Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Film Set Tragedies

Stacy Conradt
facebooktwitterreddit

If you've seen the movie based on Stephen King's Pet Sematary Two, you probably remember the horrifying scene at the beginning when the actress is electrocuted on set while her son (Edward Furlong, back in his dreamy days) looks on. While that particular incident comes to us courtesy of Mr. King, film set tragedies aren't unheard of in real life. Here are 10 of them.

tz
tz /

3. Catch-22. The 1970 movie based on the Joseph Heller novel of the same name had its own tragedy, although this was one that probably could have been prevented. Second Unit Director John Jordan was direction a scene out of a vintage airplane and refused to wear a harness to keep him secure while the plane was in flight. He was sucked out of the plane and, of course, didn't survive the fall.

topgun
topgun /

5. The Dark Knight. Obviously Heath Ledger died before the film came out, but that's not the death I'm referring to. Conway Wickliffe, a film technician, was filming a test run of a stunt involving the Batmobile in England. He lost control of the car and was killed when it ran into a tree. The Dark Knight was dedicated to both Wickliffe and Heath Ledger.

6. The Return of the Musketeers. Fifty-four year-old actor Roy Kinnear, a veteran British character actor, was filming a scene on horseback for the Richard Lester-directed movie. The two were old friends and had worked together for many years, including on the Beatles' 1965 film Help! Kinnear fell off of his horse and broke his pelvis, the stress of which caused him to have a fatal heart attack the next day in the hospital. Lester was so aggrieved by his friend's death that he retired after that movie.

7. Bikini Island. Stuntman Jay C. Currin was practicing an upcoming stunt where he jumped from a cliff during the filming of this 1991 movie. Sadly, he misjudged it. Although he landed on the safety airbag below, he didn't land it quite right and ended up smashing into the rocks on the Malibu shore.

8. XXX. Vin Diesel's stunt double, Harry O'Connor, was working on a scene where he had to parasail near the Palacky Bridge in Prague, then slide down the lines of the parasail onto a submarine waiting below. He executed the stunt perfectly the first time, but told the film crew that he felt he could do it much better. He was wrong: on the second attempt, he didn't make it down the line fast enough and hit the bridge. The stunt was being performed at such high speeds that he died upon impact. The first take was used in the film.

crow
crow /
facebooktwitterreddit