While many can’t wait for The Exorcist to return to movie screens, the cast and crew will pray that history doesn’t repeat itself after real-life horrors plagued the original film.
Universal Pictures is due to announce its demonic possession movie reboot, with a trilogy deal worth $465m (£335m).
The original 1973 film caused a stir and saw terrified moviegoers vomiting and passing out: a woman broke her jaw after losing consciousness.
Something director David Gordon Green, who spearheaded the Halloween reboots, will hope to avoid is the series of unfortunate events that followed the First Exorcist.
Several surprising incidents led to claims that the film was “cursed,” and after the deaths, a freak fire, and injuries on set, many would agree.
deaths & the ‘curse’
The deaths of at least four people have been linked to the film and some believe this is proof of the exorcist “curse”.
Included Jack Macgowran, who played eccentric film director Burke Dennings and in the film, was killed by demon-ridden Regan Macneil.
His character was attacked by the possessed girl, who used her superhuman strength to break his neck, then threw him out of his bedroom window.
Before the film was released, Jack tragically died of complications related to influenza, which he contracted during the London flu epidemic in 1973.
Vasiliki Maliaros, who played father Damien Karras’s mother, also passed away that same year before The Exorcist made it to the big screen.
The star, who had no prior acting experience and was cast after being spotted at a restaurant, was ruled to have died of “natural causes” in an inquest.
In the film, Vasiliki’s character died after being admitted to a hospital and later pursued the dreams of Father Karras.
Later, while the religious man performs an exorcism, Regan mentions her mother’s name in an attempt to distract him and make him feel guilty.
During production, several cast and crew members, including Linda Blair, who played Regan, and Max von Sydow, who played Father Merrin, also lost family members.
not only that, but the son of jason miller, who played father karrass, had a near-fatal motorcycle accident during filming.
The Exorcist faced multiple production delays, but the most notable occurred early in production.
The set of Regan’s family home burned down in 1972 after a bird flew into the circuit box.
Disturbingly, the only part of the set to survive was the bedroom where the exorcisms would take place.
film historian sarah crowth told inews, “this significantly delayed production and led to a grueling shooting period of over a year.”
After the incident, which caused a delay of six weeks, the real Jesuit priest Thomas M. the king was called to bless the ensemble.
ellen burstyn, who played worried mother chris macneil, suffered a spinal injury while being hoisted in a harness.
She was left on crutches for the rest of production and recalled the accident during a 2018 interview with The Guardian.
ellen told william ‘billy’ friedkin, the film’s director, that a crew member was “putting too much pressure on me,” but she claimed he dismissed her concerns.
recalled: “billy said, ‘well, it has to look real.’ i said, ‘i know it has to look real, but i’m telling you, it could hurt me.'”
The actress alleged that the director made a sign and the cameraman “threw me to the ground” after her complaint.
“I was screaming at the top of my lungs. through my screaming, I said, ‘turn off the damn camera,'” she said.
mr. Friedkin dismissed Ellen’s claims, saying, “I’m sure her fall hurt her. If you fall on your back, she’ll hurt, but she wasn’t hurt.”
linda also claimed that the rigging was poor and that it contributed to her developing scoliosis in an interview with usa today.
The actress said the moment her lower spine was broken was actually “the footage that’s in the movie.”
On the TV show Cursed Movies, he said, “On this particular shot, the cord came loose.”
“I’m crying, I’m screaming, they think I’m acting like a storm. It fractured the lower part of my spine.”
linda also sustained injuries on other film sets, including a motorcycle accident and multiple falls from horses.
fainting, vomiting & controversy
The Exorcist was released on Boxing Day, in 1973, but it looked like the “curse” claims weren’t going to go away.
During a screening in Rome, it was reported that lightning struck a church in front of the cinema.
In the US, a woman “passed out and broke her jaw” and later sued Warner Brother for an undisclosed sum.
Meanwhile, in the UK, it was reported that ambulance staff at St. john attended screenings to help distressed moviegoers.
claims about the “curse” of the exorcist continued and, according to mrs. crowther, was used as a “marketing tool” for the film.
He believed that showing the film during “a major religious festival” gave “some indication of the studio’s intention to generate controversy and debate.”
She believed that the Warner Brothers “spread speculation about the curse,” which helped make the film “an extremely hot topic” in the press.
The movie pundit said: “The columns and TV news screens were filled with stories of audience members passing out and vomiting, turning out in large numbers at early showings.”