The Exorcist (1973)
Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel (he also wrote the script), almost fifty years later, William Friedkin’s visceral, disturbing and fear inducing supernatural horror of the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl, still holds up as one of the most celebrated horror movies of all time. Causing some audience members to vomit and faint, and being heavily criticized by the Catholic Church, it would become the first horror movie to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The infamous and stomach churning scene when Regan projectile vomits at Father Karras was done in one take. The fake vomit was suppose to hit actor Jason Miller in the chest but the plastic tubing malfunctioned and shot it into his face instead. His shocked and disgusted reaction as he wipes it off his face is entirely real. Miller would later admit in an interview that he was absolutely furious with this mistake.
So incensed by the movies apparent glorification of Satan, religious fundamentalists began sending actress Linda Blair, then just 14 years old, death threats. It was so serious that she still had bodyguards protecting her six months after the movies release.
Another Stephen King book brought to the big screen, this time by Brian De Palma, tells the story of Sissy Spacek’s bullied and belittled teen and her emerging telekinetic powers, which she uses to full effect in this blood soaked supernatural horror which, much like Carrie’s prom dress, has left a bloody stain on pop culture.
Many of the cast actually had a hard time believing it was a horror, instead thinking it was a black comedy. Nancy Allen thought she and John Travolta’s characters were a pair of self-centered, bickering morons who would be providing the comedy relief. Piper Laurie, who played Carrie’s religious zealot mother, thought that her character was so way over the top and fanatical that no one would believe it wasn’t a comedy. De Palma had to take her to one side and remind her it was not a comedy.
The ending of Stephen King’s novel is completely different from the movie ending. However, King loved the movie ending so much that he admitted that the movies ending was much better than the one he had penned.