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The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

Paw Print

The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

Paw Print

The Exorcist: Believer


The Exorcist: one of the most profitable and well known horror movies ever created. The first Exorcist is actually loosely based on real events. The story follows 12 year old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), when she starts acting odd. She can suddenly speak in foreign languages, starts levitating, and lashing out. It is then that her mother becomes concerned and seeks medical help, only for the doctors to be stumped every time. A local priest catches word of this and believes that the girl has been seized by the devil. The priest requests permission to perform an exorcism, to which the church denies him but agrees to let him assist an expert in exorcisms.

The 1973 movie was actually quite controversial. There were many reasons for this. The movie was considered salacious and blasphemous for religious content, because of this religious, specifically catholic, moral outrage was caused. In addition to the sacrilege, there was extensively crude language. There is also the fact that the child is 12 and they include scenes of the possessed child committing sexual acts with a crucifix. The film was later cited by the church as “unsuitable for a wide audience” and banned in certain places.

This film also was speculated to be cursed. For starters, there were at least four deaths that have been linked to the film. In addition, multiple of the cast members’ family members died around the same time. Max Von Sydow, who plays the priest, had a near-death motorcycle crash during filming.

There were multiple delays in filming due to all kinds of things. The most notable was one that happened early on in production, a fire. The fire took place in Regan’s home when a bird flew into the circuit box. The seemingly odd part of the disaster is that only Regan’s bedroom survived the fire, the room where the exorcisms took place. After another six week delay, they called a real Jesuit priest, Thomas M. King, to the set to bless it.

It was not always a fun time on set for Linda Blair, who plays Regan. The thirteen year old actress suffered injuries resulting from filming. Blair was rigged to the bed during a scene by a mechanical moving board that they sewed her into. The scene was supposed to show the demon inside her thrashing her up and down on her bed and tossing her around. In one take, the lacing came loose and the board came back up and smacked her in the spine. “I’m crying, I’m screaming, they think I’m acting up a storm. It fractured my lower spine. No, they didn’t send me to the doctor, it is the footage that’s in the movie,” said Linda Blair

This wasn’t the only back injury on set. Ellen Burstyn, Regan’s onscreen mother, suffered a spinal injury as well while being hoisted around on a harness. She was left on crutches for the rest of the production

Even post production, the curse still seemed to remain intact. The Exorcist was released on Boxing Day (the day following Christmas, December 26th) 1973. During a screening in Rome, it was reported that a bolt of lighting struck a church across from the theater. In America, one woman “passed out and broke her jaw” and later sued Warner Brothers for an undisclosed sum. In the UK, it was reported that some St John’s Ambulance staff attended screenings to aid the distressed moviegoers. The curse itself was eventually turned into a marketing tool to aid with the film’s reach and success.

That brings us to 2023, where they have announced and released a new addition to the franchise. The movie, at the beginning, may feel disconnected to the original story but soon enough, fans are met with old friends. Characters from the first movie are set to appear in The Exorcist: Believer. This movie has been rumored that it will “reinvigorate horror.” The other side of the coin is worried it will tank immensely.

The new film follows two girls Angela and her friend Kathrine when they go missing and reappear acting odd. Victor Fielding, the father of Angela, believes it is just a result of the trauma the girls face, whereas Kathrine’s parents believe its possession. Once Victor realizes that it is actually possible that the girls are possessed, the parents desperately seek help from the church and people who have experienced this kind of event before.

The movie became very popular around its release date, with people flocking to see the film. Another big push that the Exorcist: Believer got was the fact that it was one of the themed houses at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, and not only the haunted house in Orlando Horror Nights, but in California too. A lot of fans of the Halloween event have rated it very highly. Some even call it their favorite house. Even though the house was released before the movie, fans were still able to understand the plot and be terrified by the real-life encounter with this frightening film.

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Katelyn San Marco
Katelyn San Marco, Staff Writer
Katelyn San Marco is a senior. She is a soccer player who also participates in the drama program. She enjoys going to the movies and taking night sky photography.

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