6 Actors Who Were Traumatized by Their Experiences Making Horror Films
by Matthew Gilligan
Horror movies are NOT real…but it is a fact that some actors who appear in terrifying movies are traumatized by their experiences on set for years after the cameras stop rolling.
And 7 actors got real about how their experiences making scary movies.
Let’s see what they had to say.
1. Jack Reynor
Reynor starred in 2019’s Midsommar and the experience took a toll on him. He said, “it was a tough week after it was finished, you know?”
Reynor said that the nudity and s**ual scene toward the end of the movie was tough and he didn’t process it until later on. He said, “There are not many examples in contemporary cinema or in the history of cinema where it’s a male character who is exposed in such a humiliating way, and certainly in a s**ual context, too, and suffers this kind of fate.”
“That has been largely reserved for females. I think it’s really gross in a lot of films. But this was an opportunity for me to try and inhabit that thing and to see what it was like from the inside. It was nerve-wracking, and it did feel very expositional. It made me feel more vulnerable than I anticipated I would feel.”
Reynor also said of the bear suit scene, “It’s dark and it’s unsettling to watch all these people around you basically making it look like they’re going to kill you in a horrific way. There’s nothing you can do and you’re paralyzed, you know? It was heavy,”
2. Alex Wolff
If you’ve never seen Ari Aster’s 2018 film Hereditary, it’s disturbing on many levels.
And actor Alex Wolff admitted that making the film gave him PTSD. Wolff said, “When I started talking about it, all these flashes with all this disturbing shit I went through sort of came back in a flood. It kept me up at night, to where I got into a habit of emotional masochism to the point of just trying to take in every negative feeling I could draw from. I forced it upon myself rather than the opposite of what you’d usually do in life, which is sit on the heater until it starts to burn, and you jump up immediately.”
“I had to do the exact opposite of that and absorb the pain and let it burn. It’s a reverse emotional thing. It’s hard to describe eloquently; it’s just a feeling. I don’t think you can go through something like this and not have some sort of PTSD afterward.”
3. Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh appeared in one of the most shocking scenes in horror film history when she met her fate at the hands of the character Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic, Psycho.
The iconic scene where Leigh is k**led in the shower left an impression on the actress and she stopped taking showers completely and took baths instead.
Leigh said, “I make sure the doors and windows of the house are locked. I also leave the bathroom door open and shower curtain open. I’m always facing the door, watching, no matter where the showerhead is.”
4. Shelley Duvall
Duvall appeared alongside a crazed Jack Nicholson in 1980’s The Shining and the actress called the experience “almost unbearable.”
Duvall said she was “really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great.”
She added that director Stanley Kubrick “pushed me and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had to play.” In fact, Kubrick made her do the baseball bat scene in the film where she confronts Nicholson’s character 127 times.
The stress for Duvall was so bad that her hair even started to fall out.
5. Bill Skarsgård
Skarsgård appeared as Pennywise, the world’s creepiest clown, in It and he said playing the role was similar to being in a destructive relationship.
The actor added that even after production wrapped on the film, he had “strange and vivid Pennywise dreams” every night.
6. Kyle Richards
A lot of people know Kyle Richards from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but it was her role in Halloween when she was only 8-years-old that really left a mark on her.
Richards said, “I had no idea what I was in for. Seeing it for the first time all pieced together was a very, very different movie. It was just really scary, and I really did sleep with my mom until I was 15 years old after that. I was terrified.”
She added, “I think that’s what sealed the deal for me to get out of horror films. After seeing myself in that, I was always thinking there was someone hiding behind the drapes or outside my windows or under my bed, so I would just sleep holding my mom’s arm the entire night.”