In the Media

Batman cinema shootings: the curse of The Dark Knight

PUBLISHED July 20, 2012

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The shooting at a premiere of the new Batman film is the latest in a string of incidents to befall a franchise said to be cursed.

One of the greatest tragedies to strike previously was the death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in The Dark Knight.

The Australian actor was found dead in his Manhattan apartment in January 2008 after taking an accidental drugs overdose, six months before the film's release.

But his was not the only death to mar the big screen blockbuster. The film's closing credits carry a dedication "in memory of our friends Heath Ledger and Conway Wickliffe".

Wickliffe, a New Zealand-born special effects technician, died while working on the film. He was on a camera truck filming a stunt car when it crashed into a tree in October 2007.

In August 2008, Morgan Freeman, was also hit by the "curse" but survived.

The actor, who played Lucius Fox in the film, was seriously injured in a car accident in Mississippi.

His co-star, Christian Bale, hit the headlines in July 2008 when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister shortly before the film's London premiere. He denied the allegation and no further action was taken.

The Dark Knight Rises, the sequel to the film, had also suffered upsets before the shooting spree.

Last August the Batwing vehicle was half destroyed in an accident during filming in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

No actors were hurt in the incident, which was the second mishap in a week.

Days earlier, a stunt double for Anne Hathaway had reportedly crashed into expensive camera equipment

Several Hollywood films have been the victims of a supposed curse over the years, according to movie folklore.

They include Poltergeist, the 1982 horror film by Steven Spielberg. Actress Dominique Dunne, who played the family's eldest daughter, was murdered by a former partner in 1982 and Heather O'Rourke, who played her sister, died suddenly at 13 after a short illness.

The stars of 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause were also said to have been cursed.

James Dean was killed in a car accident thesame year, aged 24, while Natalie Wood drowned in 1981.

Sal Mineo, Oscar-nominated for his role as John 'Plato' Crawford, was stabbed to death in 1976.