When 1973 classic horror The Exorcist, hit the big Screen it took the World by storm and quickly gained a reputation. With record breaking box office figures this movie went on to earn more than $ 441 Million ( around $ 1. 862 Billion by todays standards).
The Plot line forces us to stare our worst nightmares in the face, it gives evil a face, and a voice …that voice.
This movie had such an impact on audiences that it created such a strong Physiological and Psychological response, so much so that theaters saw cases of vomiting, fainting, which one woman broke her jaw, and a large number of audience members left theaters long before the end and refused to return.
Some even ran straight to a church in order to receive a blessing.
The effect on people was so Severe that the church saw a Sudden rise in attendance and requests for exorcisms sky rocketed as some believed they, themselves Were possessed.
Based on true events, The Exorcist presents an innocent, beautiful young girl who transforms into a diabolical Creature intent on her destruction by the form of possession. This taboo and controversial subject forced audiences to Confront the reality behind the concept.
It is no surprise that rumors of a curse quickly began to Circulate and the studio facilitated the fact. The media Coverage of this curse most likely contributed to the films popularity. It seems that the studio made every effort to make this already controversial movie even more so, going as far as releasing the movie during a period of religious celebration.
The movies mysterious events began during the production almost immediately. The Set for the home of the McNeil’s caught fire and burned down when a bird flew into a circuit box. Practically the entire set was decimated by the fire, however the area in which the exorcisms take place in the film (Regan’s bedroom ) was untouched by the disaster. The incident caused huge delays in filming increasing their shoot time to just over a year.
It wasn’t just the set that was Struck by what seemed as a curse. A few of the cast and crew fell victim in different ways, but there was a common trend with this curse…...death.
For a Production that was shooting for just over a year, you might expect one or two deaths to effect cast and crew, however, the number of deaths that visited this production is excessive.
Jack MacGowan who plays Burke Dennings, and VasiIiki Makiaros, Whose characters both Perish in the Script, both passed away just after the film wrapped. Even the shows star Linda Blair wasn’t Immune, She lost her Grandfather and actor Max Von Sydow lost his brother. Even those closest to those involved in the film were tragically effected. Jason Miller who plays Father Damien Karras almost lost his son in a motorbike accident and Mercedes McCambridge, who gives us the Voice of the demon experienced a horrific loss when her son Murdered his wife and children before taking his own life.
With all of the Mishaps, tragedies, and accidents to occur on set and during production it is no surprise that they had a Jesuit priest Thomas M. King Perform a blessing for the cast, crew and the set. When asked if they had Seen or felt anything strange while filming, most said that at times the set would feel heavy and tense at times.
The cast and crew also experienced a lot of injury during filming. Ellen Burstyn, Who plays Regans Mother, Suffered Permanent damage to her spine during a Stunt in which Regan throws her from the bed. The Screaming and cries Were real in that scene.
It is no Surprise then that many believed that playing the movie alone could simply invite possession. Televangelist Billy Graham Said “There is a power of evil in the film, in the fabric of the film it’s self” – is It possible that he was right ? People believed in the power of evil within the film so much that Linda Blair received death threats.
If the rumors of the curse before its release didn’t convince them, some events during the showings may just have swayed opinions. During a showing in Rome, audiences had to fight through a torrential down pour accompanied by thunder and lightening to get to the theater. Witnesses reported hearing a demonic Voice cry out as the showing began. This event was coupled with the clap of thunder and lightening. The lightening struck a 400 year old cross that stood on the top of a 16th century church. Coincidence?
The shocking Scenes and touchy Subject meant that all screenings of The Exorcist banned in every middle eastern country. So was there something paranormal happening? or was it all just coincidence? hysteria? fear?what do you think?
Did the Film affect you?
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Amy Amelia Sirdifield