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HORROR

CURSED FILMS II: The Wizard of Oz | A Review that takes us down the yellow brick road

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These past few years Shudder has become the number one stop for streaming great horror content. One of the most popular shows on the service has been Cursed Films, a series that examines the many myths, legends, and tales about some of Hollywood’s most iconic horror films and franchises. All of these have had numerous issues prior to and during filming, featuring conversations with cast and crew who were there to witness these tragedies firsthand and some still bear the weight of them to this very day.

Today Shudder releases its anticipated second season as Cursed Films returns with a whole new 5-part documentary focusing on more notoriously “Cursed” productions. When people look at films that are super beloved, and when they hear stories about the difficulties or tragedies that happened on set they then go on to ascribe that production as a “Cursed Film”.

All the films in this new season have a darker thread but Cursed Films 2 gives viewers a great look into the world of factory filmmaking and also an eye-opening dissection of the many deep tragedies of some of Hollywood’s most beloved films.

Episode one of season II takes us further down the yellow brick road than ever before and showcases an emotional, nostalgic, and troubled examination of one of Hollywood’s greatest Achievements, The Wizard of Oz. Released back in 1939 on the cusp of WW2 and post The Great Depression created an illusion of a hopeful, brighter future. It’s a story about good vs evil, wanting more, and longing to go home that features a variety of colourful characters, dazzling effects and a pleasant soundtrack of gleeful songs. To this very day, The Wizard of Oz is still treated as an iconic family film and is preserved in the library of congress in the United States Film Registry for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

Cursed Films II: Episode 1: The Wizard of Oz (© MGM)

But what if I told you that The Wizard of Oz is one of the most infamous cursed films of all time and has been the subject of more speculation as the film suffered from many bizarre, horrific moments during production. Episode 1of Cursed Films II dives into the stories that are outside the box and showcases the good which unfortunately behind the scenes was terrible working conditions and the treatment of its cast. The show ultimately makes it more about the people they’re interviewing and how their experiences have changed them, such as showcasing Judy Garland’s unintentional addiction mirroring her own daughter overcoming hers and the unfortunate event during filming where Margaret Hamilton sustained 3rd-degree burns whilst filming her exit as The Wicked Witch of the West in MunchkinLand and the efforts she took. Hearing her son tell during the interview that she made up a story about dressing up In a Mummy costume for a role so that he wouldn’t be scared when she came home with bandages from the injuries she suffered.

Cursed Films II: Episode 1: The Wizard of Oz (© MGM)

The large portion of the first episode showcases the tarnished legacy surrounding the Munchkin cast as rumours began to pour through Hollywood of drunken and sexual behaviour which was started unintentionally by Garland herself. These words plagued the cast for years and ruined their reputation and turned them into laughingstocks. Throughout the episode, Hollywood and the production are described as a factory with dangerous working conditions due to the ignorance of the studio.

With many of the children of the actor’s being interviewed with their own insights, we also see a Wizard of Oz theme park with character actors who took on these roles after becoming inspired by what they saw growing up. This episode’s roster also includes Mythbusters host Adam Savage and Gregg Turkington, both offering insights into the mysteries of the hanging Munchkin and the make-up poisoning of Jack Haley who was supposed to play the Tin Man.

VERDICT

I’m officially hooked on the returning series it highly produces an examination of the many myths and tales of horror classics with a pure cinematic lense. Director Jay Creel’s second season maintains its focus on the film and its stories.

FILM RATING
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HORROR

The Exorcism | Official Trailer

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.

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Genre:

Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

June 7, 2024

Director:

Joshua John Miller

Cast:

Russell Crowe, Sam Worthington, Samantha Mathis

Plot Summary:

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.

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Trap | Official Trailer

A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

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Genre:

Crime, Horror, Mystery

Release Date:

August 9, 2024

Director:

M. Night Shyamalan

Cast:

Josh Hartnett, Hayley Mills, Marnie McPhail

Plot Summary:

A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

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Speak No Evil | Official Trailer

A family invited to spend a weekend in an idyllic country house, goes from a dream vacation to a psychological nightmare.

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Speak no Evil [credit: Universal Pictures]

Genre:

Drama, Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

September 13, 2024

Director:

James Watkins

Cast:

James McAvoy, Aisling Franciosi, Dan Hough

Plot Summary:

A family invited to spend a weekend in an idyllic country house, goes from a dream vacation to a psychological nightmare.

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