The scene where Regan projectile vomits at Father Karras only required one take. The vomit was intended to hit Jason Miller in the chest, but the plastic tubing misfired, hitting him in the face. His reaction of shock and disgust while wiping away the vomit is genuine, and Miller admitted in an interview that he was very angered by this mistake.806 of 813 found this interesting | Share thisDue to death threats against Linda Blair from religious zealots who believed the film “glorified Satan”, Warner Bros. had bodyguards protecting her for six months after the film’s release.785 of 792 found this interesting | Share thisIn an interview, Jason Miller stated that he had a major verbal confrontation with William Friedkin after the director fired a gun near his ear to get an authentic reaction from him. He told Friedkin that he is an actor, and that he didn’t need a gun to act surprised or startled.528 of 532 found this interesting | Share thisOn the first day of filming the exorcism sequence, Linda Blair‘s delivery of her foul-mouthed dialogue so disturbed the gentlemanly Max von Sydow that he actually forgot his lines.725 of 734 found this interesting | Share thisThis is Warner Brothers’ highest-grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation.576 of 584 found this interesting | Share thisThe bedroom set had to be refrigerated to capture the authentic icy breath of the actors in the exorcising scenes. Linda Blair, who was only in a flimsy nightgown, says to this day she cannot stand being cold.451 of 457 found this interesting | Share thisActress Mercedes McCambridge, who provided the voice of the demon, insisted on swallowing raw eggs and chain smoking to alter her vocalizations. The actress, who had had problems with alcohol abuse in the past, furthermore wanted to drink whiskey as she knew alcohol would distort her voice even more, and create the crazed state of mind of the character. As she was giving up sobriety, she insisted that her priest be present to counsel her during the recording process. At William Friedkin‘s direction, McCambridge was also bound to a chair with pieces of a torn sheet at her neck, arms, wrists, legs and feet to get a more realistic sound of the demon struggling against its restraints. McCambridge later recalled the experience as one of horrific rage, while Friedkin admitted that her performance–as well as the extremes which the actress put herself through to gain authenticity–terrifies the director to this day. This was probably the reason why Friedkin declined to call back McCambridge to provide the demon’s voice for the film’s TV version, instead deciding to do the voice himself.817 of 832 found this interesting | Share thisThe original teaser trailer, which consisted of nothing but images of the white-faced demon quickly flashing in and out of darkness, was banned in many theaters, as it was deemed “too frightening”.493 of 501 found this interesting | Share thisIf adjusted for inflation, this would be the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.439 of 446 found this interesting | Share thisUpon its initial theatrical release the film affected many audiences so strongly that at many theaters, paramedics were called to treat people who fainted and others who went into hysterics.513 of 522 found this interesting | Share thisJack Nicholson was up for the part of Father Karras, before Jason Miller landed the role. William Friedkin thought he was too unholy to ever play a priest.379 of 385 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to William Friedkin, the subliminal shots of the white faced demon are actually rejected makeup tests for Regan’s possessed appearance.346 of 352 found this interesting | Share thisAuthor William Peter Blatty once won $10,000 on the Groucho Marx show You Bet Your Life (1950). When Groucho asked what he planned to do with the money, he said he planned to take some time off to “work on a novel.” This was the result. Groucho is mentioned in the film by Lt. Kinderman in jest as playing Othello.372 of 379 found this interesting | Share thisFather Dyer is played by William O’Malley, an actual priest who until 2012 taught at Fordham Prep, a Jesuit high school.396 of 404 found this interesting | Share thisWhen originally released in the UK a number of town councils imposed a complete ban on the showing of the film. This led to the bizarre spectacle of “Exorcist Bus Trips” where enterprising travel companies organised buses to take groups to the nearest town where the film was showing.258 of 262 found this interesting | Share thisOne of the most famous scenes in the movie and the shot used for the posters and the cover of the DVD/VHS releases was inspired by the 1953-1954 series of paintings “Empire of Light” (“L’Empire des lumières”) by René Magritte. It is the scene where Fr. Merrin steps out of a cab and stands in front of the MacNeil residence bathed in an eerie glow.305 of 311 found this interesting | Share thisThe contortionist Linda R. Hager was hired to perform the famous “spider walk” scene, which was filmed on April 11, 1973. Ms. Hager was able to perform the scene by use of a harness and flying wires hung above the staircase used in the set; she would advise Friedkin when she was just barely touching the stairs with her hands and feet; and then she maintained that light touch as she was moved down the staircase by the harness and wires. William Friedkin deleted the scene before the film’s December release. He felt it was “too much” of an effect because it appeared so early in the film. He later admitted that another reason for omitting the scene was that there was no way to hide the wires from view at the time. Almost 30 years later, Friedkin changed his mind and added the scene back for the extended 2000 version, with the wires digitally removed.454 of 465 found this interesting | Share thisDirector William Friedkin eventually asked technical advisor Thomas Bermingham to exorcise the set. He refused, saying an exorcism might increase anxiety. Rev. Bermingham wound up visiting the set and gave a blessing and talk to reassure the cast and crew.202 of 205 found this interesting | Share thisMercedes McCambridge had to sue Warner Brothers for credit as the voice of the demon. William Friedkin, on the Diane Riehm Show (NPR, 29 April 2012) said that originally she didn’t want a credit, saying that she wanted the audience to believe the voice was Regan’s. However, after it was released she changed her mind, and was given the credit.255 of 260 found this interesting | Share thisThough often cited as one of the most shocking scenes in cinema, the crucifix masturbation scene was actually greatly toned down from that of the novel. In the source book, the scene is much longer, gorier and sexually explicit, with Regan suffering a broken nose, butchery of her genitals, and orgasming.223 of 227 found this interesting | Share thisIn order to make Max von Sydow appear much older than his then age of 44, make-up maestro Dick Smith applied generous amounts of stipple to von Sydow’s forehead, eyes and neck. His facial skin was then manually stretched as liquid latex was applied. When the latex dried, his taut skin was then released causing the film of rubber to corrugate. This daily make-up procedure lasted three hours and was apparently the cause of much anguish for von Sydow.280 of 286 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair received her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination before it was widely known that previous Supporting Actress winner Mercedes McCambridge had actually provided the voice of the demon. By Academy rules once Blair was given the nomination it could not be withdrawn, but the controversy about Blair being given credit for another actress’ work ruined her chances of winning the award.336 of 344 found this interesting | Share thisThe studio wanted Marlon Brando for the role of Father Merrin. William Friedkin immediately vetoed this by stating that with Brando in the film it would become a Brando movie instead of the important film he wanted to make.276 of 282 found this interesting | Share thisEllen Burstyn agreed to doing the movie only if her character didn’t have to say the scripted line: “I believe in the devil!” The producers agreed to eliminate the utterance.235 of 240 found this interesting | Share thisThe Exorcist is the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The only other one is Get Out (2017). Jaws (1975), The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and The Sixth Sense (1999) were all nominated, and “The Silence of the Lambs” won, but, these films are not designated as horror films on IMDb.570 of 588 found this interesting | Share thisIn The Fear of God: 25 Years of ‘The Exorcist’ (1998), William Friedkin states that the studio execs would come up on a weekly basis to have a look at the shooting progress. They shook their heads continuously, believing that the movie was total ridiculousness.176 of 179 found this interesting | Share thisIn the scene where the words “help me” arise out of Regan’s torso, the effect was achieved by constructing a foam latex replica of actress Linda Blair‘s belly, writing the words out with a paint brush and cleaning fluid, then filming the words as they formed from the chemical reaction. Special effects artist Dick Smith then heated the forming blisters with a blow dryer, causing them to deflate. When the film was run backwards, it appeared as though the words were rising out of young Regan’s skin in an attempt to summon intervention.228 of 233 found this interesting | Share thisThe agency representing Linda Blair overlooked her, recommending at least 30 other clients for the part of Regan. Blair’s mother brought her in herself to try out for the role.200 of 204 found this interesting | Share thisIn the documentary included on the 25th Anniversary Edition, the actors reveal that in many shots it was not necessary to “act”, as what was captured on film were genuine reactions. For example, Ellen Burstyn mentions that her scream and facial reaction after being slapped by Regan were due to being pulled too hard by a harness. Linda Blair‘s screaming was a reaction to being bounced around on her bed. William O’Malley recalled that William Friedkin slapped him prior to shooting and this caused his hand to tremble while blessing Father Karras.248 of 254 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair injured her back when a piece of the rig broke as she was thrown about on the bed.106 of 107 found this interesting | Share thisBefore starting the exorcism, Father Merrin asks Chris whether her daughter has a middle name. In the Middle Ages Catholics used to give their children several names as they believed it would hinder Satan from finding out the child’s real name and controlling one’s soul.213 of 218 found this interesting | Share thisThe substance that the possessed Regan (Linda Blair) hurls at Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) is thick pea soup. Specifically, it’s Andersen’s brand pea soup. The crew tried Campbell’s but didn’t like the “effect.”185 of 189 found this interesting | Share thisThe demon seen, but not named, throughout this movie is Pazuzu, a demon known in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology as the demon that brings famine during the dry seasons and locusts during the rainy seasons. He was the king of the demons of the wind.185 of 189 found this interesting | Share thisEllen Burstyn received a permanent spinal injury during filming. In the sequence where she is thrown away from her possessed daughter, a harness jerked her hard away from the bed. She fell on her coccyx and screamed in pain.235 of 241 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin had to take an all-British crew to film in Iraq because the US had no diplomatic relations with Iraq at that time. They were allowed to film near ancient buildings and actual archaeological digs on conditions that included teaching Iraqi filmmakers advanced film techniques as well as how to make fake blood.283 of 291 found this interesting | Share thisDuring a 1984 reunion of the cast of The Exorcist on Good Morning America (1975), Ellen Burstyn told a story of when she was in Tucson, Arizona filming Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974) and The Exorcist was opening in that city while she was there so she went to see it. She stated that the scene where Regan has her arteriogram (the scene where Regan gets an arterial catheter inserted into her neck) was the part where most people fainted. After that scene, she saw a woman wobbling up the aisle so Ms. Burstyn followed her. When the woman finally fainted, Ms. Burstyn was at her aid, loosening her collar and talking to her. Then the woman began to come to and Ms. Burstyn realized that if this woman opened her eyes and saw her, this might cause the woman to panic. Ms. Burstyn’s exact words were that she might think she was in the Twilight Zone or something. So, Ms. Burstyn asked assistance from another person to help the woman recover.202 of 207 found this interesting | Share thisDuring the session where Karras is recording his interactions with Regan, he asks the demon its name (in Latin) and the demon responds with what would could be considered a witticism on its part: “La plume de ma tante” (literally, “The pen of my aunt”). This is a attributed to elementary French language instruction and used in the early 20th century as an example of a grammatically correct phrase taught despite limited practical use. LIFE Magazine in 1958 described it as: “…the most idiotically useless phrase in a beginner’s French textbook.” In popular culture, the phrase can be used metaphorically to refer to something irrelevant. In this instance, it could be interpreted as the demon telling Karras in a roundabout way that its name is irrelevant – a common motif in stories of Godly agents fighting evil spirits.216 of 222 found this interesting | Share thisThere were originally many very brief “blink and you’ll miss them” cutaway shots in the 1973 release film, intended to create unease in the viewer. For instance: when the priest is dreaming of his mother coming up out of the subway, there is a brief cutaway of a face (Eileen Dietz), painted black and white, grimacing. There are two other places where this image is displayed: when Regan, lying on the bed, turns to look at Father Merrin and Father Karras, and just after the head-turning scene. In the “The Version You’ve Never Seen”, the same image is superimposed over other scenes in the film: the first can be seen on the hood of the stove when Chris MacNeil has just returned home from speaking with the doctors and the lights go out in the kitchen; the next image can be seen in the scene directly following the former, on the inside door of Regan’s bedroom when Chris MacNeil goes to check on her after realizing that Sharon wasn’t present in the house. The statue of “Pazuzu” (encountered by Father Merrin) can clearly been seen in the background during the exorcism in the original film. The face of the statue is also imposed onto Regan’s bedroom door in “The Version You’ve Never Seen”.161 of 165 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to William Peter Blatty, Warner Bros. wanted to change the title of the film after taking a survey which found none of the participants knew what an exorcist was.128 of 131 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty said that William Friedkin misinterpreted the head spinning scene. He said Regan’s head was described as turning almost all the way around, not literally all the way around, rotating 360° the way it did.80 of 81 found this interesting | Share thisAudrey Hepburn was William Friedkin‘s first choice to play the role of Chris MacNeil, and Warner Brothers supported him because of her good critical/commercial reputation with the studio, but she only agreed to do it if it was filmed in Rome. Anne Bancroft was another choice but she was in her first month of pregnancy and was dropped.103 of 105 found this interesting | Share thisThe most disturbing scene to the majority of viewers was that of Regan having an arteriogram (the first test she had in the hospital). William Friedkin, attributes this to the fact that the procedure itself looked very realistic, the man who played the doctor was an actual neurosurgeon in real life and that Linda Blair was as believable as a young, scared girl undergoing a scary, invasive procedure.144 of 148 found this interesting | Share thisThe refrigerated bedroom set was cooled with four air conditioners and temperatures would plunge below 30 degrees. It was so cold that perspiration would freeze on some of the cast and crew. On one occasion the air was saturated with moisture resulting in a thin layer of snow falling on the set before the crew arrived for filming.169 of 175 found this interesting | Share thisIn A Decade Under the Influence (2003), William Friedkin talks about the original poster that the studio created for the film. It was a drawing of Regan’s hand holding the bloody crucifix that she masturbates with. The original tag line was “God help this girl”. Friedkin rejected the poster, stating that the word “God” should not be used in a movie tag line.180 of 187 found this interesting | Share thisAdjusted for inflation, this would be the ninth-highest-grossing movie of all time.107 of 110 found this interesting | Share thisThe infamous masturbation sequence was trimmed by twelve seconds and the shot of the desecrated statue of the Virgin Mary in the church was completely cut by the Irish film censor when first theatrically released in Ireland.45 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisProducers sought to have Jamie Lee Curtis audition for the role of Regan MacNeil but her mother Janet Leigh refused.214 of 224 found this interesting | Share thisVasiliki Maliaros had never acted in a movie before. She was discovered by William Friedkin in a Greek restaurant. Her only acting experience was in Greek stage dramas. Friedkin selected her because she bore an uncanny resemblance to his own mother and William Peter Blatty felt she resembled his mother, too.101 of 104 found this interesting | Share thisThe original shooting schedule was 85 days, but filming in America lasted for 224 days.98 of 101 found this interesting | Share thisThe film received an 18 certification in Israel and was shown in Lebanon but banned in the rest of the Middle East. Lebanon banned the film when it was re-released.127 of 132 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin was supposed to attend a dinner the night he received William Peter Blatty‘s screenplay. Out of curiosity, he started reading the first few pages and ended up missing his dinner engagement completely.110 of 114 found this interesting | Share thisThe actual residence in Georgetown that is used for the exterior shots has a rather large yard between it and the infamous steps. The window that leads to Regan’s room is at least 40 feet from the top of the steps. This distance would make it impossible for anyone “thrown” from the window to actually land on the steps. In the movie, set decorators added a false wing to the house, so that Regan’s supposed window would in fact be close to the infamous steps.109 of 113 found this interesting | Share thisThe archaeological dig site seen at the beginning of the movie is the actual site of ancient Nineveh in Hatra, Iraq.167 of 175 found this interesting | Share thisIn the arteriogram scene, the bearded man who assists the doctor is Paul Bateson. He was an x-ray technician at NYU Medical Center where that scene was shot and managed to get that small part. In 1979, he was convicted of the murder of a film critic and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, he bragged about and was a suspect in the murders of six men whom he said he picked up in gay bars, had sex with them and then murdered and dismembered their bodies and put them into plastic bags “for fun” in 1977 and 78. They were known as the “bag murders”. Although investigators believed his story, he was never officially charged and those murders have technically never been solved. Bateson was released from prison in 2004. The whole story revolving the “bag murders” were later fictionalized in Cruising (1980), which is also directed by William Friedkin.167 of 175 found this interesting | Share thisFilm debut of Jason Miller. He received an Oscar nomination for his role as Father Karras in this film.93 of 96 found this interesting | Share thisThere are tales about ominous events surrounding the year-long shoot, including the deaths of nine people associated with the production and stories about a mysterious fire that destroyed the set one weekend. Actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros died before the film was released.192 of 202 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair hated vegetables so much at the time that the use of the pea soup actually did make her vomit.132 of 138 found this interesting | Share this“Captain Howdy” is a play on Howard, which is Regan’s father, and Chris’ estranged husband’s name. We learn from the shot of the tabloid magazine at the beginning, that Regan is looking at, which says “Howard Walks out on Chris and Daughter”, that Mr. Macneil has just left them; and it logically follows that Regan is devestated by that and is looking for a substitute “father figure”. The demon, after being contacted by Regan (inadvertently) through the Ouija Board, knows this, so he introduces himself as Howdy to emulate her father and become the father figure she is hungering for at this point in her life.38 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisAfter he had rejected Lalo Schifrin’s score, William Friedkin was in the office of Atlantic Records chief Ahmet Ertegun, when he noticed a copy of Mike Oldfield’s just released Tubular Bells and was intrigued by the album cover. He placed it on the turntable and after hearing the opening part decided there and then to use it as the theme for the movie.37 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisA filmgoer who saw the movie in 1974 during its original release fainted and broke his jaw on the seat in front of him. He then sued Warner Brothers and the filmmakers, claiming that the use of subliminal imagery in the film had caused him to pass out. The studio settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.193 of 205 found this interesting | Share thisMercedes McCambridge and Linda Blair never met in real life.130 of 137 found this interesting | Share thisAs advised by a studio executive, director William Friedkin made several cuts to the movie prior to the release, citing that the scenes were unnecessary. This upset William Peter Blatty, the author of the novel and screenplay whom he had befriended, who thought these scenes formed the heart of the movie. Blatty even refused to speak to Friedkin for some time, but they eventually made amends. Many years later, when the immense popularity of the movie warranted a re-release, Friedkin agreed to re-evaluate some of the deleted scenes and put several of them back as a favor to Blatty, creating an extended “Version You’ve Never Seen”. By his own admission, Friedkin tends to see this extended version as his favorite.127 of 134 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin says in the making of documentary that he cast Jason Miller as Father Karras because he had seen him in a stage play and his performance “reeked of failed Catholicism”.63 of 65 found this interesting | Share thisEllen Burstyn wore a bracelet in the film with a horseshoe on it, because she had the idea that she wanted her character Chris MacNeil to be “poorly armed” to fight the devil. On the last day of filming, she gave the bracelet to Linda Blair. Several years later, they crossed paths on an airline flight to Los Angeles, and Linda was wearing the bracelet that she had given her.76 of 79 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam O’Malley refers to this movie to students as the “pornographic horror film” he once did.123 of 130 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty based his novel on a supposedly genuine exorcism from 1949, which was partially performed in both Cottage City, Maryland, and Saint Louis Missouri. Several area newspapers reported on a speech a minister gave to an amateur parapsychology society, in which he claimed to have exorcised a demon from a 13-year-old boy named Robbie, and that the ordeal lasted a little more than six weeks. Robbie was born June 1, 1935, resided at 3807 40th Avenue in Cottage City, MD, and was a member of St. James Parish. He entered the seventh grade at Bladensburg Junior High in the fall of 1947, and was removed in the middle of his eighth grade year on January 15, 1949. He had experiences that ended on April 19, 1949. He re-enrolled in the eighth grade at Bladensburg Junior High for the 1949-50 school year, then spent from the fall of 1950 until June 1954 at Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC.140 of 149 found this interesting | Share thisFor the vomiting sequences, Eileen Dietz doubled (uncredited) for Linda Blair, and later sued unsuccessfully for puking credit. Makeup veteran Dick Smith rigged Dietz’s facial contours with sheets of heat-formed plexiglass that were secured at the corners of her mouth and behind her head. A camouflaged nozzle anchored in Dietz’s oral cavity provided the apparatus through which the “vomit” could be forcefully discharged, fed by supply tubes discreetly embedded in the plexiglass on both sides of her face. Such was the complexity of the set-up that Dietz could barely swallow or close her mouth.72 of 75 found this interesting | Share thisShirley MacLaine turned down the role of Chris Macneill in order to make the similar, though much less successful, The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972). Ironically, the characters of Chris MacNeil and Regan were based on her and her daughter Sacchi, who Blatty knew. Maclaine is well aware of this and has talked about it in interviews.59 of 61 found this interesting | Share thisTo entertain and distract Linda Blair during the long makeup process she had to sit through, the crew set up a television near her makeup chair so she could watch The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).94 of 99 found this interesting | Share thisThe demon mask used in the movie Onibaba (1964) inspired William Friedkin to use a similar design for the makeup in subliminal shots of a white-faced demon.57 of 59 found this interesting | Share thisIn one scene, the Jesuit president of Georgetown University (Thomas Bermingham) mentions that Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) is at “Woodstock”. Audiences may think the reference is to the famous music festival that took place upstate New York in 1969. In fact, the Woodstock in the film is actually Woodstock College, a Jesuit seminary in Woodstock, Maryland. Opened in 1869, the seminary closed one year after “The Exorcist” was released. The Woodstock Theological Center, a nonprofit Catholic theological research institute on the Georgetown campus, succeeded the college and remains operational today.91 of 96 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to Variety magazine, it was revealed that Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds were contenders for the roles of Regan and Chris MacNeil. Reynolds is mentioned in the film by Lt. Kinderman in jest as playing Desdemona in “Othello.”90 of 95 found this interesting | Share thisLalo Schifrin‘s score was rejected (see also The Amityville Horror (1979) ). William Friedkin later said that if had he heard the music of Tangerine Dream (who scored his later film Sorcerer (1977) ) earlier, he would have had them score this film (from the “Sorcerer” soundtrack liner notes). Friedkin actually hated the music so much that he yelled for the orchestra to stop playing, removed the reels that had been recording the music from the sound desk, and promptly threw the reels into the streets, all in front of Lalo and his wife.100 of 106 found this interesting | Share thisOn the DVD-commentary, William Friedkin says that making this film made him believe in demonic possession. He had read William Peter Blatty‘s book and the research into the topic beforehand, learning that exorcism indeed needs to be approved by the Catholic Church. However, contrary to what may be believed, only a handful of cases had been officially documented at the time, and the practice was (and remains) so rare that no one can call themselves a genuine expert on the topic. Much of what Friedkin learned made it into the movie, e.g. demonic possession of child victims often starts with display of unusual behavior (withdrawal, bed-wetting), and only later escalates into outlandish actions, like use of extreme profanity. Many possessions include the unexplained moving of objects and furniture (something not in Batty’s book), and the key to a successful exorcism is often finding a sentence that unsettles the demon, and then endlessly repeating it.78 of 82 found this interesting | Share thisMercedes McCambridge regurgitated on a mixture of chewed, mushy apple and raw egg to produce the sound effect of Regan’s projectile vomiting.87 of 92 found this interesting | Share thisIn the scene in the language lab, a white banner is visible with the following letters TASUKETE written in red. TASUKETE means “Help me” in Japanese.95 of 101 found this interesting | Share thisDespite the studio’s fears that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) would give the film an X rating, it got an R, with no cuts whatsoever. The MPAA’s decision, according to William Friedkin, was that it was “a brilliant, intelligent film” that deserved to be seen by a wider audience. Regardless, many American cities such as Washington, D.C. and Boston chose to disregard the decision and gave it an X.62 of 65 found this interesting | Share thisHeavy Metal band Pantera’s 1992 album A Vulgar Display of Power was named after the Demon’s reply when Father Karras asks him “Why cant you make the restraints disappear?” and the demon replies “That’s much too vulgar a display of power”.51 of 53 found this interesting | Share thisIn the scene where Regan is masturbating with the crucifix, Eileen Dietz was used for the shot where Regan belts her mother across the face. William Friedkin felt they needed someone with more heft physically to perform the stunt, and the double was shot from the back. The crucifix scene was filmed with Dietz, according to an interview with her in the documentary Starz Inside: Fantastic Flesh (2008).81 of 86 found this interesting | Share thisIn a 2007 poll conducted by the UK’s The Times for the Top 50 Scariest Movie Moments, this film topped the list.78 of 83 found this interesting | Share thisDirector George Cukor loudly blasted the film and threatened to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences if it won the award for Best Picture. The Academy Awards given to the film were for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.78 of 83 found this interesting | Share thisStacy Keach had originally been hired by William Peter Blatty to play the role of Father Karras until William Friedkin spotted Jason Miller in a Broadway play. Despite Miller never having acted in a movie before, Keach’s contract was bought out by Warner Bros. and Miller was cast in the role. Keach later starred in The Ninth Configuration, Blatty’s film of his own novel Twinkle Twinkle, Killer Kane.48 of 50 found this interesting | Share thisThe “spider-walk” sequence, which was cut from the original version, was reworked for Ruby (1977) and other low-budget films.58 of 61 found this interesting | Share thisAt one point the search for a young actress capable of playing Regan was so tiring that William Friedkin claims he even considered auditioning adult dwarf actors.94 of 101 found this interesting | Share thisAlfred Hitchcock turned down the chance to acquire the screen rights to the novel and also turned down the chance to direct the film when another producer bought the rights to the property.57 of 60 found this interesting | Share thisIn the novel, the possessed Regan has diarrhea and frequently relieves herself. Because of this she has to wear diapers. It is also frequently mentioned in the book that her bedroom has an almost unbearable stench, like Winston’s cage.56 of 59 found this interesting | Share thisStanley Kubrick wanted to direct the film, but only if he could produce it himself. As the studio was worried that he would go over budget and over schedule, it eventually settled on Mark Rydell, but William Peter Blatty insisted on William Friedkin instead. After a standoff with the studio, which initially refused to budge over Rydell, Blatty eventually got his way.91 of 98 found this interesting | Share thisThis movie was originally to be remade in 2015, but was cancelled.91 of 98 found this interesting | Share thisIt seems fairly clear (at least by the end of the story) that the demon’s target is Karras. The following exchange comes as close as anything to stating this explicitly: Demon: What an excellent day for an exorcism. Father Damien Karras: You would like that? Demon: Intensely. Father Damien Karras: But wouldn’t that drive you out of Regan? Demon: It would bring us together. Father Damien Karras: You and Regan? Demon: You and us.23 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisSeveral scenes were filmed that director William Friedkin would have loved to include in the movie, such as a scene showing Chris and Regan actually visiting some historic landmarks (as Chris suggests they should do in the movie). However, the soundtrack for the scene had gone missing. Another scene showed a possessed Regan slithering over the floor and upsetting several house guests by making obscene gestures with her tongue. The original negative of the scene got lost, and Friedkin refused to use a qualitatively inferior workprint he had of the scene instead.77 of 83 found this interesting | Share thisOn the documentary “Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist” included with the 2010 Extended Director’s Cut, author William Peter Blatty reminisces that the supernatural/demonic sequences did not inspire patrons to flee theater, nor were they responsible for nausea in the aisles. The scene in which Regan undergoes carotid angiography, using direct carotid puncture and pneumoencephalography was the moment in “The Exorcist” which upset theatergoers. This procedure entails cerebrospinal fluid being drained to a small amount from around the brain and replaced with air, oxygen, or helium to allow the structure of the brain to show up more clearly on an X-ray picture.83 of 90 found this interesting | Share thisThere was an Exorcist TV show on Fox which ran for two years, from 2016 to 2018, and starred Geena Davis playing a grown up Regan Macneil, who is now dealing with the possession of her daughter, and the re-emergence of the demon within herself again, and Sharon Gless playing Chris Macneil, as well as a new exorcist, Father Marcus, who is roaming around Chicago battling demons. The show got great reviews from the critics, they said it was one of the best sci-fi series in years, but horrible ratings, and was cancelled in 2018.21 of 21 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair had it written into her contract that she would not wear any of the same demon makeup for Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) since the experience of doing it in the first film was so harrowing. This is why the demon is beautiful and feminine in part 2, when in part 1 it was so monstrous.31 of 32 found this interesting | Share thisThe film’s sound was notable for its bizarre sound effects and, in some instances, sequences were made more eerie by a complete lack of sound. According to a 1974 Rolling Stone article, the sound designers used a variety of recording techniques and realistic, as opposed to electronic, sounds. To create sound effects ranging from scratching in the house to the devilish noises, the sound effects crew recorded beagle dogs, pigs going to slaughter, a woman convulsing and a trapped bee. In one instance, a variable speed oscillator was used to “tune” the buzzing of the bee to various pitches to create a chord cluster spanning four octaves.38 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisGonzalo Gavira was called on to create many of the special sound effects after William Friedkin recalled his work from El Topo (1970). One of the more memorable sounds, the 360-degree turning of Regan’s head, was actually made by taking his old, cracked leather wallet and twisting it back and forth against the microphone.61 of 66 found this interesting | Share thisThe last scenes of the movie to be filmed were the first seen in the movie. The opening sequences in Iraq were shot after other principal filming was completed in the United States. Although the military Baath party was at power in Iraq at the time, the country was not yet in the grip of Saddam Hussein (the infamous dictator deposed by US forces in 2003, and executed in 2006), and thus safe for western visitors. Director William Friedkin said that he and his crew were treated with the utmost hospitality, and called the Iraqi people the nicest people he had met. For the scene where Father Merrin is nearly ran over by a carriage, a 109-year-old Iraqi lady agreed to be in it as she was filmed racing over the cobbled street six times (Friendkin mentioned that she was “pretty shaken up” by then).59 of 64 found this interesting | Share thisThe Prospect Avenue apartment where the story takes place was once inhabited by the author, William Peter Blatty, while he was a student at Georgetown University. The house was owned by Ms. Florence Mahoney and is at the corner of 36th and Prospect. During shooting of the exterior scenes the crew had to build special sets to allow sunlight in to keep her garden plants from dying.51 of 55 found this interesting | Share thisThe ruins in the beginning of the movie are in Hatra, Iraq. These ruins have been preserved over the past 1400 years by various Islamic regimes. In 2014 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) made threats to destroy this city stating that “graven images were not Islamic” and should not be allowed to exist. On March 7, 2015, Kurdish sources reported ISIS had begun the destruction of this ancient city.58 of 63 found this interesting | Share thisIn order to bring some levity to the shoot, William Peter Blatty suggested shooting a scene (not for the movie, but to amuse everyone at the screening of the rushes) in which Father Merrin would enter the house, take off his hat, and reveal himself to be Groucho Marx, a friend of Blatty’s. The parody would even go as far as featuring an appearance from the duck from You Bet Your Life (1950). Groucho was keen to do it, but William Friedkin got sick that day and the idea was abandoned.64 of 70 found this interesting | Share thisChristian evangelist Billy Graham claimed an actual demon was living in the celluloid reels of this movie.125 of 141 found this interesting | Share thisThere is an actual serial killer in The Exorcist?. Paul Bateson (an x-ray technician by profession) is one of the radiologists present during the carotid angiography scene, several years later he was convicted of murdering film critic Addison Verill, Bateson became the prime suspect in what were known as the “the bag murders” carried out from 1977-1978, in which six male victims were mutilated and dismembered, their remains wrapped in black plastic bags and dumped in the Hudson River. Some of the grisly fragments washed up on the New Jersey shore, others coming to ground near the World Trade Center. These murders were the inspiration for another of William Friedkins films, “Cruising” starring Al Pacino.27 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisIt is implied that Regan was being molested by Burke, Chris’ director and friend. This is more obvious in the novel.47 of 51 found this interesting | Share thisBrazilian composer Eumir Deodato (famous for his 2001-Also Sprach Zarathustra heard in the movie Being There (1979)) lived in New York City by the time this movie opened, and was informed by friends that a piece of music he composed could be heard on the movie’s soundtrack. He initially dismissed the warning, as he believed they were mistakenly identifying Tubular Bells (also part of the movie’s soundtrack) as a composition of his own. Eventually, to clear this matter, his lawyer attended the movie with a concealed tape recorder. He recorded the whole movie, and played it back to Eumir over the phone, who finally recognized a composition of his own: “Carly and Carole”, heard briefly at the party scene. Eumir’s lawyer arranged a meeting with Warner Brother’s legal team and asked for the movie to be pulled from circulation, eventually a compromise was arranged after a non-disclosed sum was paid.58 of 64 found this interesting | Share thisDenise Nickerson, who played Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), was considered for Regan, but the material troubled her parents too much, and they pulled her out of consideration.38 of 41 found this interesting | Share thisDuring the scene where Father Karras visits Chris MacNeil as she’s ironing, the infamous Ivory Snow box featuring porn star Marilyn Chambers can be clearly seen in the background.61 of 68 found this interesting | Share thisDespite playing the title role, Max von Sydow had less screen time than the rest of the main cast.49 of 54 found this interesting | Share thisThe original “Spider Walk” scene showed Regan sticking out a long, snakelike tongue and trying to grab Sharon.53 of 59 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty based the character of Chris MacNeil on his good friend Shirley MacLaine. Prior to the 1973 production, MacLaine attempted to have a movie made of Blatty’s novel and interested Lew Grade in backing the project, but the plans fell through.41 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisMerrin and Karras repeat the famous phase “The Power of Christ compels you!” together 14 times.72 of 82 found this interesting | Share thisOriginally, there were lines from Karras and Merrin about why the demon would terrorize Regan. Merrin says that the point is to make them despair: Regan herself wasn’t the target, the demon simply made her do horrible and unspeakable things just to instill fear into other people, and shake their faith in God. While screenwriter William Peter Blatty felt that this exposition was necessary, director William Friedkin thought it was superfluous, feeling that this was already obvious and self-evident to anyone who watched the movie, so he edited it from the original cut (much to Blatty’s chagrin). Later when Friedkin re-cut the movie for the 2000 re-release, he put it back as a favor to Blatty, since Blatty wrote the book and gave him one of the biggest hits of his career.14 of 14 found this interesting | Share thisAlthough the song “Tubular Bells” is popularly referred to as the “Exorcist” theme, it is only played four times throughout the film. It’s (arguably most famous) opening movement is played briefly as Chris walks home and while Regan is being examined and filmed at the psychiatric hospital. This is also heard during the end credits. Meanwhile, during the scene where Father Dyer consoles Father Karas after his mother’s death, another of “Tubular Bells” movements is played as background music. It is easiest to hear as Father Dyer opens the door to leave.49 of 55 found this interesting | Share thisThe Exorcist is based on the exorcism of Roeland Doe, a case file from the Vatican involving the possession of a boy in 1949 and his exorcism by two Jesuit priests. The names were changed and the gender of the victim to protect the innocent.38 of 42 found this interesting | Share thisAfter filming, William Friedkin brought production to 666 Fifth Avenue.72 of 83 found this interesting | Share thisStanley Kubrick was considered by the studio to direct the picture. He later noted that he was very impressed by the film.13 of 13 found this interesting | Share thisJohn Boorman had been offered the chance to direct, but declined because he felt the storyline was “cruel towards children”. He did, however, accept the offer to direct the sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).41 of 46 found this interesting | Share thisFather O’Malley said he kept getting crazy requests after the movie came out. “I am not jumping out of any window for anyone’s cat!”25 of 27 found this interesting | Share this“Entertainment Weekly” and “Maxim” voted this the Scariest Movie of All Time.52 of 60 found this interesting | Share thisPazuzu was a real god from Mesopotamian times, a demon god as he is presented in “The Exorcist”. The following wiki quote describes the fearsome God that was really worshiped and feared in ancient times, and how he was often conflated with Beezelbub and Satan in later times. (Which would explain why he is conflated with Satan in this movie): “In ancient Mesopotamian religion, Pazuzu was the king of the demons of the wind, brother of Humbaba and son of the god Hanbi. He also represented the southwestern wind, the bearer of storms and drought. Pazuzu is often depicted as a combination of diverse animal and human parts. He has the body of a man, the head of a lion or dog, talons of an eagle, two pairs of wings, and a scorpion’s tail. He has his right hand up and left hand down. Pazuzu is the demon of the southwest wind known for bringing famine during dry seasons, and locusts during rainy seasons. Pazuzu was invoked in apotropaic amulets, which combat the powers of his rival, the malicious goddess Lamashtu, who was believed to cause harm to mother and child during childbirth. Although Pazuzu is, himself, considered to be an evil spirit, he drives and frightens away other evil spirits, therefore protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes. Therefore, Pazuzu can be identified with Beelzebub, the devil, “prince of the demons” in the New Testament (for example in Mark 3:22 or in Matthew 12:24,27) who helped Jesus driving out demons according to the accusations by Pharisees.” This quote shows how fearsome the original God was (in conception) and why Blatty chose him to be the villain of the story. This also explains his relationship to Christ and the more modern and Christian concept of the Devil, and how this is woven into the story.12 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisIn an interview “Exorcist” director William Friedkin revealed how he originally hired famed film composer Bernard Hermann; who composed the brilliant scores to Psycho and Citizen Kane. To his extreme shock, Bernard Hermann said yes; but the meeting did not go well. The article describes the meeting at the outcome:”William Friedkin’s horror film, The Exorcist, has been scaring the pants off of moviegoers-as well as making viewers nauseous-since its 1973 release. Even with all of its terrifying and stomach-churning imagery, the picture wouldn’t have been nearly as intense if it weren’t for the hair-raising soundtrack. It’s surprising, then, that director Friedkin hadn’t intended to use the music that ended up as the score for The Exorcist. Friedkin had first turned to Bernard Herrmann-perhaps the greatest composer in the history of film-to see if he might be up for scoring The Exorcist. To Friedkin’s delight, Hermann was interested, so the director set up a screening. But it did not go well. At all. Recently, Friedkin wrote about the experience: When he [Herrmann] came out of the screening room he said, “I might be able to help you with this piece of s—, but you’ll have to leave it with me, and I’ll see if I can come up with something.” I had heard he was an abrasive, no-b.s. guy, outspoken to the point of insult. Still, I was stunned at his reaction.” Hermann went on to relentlessly criticize the movie; and the various ways he could “save” it. (For example he called the desert scene at beginning a piece of “s—“; and said it would have to be edited out; or he would not score the movie). The conversation left Friedkin understandably very offended; and he ended up firing the legendary composer as a result of this.12 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisIt was on this film that William Peter Blatty met his wife-to-be, professional tennis champ Linda Tuero (see Linda Blatty). She’d been hired as an extra.47 of 54 found this interesting | Share thisThe statue of “Pazuzu” was accidentally sent to Hong Kong, before arriving on location in Iraq.51 of 59 found this interesting | Share thisPazuzu is often depicted as a combination of animal and human parts with his right hand pointing upwards and his left hand downwards.18 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisAdditional problems, recounted by William Friedkin, resulted because both Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow were out for weeks, Jason Miller‘s young son was critically injured during filming and shooting in Iraq was so hot that the some crew members grew ill and had to be replaced. In his interview at the 2006 AMPAS screening, Friedkin said that the two-story house set burned to the ground, causing a three-week delay as well.23 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisWhile he was writing the novel, William Peter Blatty was collecting unemployment benefits.70 of 83 found this interesting | Share thisThe second medical test Regan has is a Pneumoencephalograph. A Pneumoencephalograph (sometimes referred to as an “air study”) is a procedure in which the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is drained from around the brain by means of a lumbar puncture (puncturing the spinal column with a needle and removing CSF). The CSF is then replaced with oxygen or helium to allow the brain to show up more clearly on x-rays. This test was used in the 1970s to detect lesions in the brain. However, it was a very painful test with side effects such as severe headaches and vomiting due to the loss of CSF (which is replenished by the body in less than a day). The patient also had to be moved frequently while the x-rays were taken in order to displace the air which caused more discomfort to the patient. Furthermore, it relied on plain x-rays which do not clearly represent soft tissues such as the brain. While this test was used a lot before and during the early 1970s, it had limitations. The test did not show actual lesions unless they were on the edge of the structures that could be seen on the x-rays or large enough to displace tissue which could be seen on the x-rays. So, there could be a lesion there, but too small to be seen. Imaging contrast was not part of this test but used in a test that was often performed along with the Pneumoencephalograph called an Angiograph in which contrast was introduced into the vascular system and x-rayed. The Pneumoencephalograph was phased out in the late 1970s when more modern neuroimaging equipment became available.40 of 46 found this interesting | Share thisSome details from the book were left out of the movie: Fr Lankester Merrin, the eponymous Exorcist, is at an archaeological excavation for the ancient deities and artifacts from Mesopotamia (now Iran) at the beginning; and he uncovers two ancient statues dedicated to the Mesopotamian demon god Pazuzu. It is implied that he and the archaeologists might have inadvertently unleashed or resurrected Pazuzu during this dig (director link=nm0001243] claimed that Merrin finding a demon idol is simply a bad omen, announcing to Merrin that the demon will strike again soon). It is also made clear in the book that Regan’s use of the Ouija Board is how Pazuzu found her in the first place, and how he gained entry into her world (as Captain Howdy). Also, the book makes it more obvious that it was Regan who likely desecrated the church at the beginning, as they find remnants of the clay that was used to make the decorations in the MacNeil’s basement and in her room. The book also explicitly states that the demon is Pazuzu, which is why the prologue is in Iraq, or ancient Mesopotamia, where the demon god was worshiped. In the first Excorcist movie, they just keep calling him “the Devil”; it’s not until the sequel that they refer to him as Pazuzu. Pazuzu is an actual ancient Mesopotamian deity; William Peter Blatty did not make this up.17 of 18 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin’s attention to detail was so extensive than an early scene that simply involved breakfast being cooked took over a day to complete because the director wanted to use bacon that wouldn’t smoke and sizzle, which in 1972 meant the production had to find very-hard-to-locate bacon that didn’t have preservatives in the Washington, DC area.22 of 24 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin originally intended to use Linda Blair‘s voice, electronically deepened and roughened, for the demon’s dialogue. Although Friedkin felt this worked fine in some places, he felt scenes with the demon confronting the two priests lacked the dramatic power required.31 of 35 found this interesting | Share thisThe scenes showing Father Karras in his room at Georgetown were filmed in Fordham University’s freshman residence, Hughes Hall, fourth floor. Hughes was once the site of Fordham Preparatory school. Since there was no elevator at the time, the windows had to be removed in order to accommodate the camera on a crane. Each year, William O’Malley talks about his experience with the movie after students watch it on the same floor where it was filmed.39 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisMax von Sydow was always William Friedkin‘s first choice to play Father Merrin. When von Sydow was given the book by William Peter Blatty to read with a note that they wanted him to play a priest, he assumed he was up for the role of Father Karras. He was surprised to finally learn that they wanted him as the Exorcist, stating in an 2013 interview: “I still don’t really know why”.39 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty became friends with actress Tippi Hedren in the early 1970s, and she named one of her lions Billy after him. He gave her a copy of his unpublished novel “The Exorcist” and she was so absorbed reading it, that she woke up her then-husband, an agent Noel Marshall, in the middle of the night and told him that he should represent Blatty in publishing the novel and the film adaptation. She took the photo of the author for the first edition novel’s back jacket. The 1971 novel became a bestseller and Marshall would be credited as ‘Executive Producer’ for the film adaptation, also titled “The Exorcist”, where he was supposed to receive 15% of the profits. When the film became a blockbuster, Blatty refused to give the profits, since he never signed the written contract, but only initiated it. Marshall sued and the lawsuit dragged on for several years eventually reaching an out-of-court settlement. These were trying years for Hedren and Marshall since they needed the money to feed the big cats for their film Roar (1981), the financial stress would result in their divorce. Many years later, Blatty ran into Hedren at a party and said Hi. She walked away from him, without acknowledging him.39 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisThe film was plagued with problems that caused delays and raised the budget. William Friedkin blamed part of the budget problems on the continuous breakdown of a $50,000 air conditioning unit required to cool Regan’s room to sub-zero temperatures for some scenes in which the actors’ breath needed to appear chilled. In his interview at a 2006 AMPAS screening, Friedkin noted that when camera lights heated the room, shooting would be discontinued until the air returned to below freezing.21 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisAl Pacino was considered among other young leading men for the role of Father Karras.60 of 72 found this interesting | Share thisJane Fonda was offered the role of Chris MacNeil but declined it. This was during the Vietnam War, when she was notorious for her outspoken radical opinions, and it was rumored she had called the movie “a bunch of capitalist ripoff bulls***”. However, in his book “William Peter Blatty on ‘The Exorcist’ “, the author reported that Fonda visited him personally to tell him the rumor was not true. She told him she had turned down the role because she didn’t believe in fairy tales.48 of 57 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Lt. Kinderman and Father Karras begin their first conversation, says that Karras looks like John Garfield in the boxing movie, Body and Soul (1947). At the end of their conversation, not having gotten what he wanted, Kinderman jokingly says that he had lied and that Karras looks like Sal Mineo. The joke is that Garfield played rough, tough, hard-charging characters with hearts of gold, and he was immensely popular with female fans. In contrast, Mineo was slender, played less manly characters, and was far less popular with the ladies.10 of 10 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin traveled to England to meet with Bernard Herrmann about scoring the film. Herrmann insisted on doing the music in the UK and mailing the tracks to Friedkin. He was swiftly discounted after that. Lalo Schifrin was then appointed but he provided a full orchestral score which was the exact opposite of what William Friedkin had requested. (Friedkin wanted music that would inspire chills and a feeling of dread in the audience.)28 of 32 found this interesting | Share thisThe first words the audience hears are “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great”.46 of 55 found this interesting | Share thisThe Greek song playing on the radio when Father Karras leaves his mother’s house is called “Paramythaki mou” (My Tale) and is sung by Giannis Kalatzis. Lyric writer Lefteris Papadopoulos has admitted that a few years later when he was in financial difficulties he asked some compensation for the intellectual rights of the song.34 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisOne of Lee J. Cobb‘s last roles before his death. His character, Lt. Kinderman, was brought back for the final film sequel, The Exorcist III (1990), written and directed by author William Peter Blatty himself. For that film, George C. Scott took over the role. Director William Friedkin appears to have approved the idea, as in 1997 he directed 12 Angry Men (1997), in which Scott played Juror #3, Cobb’s role from 12 Angry Men (1957).43 of 52 found this interesting | Share thisOne week after the movie’s release to great success, the studio contacted director William Friedkin to propose a sequel. He simply replied with ‘Hell no” and hung up the phone.9 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisThere were three separate beds built to do three separate movements.36 of 43 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to Panorama magazine, William Friedkin didn’t give Brooke Shields the part of Regan McNeil because “she was too young for the part”. It is known that Shields at the time wasn’t known as an actress prior to the controversy of a similar film: Pretty Baby (1978).36 of 43 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty was friends with Shirley MacLaine, and had visited her at her estate, raising her daughter Sachi Parker by herself, surrounded by an entourage of nannies and tutors helping with the process, taking time out here and there to film a movie. This became the inspiration and prototype for Chris and Regan. ( “Maclaine” isn’t that far off from ” Macneal”).27 of 32 found this interesting | Share thisAlan Alda was offered a role in this movie, but rejected it because he did not like the book.42 of 52 found this interesting | Share thisThe song playing in the background while Karras and another priest are having a beer is “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band.8 of 8 found this interesting | Share thisCoincidentally, both Mercedes Mcambridge, who dubbed the voice of Regan in the possession scenes, and Jason Miller, the actor who played Fr. Karras, the priest who exorcised her, were hardcore alcoholics. Mcambridge deliberately started drinking again during the shoot, because she wanted her voice to have the coarseness which came out when she drank whiskey, and she wanted her performance to have an out of control quality which also came across when she drank. Miller stayed sober for Exorcist 1, but when he came back for Exorcist 3 he fell off the wagon, and Brad Dourif had to be hired to play his possession scenes since Miller could no longer function. (This is the real reason why there’s two actors playing that character in this movie.)8 of 8 found this interesting | Share thisThis was the film in which makeup legend Dick Smith hired Rick Baker as his assistant.40 of 50 found this interesting | Share thisIn Islam, Dhimmi is a historical term referring to non-Muslims living in an Islamic state with legal protection. The word literally means “protected person”.22 of 26 found this interesting | Share thisLaura Dern and Eve Plumb auditioned for the role of Regan McNeil.33 of 41 found this interesting | Share thisThe language lab scene was filmed in a room in the basement of Keating Hall on Fordham University’s Bronx campus. The same room was used as a Pentagon office in A Beautiful Mind (2001).30 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisA running gag in this movie involves Kinderman asking several people (including Father Dyer) if they would see some movie with him, but they tell him they have already seen the movie. This is somewhat continued in The Exorcist III (1990), as it is revealed that Kinderman and Father Dyer have struck up a friendship, and regularly go to watch It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) together.38 of 48 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to William Friedkin, Paul Newman wanted to portray Father Karras. Newman is mentioned by name in the film.27 of 33 found this interesting | Share thisThe scene wherein Father Merrin asks Chris the child’s middle name was cut for the 1973 release, but there is still the scene where Merrin exorcises Regan and uses her first, middle, and last names.32 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisAudrey Hepburn was offered the role of Chris, but insisted they shoot her scenes in Rome because that is where she was living at the time, but Friedkin refused. Jane Fonda was offered the role, and an urban legend has her angrily calling back Friedkin and calling the script a “capitalist piece of shit”. Fonda denies this, countering that she denied the producers politely. Shirley Maclaine, who was actually a good friend of William Peter Blatty and was the prototype and inspiration for the Chris character, (and her daughter Sacchi was the inspiration for Regan), was offered the role of Chris, and she too turned it down. She said she was uncomfortable with the “demonization and terrorization” of children in the script, but she was also very flattered that Blatty based her heroine on her. Ellen Burnstyn was the first actress who aggressively campaigned for the role, going so far as to call up Friedkin directly and tell him she “had to play this role”. Her aggressiveness paid off and she won the role.7 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisWith Mark Rydell in active talks to direct, William Peter Blatty urged Warner Brothers executives to watch the just released The French Connection (1971). Blatty had always pushed for William Friedkin to direct and this helped seal the deal.25 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisThe original novel ended with Kinderman and Dyer talking about Casablanca (1942), whereas, in the extended cut they are talking about “Wuthering Heights.”30 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisEllen Burstyn was cast after she phoned William Friedkin and emphatically stated she was going to play Chris.22 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisFather Merrin’s arrival was filmed on Max von Sydow‘s first day of work.31 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisThe first scene to be shot was of a distressed Karras pacing the corridors of Bellevue psychiatric hospital, agitatedly discussing with his uncle his mother’s incarceration.26 of 33 found this interesting | Share thisRegan was a character from Norse mythology. He was described both as a diabolical and evil king, and also a magical dwarf skilled in the dark arts, in the Volsung Saga, which was kind of the Bible of the ancient Scandanavian religions. It’s likely Blatty chose this name, both because of it’s pagan and magical implications, as well as it’s association with Regan, the evil, murderous daughter in Shakespeare’s King Lear.6 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisDuring the 360° head turning scene, the fake head’s “breath” is visible, just like the actors’ – a small detail added to make the dummy look more realistic. Cinematographer Owen Roizman had originally suggested this on the set as a joke, asking “Wouldn’t it be great if the dummy had some frost on its breath?” The special effects crew immediately began working to make it happen.6 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisPauline Kael, like a lot of critics, was horrified and appalled by “The Exorcist”. In her column in New Yorker following the film’s release she wrote:”(The Exorcist is about) The demonic possession of a child, treated with shallow seriousness. The picture is designed to scare people, and it does so by mechanical means: levitations, swivelling heads, vomit being spewed in people’s faces. A viewer can become glumly anesthetized by the brackish color and the senseless ugliness of the conception. Neither the producer- writer, William Peter Blatty, nor the director, William Friedkin, shows any feeling for the little girl’s helplessness and suffering, or for her mother’s.” Kael goes on to slam the movie even further in her column: “”Somewhere in the publicity for the film is an item about William Friedkin’s having looked at five hundred little girls before he chose his Regan, and indeed, Linda Blair is a sparkling, snub-nosed, happy-looking little girl, who matches up perfectly with Ellen Burstyn. I wonder about those four hundred and ninety-nine mothers of the rejected little girls, or about the hundred and ninety-nine, if that’s a more reasonable figure. They must have read the novel; they must have known what they were having their beautiful little daughters tested for. When they see The Exorcist and watch Linda Blair urinating on the fancy carpet and screaming and jabbing at herself with a crucifix, are they envious? Do they feel, ‘That might have been my little Susie-famous forever?”9 of 10 found this interesting | Share thisWhen she was working as a model, Kim Basinger auditioned for the role of Regan McNeill.23 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisOne “conventional wisdom” explanation of possession phenomena is that it is something called “unconscious fraud”, where a suggestible person knows the behavior expected in a circumstance where possession could result and then performs it out of the demands of social compliance. The social compliance includes deliberately forgetting the pretense.23 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisIn 1981 the film was released on video by Warner Home Video, as one of its first UK releases. At the time there was no requirement that videos should be classified by the BBFC, so the video was simply released on the strength of its existing “X” certificate. Contrary to popular opinion, the video version was never included on the Director of Public Prosecution’s list of “video nasties” and was never prosecuted for obscenity, testament perhaps to the popularity of the film and the high regard in which it was held. After the Video Recordings Act (VRA) was introduced in 1984 it became necessary for the film to obtain a certificate for video release from the BBFC. The video release was continually delayed on the recommendation of chief censor James Ferman, who advised Warner Brothers against submitting the film for a UK video certificate. A possible 1988 release was also vetoed by Ferman, who cited recent cases of child abuse as the reason. It was finally released on video fully uncut in June 1999, five months after Ferman’s retirement as UK censor.25 of 33 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to William Peter Blatty, director William Friedkin also considered Gene Hackman for the role of Father Karras.26 of 35 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress for her work in “The Exorcist” in 1974. Linda was only 12 when she was nominated. Another child actor beat her out that year: Tatum O’Neal who was only 10, who became the youngest Oscar winner in the history of the Oscars. Tatum beat the foul mouthed tough as nails Regan playing another foul-mouthed tough as nails girl, Addie Loggins.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisJust like Linda Blair was traumatized by the demon makeup she had to be subjected to, Max Von Show was traumatized by the old age makeup he had to be subjected to every day to become sexogenarian Lankester Merrin.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisBefore director William Friedkin settled on Michael Oldfield’s music to be the theme for “The Exorcist”, he had originally commissioned a score from Lalo Schifrin, who had famously done soundtrack work for Cool Hand Luke (1967), Dirty Harry (1971), and the instantly recognizable Mission: Impossible (1966) TV show theme. Schifrin’s atonal Exorcist score was very much in the vein of Krzysztof Penderecki (whose “Cello Concerto No. 1” of Polymorphia was used in the film’s final edit) with the addition of Bernard Herrmann-esque “fright stabs. Shifrin spoke of the incident recently to Score Magazine and how traumatizing it was to him: “The truth is that it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, but I have recently read that in order to triumph in your life, you may previously have some fails. What happened is that the director, William Friedkin, hired me to write the music for the trailer, six minutes were recorded for the Warner’s edition of the trailer. The people who saw the trailer reacted against the film, because the scenes were heavy and frightening, so most of them went to the toilet to vomit. The trailer was terrific, but the mix of those frightening scenes and my music, which was also a very difficult and heavy score, scared the audiences away. So, the Warner Brothers executives said Friedkin to tell me that I must write less dramatic and softer score. I could easily and perfectly do what they wanted because it was way too simple in relevance to what I have previously written, but Friedkin didn’t tell me what they said. I’m sure he did it deliberately” Friedkin, who was a notoriously mean and crazy puppetmaster, did not tell Schifrin to rework the old score, which is what the Studio executives told him to do. Instead he commissioned Michael Oldfield to write a new score behind his back.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisGene Siskel talked to Peter Benchley, who wrote Jaws, right after the Exorcist came out : “In an April interview, Peter Benchley told me the film of his novel, “Jaws,” had been made with one overriding intention: to scare the hell out of its audience the same way “The Exorcist” had done. Benchley went on to say that portions of the book had been changed in order to accomplish that goal. For example, the romance between the police chief’s wife and the ichthyologist sent to investigate the shark attacks was eliminated so the horror story could develop. . . .”5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisBoth Eileen Dietz and Mercedes Mcambridge, who both contributed to the Regan/Pazazu role; Mercedes Mcambridge providing Pazuzu’s voice, and Eileen Dietz doing many of the stunts, including the vomiting scene, for the demon, said Friedkin tried to cover up their participation in the movie; trying to give Linda Blair sole credit; perhaps hoping this would bolster her chances in an Oscar bid; and get the movie one acting award. The plan backfired, for although Blair got a well deserved nomination, the mini scandal that ensued from the other two actresses participation wound up, in many people’s minds, putting a bad taste in people’s mouth, and might have wound up costing Blair the Oscar.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair said in a recent interview that her spine was fractured in the “mother make it stop! it’s burning! It’s burning” scene where Regan’s upper body is ricocheting up and down off the bed. The contraption that was supposed to lift her up and down broke loose, and her spine was permanently injured. Ironically, Ellen Burnstyn’s back was also permanently injured in another scene. All of this plays into the “Exorcist Curse” mythology surrounding the movie.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Father Karras is listening to the tape of Pazuzu’s voice in his dorm room, you can clearly hear the voice say “Merrin” twice. This is Max von Sydow‘s character’s name, and suggests that the two have met before, which is confirmed elsewhere in the movie. In fact, the sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) and prequels Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) show widely differing accounts of their first encounter.8 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisDana Plato claimed that she had been offered the role of Regan but her mother Kay had turned it down. In the book “Former Child Stars: The Story of America’s Least Wanted” William Peter Blatty later said that he had “no such recollection” of this actually happening, and that Plato herself may have been the source for this rumor.24 of 33 found this interesting | Share thisAfter hearing and reading various accounts during his studies at Georgetown of the Roleand Doe case, the real story of the boy who was actually (allegedly) possessed in 1949, and then exorcised by two Jesuit priests from Georgetown, William Peter Blatty decided to write an actual true crime style account (ala Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood) of the incident. But when he reached out to the Georgetown administrators and the Jesuit priests about this, they actively lied about the event, and were very closed-mouth and evasive about it, to throw Blatty off. Blatty believes they were embarrassed about it, and that the Catholic Church has actively been downplaying it’s use of exorcism as a response to crisis in the parish. (This is where the “Exorcism has been a dirty little secret the Catholic Church has kept hidden in the closet over the years” line came from; it was a reflection of Blatty’s real experiences!) Blatty then decided to write a full out pulp fiction style approach to the subject; a horror story as opposed to a true-life account; so that fiction could convey the heart of the matter where a real life account could not. Hence, the names were changed, the time period the events took place in were changed, the gender of the possessed child was changed. The only thing that was left intact from the real incident of the Roeland Doe case was that a child was possessed, the said child engaged in swearing, violence and antisocial activity, 2 Jesuit priests were involved in the Exorcism, and it did happen in Georgetown. That was all true. The rest of the story is all embellished. According to William Friedkin, Roeland Doe, the original child who was actually possessed, survived the ordeal and went on to live a happy life, and is successful; he does some undisclosed work for the government. (Ironically he was not affected by the legendary Exorcist curse!) He was even alive when the fictional horror story that was based on his experience was published to great acclaim and success, and became one of the most acclaimed horror movies in the history of cinema. But instead of trying to cash in on his experiences, Doe has opted to put the experience behind him, and has kept a low profile.10 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to DP Owen Roizman, all of the spectacular visual effects in the film were created in-camera.12 of 15 found this interesting | Share thisPopular belief and parodies give the false impression that Regan throws up on the priests during the exorcism, but she only throws up on Karras once when he first meets her alone. She does, however, vomit during the exorcism: once at Merrin’s face covering his glasses and later slowly onto the bed and Merrin’s stole.26 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisThe song that plays on the radio when father Karras enters his mom’s house is “Istoria mou, amartia mou” (My Story, My Sin) by Rita Sakellariou.24 of 34 found this interesting | Share thisThe two priests – Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Father Karras (Jason Miller) – do not meet until 1 hour and 41 minutes into the film (director’s cut).15 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisThe closing theme, “Fantasia for Strings” by Hans Werner Henze, was previously used as incidental music by the composer in his score for Young Törless (1966).20 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisIn a behind-the-scenes documentary, William Peter Blatty addressed the extreme reaction of some audience members: “I will tell you about what I believe is the sole cause of all those stories about people getting nauseous, people fainting, people screaming, people running out of the theatre and all that. It was not any of the horror that was taking place. It was, in fact, the medical science that was taking place.” This was a reference to the scene in which Regan undergoes an arteriogram, which involves a needle being inserted into her neck.7 of 8 found this interesting | Share thisAs of 2020 the property in Georgetown used for exterior scenes next to the infamous stairs is now a marijuana store.7 of 8 found this interesting | Share thisThough he played a Catholic priest in the film, in real life Max Von Sydow was raised as a Lutheran.11 of 14 found this interesting | Share thisMelanie Griffith revealed that she auditioned for Regan McNeil.22 of 32 found this interesting | Share thisMercedes Mccambridge was already a well established actress before she starred as the voice of the demon in The Exorcist. According to Wikipedia, ” Orson Welles called her “the world’s greatest living radio actress.” She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for All the King’s Men (1949) and was nominated in the same category for Giant (1956)”4 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair, Jason Miller and Kitty Wynn are the only actors who turned up for any of the sequels. (Max Von Sydow’s Fr. Merrin character does show up part 2 in flashbacks). Kitty Wynn and Linda Blair turn up for part 2, and Jason Miller turns up for part 3. (Ellen Burnstyn flat out refused to do the sequel, wisely. Kitty Wynn takes her place as Linda’s/Regan’s caretaker).4 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisFather Merrin, played by Max Von Sydow was based on the real-life Jesuit paleontologist, geologist, and philosopher Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, to whom Sydow’s character in old-age make-up bears a physical resemblance, and whose philosophical ideas are synopsized in Blatty’s novel and its sequel. Fr. Teilhard was among the discoverers of the Peking Man fossils and his philosophical ideas, which were controversial within the Catholic Church and were even considered by some to be heretical, have been quoted approvingly by later Popes, including Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. In film, Fr. Teilhard was also the inspiration for the character of Fr. Jean Telemond, played by Oskar Werner in the 1968 film “The Shoes of the Fisherman”, adapted from Morris West’s novel and starring Anthony Quinn.4 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisLee Remick, Carol Burnett and Raquel Welch were considered to play Chris McNeil.21 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty had filed suit against Warner Bros. and William Friedkin over credits and for being barred from production. Friedkin claimed that Blatty was only barred from post-production and that Blatty wanted the credit line, which was added prior to the picture’s release: “William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.” Executive producer Noel Marshall stated that Blatty had dropped the suit against the studio but still had plans to bring a suit against Friedkin over credits and being barred from post-production.15 of 21 found this interesting | Share thisThe film cast includes three Oscar winners: Ellen Burstyn, Mercedes McCambridge and William Peter Blatty (cameo uncredited role) and four Oscar nominees: Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller and Lee J. Cobb19 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisThe first medical test Regan has is an arteriogram. The second medical test is a pneumoencephalograph.19 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisFriedkin and Mercedes McCambridge got into a huge fight after the premiere, because she was not mentioned in the credits. It turned into a big he said/she said situation: him claiming she told him not to mention her, her claiming this is not true, and they screwed her over. She wound up suing Friedkin and the studio. While all this was happening the studio was putting together the network presentation of The Exorcist. Without McCambridge on hand to provide the voice of the demon, Friedkin wound up providing it himself. “I did my best Pazuzu growl and read the lines myself”, he said in a recent interview.6 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin considered Roy Scheider for the role of Father Karras, but for some reason, William Peter Blatty vetoed him.14 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisOther directors that Warner had approached included Arthur Penn (who was teaching at Yale), Peter Bogdanovich (who wanted to pursue other projects, subsequently regretting the decision) and Mike Nichols (who didn’t want to shoot a film so dependent on a child’s performance). The studio actually hired Mark Rydell but William Peter Blatty insisted on William Friedkin.18 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisGeraldine Page turned down the role of the mother that went to Ellen Burstyn.19 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisBernard Herrmann didn’t want to compose the music score for this film, because he felt that Director William Friedkin interfered with him too much. In Susan King’s 2011 with Dorothy Herrmann (Bernard Herrmann’s daughter), she revealed that William Friedkin had told her father (Bernard Herrmann) that he wanted to see the music every day. Dorothy was looking forward to having a dinner at Hotel Carlyle at that time. When she arrived at the hotel suite, and Herrmann said to not touch anything. Herrmann packed everything in his suitcase, told Friedkin where he could go and then went out to stay with his brother in Washington Heights.10 of 14 found this interesting | Share thisWeirdly enough, this is the movie that inspired Jaws. When Exorcist came out as a novel in 1971, and then was such a box office smash when they translated it to the screen in 1973, and since it told such a viscerally terrifying story, Benchley was inspired to create another horror sensation himself, viscerally terrifying everyone in a similar way, and, as a matter of fact, he did exactly that. After Exorcist became the highest grossing horror film in 1973, Jaws became the highest grossing horror film of 1975. They created back to back horror sensations of the 70s, but they are also two very different kinds of movies. Exorcist is an R rated movie strictly for adults, described by many as “pornographic”, one of the edgiest movies ever made, which really pushes the limits of a studio sanctioned, R rated and acceptable mainstream movie, and Jaws is a PG rated family friendly film. Both terrifying, both undeniably very effective, they are in fact two of the best movies ever made, but one works with mostly suggested shocks and gore, the other is trying to be explicitly as shocking as possible.7 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisIn one scene, Lt. Kinderman makes a comment that Father Karras looks like Sal Mineo and a little earlier Karras said he confused Kinderman with Paul Newman. Lee J. Cobb, who plays Kinderman, previously appeared with Newman and Mineo in Exodus (1960).17 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisThe Exorcist was the most popular R rated film of all time when it came out.18 of 29 found this interesting | Share thisChris MacNeil in the book is about 32, he character in the movie is supposed to be thirty-something. Ellen Burnstyn was actually 41 at the time. Fr Merrin is supposed to be 72 in the book, in the movie he is 60 or 70 something. Although in real life Max Von Sydow was 44, only 3 years older than the Chris MacNeil character.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisThe song playing at the bar where Karras is at the beginning is “Ramblin Man” by the Allman brothers, which was released in August of 1973; (and shot to number two on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts) while Friedkin was still filming the movie. The song reflects Karras’ wandering soul; feeling betwixt and between.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty has said he meant to describe Regan’s head as turning around rapidly, not doing a full 180° or a full 360° (which is an impossibility unless you are an owl). Friedkin embellished this. Twice actually, once in the crucifix scene, and once in the exorcism scene. But Blatty wound up admitting this invention on Friedkins part was effective.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisThe Exorcist draws on many influences, most notably Rosemary’s Baby; but also Henry James’ classic horror story about childhood possession, The Turn of the Screw. At the end of that novella, in a scene very similar to the exorcism scene in “The Exorcist”, the governess (who is called Miss Giddens in the movie) shouts at Miles, the possessed boy in the story, to be released from the evil spirit that has been possessing him. At that point some sort of evil presence appears, and then Miles collapses and dies. This is very similar to the scene when Karras shouts at the demon to leave Regan, Pazuzu then enters Karras, and then Karras commits suicide and dies. Also, the scenes where we see Pazuzu’s face appearing are similar to the scenes in Turn of the Screw where we see the face of the evil spirit appearing. (This happens in a very dramatic scene in the film version of Turn of the Screw, 1961’s The Innocents, with Deborah Kerr, where Miss Giddens sees the demonic face of the spirit suddenly peering through a window, looking at her from the outside.) These scenes had a huge influence on The Exorcist.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisKarras’s character returns for Exorcist III, and he has been effectively split into two MPD halves. Miller plays the human Karras, and Brad Douriff plays the possessed Karras, the Gemini killer Karras.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisVeronica Cartwright and James Woods played Chris MacNeil and Fr. Merrin in the Scary movie franchise. In the Saturday Night Live version Richard Pryor played Karras, Thalmus Rusalala played Merrin, Lorraine Newman played Regan and Jane Curtin played Chris. Linda Blair spoofed the Regan role herself in the Exorcist movie satire Repossessed. In the Carol Burnett version Bernadette Peters played Regan, Carol played Chris and Tim Conway played Merrin. There was even a Looney Tunes version called the Duxorcist where Daffy played the Merrin/Exorcist character! (Melissa Duck played the Regan/Chris character, called Mary Duck in this version).3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisThe end of the Exorcist is very similar to the end of a much older movie, the Innocents, which in turn was based on a very old novella which takes place in the 19th century, The Turn of the Screw, written by Henry James, also about the possession of a child by an evil spirit, and the attempts of an adult authority figure to save that child. Miles’ possession by the evil spirit Quint in that movie is similar to Regan’s possession by the Devil/Pazzuzzu. The final scene where Deborah Kerr, the governess Miss Gideon, shouts at Miles to admit he’s Quint, and then the boy dies, is all very similar to Merrin shouting at Regan about Christ, and then him and Karras dying in the struggle. Blatty was definitely affected by this early 19th century story of possession when he crafted the Exorcist.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisA stunt double named Elien Dietz played both Regan in certain scenes, as well as Pazazu. She played Regan in the vomiting scene, and she played Pazazu when we saw the white faced demon superimposed around the house, and when it popped up in the possession scene in the background. Although Dietz looks hideous in these scenes, she is actually a beautiful model in real life.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisThe little cabin in which William Peter Blatty wrote The Exorcist novel, used to belong to Angela Lansbury.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisPaul Bateson (born August 24, 1940) is an American former radiographer and convicted murderer. He appeared as a radiological technologist in a scene from the 1973 horror film The Exorcist, which was inspired when the film’s director, William Friedkin, watched him perform a cerebral angiography the previous year. The scene, with a considerable amount of blood onscreen, was, for many viewers, the film’s most disturbing scene, medical professionals have praised it for its realism.
In 1979, Bateson was convicted of the murder of film industry journalist Addison Verrill and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison; in 2003 he was released on parole, which ended after five years. Prior to Bateson’s trial, police and prosecutors implicated him in a series of unsolved slayings of gay men in Manhattan, killings he had reportedly boasted about while in jail, bringing it up at his sentencing. However, no additional charges ever were brought against him. The experience inspired Friedkin to make the 1980 film Cruising which, while based on a novel written years earlier, incorporated in its storyline the city’s leather subculture, with which Bateson had identified.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisIronically Chris also has a temper, and uses profanities. Except when she does this it is seen as making the character colorful and strong, and it is meant to illustrate the tragedy of the situation. When Regan does this, it is just seen as monstrous.5 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to Christian doctrine, Father Karras could not have become possessed at the end of the movie because no demon or the devil can dwell where the Holy Spirit (God) is. In this case the priest was a saved child of God and therefore had the Holy Spirit within him.8 of 11 found this interesting | Share thisThough veteran cinematographer Owen Roizman (The French Connection (1971), Network (1976)) is credited as the sole cinematographer of this film (and, furthermore, was the sole cinematographer nominated for the Academy Award for the film), William Friedkin has revealed that, owing to international relations with the British, Billy Williams, who shot Women in Love (1969) for Ken Russell, was actually the cinematographer who traveled to Mosul to shoot the opening Iraq prologue sequence of this film.6 of 8 found this interesting | Share thisSharon Stone was considered for Regan McNeil.21 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisBarbra Streisand declined the role of Chris McNeil.21 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisJason Miller‘s Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year.7 of 10 found this interesting | Share thisKen Nordine was considered for the demon’s voice, but William Friedkin thought it would be best not to use a man’s voice.13 of 22 found this interesting | Share thisAmong the myriad television spoofs of this movie was an episode of The Odd Couple which featured Felix and Oscar battling a possessed air conditioner. It was called The Exorcists.4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty the original author of the book is also one of the film’s producers. He also plays the producer of the movie Chris MacNeil is starring in; and you can see him in the scene where she (Ellen Burnstyn) is on set confronting the students. This is a very Meta touch, (movie-wthin-a-movie).4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisPazuzu keeps referring to himself as an “us”, like a colony of souls all grouped together. (Not dissimilar from the colony being the Borg in the Star Trek series). It’s as if he absorbs other people and they become part of him. Regan/Pazuzu tells Damien his mother “is here…with us.” And the mother keeps coming to the surface, crying out to Damien. Later the demon says he would like to be joined together with Damien: “You can be part of us.” This makes more sense if we see Pazuzu in the conventional sense of how Satan is depicted in the Bible, the ruler of Hell, and all lost souls become part of him, become his property.4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisBefore The Exorcist the most famous Regan in academia, literature and the world of western culture was Shakespeare’s Regan in King Lear. She is one of Lear’s evil daughters who plots against him to have him murdered. Cliffnotes describes Regan in very evil terms:” Regan is Lear’s second daughter. Regan is as villainous as Goneril. Regan’s plucking of Gloucester’s beard reinforces the point that she has no respect for age or rank.” This might have been why Blatty chose the name Regan for the demon possessed child in this story; it is the name of a villainous and murderous daughter in Shakespeare.4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisMuch has been made of the book’s debate weather the demon is Pazuzu, an ancient Assyrian demon god of fertility and the harvest; or the Devil himself. At the beginning of the novel the demon tells Miller that he is The Devil himself. Merrin seems to suggest later that this claim is a lie; and the demon is a lesser spirit; some carryover from the ancient worlds of the middle east; namely Pazuzu. Later evidence further shows that this spirit is probably Pazuzu; the demonic entity Merrin seems to be facing off with as he looks at the ancient Assyrian ruins; and the implication is that if the demon is in Iran/ancient Assyria, as opposed to Jerusalem or some site traditionally associated with Christianity; then the demon must be the ancient spirit of Assyrian Legend; not the Judeo Christian Satan; whose relics are usually found in another part of the world and associated with a different time period. But this is also thrown into question at the beginning when Merrin finds the Christian artifacts near buried near the Pazuzu statue; at the beginning of the movie in the Iran archeological dig scene; he comments that it is odd that there would be Christian iconography, which is from a later era, buried with the ancient Assyrian Pazuzu statues; in the same level of ground. As Merrin ponders this mixture of Christian and Pagan icons we are left to ponder the implications of the scene itself; that perhaps Pazuzu is in fact the Devil; or one of his minions. The story suggests that maybe these creatures are all one and the same. Further evidence to suggest that Pazuzu is in fact the Devil, or one of the minions of Satan; are that the spirit shouts at Damien and says “your mother s—- c—- in hell!” Hell is a Christian concept; not an Assyrian one. Also the demon shrinks away from the crucifix; a christian symbol; it’s questionable if an Assyrian demon would even know what a crucifix was. The demon also desecrates a Christian church; why would he do this if he was a spirit from ancient Assyria; it makes more sense if that spirit were in league somehow with the Devil himself. All of this points to the demon of the story being both an ancient Assyrian spirit; and also either the Devil or one of his minions as well; all at the same time; and that these evil entities are all intermixed in one being. Particularly in the scene where the demon says to Damien; “Your mother is in here with us”; and invites Damien to “join us”. “Us” appears to be some unified evil entity; all the fallen angels of earth, the Devil, his minions, and ancient spirits like Pazuzu; all mixed together in one larger spiritual entity; much in the same way modern Judeo Christian faith preaches that God is one with us; and all the good spirits of earth and the universe are united as well.4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisThe mother in The Exorcist, Ellen Burstyn, hesitated in performing an action stunt where her onscreen child Regan was wounding her; she wound up telling director William Friedkin she would do the stunt where she was thrown across the room to the wall, but asked him not to have the production coordinator pull the rope she was tied to too hard. She wound up doing the stunt and getting wounded; in fact, she blames Friedkin for permanently wounding her spine, an injury she still struggles with (Friedkin never denied this, and the stunt coordinators concur in interviews that they were pulling the rope as hard as possible, against her wishes). Because of this, and perhaps as a direct result, when a similar scene was done in The Omen (1976) where Kathy, the mother played by Lee Remick, gets knocked off the balcony of her home by the malevolent bicycle-riding son Damien, Remick adamantly refused to do the stunt. Finally, the director Richard Donner (who was less of a maniac than Friedkin) re-staged the stunt so that Remick being pushed off the balcony was an optical illusion. Luckily, this time no one was hurt.4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisKay Lenz turned down the role of Regan McNeil because she didn’t like the script. William Friedkin decided she was too old.14 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisIn an interview on the January 12, 2007 broadcast of the Mr. KABC radio program it was revealed that actress/comedienne April Winchell was being seriously considered for the part of Regan MacNeil; however, she had developed a serious kidney infection which caused her to be hospitalized and ultimately taken out of consideration.15 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisParapsychologist and Occult/Supernatural Expert Christopher Chacon was utilized by Warner Brothers to promote the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition.15 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisThere were claims that other child actresses were offered the role of Regan, but turned it down. Dana Plato publicly said her mother refused to let her be in such a controversial film, but at at the time of filming, she would’ve only been 8 years old. The studio had been looking for someone who was 12 years old at the time or a teenager who looked that age. Curiously, Dana would later appear in Exorcist II – The Heretic, but in a small uncredited part. There was also a claim by someone on a daytime talk show that Anissa Jones from the 1960s TV series, Family Affair, turned down the role too. Jones actually auditioned, but didn’t get the part due to her famous role as Buffy. With only modeling jobs to her credit, the unknown Linda Blair ultimately got to be Regan and it was during a time when the studio was worried a young actress wouldn’t be able to handle such a difficult and controversial role.2 of 2 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Friedkin said that working on the remastered edition finally exposed him to the full soundtrack of the film for the first time. Hearing the sound in high definition on Bluray, he noticed small and subtle sound effects that he had never noticed before on earlier editions of the film that were of lesser technical quality.2 of 2 found this interesting | Share thisIncluded among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.18 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisJack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Ryan O’Neal, Peter Fonda, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, Robert Blake, Christopher Walken, Alain Delon, James Caan, Roy Scheider, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Elliott Gould, Alan Alda, and George Hamilton were considered for the role of Father Karras.7 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisKane Hodder‘s favorite film.35 of 85 found this interesting | Share thisThree sitcom stars were up for the role of Regan: Anissa Jones (AKA Buffy on Family Affair); Dana Plato (Kimberly on Diffrent Strokes); and Eve Plumb (Jan on the Brady Bunch). Ironically, two of these actresses, Anyssa Jones and Dana Plato, would die at a very young age of drug addiction.3 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisAll the giants of horror have been spun off into merchandising and toy products, and the Exorcist is no exception. There have been many Pazazu Regan Dolls, Fr. Merrin toys and dolls, even Exorcist plush toys. There’s even a Barbiexorcist, which is a video version of the Exorcist using Barbie dolls as Regan, Fr. Merrin, etc!3 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisMax Von Sydow’s next big role after this was as Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon.3 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisThe Bad Seed (1956), Village of the Damned (1960), The Innocents (1961) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968) are all precursors to the film in the development of the whole demon child genre.15 of 34 found this interesting | Share thisLouise Fletcher plays Dr. Gene Tusk in Exorcist 2. This is interesting because she was up for the Chris MacNeil part in Exorcist 1 and was passed over, the role went to Ellen Burnstyn, but Fletcher graciously decided to come back to do Exorcist 2 anyway. Similarly, Richard Burton was being considered for the Merrin part in The Exorcist, and was rejected for the part in favor of Max Von Sydow who got the role, and then Burton came back to appear in part 2 anyway playing the title role “Heretic” of that movie. Also similarly, Dana Plato was being considered for the Regan role in the Exorcist, and was passed over, and wound up appearing in Exorcist 2 anyway. Also similarly John Boorman was offered the role of director for part 1, turned it down, and then came back to direct part 2. In this way Exorcist 2 can be seen as kind of the road company version of Exorcist 1’s original Broadway cast.5 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisEarly in the film, a man is seen wearing a Montreal Canadiens hat. The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in June 1973, six months before the release of the film.24 of 65 found this interesting | Share thisPamelyn Ferdin, a veteran of science fiction and supernatural drama, was a candidate for the role of Regan, but was ultimately turned down because her career thus far had made her too familiar to the public.9 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisIn the novel, the MacNeils are not Catholic. It’s not explicitly stated they’re Catholic in the movie either. We never learn what the MacNeils’ religious affiliations are, although when one of the doctor first mentions turns the radical religious ceremony to Chris, she says it’s like going to a witch doctor, implying she is not catholic. We also see that Chris is friends with Father O’Malley, one of the Jesuit priests and teachers at Georgetown who attends the party Chris throws at the beginning of the movie, and later brings his friend Damien Karras in as exorcist, who is in the same order and Parrish. This may point to Chris possibly being Catholic, but we’re not sure. On the DVD commentary, William Friedkin states that Chris MacNeil is agnostic.10 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisGoblin’s tubular bell with a rock backdrop theme song to Suspiria (1977) owes more than a small debt to the “Exorcist” theme song.11 of 29 found this interesting | Share thisIn the soundtrack liner notes for Sorcerer (1977), William Friedkin said had he heard the music of Tangerine Dream earlier, he would have had them score this film.7 of 17 found this interesting | Share thisFeatures the only Oscar nominated performances of Jason Miller and Linda Blair.5 of 11 found this interesting | Share thisFavourite film of Mark Kermode.18 of 57 found this interesting | Share thisWriting in Rolling Stone, Jon Landau felt the film was, “[N]othing more than a religious porn film, the gaudiest piece of shlock this side of Cecil B. DeMille (minus that gentleman’s wit and ability to tell a story)2 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisVincent Canby, writing in the New York Times, dismissed The Exorcist as “a chunk of elegant occultist claptrap…[A] practically impossible film to sit through…it establishes a new low for grotesque special effects…”2 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisThe demons in Exorcist 1, 2 and 3 are all voiced by females. (Mercedes Mccambridge in Exorcist 1, Linda Blair in Part 2 and Colleen Dewhurst in Part 3).2 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisIncluded among the American Film Institute’s 2001 list of the Top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.1 of 1 found this interesting | Share thisJill Clayburgh auditioned for the role of Sharon.11 of 33 found this interesting | Share thisIncluded among the American Film Institute’s 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.4 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisThe only film that year to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars.3 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisPrimarily in the infamous scene where Regans bed is shaking a Charlie Brown figure can be seen with a blue baseball cap sitting on Regans right bedside table, and can also be seen on one Lobby card that came in The Exorcist 25th anniversary Widescreen VHS box set that came out in 1998.4 of 10 found this interesting | Share thisThis film loosely inspired The Bollywood Blockbuster horror movie 1920 (2008).3 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisIn a way, this movie can be seen as the flip side of OH GOD BOOK TWO. The Exorcist is a movie about a little girl overtaken by the Devil, or a demon, with the purpose to spread the word that Satan is gaining power, will be destroying the world soon, and to make people despair, etc. In Oh God Book Two, the little girl is overtaken by the presence of God to spread his message of hope, to inspire people. In Oh God Book Two George Burns even says to the girl, Tracie, (Played by LuANNE), “I don’t like to mess with kids. There are so many movies about kids going through so much trouble, having so much stuff happen to them… Terrible things. I figure kids have enough to worry about, I don’t need to mess with them to spread my word.” This is a direct reference to how the demon terrorizes Linda Blair in The Exorcist, and how the Oh God movies are a response to that, in a sense.3 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisLt. Kinderman returns in Exorcist III, although it’s not Lee Cobb who plays him, it’s George C. Scott.2 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisLong before William Friedkin settled on the now-famous Exorcist soundtrack music, he met with Bernard Herrmann, who was living in London. After viewing a rough cut of the film, the iconic film composer bluntly stated that the entire first scene should be removed. He then insisted on scoring The Exorcist by himself there in England, after which he would just send the audiotapes to Friedkin. Taking his leave, Friedkin shook the mercurial master’s hand, saying “Thank you for letting me meet an interesting person.”2 of 4 found this interesting | Share thisAnissa Jones auditioned for the role of Regan, but she was rejected.5 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisPamelyn Ferdin, a veteran of science fiction and supernatural drama, was a candidate for the role of Regan.6 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisThere are two Exorcist movies that have serial killers in them. In the original Exorcist one of the actors that played a medical assistant at the hospital where Regan was undergoing tests turned out to be a serial killer in real life! Then part 3 has an actual serial killer character in the movie, Jason Miller’s Karras, who survived after jumping out the Macneil’s window at the end of part 1 , was still possessed by a demon himself, and his alternate identity, known as the Gemini Killer, was played by Brad Dourif, and was a serial killer. So life imitates art.2 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisStill the ninth most commercially successful movie of all time, if adjusted for inflation.1 of 2 found this interesting | Share thisThere was supposed to be a turning of the tables in part 1 of this series and part 3. Part 1 was about a little girl, Regan, who was possessed by a demon, and is confronted by the priest Miller, (father Karras), and who winds up performing an Exorcist on the girl to save her. In part 3 the Miller/Fr. Karras character is supposed to come back, having survived the jump from the Macneil’s balcony, and is now possessed himself by Pazazu (apparently Pazazu can inhabit more than one person at a time, since he is also in Regan in part 2, so he obviously never left her body!). And in part 3 instead of Karras performing the exorcism, he is having the exorcism performed on him. (Although the actor playing the character in those scenes is played not by Miller but by Brad Dourif, his demonic alternate identity).1 of 2 found this interesting | Share thisThe only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Adapted Screenplay.2 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to the Exorcist 3, the events in the first Exorcist movie take place in 1975.Is this interesting? | Share thisDirector Renny Harlin did reshoots, uncredited as the producers didn’t consider Paul Schrader’s cut of his film gory enough.Is this interesting? | Share this
William Peter Blatty: The writer of the novel can be seen in the film during the filming scene, standing next to Burke Dennings with a large moustache and wearing a moleskin jacket.105 of 106 found this interesting | Share thisElinore Blair: The nurse who comes into Dr. Taney’s office after the arteriogram is Linda Blair‘s mother.71 of 76 found this interesting | Share this
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.The demon that possesses Regan MacNeil is named Pazuzu in both the novel and the script; director William Friedkin confirms this on the audio-commentary track. However, this name is never mentioned in any cut of the film, being first used on-screen in the sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). During the film, Pazuzu lies to Father Damien Karras by claiming to be the Devil/Satan, but conversations with Father Lankester Merrin show this claim to be false.90 of 90 found this interesting | Share thisThe sound of the demon leaving Regan’s body is actually the sound of pigs being herded for slaughter. This alludes to a story in the New Testament where Jesus cast out several demons, collectively called Legion, from a man and transfers them into the bodies of pigs. The pigs are then drowned, similar to Father Karris dying after accepting the demon.156 of 158 found this interesting | Share thisIn 1985, when Joel Schumacher was filming St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) at Georgetown, and attempted to get permission from the Jesuit priest faculty at that school to film there, he was rejected. Schumacher complained to the faculty: “You let Bill Friedkin film ‘The Exorcist’ here in ’73, and one of the characters in that movie said ,’Your mother sucks cocks in hell!'” One of the Jesuit priests answered, “Yes, but the devil didn’t win in their movie”.151 of 153 found this interesting | Share thisThe “Exorcist steps”, 75 (or 74 – one is very small) stone steps at the end of M Street in Georgetown, were padded with 1/2″-thick rubber to film the death of Father Karras. The stuntman tumbled down the stairs twice. Georgetown University students charged people around $5 each to watch the stunt from the rooftops.103 of 104 found this interesting | Share thisDirector William Friedkin went to some extraordinary lengths to get realistic reactions from the cast. He fired off guns behind the actors to get the required startled effect. When Father Dyer is attempting to administer last rites to Father Karris, Friedkin was not satisfied after several takes. He took William O’Malley aside and asked, “Do you trust me?” O’Malley said yes just in time to get slapped across the face. Friedkin immediately said, “Action!” and the result is in the film. He even went so far as to put Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn in harnesses and have crew members yank them violently.164 of 169 found this interesting | Share thisAlthough Mercedes McCambridge provided Pazuzu’s lines from the moment when Karras confronts the possessed Regan for the first time up until the final confrontation, Linda Blair and Ron Faber also provided lines for Pazuzu. Blair’s voice can be heard when the possessed Regan screams “Fuck me!” in a raspy, high-pitched voice. Faber provided two lines in this same scene, but he also recorded Pazuzu’s lines during the entire “demonic head-spin” scene and he also provided a growl in the sequence where Karras is possessed by the demon.74 of 76 found this interesting | Share thisThe entire exorcism scene, from start to end, lasts 9 minutes.94 of 102 found this interesting | Share thisUnless you’ve read the book, you may not know that when Regan turns her head all the way around the first time and says, “Do you know what she did? Your c***ing daughter?”, the demon is imitating Burke Dennings the director who fell from Regan’s window. The head turning represents how Burke’s head was turned completely around, and the words that Regan as the demon say are telling Chris that Regan killed Burke.53 of 58 found this interesting | Share thisBoth Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave “The Exorcist” four stars. This is amazing, considering Gene Siskel was notoriously prudish about horror movies. He gave a thumbs down to Poltergeist, Aliens (1986) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Siskel frequently complained about the terrorizing of children in movies, and complained about similar themes in Poltergeist (1982), but he said “The Exorcist” had such stunning professionalism at every level, and the ending was so moving with the priests heroically sacrificing themselves for the child, he said he loved it.19 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisBesides Mercedes McCambridge‘s lawsuit for credit on the film, Eileen Dietz also charged that she played the role of the demon during the exorcism scene. Director William Friedkin denies this, and has cited that Dietz’s actual screen time is less that one minute, as she served as little more than a body double for Linda Blair. Nevertheless, Dietz, as of 2014, continues to promote herself as “Captain Howdy,” the demon from this film, in interviews and at horror conventions around the world.37 of 42 found this interesting | Share thisWe learn in Exorcist 3 that Father Damien does not die at the end of Exorcist, after jumping out the Macneil’s window and falling down the stairs, he survives! The part is played by the same actor in part 3 that he is in part 1; Jason Miller. But he has resurfaced as a mental patient now whose personality has split. Karras actually has an exorcism done on him in part 3. Half the time he’s played by Miller, who plays Karras, and half the time he splits into a demonic serial killer, played by Brad Dourif. This is not because Director Blatty thought Miller was too limited to play the demonic side of Karras. It’s because the studio insisted Blatty insert the exorcism scenes after the film was finished shooting. And although Miller performed fine during the early days of shooting, by the time they get to the exorcism scenes later into the shoot, his alcoholism got the best of him. He fell off the wagon in a relapse, and Brad Dourif had to finish for him, playing the demonic Gemini, Damien’s demonic ID.9 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Karras falls down the stairs, the words “fight pigs” are spray-painted near the stairs. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus exorcises a man, upon which the demons beg to be cast into a herd of pigs. Pigs (a slang term for police) are also referenced on protestors’ signs during the movie set scene.23 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisBody count: 4.16 of 22 found this interesting | Share this“The Exorcist”, “The Omen” and “Carrie” are all highly regarded 70s demon child movies thought to be the progeny of “Rosemary’s Baby”, and there are many similar themes between the three movies, as well as similar characters, and many striking differences. The Chris from “The Exorcist” is the hero; Chris (MacNeil) who is the mother of the demon child in “The Exorcist”. The Chris in “Carrie” though, Chris Hargenson, is the villain of that story, the bully who spills the pigs’ blood on “Carrie”. Similarly William from “The Exorcist”, Lt. William Kinderman, is one of the heroes of that story, the detective who is trying to solve the Burke Rankings murder, whereas the William from “Carrie”, Billy Nolan, is one of the villains who kills the pigs that they use to spill blood on “Carrie” with. Karl from “The Exorcist”, Chris’ cook and Butler, is a nebulous character who could be either good or bad; whereas Carl from “The Omen”, Carl Bugenhagen, is one of the heroes of that story, he is the exorcist who gives Robert Thorne the knives to kill Damien. Damien on the other hand is the hero of “The Exorcist”; Damien Karras is the priest who stops the demon at the end of “The Exorcist”. Whereas Damien in “The Omen”, Damien Thorne the anti-Christ, is the villain of the “Omen” series who is trying to bring on Armageddon. Tom in “The Exorcist” is a priest who is trying to help the heroes; and Tom in “Carrie”, Tommy Ross, is the kind boy who befriends Carrie at the ending and tries to make her feel loved. The nanny in “The Exorcist”, Sharon Spencer, is a good character who is trying to help Chris and save Regan. The nanny in “The Omen” is an evil character, Mrs. Baylock, who is also trying to save the demon child of that story, but will do it by any means possible, even if it means killing the rest of the Thorne family. The father in “The Omen” is good; Robert Thorne is the hero who is trying to stop the anti-Christ. The father in “Carrie” is nebulous, Ralph White has abandoned Margaret and Carrie before the story starts; not enough information is provided to enable the audience to know him well enough to know if he caused all the problems in the story or not, although Margaret accuses him of raping her at the ending, and Carrie says he ran out on them; and he has not kept up with Carrie either, he abandoned her when she could have used his help in dealing with her mom; so all of this does make him seem bad and negative. And the father in “The Exorcist” is definitely bad; he runs out on Chris and Regan, does not even check in on his daughter on her birthday, or even when she is battling Pazuzu, and obviously does not care about her, and it’s hinted that his abandoning the family is what allows the demon to get control of Regan in the first place. The mothers in “The Exorcist” and “The Omen”, Chris and Catherine, are both good, although Catherine might be more of a victim, whereas Chris might be stronger; she stands up to evil and saves her daughter and herself in the ending. And Margaret, the mother in “Carrie”, is very evil and crazy, and her abusiveness towards Carrie, and her insistence on keeping her shuttered away from the rest of society is what sets up the bullying dynamic with the other kids in the story and the tragedy at the prom as well. The demon child attacks all three mothers in the stories; in “Carrie” she kills her, in “The Omen” he knocks her off a step stool with his big wheel tricycle, and in “The Exorcist” Regan throws Chris against a wall and telekinetically shoves a chest of drawers in her direction. There is an exorcist in all three stories and they are also different. In “The Exorcist”, the exorcist of that story is one of the heroes, Lancaster Merrin, is trying to save Regan from Pazuzu. The exorcist in “The Omen”, Carl Bugenhagen, is also heroic, but he is trying to kill the demon child in “The Omen”, not save him. There is also an exorcist in “Carrie”, Margaret White, who does an exorcism ceremony on her daughter after she goes to the prom; although unlike the other two exorcists who are good, Margaret is quite crazy and winds up trying to kill her daughter at the end of “Carrie”. The three demon children are also strikingly different. Regan in “The Exorcist”, is a good girl with an evil demon trapped inside her, and for most of that story, because she is possessed, she is actively evil and trying to kill, corrupt and destroy the people around her. Damien, however, is the anti-Christ, but he does seem to be fully aware of his evil and his powers; until the final chapter of this series. He seems to be manipulated by evil forces around him for most of “The Omen”. Even in the infamous tricycle scene, it seems like he’s being manipulated by his father, the Devil, and isn’t completely aware of what he’s doing in that scene. Carrie on the other hand, is a sympathetic demon child; for most of the story she is a very sweet, put upon victim character, and when she finally does use her powers, it’s only because evil people around her have pushed her into it; and they more or less deserve her punishment of them, unlike the demon children in “The Omen” and “The Exorcist”.5 of 14 found this interesting | Share thisThe movie does not resolve the murder investigation as far as Regan is concerned. She should still be suspected of killing Burke Dennings (she did in fact kill Burke Dennings), but neither the book nor the movie address this. This is probably because this case would pose a serious legal conundrum: the fact that they (believe they) have exorcised Pazuzu does not exonerate Regan, as using the “Devil Made Me Do It” defense would not work. Oher defendants have tried to use it in the past for murder, and it has obviously never worked. However, if the law were to categorically rule out a demonic possession as an explanation, then they would have a hard time explaining how a sick young girl could kill a grown-up man, and throw him out of a window. It is no surprise that Karl Engstrom, Chris Macneil’s caretaker, is detained earlier in the film because they suspect him of killing Dennings, since he had access, a clearer motive (Dennings had picked a fight with him earlier) as well as the physical capacity. When Lt. Kinderman allows Chris and Regan to essentially flee the scene of the crime at the ending, it seems clear that he actually believes that Regan was taken over by the demon who made her act against her will. Now that it is gone, she’s off the hook. Even if Kinderman didn’t believe this explanation, there was little he could do, given that two more people died (father Merrin and Karras), one from apparent suicide.