The Exorcist is one of the most iconic horror movies of all time. It brought absolute terror to audiences everywhere in the 70s and would end up being one of the highest-grossing supernatural horror films. Quite possibly the scariest part of The Exorcist is the true story that lies behind it.
As if the thought of the horror within this movie being real isn’t enough, the events that took place during filming would add a whole other spooky layer to it. Many people believe that the film itself is cursed because of these strange occurrences. Here are five unexplainable things that happened while filming The Exorcist.
Cast And Crew Deaths Before The Release Of The Exorcist
There were not one, nor two, but nine deaths of cast and crew members before The Exorcist was released. Two actors scripted to die in the movie died during the movie’s post-production. One of the actors, Vasiliki Maliaros, was said to die of natural causes, though the timing is undoubtedly eerie. The other actor, Jack MacGowran, died from complications from the influenza virus. Seven other members amongst the cast and crew would die prior to the release.
Not only that, many of the cast and crew, including Linda Blair, who played the possessed character Regan, lost family members during this time. The son of Jason Miller nearly died after a motorcycle accident during the time of filming. Another noteworthy occurrence was with Paul Bateson, who played a nurse. Bateson killed a reporter before the release of the movie. Although he confessed, he couldn’t give the police a motive for what caused him to do it.
An Unexplainable Fire
William Friedkin, one of the directors, received a phone call alerting him to a fire that had happened on set. A pigeon flew directly into a circuit box in the set of the MacNeil’s house to start an almost completely destructive fire. While a fire on the set of an exorcism movie would be eerie enough, it was the area not affected by the fire that adds to the creepiness. The only place the fire seemed to avoid was Regan’s room, the room of the possessed little girl.
The bedroom is where most of the action took place. Regan’s room is where the exorcisms, head-spinning, and other demonic horror occurred. In fact, the fire actually started during one of the exorcism scenes, according to Friedkin. Because of this incident, there was a six-week delay in production. Understandably spooked after this, a priest would be brought in to pray over the set.
Ellen Burstyn And Others Suffer Injuries On The Set Of The Exorcist
While shooting one of the scenes in the film, Ellen Burstyn got severely injured due to random malfunctioning of her harness. In The Exorcist, Burstyn played the mother of the possessed little girl, Regan. In one scene, Regan (Linda Blair) pushes Burstyn to the floor and a harness would pull her back. The harness malfunctioned and pulled her too quickly, causing Burstyn to land on her tailbone. The intense impact on her coccyx would result in a permanent spinal injury. Her scream during that scene is real, caused by the pain. While working on the set, a carpenter lost his finger and a lighting tech lost a toe in separate accidents. Additionally, after the release of The Exorcist, a member of the audience passed out in the theatre and broke his jaw.
An Eerie Warning For The Film’s Priest
Jason Miller played Father Karras in The Exorcist, and would be one of the priests to exorcize Regan. During the time of filming, Miller got an frightening warning from a priest who had no knowledge of his part in the film. While handing him a medallion, the priest said, “Reveal the devil for the trickster that he is, he will seek retribution against you or he will even try to stop what you are trying to do to unmask him.” One has to wonder what would have caused the priest to deliver such a message to a stranger on the street.
Linda Blair Had Mental Breakdowns During The Exorcist Filming
Linda Blair was only 14 years old when she starred in her first major movie role. The working conditions on set would be challenging for just about anyone, especially a young teenager. On-set temperatures were often cold and while everyone else wore protective clothing, Blair wore a thin nightgown most times. During many of the scenes, Blair would be thrust violently with the harness. It isn’t surprising that Linda Blair was rumored to have mental breakdowns during filming of The Exorcist, especially with the strange things that happened on set, coupled with the working conditions.William Friedkin
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