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“The Exorcist” – A Movie that Paved the Way for Many Other Epic Horror Flicks

Entertainment | October 25, 2018

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin, 1973. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

It's that time of year again! Yep… Halloween is coming and the horror movies are on all the cable television channels including HBO, Cinemax and the Sci-Fi channels. All of cable television will be capitalizing on the very films that are designed to scare the living daylights out of audiences. Years ago, horror films were low budget and poorly made. The Blob and other horror flicks, prior to the groovy era, were just “so-so” at best as far as quality and the fright factor.  

The Exorcist is a classic and iconic film and is considered to be a supernatural horror film; one of the first of its kind to be taken seriously.

Horror films weren’t always just produced with Halloween in mind. The fact is that, for some reason, people are drawn to the fright and gore of the horror flicks. There is something about them that is just so horrific yet appealing at the same time. The only thing I can think to equate horror movies to is train and car wrecks. You just know it is going to be bad or disturbing but you can’t “not look!”

The Exorcist is one of the first films of its kind that instilled true human fear of the supernatural! It was released in 1973 and is still by far one of the most disturbing horror flicks of all time.

Pop culture may not have been ready for The Exorcist back in the groovy era, but everyone took notice when it hit the big screen. The content was to have been so disturbing that many theaters in the United States initially refused to show it because of the subject matter. Subsequent to its release, reports of mass hysteria and all sorts of physical trauma were blamed on the film. The storyline of The Exorcist centered around the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl. Her mother attempted to win back her soul by employing the exorcism powers of 2 Catholic priests.

Chances are that you have seen The Exorcist. The question, however, is did you know some of these fun and disturbing facts about the production of one of the most iconic horror movies of the groovy era?

  • The Exorcist was the first horror film to receive a nomination for the prestigious Academy Awards for Best Picture.
  • Although nothing came it, Jane Fonda, Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn were thought of during the casting process.

  • In one of the scenes, Regan, portrayed by Linda Blair, throws a heap of something green and gross at one of the priests. That “something” was actually pea soup.

  • Ellen Burstyn only agreed to take the role of Chris MacNeil after being promised that her character wasn’t required to recite the line, “I believe in the Devil.” She was somewhat superstitious and, ironically, suffered a permanent spinal injury as a result of filming one of the scenes.
  • Evangelist, Billy Graham was so disturbed by this film that he claimed that he was being haunted by an actual demon.
  • At least one person approached to direct The Exorcist turned down the job because of the disturbing content of the film. 

  • Dana Plato, who appeared in Diff’rent Strokes, was said to have been offered the starring role of Regan in The Exorcist.
  • The Exorcist was voted the Scariest Movie of all time by time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • Nine people were reported to have died during the filming of The Exorcist.
  • The Exorcist is supposedly based on a true story.
  • The iconic actor, Jack Nicholson, was initially in the running for one of the priests in The Exorcist.

Like it or hate it, there is no denying that The Exorcist is a part of pop culture that will definitely go down in theatrical history.

Tags: 1973 | Behind The Scenes | Movies In The 1970s | The Exorcist

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Karen Harris


Karen left the world of academic, quitting her job as a college professor to write full-time. She spends her days with her firefighter husband and four daughters on a hobby farm with an assortment of animals, including a goat named Atticus, a turkey named Gravy, and a chicken named Chickaletta.