The Exorcist

Trivia: In the scene where Regan's mother is supernaturally blasted away from the bedside, she is being yanked by the crew by a length of rope. After dozens of takes director William Friedkin was still unhappy with the look of the shot and ordered the crew to haul her more fiercely. The scream in the shot that made the cut was of genuine pain and required no dubbing for effect.

Trivia: The vomit that Linda Blair spewed was actually split-pea soup. Specifically, the effects crew decided to use Anderson's split-pea soup because Campbell's split-pea soup wasn't green enough.

Trivia: During production of "The Exorcist," director William Friedkin abandoned the movie's original musical score (by Lalo Schifrin), and he turned to Atlantic Records for replacement music. During a visit to Atlantic Records, Friedkin picked up a random white-label recording, listened to its intro, and immediately wanted it in his movie. That random white-label recording was "Tubular Bells" by 19-year-old musician Mike Oldfield (his very first album). Although Friedkin used just a scant few seconds of Oldfield's music at only two points in the movie, "Tubular Bells" became a popular sensation, selling many millions of copies by virtue of its association to Friedkin's film. The enormous success of "Tubular Bells" made Mike Oldfield a worldwide star overnight. It was also the very first album released by Virgin Records (a young Richard Branson had provided the studio and equipment for Oldfield's work). Ironically, Mike Oldfield said he wouldn't watch "The Exorcist" because he heard it was too scary.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: To do the scenes in the bedroom when it is so cold you can see the air coming out of their mouths, the director had the set built in a huge freezer.


Trivia: According to writer William Peter Blatty, the shooting of the film was supposed to be about 90 days long. It ended up being shot in about 210 days. He states that 'strange and sinister things happened from the very beginning.'.

Allister Cooper, 2011

Trivia: When Regan vomits on Father Karras, Jason Miller was informed that the vomit would land on his chest. However, director William Friedkin intended the vomit to land in his face so that Miller's reaction would be more genuine. Miller was absolutely furious after this scene and stormed off the set.

Trivia: This was the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Trivia: Actress Eileen Dietz doubled for Linda Blair in many of the film's possession sequences, including the infamous projectile-vomiting scene. Dietz, however, received no screen credit for her work, and she later unsuccessfully sued Warner Brothers and the film makers for puking credits.

Charles Austin Miller

The Exorcist trivia picture

Trivia: Author and writer of the book and script William Peter Blatty has a cameo early in this film. He plays the producer trying to have a word with director Burke Dennings on the movie set before Burke turns his attention to Chris MacNeil. William Peter Blatty is the middle eastern-looking guy with the black hair and moustache, which is natural since his mother is originally from Lebanon.

Allister Cooper, 2011

Trivia: The 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 is at the corner of 36th and Prospect.


Trivia: In the Director's Cut, after the demon moves into Father Karras' body, for a few frames, you can see the flicker of an image of his mother's face in the window. This is probably what prompts him to leap out the window to save Regan.


Trivia: While rumors of many deaths and strange events surrounding The Exorcist's production were largely fabricated and/or sensationalized for publicity purposes, two of the film's actors did in fact die before the movie was released. The character of Burke Dennings was killed in the film, and the actor who played him, Jack MacGowran, died of influenza shortly after completing his role. Likewise, the character of Mary Karras (elderly mother of Fr. Damien Karras) died in the film, and the actress who portrayed her, Vasiliki Maliaros, also died of natural causes shortly after completing her role.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: The scream of the demon being thrown out of Linda Blair was actually created by recording squealing pigs being driven into slaughter.

Trivia: May have briefly held the record for all-time highest grossing film at the US box office. It all depends on whether it or Jaws (1975) was first to surpass previous champ The Godfather (1972) (The Exorcist's original run in theaters lasted nearly two years). Accounts differ because at the time box office totals were tracked in terms of "rentals" (the studio's share of the revenue), while grosses were usually only used for opening weekends and specific major markets like New York and Los Angeles.


Trivia: The Exorcist was filmed before the steadicam had been invented, so to show actors going upstairs toward the demonic bedroom, a makeshift seat-swing was designed using pulleys and rope, and guided by crew. The handheld shot was revolutionary for the time.


Trivia: William O'Malley, who plays Father Dyer, is an actual Jesuit priest who taught at Fordham Prep, a Jesuit high school.


Trivia: For the scene in which Father Dyer rushes to give last rites to Father Karras before his death, actor William O'Malley (who played Dyer) was not conveying the urgency, anxiety and grief that director William Friedkin wanted for the scene. According to O'Malley, William Friedkin grabbed O'Malley by the shoulders, screamed and cursed in his face and slapped him before rolling the camera. Thus, O'Malley was authentically shaken up, trembling and on the verge of sobbing in that scene.

Charles Austin Miller

Continuity mistake: When Chris is taking a walk with the priest Damien, she throws her cigarette to the ground, but in the next shot it's back in her hand again.

More mistakes in The Exorcist

Demon: I'm not Regan.
Father Damien Karras: Well, then let's introduce ourselves. I'm Damien Karras.
Demon: And I'm the Devil. Now kindly undo these straps.
Father Damien Karras: If you're the Devil, why not make the straps disappear?
Demon: That's much too vulgar a display of power, Karras.

More quotes from The Exorcist

Question: What was the significance of the father being an absentee dad? Did that make Reagan more vulnerable to being possessed?

Answer: The demon wants everyone to lose hope for the girl and give up on her. Her father, having already flown the coop, just makes this goal that much easier.


Answer: It's possible it made her more vulnerable, but the mother, being a big movie star with an adolescent child would probably be divorced at this stage. It was more likely a literary choice by the author. Fewer characters make for a less complicated plot and eliminates the need to add an additional character who may not serve the story in a meaningful way.


More questions & answers from The Exorcist

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