The Exorcist is the highest grossing horror movie of all time. It won two Academy Awards and has grossed over $400 million since its release in 1973. The Exorcist spawned several sequels and created a whole new genre that sparked a rash of imitations for years after its debut. A movie of this magnitude would naturally have many urban legends attached to it and a few of them are quite famous. Here is a look at some of the most popular urban legends attached to The Exorcist.
The Set Burned Down During Filming
A studio fire caused most of the set of the MacNeil house to burn down. The bizarre thing is that Regan’s (Linda Blair) bedroom was untouched. Filming was set back six weeks and the actual production dragged out to 224 days.
The Director Had An exorcism Performed On The Set
There was a lot of tension on the set early in the filming process and director William Friedkin asked technical advisor Thomas Bermingham, who was a priest, to exorcise the set in order to make the crew feel better. He refused to perform the ritual but he did visit the set and gave a blessing to the cast and crew.
William Peter Blatty Considers The Ninth Configuration To Be The Sequel To The Exorcist
The Ninth Configuration was a 1980 film about an insane asylum for U.S. troops who went crazy. Stacy Keach played the commanding officer. William Peter Blatty who wrote this script and the book for the Exorcist, considered this movie to be the true sequel. Even though it had nothing to do about demonic possession, the movie does deal with people who lose their true identities.
There Were Nine Deaths Among The Production Crew During Filming
This is one of the most circulated urban legends about The Exorcist. There were four deaths associated with production during filming including an assistant cameraman's baby, a night watchman and the actress who played the role of Father Karras’s mother. The other deaths that people claim happened during the production were deaths that happened years after the movie was released.
The Original Black & White Trailer Was Banned
The original trailer consisted only of images of a white-faced demon quickly flashing in and out on a dark screen. This trailer was banned in most theaters because it was felt to be too frightening for moviegoers to handle.
Mercedes McCambridge Sued For Screen Credit
Mercedes McCambridge provided the voice of the possessed Linda Blair. After the film was released, Blair was nominated for an Academy Award and Warner Brothers tried to hide that fact that McCambridge was actually the voice of the devil. McCambridge sued and Warner Brothers was forced to add her name to the list of credits.
It Was Banned On Video In England Until 1999
Contrary to all the inaccurate urban legends, The Exorcist was never actually banned. The film was released on home video in 1979, but when the Video Recordings Act Of 1984 was passed to classify all movies for home video, the movie was not submitted. Warner Brothers waited until 1999 to actually submit the movie to the board. The movie was approved by the board and was finally re-released.
Ellen Burnstyn Received A Permanent Spinal Injury During Filming
In a scene where Burnstyn was thrown away from her possessed daughter, the harness jerked her away a lot violently than anticipated. The painful scream that she emits during the film was a reaction to the painful jerk. She claims that to this day she still has back problems because of the scene.
Dana Plato Was Originally Offered The Role Of Regan
Several girls were auditioned for the part, but director William Friedkin insisted that Dana Plato was never offered the role. Talent agencies sent over 50 girls to try out for the part before Linda Blair finally landed the role. It has also been reported that the little girl who played Violet in the Film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory was to play the role but her parents withdrew her after they read the script.