Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
Whenever there’s a horror movie shot, there’s typically always a spooky tale that accompanies it – particularly in the case of the films from THE CONJURING universe. From the allegedly haunted soundstages (yes, plural!) on the Warner Brothers lot, to the goosebump-inducing occurrences from on location, these films all have a behind-the-scenes lore of their own. Director Michael Chaves’ THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, a feature based on Latin American folklore, also has spooky story.
Though the frightening feature revolves around a legend of a weeping bride who comes after children, drowning them to their deaths if they disobey, the kids on the set of Chaves’ film remained unscathed. It was the adults who were subjected to the wrath of some kind of spirit. They were shooting an intense scene involving Raymond Cruz’s curandero character attempting to rid a terrorized family of the infamous malevolent entity. Only things on set got a little too spirited, so to speak.
Cruz, at the recent Los Angeles press day, said he did his research to make sure nothing would following him home after work.
Coming into the movie, before I filmed, I did research on everything I could use to protect my own soul in the event something attaches to you. Because when you’re dealing with the supernatural, you’re calling on dark entities to appear. The reason they make movies about the supernatural is because it’s real, whether you believe it or not.
This included wearing a talisman for protection.
I’m a big chicken. I had crystals in every pocket. I’m in the middle of the scene in the living room. I had a bracelet that was made out of a really hard stone for protection. I have a Bible in one hand and my other up to the door and I’m saying a prayer. In the middle of the scene, the bracelet tore off my hand and all the beads shattered and went in every corner. Chaves was like, “What was the hell was that?!” When I picked up the beads in the house, three of the beads were split perfectly in half as if you cut them. I picked them all up and put them in a bag.
I wasn’t touching anything – we were just in a battle with La Llorona when that happened. You can’t explain it. I tool several of the bead on the concrete porch and I tried to break them. I could not break one.
And yet, since there was little to no time for Cruz to take to mentally recovery from that event, he had to grab his backup bracelet and keep on going with another take. Chaves jokingly said,
We didn’t have that kind of schedule. “Who cares if she’s here! We gotta get this movie made.”
Not only that, the home they shot the movie in was also haunted. Cruz continued,
There was no air conditioning and it was really hot. They would pipe in air in between scenes. So it was very hot in there and we were about to shoot and all of a sudden an artic blast of air came through the house. You got chilled to the bone. And I’m not the only one who felt it. Linda and Patricia felt it. It came from nowhere.
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is now playing.