Five Reasons to Watch Cursed Films
Last week as everyone moved inside for what feels like all of 2020, I interviewed Jay Cheel, director of all five episodes of Shudder’s new series Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series which explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions. The conversation was wide-ranging but here are the top five reasons I am excited about tomorrow’s release.
1. There are real exorcisms featured on the show
Jay Cheel shared that while they filmed the Exorcist episode all the subjects involved wanted to explore real-life exorcisms, and they filmed a number of them in real life. The crew followed around a real-life exorcist for an entire day and filmed a number of different encounters. While Cheel didn’t tip his hat about how he feels about them he did mention some he witnessed were depressing and others surprisingly violent.
2. The series is really about exploring magical thinking.
Cheel mentions we as a culture are obsessed with how folklore and horror movies intersect. The series explores actual black magic, conjuring, and satanism. The people interviewed are very real and very passionate about their particular subjects. There is magic in our world and Cheel does a fantastic job of capturing it.
3. Craig Reardon and Gary Sherman made The Poltergeist episode one of Cheel’s Favorites.
The Poltergeist episode is heartbreaking and presents very human stories into what is often talked about in a very lighthearted fashion. More than a simple listicle the docuseries captures incredible stories by people who are open and vulnerable and were present.
4. The Exorcist is his favorite movie but not necessarily his favorite episode of the series.
Cheel is a genre fan. He is well versed in the movies he explores and the passions of the people that appear in the documentary. Each person is real and Cheel worked hard to fairly represent the obsessive nature of each person. Experts are worth our attention and Cheel does a masterful job of highlighting that passion.
5. The documentary series is all about urban legends and folklore.
Specifically, Cheel mentions he has a history of exploring urban legends on film and not to debunk them. He wanted to bring their stories to life and figure out why we are so consumed by them. He makes specific reference to a kick ass urban legend involving a drive-in theater and the movie Twister.
A special thanks to Shudder and Jay Cheel for sitting for the interview. The series is one of the most innovative and in-depth examinations of the myths and legends surrounding our favorite movies. It is must watch and as we head into week three or four of shelter in place exploring the magic of the cinematic world is a joy. Check out all of the interview below and tell us what you think. Cursed Films comes out tomorrow on Shudder. Enjoy a free month by using the promo code SHUTIN
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.