The actor Heath Ledger died in 2008 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs several months after filming was completed for the movie “The Dark Knight” in which Ledger portrayed Batman’s nemesis the Joker. Late in 2007, Ledger told The New York Times he was prescribed Ambien for an extreme period of insomnia, where he would sleep less than three hours a night, haunted by his character who he called a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” In that same interview, Heath also confided his “body was exhausted” even as his mind would not shut down.
A German documentary about the actor’s life tells of his intense preparation for portraying the Joker. To get into the mind of the villain, Heath immersed himself in preparation by literally locking himself in a London hotel room for a month, reading any and all comics pertaining to the movie plot, experimenting with voices taking inspiration from hyenas, clowns and Alex DeLearge from “A Clockwork Orange,” and creating an perfecting “a somewhat… iconic… laugh.”
Many believe that the intense preparation for the role, in which he crawled into the mind of a murderer, sent him into a downward spiral into depression and darkness. It’s like the Joker was inside trying to get out.
Dabbling in evil is dangerous, and awakening demons you either do not believe in or foolishly think you can tame can be, as in Ledger’s case, deadly. But he is not the first actor to suffer the seeming consequences of cavalierly dancing with the Devil. On the website Dread Central, one post titled “8 Horror Films Plagued By Real-Life Death Curses” begins by asking, “Is it possible for a horror film to be cursed, the mere act of making it evoking some sort of malicious entity hell-bent on inflicting harm to those involved? It sounds pretty silly, I’m well aware, but the truth is that many horror films over the years have seemingly incurred the wrath of an evil force.” (emphasis mine)
“The Exorcist” and “The Omen” were both plagued by mysterious deaths and other strange disturbing incidents. In connection with the 1976 film “The Omen,” an animal trainer was “eaten alive” by one of his tigers, and a special effects artist who designed a decapitation scene later was involved in an automobile accident in which his passenger was decapitated, and this list barely scratches the surface. Unbelievably, “The Omen” was remade in 2006 with similarly tragic results that plagued the original 1976 film. Likewise, the entire “Poltergeist” series of three films featured the same types of mysterious deaths, including the death of a 12-year-old actress. A quick Google search for “actors who died after making horror movies” quickly yields over 5 million results, so there is no shortage of evidence backing dark supernatural events connected with these types of films. Why would anyone pursue this?
Perhaps the answer lies in the belief of some that true evil does not exist or those who do not view evil as a force or entity, but instead as human immorality alone. On Quora, the question was posed asking, “Is evil a real thing, or is it only a figment of our imagination?” One reply said, in part, “Morality, both Good and Evil, is defined by society. As such it is not a tangible thing; it is just a hive mind premise; a way of self and others’ regulation.” How about this question and answer? “The End of Evil? Neuroscientists suggest there is no such thing.” Basically, the theory is that people don’t intentionally choose to commit evil acts, it is instead, a “neurological glitch.”
In Part Two of “Guilty of Murder,” we will hear from God on this matter and what His Word really says about evil and its existence.