There’s something incredibly scary about the in-depth sense of realism that is embodied within exorcism films — levitation, speaking in tongues and superhuman strength — after all, the Roman Catholic Church is still performing exorcisms. Maybe it’s because the fundamental portrayal of demonic possession has the potential power to make non-believers question their non-conformity and even give individuals with a more religious upbringing a hair-raising dose of authenticity. Regardless of how you look at it, the fact is that demonic possession isn’t the most impossible, far-fetched concept, which is probably one of the many reasons that have contributed to the high-grossing success of the Exorcist franchise.
The Exorcist franchise (1973-2005), consisting of two sequels and two prequels, has grossed nearly $500 million worldwide to date and is considered to be the scariest possession-based film of all time. It has paved way for many other eerie films to join this sub-genre and dictate the casting of evil spirits, demons from hell and ancient religious beliefs. Although this incredible horror movie still has the power to bring forth a few spine-chills — even with its 70s special effects — there are quite a few frightful facts that many fans still do not know about the Exorcist franchise.
The original film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards
While you probably already know that The Exorcist (1973) was an incredibly popular — there were numerous reports of widespread hysteria, people fainting and even needing to be institutionalized — you most likely didn’t know that the blockbuster film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (Won for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound) as well as four Golden Globes (Won for Best Director, Best Film, Best Sound and Linda Blair won Best Supporting Actress). The truth is that this 1973 movie is still considered to be one of the most profitable horror movies that were ever made.
It was loosely based on a true story
This is actually a common theme for many horror movies, as screenwriters often find themselves faced with inspiration after watching a shocking news story. William Peter Blatty, the producer of the original film and writer of a novel of the same name, admitted that his inspiration came from a true story of a months-long exorcism of a 14-year-old boy from Missouri in 1949. Many of the detailed parts of the ritual — including the prayers spoken, the use of holy water and the satanic seizures — that were reported were rewritten and used as highlighted material for both the book and the film. Although, the case was re-examined many years later and it was presumed that the boy likely suffered from a mental health issue such as schizophrenia or Tourette’s syndrome.
Regan MacNeil was possessed by a mythological demon
Although it was never mentioned in the film, Blatty told fans that the demon that possessed the 12-year-old protagonist was named Pazuzu. While he could have simply invented a new evil spirit with no connection to human history, he chose to conduct research about ancient lore and connect Pazuzu to his possession story — this demonic entity is known as the king of demons in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology.
Are there any other intriguing facts that know about the Exorcist franchise? Please share in the comments section below.