The Exorcist sparked an outcry of controversy from religious groups during its original theatrical run in 1973/4. While many lauded its strong message of faith; others interpreted the film’s unrelenting portrayal of evil as exploitative and pornographic. Christian evangelist Billy Graham even went as far as to publicly denounce the film, insisting that there was a "power of evil in the fabric of the film itself".
Here is one example of a flyer handed out by Christian groups at a screening in the UK, warning impressionable moviegoers of the “adverse effects” the film may cause them to experience.15 July, 2014 • 69 notes
Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair rehearse a scene from the exorcism sequence on the set of The Exorcist.
During rehearsals, all profanity was omitted from Linda’s script. When it came time to shoot the actual scenes, Max was so surprised by the foul language coming from the 13-year-old’s mouth, he broke character and called "cut".12 July, 2014 • 221 notes
A series of six photographs documenting stunt performer Chuck Waters’ leap down the “Exorcist Steps” located on the corner of Prospect and M Street in Georgetown, Washington DC.
In order to safely achieve the stunt, which was only shot in two takes, special effects technician Marcel Vercoutere lined all 75 steps with a thin rubber to cushion the fall. A bag of fake blood was then taped under the back of Waters’ sweater, which Vercoutere would quickly puncture before the jump so that the blood would pour out as Waters tumbled to the bottom of the street.
When queried by actor Jason Miller, whom Waters was doubling for, on how he was able to do it, Waters responded with "Zen. A complete and utter non-resistance. My body becomes totally relaxed."
Meanwhile, sneaky nearby residents would charge curious onlookers $5 each for a special view of the action from their rooftops.11 July, 2014 • 59 notes
"Probably the most enlightening thing would be to see the screen test of Linda, and then see the exact scene as it will appear in the film. When Billy [Friedkin] said he liked her test, I was in shock. I mean she was doing elocution lessons and it was just so acted. I said to myself, ‘Oh, no!’ But, by the time we were into rehearsals, this kid was terrific. You know, it was just like talking to my own kid - so natural. I said to myself, ‘Now wait a minute, how did this happen?’"
— Ellen Burstyn7 May, 2014 • 57 notes
"Really brilliant" - William Friedkin
THE EXORCIST is an Oscar-winning psychological horror and drama directed by William Friedkin, written and produced by William Peter Blatty, adapted from his best-selling novel, and inspired by true events.
The film follows actress Chris MacNeil and her 12-year-old daughter Regan, who begins to exhibit an explicit new personality as strange events befall the local area of Georgetown. Chris becomes torn between science and superstition in a desperate bid to save her daughter, and ultimately turns to her last hope: Father Damien Karras, a troubled priest who is struggling with his own faith after the recent passing of his mother.
Released in the US on December 26, 1973, The Exorcist electrified a generation of moviegoers who lined up for hours on end to see the film, only to run back out again due to its shocking and controversial scenes. The film struck a nerve with the unsuspecting public, and divided critics, going where no film had dared to go before.
After 40 celebrated years and countless sequels, prequels, parodies, and rip-offs, it remains just as chilling and effective as it was when it first premiered, continuously topping the annual ‘Scariest Movies of All Time’ lists and - when adjusted for inflation - is still one of the highest grossing horror films of all time.
BEHIND THE EXORCIST takes you beyond the confines of Regan’s bedroom and reveals the mechanics behind one of the most influential films of all time; from the blood, sweat and tears that went into achieving the ground-breaking special effects, to the mass hysteria and impact the film had, and continues to have, on audiences and popular culture.
The Ninth Configuration