The Exorcist

The Exorcist

Special guest: Introduction by Rick Baker, assistant to Dick Smith.

William Friedkin’s screen adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel about a seemingly ordinary girl who becomes possessed by the devil presented filmgoers with unprecedented images of horror. Always aiming for realism even with his most fantastical creations, makeup artist Dick Smith’s process for finalizing actress Linda Blair’s transformation into the demonic Regan required weeks of camera tests and multiple application variations. Collaborating with special effects supervisor Marcel Vercoutere, Smith employed his mastery with foam latex to create a life-size body cast of Blair for the iconic, horrifying head-spinning scene and fashioned a hidden, plastic mouthpiece to produce Regan’s projectile vomit.

DIRECTED BY: William Friedkin. WRITTEN BY: William Peter Blatty. WITH: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn. 1973. 132 min. USA. Color. English. Rated R. DCP.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. 

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