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The Exorcist Film Memorabilia

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In 1973, audiences around the world were introduced to a film that would forever change the landscape of horror cinema. “The Exorcist,” directed by William Friedkin, based on the novel and screenplay by William Peter Blatty, struck fear into the hearts of viewers, offering a chilling exploration of faith, possession, and the eternal battle between good and evil. As with all iconic films, a cult following soon emerged, hungry for any and every piece of memorabilia linked to this cinematic marvel. This article delves deep into the world of The Exorcist film memorabilia, charting its journey from vintage posters to the intricate props that gave the movie its chilling authenticity.

Original The Exorcist British Quad film poster 1973
Original The Exorcist British Quad film poster 1973. This example sold for £85 at Ewbank’s, April 2022. Original film quad posters vary greatly depending condition.

From Novel to Screenplay In 1971, William Peter Blatty published “The Exorcist,” a novel inspired by the 1949 exorcism case of a young boy, known by the pseudonym Roland Doe. This real-life event, witnessed by multiple parties, including Jesuit priests, was a tale of inexplicable occurrences, strange noises, and accounts of possession. Blatty’s work was a fictional adaptation of these events, focusing on a young girl named Regan and her transformation from an innocent child into a vessel for demonic possession.

First Edition, First Printing of William Peter Blatty's classic, The Exorcist
First Edition, First Printing of William Peter Blatty’s classic, The Exorcist. A very nice autographed example with the author’s signature on the rear dust jacket panel. Sold for $825 on ebay, July 2023.

Blatty’s prose was detailed, suspenseful, and profoundly unsettling. His vivid descriptions and well-crafted dialogues did not merely narrate a horror story; they examined the depths of faith, the power of evil, and humanity’s eternal quest for understanding. Recognizing the potential for a gripping cinematic adaptation, Blatty himself wrote the screenplay. His meticulous attention to detail ensured that the film retained the essence of his novel, while also providing an immersive experience for the audience.

Various editions of the book exist including 25th and 40th Anniversary editions, and Easton Press released a signed leather bound collectors edition.

A Legacy of Horror “The Exorcist” film broke ground in many ways. With Friedkin at the helm, the film offered genuine, palpable terror, using a combination of haunting visuals, groundbreaking special effects, and chilling sound design. Linda Blair’s portrayal of the possessed Regan remains iconic, with scenes like the head-spinning and the spider-walk descent leaving an indelible mark on the psyche of viewers.

A U S one sheet film poster for William Friedkins The Exorcist signed by Linda Blair and her double Eileen Dietz
A U.S. one sheet film poster for William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (Warner Bros., 1973) signed by Linda Blair (who has inscribed “Sweet Dreams!”) and her double, Eileen Dietz. Dietz also played the chilling “Face of the Demon” in Father Karras’s nightmare sequence (the face was added to more scenes by Friedkin in the film’s 1998 re-release). Sold for $700 at Julien’s Auctions, September 2023.

Equally compelling was the journey of the titular exorcist, Father Merrin (played by Max von Sydow), and the troubled Father Karras (played by Jason Miller). Their struggle with faith, doubt, and their confrontation with the very embodiment of evil added depth and complexity to a genre that had often been dismissed as superficial.

DID YOU KNOW? The Demon Face Was Played By Another Actress. Linda Blair’s iconic role as Regan in “The Exorcist” is well-remembered, but another actress, Eileen Dietz, was instrumental in crafting some of the film’s most chilling scenes. Dietz was the face behind the eerie “demon face” sequences and doubled for Blair in the infamous “head spinning” scene

Reception and Legacy Upon its release, “The Exorcist” was met with a range of reactions. While it was a box office success and received acclaim for its direction, acting, and groundbreaking effects, it was also one of the most controversial films of its time, inciting a plethora of discussions and debates about faith, the nature of evil, and the boundaries of cinematic horror.

A lobby card for The Exorcist signed by the films directo, William Friedkin The Exorcist 1973
A lobby card for The Exorcist signed by the films directo, William Friedkin The Exorcist 1973. Sold for $250 at Julien’s Auctions, September 2023.

The film went on to earn ten Academy Award nominations, winning two for Best Sound Mixing and Best Screenplay. Over the years, its reputation has only solidified, with many critics and fans alike hailing it as one of the greatest horror films of all time.

Funko The Exorcist Bed Scene Pop Moment
Funko has released a Funko Pop Regan figure and a Funko The Exorcist Bed Scene Pop Moment

The cultural impact of “The Exorcist” cannot be overstated. It spawned a series of sequels, prequels, and even a television series. But beyond the franchise, its influence can be felt throughout the genre. The film raised the bar for horror, proving that the genre could tackle profound and complex themes while still delivering genuine scares. This opened the door for a new generation of filmmakers who saw the potential for horror to be both terrifying and thought-provoking.

The film also sparked a renewed interest in stories of possession, exorcism, and the spiritual battle between good and evil. Several films have tried to capture the same magic, with varying degrees of success, but “The Exorcist” remains unmatched in its combination of narrative depth, technical brilliance, and sheer terror.

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