Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 5th, 2008
A Batman beheading? Have people so quickly forgotten a recent tragedy?
Heightened awareness of decapitations has occurred in the last few days due to the incidents in Brazil, Dubai, Greece, and, of course, the bus event in Canada (during the showing of The Legend of Zorro). Also, please note earlier The Mask of Zorro features Zorro’s/Diego’s brother’s beheading. In that Zorro movie, the decapitation is done by a sadistic, psychotic Texian Army Captain named Harrison Love.
There remains no explanation of why the name “Badger” became the code word given to suspect Vincent Li of Edmonton, Alberta, by the law enforcement officers.
Chronologically, it should be mentioned that these news items were proceeded by a Batman-related beheading.
On Saturday, June 28th, at Six Flags Over Georgia, 17-year-old Asia Leeshawn Ferguson of Springfield, South Carolina, scaled two six-foot fences and passed through restricted areas posted as dangerous to visitors. Ferguson jumped the fences and then was decapitated by the Batman roller coaster. (It should not be lost on people that the victim of the Canadian bus beheading was a young man who told his friends he “loved being a carny.”)
So we come to The Dark Knight.
On August 5, 2008, The Boston Herald reporter Stephen Schaefer asks, “Is The Dark Knight cursed?”
As those watching for the curse of threes have noticed, Heath Ledger has died, Christian Bale has been arrested and now Morgan Freeman has been in a tragic car crash.
The box-office behemoth, expected to pass the $400 million mark this week, is notorious as being the late Heath Ledger’s last completed movie.
Now Morgan Freeman, the 71-year-old actor who plays Batman’s techie Lucius Fox, is in serious condition following a car accident in Mississippi late Sunday night.
The Oscar-winning actor was driving his wife’s friend Demaris Meyer’s 1997 Nissan Maxima when it rolled off Tallahatchie County Highway 32, flipping over several times. Meyer was treated for minor injuries and released.
Freeman, who was driving to his Charleston home, reportedly suffered broken ribs and was air-lifted to Regional Medical Center in Tennessee.
This tragedy follows assault allegations made last month by the mother and sister of “The Dark Knight” star Christian Bale. The 34-year-old Bale denied the charges. He’ll be back in court next month.
“The Dark Knight” is dedicated to both the 28-year-old Ledger, who died of an accidental overdose last Jan. 22, and Conway Wickliffe, 41, a stunt supervisor who died in a freak accident in London while setting up a car crash.
What do we find these photos have revealed?
Embedded within the movie (or, at least, certainly in the trailers, as shown in these photos first published by Entertainment Weekly) is the Heath Ledger character, the Joker, using the Joker/Death card as his “business calling card,” as pictured, shown holding a decapitated head. (If factual, the powerful nature of these images only being in the trailer and pre-release publicity photos but not in the actual film is significant. The trailer carries the keys to mass public programming to “sell” the motion picture.)
Schaefer writes that The Dark Knight joins a grim list of “cursed” motion pictures.
The Superman hex struck Christopher Reeve, who shot to fame after starring in the 1978 movie, after he broke his neck in a horse riding accident. Television’s original “Superman,” George Reeves died in an apparent suicide in 1969.
(In June 2007, a teenager’s legs were severed when cables snapped on the Superman Tower of Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky.)
The 1982 horror classic Poltergeist was haunted by the premature deaths of two of its female stars. Vanity Fair celebrity scribe Dominick Dunne’s daughter Dominique was murdered by her live-in lover soon after the film was finished. And Heather O’Rourke, the film’s child star, died in 1988 at age 12 of cardiopulmonary arrest prompted by Crohn’s disease.
I have written of the “Mothman Death Curse” online and specifically in the August 2004 issue of Fortean Times, with a list of over 80-related deaths, some of surprisingly young people and others of elder members of the crew, cast, and aligned associates of the film.
From Batman to Mothman, whether or not there are curses is not important. The fact that they have become part of popular culture and that there is a dark sense that there may be such things in the modern world, in the end, may be what becomes more significant.