren’t quite so easy and after a few seconds with the noose around his neck, Fox lost consciousness and stopped breathing. After a few moments, crew realized what had happened and released Fox from the grip, essentially saving his life.
- Cast Away
A tale of a man lost on a desert island, Cast Away is one of the most intense portrayals of human survival that exists. For leading man Tom Hanks, things soon took on a dangerous turn, with life very nearly imitating art. While filming in Fiji, Hanks cut his knee and almost died as a result. The cut became infected with bacteria and when the actor went to visit a doctor a few weeks later, he was informed that he was on the verge of contracting blood poisoning. Luckily, Hanks was operated on, stopping production for 3 weeks while he recovered from his wound.