Shudder’s Cursed Films: Films may be cursed, but the series is a blessing

Cursed Films. Image Courtesy Shudder
Cursed Films. Image Courtesy Shudder /

In September of last year, streaming service Shudder’s original series Creepshow, based on the 1982 film, became their most-watched series premiere. Cursed Films, which debuted on April 2, just took the second place spot.

Cursed Films is an original documentary series that explores the myths and true stories behind the making of legendary horror films that were surrounded by injuries, deaths and strange events. Each 30-minute episode focuses on one movie, and includes interviews with cast and crew members, as well as experts in particular subject matters.

Episode one gave us an in-depth study of the ground-breaking horror film The Exorcist, during which both Ellen Burstyn (Chris MacNeil) and Linda Blair (Regan) were seriously injured. That seems more the doing of overzealous director William Friedkin than an actual curse, and it made me uncomfortable to discover that the takes in which they were injured were actually used in the film.

Poor Linda Blair was also put through the wringer after The Exorcist was released, when people accused her of actually being possessed and evil. Movie-goers just couldn’t imagine why else a young girl would be willing to appear in such a graphic, disturbing film, and she actually had body guards assigned to her for a while.

Two actors died during filming, and years later it was discovered that a man who appeared in one scene with Blair was actually a murderer. It’s a remarkable feat that all of this information is crammed into a brief 30 minutes…but wait! There’s more.

Cursed Films
Linda Blair in Cursed Films. Image Courtesy Shudder /

We are also treated to an interview with a self-proclaimed exorcist, as well as footage of him performing exorcisms. The series delves into whether these possessions are genuine, or just people with, perhaps, some sort of mental illness being exploited for profit.

The question is never really answered, we are left to decide what we believe. But, it is very telling to see footage of one of the possessed individuals paying for his exorcism in cash.

Episode two takes us back to 1976, when The Omen was released to much fanfare. There were a lot of strange events that happened to people involved in this movie. John Richardson, the special effects artist had a horrific story to tell.

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His assistant was involved in a car accident, and was decapitated by a piece of glass. Fans of the film may remember that one of the characters in The Omen is beheaded by a large pane of glass.

In addition to the true stories of death and mayhem presented, a witch and a Black Magician are interviewed. Just to balance things out, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine also speaks, and presents an interesting video experiment. I am not going to give that one away, but I highly recommend watching it.

I really enjoy the way these episodes pan out, with the balance of factual information and film trivia, and I am looking forward to watching the remaining three episodes. Still to come are Poltergeist, The Crow and Twilight Zone: The Movie.

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If Cursed Films sounds interesting to you, now is the perfect time to try out Shudder. The horror-movie streaming platform is offering a 30 day free trial for new subscribers when you use the code SHUTIN at checkout.

Have you watched the first episodes of Cursed Films, and are you looking forward to the rest? Let us know what you think of the series in the comments section.