Trivia / The Exorcist

The Exorcist (novel)
  • Background Music: Fans of Greek rebetika music love the scene where Fr. Karras visits his mom. True to the book, she's got the radio on, tuned to a Greek-language station (possibly WNYE). As Karras comes in, we hear Rita Sakellariou's "Istoria Mou, Amartia Mou" (My Story, My Sin). Later as he leaves his mother sleeping in her chair, the radio is still playing softly, Yannis Kalartsis' "Paramythaki Mou" (My Tale). The lyrics to this one are by Lefteris Papadopoulos, an award-winning journalist as well as composer, who requested compensation some years later as he was destitute.
  • Shown Their Work: Boy howdy. William Blatty dug really deep, finding literature about supposed epidemics of possession in the past as well as writings pro and con Psychic Powers and evidence for and against supernatural occurrence. He based much of the details on the legend of the "Devils of Loudon", where nuns lifted up their skirts and yelled "Fuck me!", and a priest who did exorcisms was said to have become possessed himself. The exorcisms at Loudon were a public spectacle, held in the town square! The stories told by the Jeane Dixon Expy at Chris' party are all real, as is the tale Fr. Karras tells Kinderman about the man who was convinced he was a werewolf. However, that last one was mostly made up by the Church to rationalize the torture and execution of a man and his daughter for becoming Protestants. Loudon was similarly politically motivated.
  • Write What You Know: Chris MacNeil is based on William Peter Blatty's friend Shirley MacLaine, and her marital situation on MacLaine's then-husband having left for Europe determined to not live in his wife's shadow. What's weird, is that nobody even cares to try and contact him because of his daughter's worsening health to the risk of DEATH. This caused Sachiko MacLaine a bit of trouble, as numerous people had heard Blatty had based Chris on Shirley and assumed that Sachiko had been sick or possessed.

The Exorcist Film Series in General
  • I Am Not Spock: Linda Blair. Of course, this inevitably leads to a case of I Am Not Leonard Nimoy.
  • The Production Curse: All the films in the series have been dogged by bad luck, misfortune, accident, illness, injury and death beyond what appears to be the bounds of the statistically normal.
  • Referenced by...: On the Cooking Show (yes, you read that correctly) Good Eats, a child psychologist is unable to get a child named Stevie to finish his peas. (Stevie has been sitting at the table for days, because his parents told him that he couldn't leave until he finished them.) Alton is called in (complete with a "Tubular Bells"-like rendition of the show's theme song) to help out, and shows Stevie that peas can be delicious if properly prepared (which his parents have failed to do, because the only way they know how to cook them is to boil the living heck out of them, just as their parents did before them). Alton makes split-pea soup, a burger made of pressed split-pea paste, and a pea salad with cheese cubes. Stevie expresses his approval by turning his head 180 degrees. (His parents don't find this unusual.)
    • Also, the theme music for Death Note's L Lawliet sounds an awful lot like "Tubular Bells".

The Exorcist (film)
  • AFIS 100 Years Series:
  • Award Category Fraud: Oddly, Jason Miller, the actor with the most face time, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Billing Displacement: Max von Sydow only appears in the movie during the prologue and the last twenty minutes, but is billed second, despite Jason Miller and Linda Blair's characters being the main focus of the film. The reason for this error is likely because von Sydow was already well known, and Miller and Blair were screen newcomers.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Many times. The director was kind of a wingnut about that.
    • Special mention must go to the shot where Ellen Burstyn is "thrown" by Regan across the room and her back hits the tallboy. Burstyn was forcibly thrown and dragged with a wire harness, giving her a spinal injury that's plagued her her whole life. Her scream of pain is real. Needless to say, she refused to return for the sequel.
    • The real reason Father Dyer is shaking while he's administering last rites to Father Karras is because William Friedkin slapped his actor just before the take.
    • Linda Blair had to endure the freezing cold bedroom set wearing only thin nightgowns.
  • Feelies: The US theatrical release of the film gave free barf bags to audience members.
  • Throw It In: When Regan first spits pea-soup vomit over Fr. Karras, the mechanism they had rigged up malfunctioned. The gunk was supposed to hit him in the chest. Instead, he got it right in the face. Jason Miller's disgust and anger are real, and perfect. There have been some reports that they actually adjusted the tube at the last second so it hit him in the face. Either way, it makes a great scene.
  • Troubled Production: William Friedkin was on full Prima Donna Director mode, abusing the cast and crew (see also Enforced Method Acting above) and leading the film over budget and past schedule. To make it worse, incidents such as a fire and the deaths of two actors led people to believe the set was cursed (although one of the actors, Vasiliki Maliaros (Karras' mother), was 89 years old, while the other, Jack MacGowran (Burke Dennings), was a victim of the 1973 English 'flu epidemic).

Exorcist: The Beginning
  • Executive Meddling: Took place to a savage degree with Paul Schrader's original cut, which was entirely junked by the studio and refilmed from scratch by Renny Harlin.

Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist