With Halloween just around the corner, I thought I would do some research and investigations about my favorite movie of all time: The Exorcist. While many thought the movie was not scary at all, others were terrified (especially me); partially based on the fact that the movie, which started out as a book, was based on a true story, and also because at the time of it's release, NO movie had ever been made like this one -- it was truly the first of it's kind. Today we see many demon and devil movies; personally I'm so used to them they don't scare me at all - I love them, but none can match the effect The Exorcist had on me!! The characters' roles were played to perfection and even the music theme is creepy to me: Tubular Bells, which I have as a ring tone on my cell - this has caused lots of head-turning while my cell goes off in the mall!
What I found even more interesting were the facts behind the story and the trivial notes of some of the scenes. When we watch a movie sometimes we forget the trouble and havoc that can happen during the shooting of such a complex movie. There is also a Part 2 to this review with even more trivia and facts that I think you will find enjoyable.
William Peter Blatty based his novel on a supposedly genuine exorcism from 1949, which was partially performed in both Cottage City, Maryland, and Bel-Nor, 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.
To view more of the whole story (and it is extremely interesting) about the the possessed boy and how Blatty later wrote the original novel based on this horrible story, click HERE - following is part of the story about "Roland".
How It All Started
The movie which starred Linda Blair as a young girl possessed by an evil spirit was based on the real life story of a thirteen-year-old Lutheran boy from Georgetown, USA.
The boy – who the newspapers of the time named as Roland - manifested his ‘possession’ by levitating, overturning furniture, speaking in a deep, gravelly voice – often Latin - using obscenities, moving his head in a bizarre, snake-like fashion, spitting with amazing accuracy into the eyes of priests and producing welts on his body that spelt out words.
His body also became horribly bloated, his room dropped to icy temperatures, and he slashed the arms of a priest called into help him.
Roland is believed to have become possessed after his aunt taught him how to use the Ouija board.
It was January of 1949 when the bizarre and terrifying paranormal events began in the boy’s home. Eerie scratching noises bombarded the usually quite residence. Soon after the noises started, Roland’s aunt mysteriously died. But Roland continued using the Ouija Board, only now it was to contact his aunt.
Soon, the noises in the house suddenly shifted into Roland’s bedroom.
The boy’s bed would shake violently, toys and other objects would fly across the room and the scratching sounds escalated.
Frantic with worry, Roland’s mother decided to contact a priest. When the minister visited Roland’s room, the boy started speaking in Latin – a language he had never learnt. He told the priest he was the devil.
The minister arranged for Roland to spend a night with him in his own home so he could witness any strange behavior without interference from the family.
While sitting in the dark, the priest watched and listened as the boy slept. Then suddenly, he heard scratching on the walls. He woke the boy and placed him in a heavy armchair, the chair tipped over spilling the boy to the floor, while several blankets flew around the room.
Roland first underwent exorcism at Georgetown University Hospital. He was strapped to a bed as Father E. Albert Hughes conducted the ceremony. The boy allegedly broke free of his restraints and slashed Hughes’s arm with a bedspring. The priest required 100 stiches to close the wound.
The exorcism was unsuccessful. Although Dr. J. B. Rhine, director of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University, referred to the haunting as a very impressive manifestation.
On August 20, 1949, The Washington Post stated that it took over thirty exorcism rituals by three separate religious denominations to cast the devil from the boy’s body.
Roland was finally freed of demonic possession by Father William Bowdern at Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis.
Contortionist Linda R. Hager was hired to perform the infamous "spider-walk scene" that was filmed on April 11, 1973. Friedkin deleted the scene just prior to the original December 26, 1973 release date because he felt it was ineffective technically. However, with advanced developments in digital media technology, Friedkin worked with CGI artists to make the scene look more convincing for the 2000 theatrically re-released version of The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen. Since the original release, myths and rumors still exist that a variety of spider-walk scenes were filmed despite Friedkin's insistence that no alternate version was ever shot.
Creepy Facts About The Movie
♦ Nine people died during the making of "The Exorcist".
♦ The set for "The Exorcist" burnt down during production delaying the film for 6 weeks.
♦ It caused widespread hysteria when released. Reports of fainting, people being institutionalized, and at least one miscarriage.
♦ It was banned on video in Finland.
♦ Linda Blair had a mental breakdown during the filming
♦ Linda Blair’s grandfather died
♦ Jack McGowen died of a heart-attack after completing his role in the film
♦ Max Von Sydow’s - brother died.
♦ A night-watchman died
♦ A special effects expert died
♦ And a cameraman’s newborn baby perished
Go to Part 2 for even more interesting facts about this fantastic movie!!
What did you think of this review?
An elderly Jesuit priest named Father Lankester Merrin is leading an archaeological dig in northern Iraq and studying ancient relics. Following the discovery of a small statue of the demon Pazuzu (an actual ancient Sumerian demigod) and a modern-day St. Joseph medal curiously juxtaposed together at the site, a series of omens alerts him to a pending confrontation with a powerful evil, which unknown to the reader at this point, he has battled before in an exorcism in Africa. Meanwhile, in Georgetown, a young girl named Regan MacNeil living with her famous actress mother, Chris, becomes inexplicably ill. After a gradual series of poltergeist-like disturbances, she undergoes disturbing psychological and physical changes, appearing to become "possessed" by a demonic spirit.
After several unsuccessful psychiatric and medical treatments, Regan's mother turns to a local Jesuit priest. ...