The Exorcist scared the molecules out of me back in 1973. I remember lining up in the cold to get into the Uptown Theatre to see it. The lineup stretched around the southwest block of Yonge and Bloor.
There were few movie theatres in Toronto back then. Seeing a popular movie meant lining up around the block.
There were stories of people throwing up and fainting while watching The Exorcist. This supposedly happened a lot with audiences across North America. Nothing like that happened when I saw the movie. None of my friends saw fainting and cookie-tossing happen when they saw The Exorcist. Were these stories made up to generate publicity?
The Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist brought up these memories and others. For example, after seeing The Exorcist, I could not sleep in the dark. I had to have the lights on. Eventually, this fear went away.
Here are some behind-the-scenes facts about the making of The Exorcist:
Directors are known to go to great lengths to get the shot they want. They do not care about the actors’ personal safety.
William Friedkin told the stunt coordinator to pull a wire even harder after Ellen Burstyn voiced concerns about her safety. The scene involved her demon daughter throwing her across the room.
Friedkin also slapped an actor after 16 takes of not getting a scene right. The unexpected slap made the actor nervous during the next take. It was the actor’s nervousness that gave Friedkin the scene he wanted.
Friedkin fired guns (blanks) during filming scenes to get genuine startled reactions from the actors.
The special-effects people had to be creative in making the impossible seem to happen. They did not have the luxury of computer graphics. How easy to sit at a computer and create special effects. How much more challenging to create special effects with real objects in real space, often making the Law of Gravity appear non-existent.
While they were making The Exorcist, the profanity in the script disturbed some of the actors and crew members. Attitudes towards profanity have changed since the early 70s. Nowadays, are any actors or crew members disturbed about the profanity in scripts?
The Power of Christ compels me to stop telling you about things that went on behind the scenes of The Exorcist. You can click on the link below and see them.
I will end by saying that I enjoyed The Exorcist way back when; I enjoyed a documentary about making The Exorcist way back now.