Horror Roles That Really Messed With Actors’ Heads

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Ever watched a horror movie and wondered just
how those actors manage to get through playing such terrifying and disturbing roles? Well, the truth is: some of them barely do. These actors have experienced everything from
abusive directors to creepy on-set experiences to full-blown psychological breakdowns. Here are a few of the brave souls who took
on roles that ended up messing with their heads. Screaming in space The chest-bursting scene in Alien ranks among
the most iconic moments in sci-fi history. Part of what made that moment so impactful
might be that the cast involved had no idea what was about to happen to them. Director Ridley Scott made sure that the creature’s
reveal would happen in real-time during shooting, hoping for more authentic reactions from his
actors. It worked. Actress Veronica Cartwright later remembered:
“You see this thing start to come out, so we all get sucked in, we lean forward to check
it out […] all of a sudden it comes out. I tell you, none of us expected it.” It was Cartwright herself who suffered the
most intense reaction of all to the scene – when the blood hit her during the take,
she passed out. Hotel trauma Stanley Kubrick pretty much obliterated the
the psyche of actress Shelley Duvall during shooting on his adaptation of Stephen King’s
The Shining. His mistreatment of Duvall included ordering
cast and crew not to help her when upset and actively hindering her efforts to deliver
her performance. And because the whole film was shot chronologically,
the viewer is treated to an entirely realistic portrayal of the unravelling of someone’s
mental well-being. According to Duvall: “Stanley pushed me
and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had
to play.” She had to keep bottles of water nearby on-set
to keep her hydrated after her bouts of hysterics and even confronted Kubrick with clumps of
her own hair to demonstrate just how unwell she was during the shoot. Perhaps worst of all, Kubrick forced her to
perform her iconic, traumatic baseball bat scene over and over again across a stunning
127 takes. “And are you concerned about me?” “Of course I am!” “Of course you are!” The Omen’s curse Richard Donner’s 1976 creepfest The Omen has
a rich history of freaky incidents that solidified the antichrist-centric flick’s reputation
as one of the most cursed sets of all time – and it was Gregory Peck who bore the brunt
of the tragedy. His son Jonathan shot himself just two months
prior to production on the movie, and then his plane was struck by lightning – something
that would also go on to happen to The Omen’s executive producer Mace Neufeld. Elsewhere during production, an animal handler
would be mauled by a tiger, a special effects assistant would be beheaded in a car crash
– near a car sign which read “Ommen, 66.6km” – and a plane originally chartered for use
on aerial shots during shooting would go down in Israel, killing everyone on board. These eerie happenings had everyone so spooked
that producer Harvey Bernhard actually carried a cross with him on set. It was Bernhard who said of The Omen: “the
devil was at work – and he didn’t want that film made.” Man in the mask During shooting on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,
Tobe Hooper withheld the appearance of Leatherface from his actors until the cameras actually
started rolling. Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface, has
spoken of the difficulties endured by his fellow cast members during filming on the
movie’s iconic dinner table scene. He said: “The whole dinner scene is burned
in my memory. I think just because of the misery of it. At that point we were really just on the verge
of mental collapse.” Marilyn Burns, who played Sally, experienced
the worst of it. Marilyn Burns, who played Sally, experienced
the worst of it. Burns herself later told Hansen that: “I thought
you were really going to hurt me. You couldn’t see through your stupid mask.” “I’ll do anything you want.” Lost in the woods The Blair Witch Project was filmed over the
course of an eight-day camping trip – if you can call it that. There was practically no interaction between
the cast and crew, save for a daily meeting meant to provide the actors with supplies
and instructions on where to go next. The crew would then go on to stalk the actors
during the daytime, rattle their tents at night when they were sleeping and, as the
shoot progressed, give them less and less food so they’d become steadily more frustrated
and exhausted by each other. “No Mike, it’s not the same log. It’s not the same log, Mike!” “Same log!” “Look, it’s not.” “It is, open your eyes!” The devil’s work As a child star of one of the most iconic
horror movies of all time, Linda Blair experienced no small number of side-effects from shooting
The Exorcist. Despite not really understanding much about
the depravity of the movie during filming – to her, it was simply acting – she was faced
with a litany of questions after its release about possession, Catholicism and the nature
of faith. To say she was unprepared for this is something
of an understatement. She later said: “To me The Exorcist was a
work of fiction. I didn’t realize then that it dealt with anything
in reality, and so when the press kept asking me about all the devil stuff, it just kept
adding to the pressure I was under, and it was just an awful thing to go through as a
teenager.” “Can you feel this?” “I don’t feel anything.”

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