On December 26, 1973, the world was introduced to this purely evil film that made demonic possession a real possibility! It starred Regan MacNeil who was possessed by the devil who made her throw up green vomit and turned her head around in a complete circle! Let’s find out some crazy details about this film:
1. True Story.
There was a real-life exorcism of a young boy in 1949 that was detailed in a novel by William Peter Blatty. The author heard about this story on the news and proceeded to write this book about it while he attended Georgetown University.
2. The author wrote the novel in a cabin in California.
One of the features on the 40th edition Blue Ray of ‘Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist’, the writer returns to the cabin where he wrote the book.
3. The demon has a name.
The film doesn’t tell us this but the demon who possesses Regan is named Pazuzu which is the name of the king of demons in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology.
4. The voice of the demon was Mercedes McCambridge
She was once called “the world’s greatest living radio actress” by Orson Welles and she did the voice for Regan’s demonic voice.
5. McCambridge changed her diet.
That raspiness was made up of chain smoking and eating raw eggs and whiskey.
6. Using pig squeals.
Many of Regan’s moans and grunts were the result of remixing pig squeals. In fact, when the demon leaves her body, the sound is made up of a group of pigs being led to their death.
7. The first horror flick to be nominated for a ‘Best Picture’ Oscar.
In fact, The Exorcist received 10 Oscar nominations in the year of 1974 including Best Supporting Actress for Linda Blair.
8. Violet Beauregarde.
Her real name is Denise Nickerson and she played the famous role as Violet in ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ and she was initially considered for the role of Regan. However, her parents were disturbed by the script and said ‘no’.
9. Linda Blair’s mother fell in love with the script.
Linda’s mother, on the other hand, made it so that they considered her daughter for the role.
10. Author, Blatty, wanted William Friedkin to direct the movie.
When he sold the rights to his novel, he made sure that he stayed on as one of the producers. In that way, he made sure that Friedkin would direct it because he liked his gritty style.
11. Marlon Brando – Father Merrin.
The director decided against having Marlon Brando in this film so it wasn’t immediately branded a “Brando Movie”.
12. Max Von Sydow was only 44-years-old.
It was even joked around that he had to wear more make-up than Regan in order to add the 30 years or more to his age that the role required.
13. Jason Miller as Father Karras.
Their first pick was Blatty’s choice, Stacy Keach but the director, Friedkin, saw Jason’s performance in ‘That Championship Season’ and decided to use him instead.
14. Poster art inspired by a Magritte painting.
The original painting is by Rene Magritte in 1954 called ‘Empire of Light’ and this inspired the movie’s most iconic image of Father Merrin in front of the home which was illuminated by a street lamp.
15. A popular tourist attraction is ‘The Exorcist Steps’.
We all remember the set of stone stairs in which Father Karras is thrown by the possessed Regan and many people still visit them.
16. Being thrown down those stairs would be impossible.
Regan’s window was 40 feet from the top of the stairs and so Hollywood had to provide the magic for this scene.
17. The cast believed that the set was cursed.
The first set in New York City burnt and had to be rebuilt. Eventually, the set was moved to Washington D.C. and a priest was regularly brought in to bless the cast and crew. All in all, nine people associated with this film died before the filming ended.
18. Andersen’s Pea Soup.
This was the brand preferred above even Campbell’s when it was time for Regan to throw up all over the priest.
19. Jason Miller’s reaction to being covered in pea soup was perfection!
The projection of the green soup was said to be aimed at Miller’s chest but obviously, it did more than that. When it landed all over him, his reaction to it was absolutely real! It was the only take needed.
20. The movie grossed out the audience.
Many theaters even offered ‘bags’ to catch any nausea that the audience experienced.