The original Exorcist film, released in 1973, is undying part of the genre’s collection of classics. Who knew that even 50 years later that it would continue to send shivers down the spine of viewers? Beyond its terrifying storyline, the making of the film itself is wrapped up in both eerie and peculiar happenings. Continue reading if you want to learn four spooky facts surrounding this iconic flick. 

It was based on a real-life haunting

While the movies to follow are strictly fiction, the original Exorcist is based on a novel that’s inspired by a real-life exorcism case from 1949. This eerie connection adds a spooky authenticity to the film’s paranormal events.

Unexplained accidents on set

During the filming of the original Exorcist, there were several unexplained accidents that occurred on the set, leading many to believe that the film was cursed. In fact, actor Jack MacGowran died of influenza in real life shortly after his character, Burke Dennins, died in the film. Not to mention, the set reportedly had extremely cold conditions with temperatures mysteriously dropping for no reason. Lastly, when filming on the set of the MacNeil house, there were a series of inexplicable fires. The most significant blaze occurred when the entire set burned down. Weirdly enough, Regan’s room remained intact, and many cast and crew members believed this was due to some paranormal interference. 

Hidden messages

Supposedly, there are subliminal messages and images that were inserted into the film by the director William Friedkin. It’s said that he wanted to create a subconscious feeling of unease in the audience and that this idea would add an extra layer of creepiness into an already terrifying film. 

It was an incredibly scary movie for its time

While the horror genre has greatly expanded over the decades to make room for many more frightening and gory stories, when the original Exorcist first premiered, it was considered an incredibly scary movie for its time. Audiences reportedly experienced fainting, vomiting, and panic attacks during screenings, with some theaters having to keep paramedics on standby to assist with the distressed viewers. 

Shop our selection of the original Exorcist horror collectibles.

What’s your favorite element of the original Exorcist movie? Drop a comment below to share with other admirers. 

September 15, 2023 — Alex Wilks