Top 10 Shocking Real Injuries on Horror Movie Sets

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Top 10 Shocking Real Injuries on Horror Movie Sets

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
Who knew making a horror movie could be so painful? For this list, we'll be looking at times when actors in horror movies and thrillers were injured on set. Our countdown includes “Ghostland", "Seven", "The Exorcist", and more!
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Top 10 Real Injuries You Can ACTUALLY See in Horror Movies


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the 10 Top Shocking Real Injuries on Horror Movie Sets.

For this list, we’ll be looking at times when actors in horror movies and thrillers were injured on set. We won’t be including deaths or major, life-changing injuries.

Which of these injuries do you think would hurt the most? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Ghostland” (2018)

Film sets can be dangerous places. And if the proper safety measures aren’t taken, an actor can get seriously hurt. That’s what happened during the filming of this indie horror film. During one scene, director Pascal Laugier kept telling actress Taylor Hickson to hit harder on a glass door. Laugier and a producer told her it would be safe. However, the glass shattered and Hickson fell through the door. The resulting cut required 70 stitches. Hickson received permanent scarring as a result of her injury and sued the production company. A low budget is never an excuse for low safety standards.


#9: “The Green Inferno” (2015)

The trouble with being a good actor is that people might not realize when you’re not acting. That’s what happened on the set of this horror movie set in the Amazon. In one scene, protagonist Justine is pursued by a cannibal tribe, escaping into a river, which sweeps her up. Actress Lorenza Izzo was actually screaming for help and relied on a quick-thinking crew member to save her from a potential drowning. Some of this footage made it into the final cut. At the time, Izzo was married to director Eli Roth. Who knew working with your spouse could be so dangerous?


#8: “The Mummy” (1999)

“The Mummy” is a thrilling adventure story full of breathtaking moments. But during production, one actor nearly lost his breath and more. When shooting a scene where hero Rick O’Connell is set to be executed, actor Brendan Fraser began to actually choke after the noose around his neck was tightened. Fraser ended up passing out, regaining consciousness with help from on-set emergency medical technicians. Fraser said the crew “killed [him] for 18 seconds.” However, director Stephen Sommers disputes his account, claiming Fraser himself was to blame. Despite the incident, Fraser still managed to return for the another two “Mummy” films.


#7: “Skinned Deep” (2004)

Most of these injuries are accidents resulting from negligence. But this one was 100 percent intentional. What’s more, it has no bearing on the plot. At the beginning of this horror comedy, we see an “S” and a “D” branded into someone’s skin, eventually revealing the film’s title. This was done not with quality practical effects but with an actual person. Director Gabriel Bartalos found a model online who was cool with getting burned for his film. While an experience like this might be painful, it surely gave the person an instant conversation starter from that point on.


#6: “Seven” (1995)

In terms of suspense and shocks, “Seven” is a 10. But David Fincher’s thriller about an morality-based serial killer had one surprise no one was counting on. In one exciting sequence, Brad Pitt’s Detective Mills chases after John Doe in the rain. After falling from a fire escape, Mills spends the rest of the movie in a cast. This was because Pitt had hurt his arm by hitting it through a car's windshield, requiring surgery. Rather than delay production while Pitt recovered, the injury was worked into the script. We might not see the exact moment of impact, but we definitely see what a toll this injury took on Pitt.

#5: “Gothika” (2003)

“Gothika’ is about a woman who undergoes unimaginable anguish while incarcerated. And its star went through some tremendous pain herself. In one particularly harrowing scene, Dr. Pete Graham, played by Robert Downey Jr., restrains Berry’s overwhelmed psychiatrist. However, Downey Jr. grabbed the actress’ arm the wrong way and ended up breaking it. This reportedly resulted in production being halted for eight weeks while Berry recovered. At least one source claims Berry is upset with the actor for not apologizing enough. In an interview, Downey Jr. said he was “sorry” if Berry was still feeling upset, but that he had done “everything [he] had to do to keep [his] side of the street clean”.

#4: “Nightcrawler” (2014)

Jake Gyllenhaal's starring performance in “Nightcrawler” is one of the most fiercely committed of the 2010s. Not only did the actor reportedly lose nearly 30 pounds to achieve an appropriately gaunt frame, but he also ended up injuring himself in a moment of improvisation. In one scene, Gyllenhaal’s morally questionable Lou Bloom flies into a private fit of rage, breaking a mirror in his bathroom. This mirror-smashing was not planned, and Gyllenhaal ended up with a massive gash, requiring 44 stitches. This injury didn’t cause any significant delay to the film’s shoot. And it makes this already-intense scene even more gripping.


#3: “Hereditary” (2018)

Ari Aster’s horror movie “Hereditary” is an intense watch. And that intensity existed behind the scenes too. In one particularly frightening moment, supernatural forces slam Peter Graham’s head into his school desk. Actor Alex Wolff reportedly offered to break his nose, which Aster vetoed. But Wolff did intentionally dislocate his jaw right before shooting, thanks to an old boxing injury. And that’s not all. While the scene was shot using a padded desk, it was only cushioned on the top side - as Wolff found out during filming. Wolff hit his head pretty hard, and also smashed his leg on a chair - causing real blood to gush down his knee.


#2: “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

The original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” film is so frightening because of how raw and gritty it is. And that’s not just the muted cinematography talking. Some of the blood you see on-screen is actual blood, and this scene is the most extreme example. Towards the end of the film, Sally, played by Marilyn Burns, jumps through a window and onto a truck to escape killer Leatherface. Burns reportedly made the leap herself, getting cut in the process. And much of the blood on her in the final cut is said to be hers. With a title like “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” it’s only natural for there to be some blood. However, we wouldn’t want it to be our own.

#1: “The Exorcist” (1973)

“The Exorcist” brought the horror genre to a whole new realm of terrifying with its pitch-perfect directing and great acting. But the scares weren’t all fictional. In one scene, Chris MacNeil, played by Ellen Burstyn, is knocked across the room by her possessed daughter Regan, played by Linda Blair. A wire was used to pull Burstyn, but it was evidently too strong of a pull. Burstyn ended up with a permanent back injury, and the scream you hear in the film is reportedly Burstyn expressing her actual pain. Burstyn later described director William Friedkin as being "dedicated" to his craft, while also acknowledging the lasting physical damage of the injury. Let it never be said that acting isn’t a demanding career.
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