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The terrifying rejected ‘Exorcist’ soundtrack the director literally threw out a window
07:59 am


The Exorcist
Lalo Schifrin
William Friedkin

William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece, The Exorcist, was a landmark in horror cinema, a cultural phenomenon, and (if adjusting for inflation) the ninth highest-grossing film of all time.

The film makes minimal use of music—a stylistic choice which gives the film an air of stark realism despite the supernatural events depicted onscreen. Of the minimal music used in the film, most famous is Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells,” which went on to become a smash so huge that it essentially birthed the Virgin empire

Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells,” used as the main theme for ‘The Exorcist.’
Before Friedkin settled on Oldfield’s prog masterpiece, he had originally commissioned a score from Lalo Schifrin, who had famously done soundtrack work for Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry, and the instantly recognizable Mission Impossible TV show theme.

Composer/conductor, Lalo Schifrin
Schifrin’s atonal Exorcist score was very much in the vein of Krzysztof Penderecki (whose “Cello Concerto No. 1” of Polymorphia was used in the film’s final edit) with the addition of Bernard Herrmann-esque “fright stabs.”

This score was used in an advanced trailer which some have called the “banned trailer.” As the stories go, this trailer literally made audiences sick when it was shown. It’s unclear if the sounds and images were simply upsetting or if the flashing images actually caused seizures in some viewers.

Schifrin, speaking to Score Magazine revealed some of the history of his work and Friedkin’s reaction:

The truth is that it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, but I have recently read that in order to triumph in your life, you may previously have some fails. What happened is that the director, William Friedkin, hired me to write the music for the trailer, six minutes were recorded for the Warner’s edition of the trailer. The people who saw the trailer reacted against the film, because the scenes were heavy and frightening, so most of them went to the toilet to vomit. The trailer was terrific, but the mix of those frightening scenes and my music, which was also a very difficult and heavy score, scared the audiences away. So, the Warner Brothers executives said Friedkin to tell me that I must write less dramatic and softer score. I could easily and perfectly do what they wanted because it was way too simple in relevance to what I have previously written, but Friedkin didn’t tell me what they said. I´m sure he did it deliberately. In the past we had an incident, caused by other reasons, and I think he wanted vengeance. This is my theory. This is the first time I speak of this matter, my attorney recommended me not to talk about it, but I think this is a good time to reveal the truth.


Finally, I wrote the music for the film in the same vein as that of the trailer. In fact, when I wrote the trailer I was in the studio with Friedkin and he congratulated me for it. So, I thought i was in the right way… but the truth was very different.

According to Neil Lerner’s Music in the Horror Film: Listening to Fear, Friedkin had asked Schifrin for a score that “did not sound like music” and which was “tonal and moody.”

Reportedly, Friedkin was so displeased with the partial score that Schifrin had submitted that he literally threw it out of the studio window—mirroring the second story window ejections of Burke Dennings and Father Karras in the film. It’s no wonder Schifrin called it one of the “most unpleasant experiences” of his life. 

After the jump, hear the full terrifying (and rejected) Lalo Schifrin score for ‘The Exorcist’...

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
For the Satanist who has everything: An Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy

Anton Lavey ventriloquist dummy
Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy
In the eBay listing for this spendy Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy, the seller, “haunt-master” makes the creepy claim that the dummy’s eyes have the ability to “move on their own” as if they were “haunted.” Because, of course they can.
Anton Lavey ventriloquist dummy with pentagram necklace and skull
Anton Lavey ventriloquist dummy smiling
In addition to the eye movement (as if this thing isn’t off-putting enough) the Satanic dummy can also crack a smile thanks to a pull string in the back of his head. Each Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy is made-to-order, stands about 30 inches tall and comes dressed in black with a large silver pentagram necklace. Sadly, the skull pictured with lil’ LaVey is not included although I’m sure if you’ve read this far you probably leave at least one decorative skull out all year round. The bespoke LaVey toy is currently up for auction for $509.99 (which if you flip the nines around you get “666”) and ships from, you guessed it, Hell on Earth, Las Vegas.

I also included images of a few other notable dummies in the haunt-master’s shop that follow (the run from $300 - $550 bucks), such as “Regan” from The Exorcist, one of the disfigured doctors from the 1960 Twilight Zone pisode, “Eye of the Beholder,” the uber villain “Jigsaw” from the horror film franchise Saw and, a disturbing Michael Jackson that comes with straight or curly hair. Yikes.
Regan MacNeil (from the 1973 film The Exorcist) ventriloquist dummy
Regan MacNeil (from the 1973 film The Exorcist)
Wait until you see the creepy Michael Jackson ventriloquist dummy, after the jump…

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Voice of the demon: ‘The Exorcist’ and the legacy of Mercedes McCambridge

Mercedes and the Monster (photo illustration by Todd McNaught)
It inspired an ocean of imitators and aspects of it seem quaint in the context of the age of digitally effected gore. But almost 40 years after its release, The Exorcist remains a chilling classic that transcended the horror genre due to both William Friedkin’s masterful direction and Linda Blair’s stellar acting.

In the spirit of Tara’s posting of creepy test footage from the film earlier this month, here’s the gifted Blair voicing the scene that introduces Regan to Father Karras followed by the eventual dubbing.

After the jump: meet the voice behind the possession…plus bonus audience reaction footage!

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Creepy test footage from ‘The Exorcist’
10:30 am


The Exorcist

Test footage from the classic 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Watch a then 13-year-old Linda Blair levitate from her bed and get tossed about.

According to 25 Fascinating Facts About The Exorcist on List Verse:

Linda Blair injured her back when a piece of the rig broke as she was thrown about on the bed.


Via Neatorama

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Lick me, lick me’: Female horror icons as cake pops!
12:59 pm


The Exorcist
Cake Pops

Some scary ladies getting some love in the cake pop industry with these wild “Women in Horror Cake Pops” by Miss Insomnia Tulip.

I wonder what they taste like?

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Game of Thrones’ severed head cake pops
Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Remembering John Calley’s Golden Years in Hollywood

The Hollywood film producer John Calley died September 13, at his home in Los Angeles, after a long illness.

Calley was responsible for The Loved One, The Americanization of Emily, Catch-22, and more recently The Remains of the Day, and the popcorn fodder Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code.

But it will be for his work at Warner Brothers that Calley will be best remembered, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

In 1969, [Calley] became executive vice president in charge of production at Warner Bros.; he became president in 1975.

“Under Calley, Warners became the class act in town,” Peter Biskind wrote in his 1998 book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood.

“Urbane and witty, he gave the impression that he was somehow above it all, slumming in the Hollywood cesspool,” Biskind wrote. “As one wag put it, he was the blue in the toilet bowl.”

At Warner Bros., Calley created what Biskind called “an atmosphere congenial to ‘60s-going-on ‘70s filmmakers” and was known for relying heavily on his own taste in picking films.

Among Warner’s Calley-era bill of fare: Woodstock, A Clockwork Orange, Mean Streets, The Towering Inferno, “McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Exorcist, Dog Day Afternoon, Deliverance, Dirty Harry, All the President’s Men, Blazing Saddles, Superman and Chariots of Fire.

As a salute, here’s a brief video resume of that golden era of film-making.

Read John Calley’s obituary here.

Mean Streets (1973)

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Clips of other classic films, including ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Mean Streets’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Thank God for Satan: Surge in Devil-worship creates demand for Exorcists

Thank God for Satan, as more than 60 Catholic clergy (66 perhaps?) gather in Rome for a 6-day (another 6!) conference on “Exorcism”, this week, at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Rome. The event will examine how the web has made it easier than before to access information on Devil-worship and the occult, reports the Daily Telegraph:

“The internet makes it much easier than in the past to find information about Satanism,” said Carlo Climati, a member of the university who specialises in the dangers posed to young people by Satanism.

“In just a few minutes you can contact Satanist groups and research occultism. The conference is not about how to become an exorcist. It’s to share information about exorcism, Satanism and sects. It’s to give help to families and priests. There is a particular risk for young people who are in difficulties or who are emotionally fragile,” said Mr Climati.

Organizers of the event say the rise of Satanism has been dangerously underestimated in recent years.

“There’s been a revival,” said Gabriele Nanni, a former exorcist and another speaker at the course.

Over the course of 6-days, the exorcists will scrutinise the phenomenon of Satanism with “seriousness and scientific rigour”, avoiding a “superficial or sensational approach.”

In theory, any priest can perform an exorcism – a rite involving prayers to drive the Devil out of the person said to be possessed.

But Vatican officials said three years ago that parish priests should call in professional exorcists if they suspect one of their parishioners needs purging of evil. An exorcist should be called when “the moral certainty has been reached that the person is possessed”, said Father Nanni, a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. That could be indicated by radical and disturbing changes in the person’s behaviour and voice, or an ability to garble in foreign languages or nonsensical gibberish.

While the number of genuine cases of possession by the Devil remained relatively small, “we must be on guard because occult and Satanist practices are spreading a great deal, in part with the help of the internet and new technologies that make it easier to access these rituals,” he said.

The Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed last year that the Devil lurked in the Vatican, the very heart of the Catholic Church.

Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained.

He claimed that the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See. He said Pope Benedict XVI believed “wholeheartedly” in the practice of exorcism.

The church’s International Association of Exorcists was set up in 1993, and meet in secret every 2 years, with the aim “of increasing the number of official exorcists worldwide.”

Since 2005, Catholic priests can sign up to learn how to cast away evil spirits from the possessed at the Vatican-backed college, the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum in Rome.

It runs a two-month course to teach the “spiritual, liturgical and pastoral work involved in being an exorcist.”

According to Father Giulio Savoldi, Milan’s official exorcist, requirements include “the supernatural force – the presence of God – and then suggest that the man picked to do this kind of work be wise and that he should know how to gather strength not just from within himself but from God.” The Roman Catholic’s new Exorcism RiteThe Roman Catholic’s new Exorcism Rite, which was updated in 1999 for the first time since 1614, stresses the importance of distinguishing who is really in need of an exorcism.

Father Savoldi said: “Those studying to become exorcists should also study psychology and know how to distinguish between a mental illness and a possession. And, finally, they need to be very patient.” He said the priest who undertakes the office should be himself a holy man, of a blameless life, intelligent, courageous, humble. He should avoid in the course of the rite anything resembling superstition and he should leave the medical aspects of the case to qualified physicians.

If that doesn’t turn your head, then you may enjoy Mark Kermode’s fascinating BBC documentary, Fear of God: The Making of ‘The Exorcist’, which examines the story of classic 1973 horror movie, with cast and crew, and discusses the true events inspired William Peter Blatty’s original novel.

Previously on DM

Exorcists gather in Poland

The rest of Mark Kermode’s documentary on the making of ‘The Exorcist’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kid-made Super 8 Sound version of The Exorcist
02:53 pm


The Exorcist
Super 8 Sound

It’s safe to say we’re all scarred for life from seeing The Exorcist as kids but these kids worked it out in an exceptional way. The sound design in particular is a marvel of resourcefulness.

In 1974 while THE EXORCIST was still playing in the theaters, my friends and I made a version of our own called THE DEMONIC POSSESSION. Originally the title was going to be MALEDICTION but we figured nobody would know what that is. Filmed in Pittsburgh, Pa and Atlanta, Ga, the film was made on SUPER 8 SOUND and runs 60 minutes. This is an excerpt. Miraculously the film was made without ANY parental censorship or supervision. A film by CLIFF CARSON Cinematography by BILL BURTON

Thanks Brian Ruryk !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
The Ekmek Is Mine!  A Look At “Seytan,” Turkey’s Frame-By-Frame Exorcist Rip-Off

Gus Van Sant‘s experiment from ‘99 where he essentially served up a Xerox of Hitchcock’s Psycho has nothing on the ongoing cinematic “homaging” going down in Turkey.  Cinefamily goes so far as to declare the country,

the wild, wild Middle East of mondo macabro.  Here you find the outlying reaches of world exploitation, where the heroes are macho men who can beat you up with just their moustaches, and the copyright infringement flows as freely as the currents of the Bosphorus River.  From the wholesale plundering of battle footage from American sci-fi smash hits (with which to mash into their own space operas), to the endless cavalcade of scene-for-scene, shot-for-shot, unauthorized remakes (Turkish Exorcist, Turkish Death Wish, Turkish Young Frankenstein)—the bandits of Turkish cinema were unstoppable.  These films were lawless, shameless, and hilarious.  Infinite ambition and infinitesimal budgets lead to cheap remakes that resemble a high school theater version of Apocalypse Now; to make up for their poverty, these filmmakers upped the sadism, mayhem, and titillation to their tastes and our delight.

Well, thanks to YouTube, you can now watch Seytan—The Turkish Exorcist—in 14 soup-spewing installments.  I’m pretty sure they’re all posted, but if you can’t find ‘em all, even casual fans of William Friedkin’s Exorcist will have no trouble spotting the devil in Ms. G?ɬ

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment