I want to dive into something a little different today but something super spooky. Outside of the horror genre, I love everything paranormal. I’m a big believer in ghosts and have had too many experiences to count. So I thought it would be fun to bring a little paranormal element to Horror Bound. Why? Because it’s my site and I feel like it. That’s the benefit of being the owner….ya’ll have to read my paranormal ramblings.
But I thought this would be kind of fun because it DOES involve movies. One in particular. And while it’s not a horror movie, it’s a movie that kills people. So it’s kind of like a real life horror movie…
The story is about an Inuit poet from Baffin Island who gets sent to Toronto. A total fish out of water story. But in the movie version, he lives in Alaska and ends up in New York City. A woman visits his town in Alaska, she’s a documentarian. When they leave, he stows away on their plane. When he arrives, he saves a young man who is the son of a powerful real estate mogul and hi-jinks ensue.
The film adaptation was requested by Norman Jewison (he is a Canadian director and producer who helped start up the CBC, and did a bunch of other wonderful things. He seriously has lived a crazy productive life. Go check him out) in the early 1970’s. Todd Carol wrote the adaptation, and Jewison planned to film it in Canada.
John Belushi was the first actor to be attached to the film. He was offered the lead role in 1982 and showed a lot of interest in the script. But a few months later, on March 5th, Belushi was tragically found dead in his hotel room at the Chateau Marmont by his trainer Bill Wallace. He was only 33 years old. The cause of death was determined to be drug related, most likely a speedball. His death was investigated by a forensic pathologist and the findings were disputed.
Two months later, Catherine Evelyn Smith admitted she had been with Belushi on the night of his death and had given him the fatal dosage. The case was reopened and she was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
In 1986, after losing their lead, the script went back on the market and this time Sam Kinison got involved. He would play the lead role of Atuk. In 1988 production began and managed 8 days of filming before Kinison halted the production. He didn’t like the way it had turned out and began to rewrite the script. Kinison said that he was given creative control. Apparently he became difficult when the studio got involved. A lawsuit began.
The movie was put on hold again until 1992 when production began to set up again. Unfortunately, during these negotiations, Kinison died.
It was Friday, April 10th, 1992. He was only 38. His vehicle was struck head-on in California by a pickup truck, driven by a 17 year old who was drunk. Kinison was alive after the crash, his best friend Carl LaBove had been driving behind him at the time of the accident. His brother was there as well and they could see no visible injuries. But Kinison began to talk to himself, repeating “I don’t want to die.” It then appeared as if he were talking to someone who wasn’t there, “But why?” “Okay, okay…” and then he lost consciousness. He could not be resuscitated and he died at the scene from internal injuries. His wife who was also in the car survived with a mild concussion.
The production team refused to give up, they really believed this script was something special. And so, in 1994, they approached John Candy and offered him the role. Candy was thrilled and began to study the script. In March of that year he also died. Candy was working in Mexico and at some point in the night of March 4th, he died of a heart attack. He was 43 years old.
Candy had reportedly asked his close friend, Michael O’Donoghue, to also read the script and perhaps join the cast. In November of that same year, he also passed away. He had a history of chronic migraines and died from a cerebral hemorrhage at 54 years old.
1997 rolls around and the film surfaces again. Atuk was offered to Chris Farley. Farley was aware that his idol Belushi was once offered the part and so he was intrigued, and expressed an interest. But, much like his idol, Farley also died young, and the same age of 33. A few months after reading the script, on December 18th, Farley was found dead by his younger brother in his apartment. He died of a drug overdose. A speedball. Just like Belushi.
Farley, much like Candy, also introduced his friend Phil Hartman to the script. 5 months after the tragic death of Farley, Hartman’s wife murdered Phil in cold blood. His wife, Brynn Hartman, got into a heated argument with Phil after he threatened to leave her if she started using drugs again. At 3am Brynn entered the bedroom and around 3am shot Phil twice in the head and once in his side. She drove to a friends house and confessed to the murder, the friend didn’t believe her so the two of them drove back to the house. The friend saw the body and called the police. As the police arrived and escorted the children out of the home, Brynn locked herself in the bedroom and shot herself, committing suicide.
And so, Atuk sits unmade and untouched for years. Some believe in the curse, some don’t. I’m not sure why no one is questioning the fact that a bunch of white men were being cast as an Inuit...but that’s a whole other side of Hollywood.
Who knows if the script will ever come out of the dark and attempt to be made again? But I really hope it doesn’t. That’s a long history of bad luck (and whitewashing) that I wouldn’t want to tamper with.
What do you think? Do you think the curse of Atuk is real? Or just a weird coincidence? Let us know in the comments below.