'The Exorcist' Quiz

Staff

True or False: "The Exorcist" is based on a real-life story.

Some of the details seem too freaky to be true, but the story is based on events that happened to a 13-year-old boy in 1949.

In what year was "The Exorcist" released to theaters?

It's been more than 40 years since the movie hit theaters, but it still holds the power to freak out today's modern audiences.

What was the religion of the family that inspired the movie?

The Lutheran family looked everywhere for help with their possessed son but eventually turned to the Catholic church.

How many people supposedly witnessed the real-life exorcism of the boy, who was known by the pseudonym "Roland Doe"?

Some accounts said that nearly 50 people witnessed the crazy events surrounding the boy's traumatic experiences.

Who directed the movie?

Before "The Exorcist," Friedkin was already famous because he'd won Best Director for his work on "The French Connection."

Which actress played the role of the possessed 12-year-old girl?

Linda Blair plays Regan MacNeil, whose increasingly bizarre behavior generates the fear that she's been possessed by a demonic presence.

What does Regan say to the astronaut, who is preparing to go to space at the beginning of the movie?

She says, "You're gonna die up there," and then proceeds to pee on the floor, which is probably enough to give even a stout-hearted astronaut a serious case of the creeps.

What is the name of the demon that takes possession of poor Regan?

Pazuzu comes from Babylonian or Assyrian mythology; he's a wind god that devastates humanity with famines.

What was the movie's approximate final budget?

The movie was fairly inexpensive to make, with a budget of around $12 million.

How much did "The Exorcist" make at the box office?

The movie vastly outperformed expectations at the box office, raking in more than $400 million and becoming a cultural phenomenon.

How was Ellen Burstyn hurt during filming?

To create genuine surprise (and pain), she was purposely jerked during filming; it provoked a genuine reaction for the film but also hurt her back.

How did Linda Blair alter her voice to sound like a scary demon during the possession scenes?

A famous radio actress named Mercedes McCambridge actually did the demon's voice work (and she almost wasn't credited).

How did McCambridge prepare her body to create demonic sounds?

If the raw eggs and booze weren't enough, she also smoked packs of cigarettes, all to generate the demon's creepy voice.

How did the The New York Times review rate the movie?

Reviewer Vincent Canby shredded the film, accusing producers of relying too heavily on shock and gore.

Why was the film's original working score discarded?

The movie was frightening enough and early audiences found the scary music was just too much.

Who was the original choice for the role of Father Merrin?

The creators, however, were concerned that Brando's fame would overshadow the entire movie, so they went with Max von Sydow instead.

Why was Max von Sydow selected for the role of Father Merrin?

He bore an eerie resemblance to Father Bowdern, the priest who was called to perform the real-life exorcism in 1949.

The films opening scenes were filmed in which country?

The archaeological site in the first scenes was a location near Mosul, Iraq.

What substance makes up the "vomit" that Regan pukes onto Father Karras in one famous scene?

The pea soup mixture, which actually looks like pea soup even on film, was blended with a bit of oatmeal to give it some chunky texture.

How old was Max von Sydow's character in the movie?

Von Sydow was only in his mid-40s at the time, so he needed hours of makeup work each day to age him to 74.

In the middle of shooting, why was filming for the movie delayed by two months?

The cause was never determined for certain, but the set caught fire and required major repairs.

Due to the film's content, what did some movie theaters provide?

Waves of viewers puked during screenings of the movie, so some theaters were reduced to providing vomit bags to minimize their clean-up work.

What was one primary reason that Linda Blair was selected for the part of Regan?

The film's creators didn't want to damage a young actress with the story's extreme content, and Blair seemed to have the stability to handle the role.

What did film critic Roger Ebert have to say about the film's rating?

Ebert was puzzled that the film managed an R-rating; he thought it should have been rated X.

True or False: Adjusted for inflation, "The Exorcist" would be the second-highest grossing R-rated film in history.

Actually, after adjustment for inflation, the film would be the No. 1 R-rated movie in history.

After watching the movie, why did one audience member sue Warner Bros.?

One scene caused him to faint, fall and break his jaw; the case was settled out of court.

In which city is the story set?

The movie is set in D.C., but many of its scenes were actually filmed in New York.

Why did crew members have to wear coats during filming of some scenes?

Regan's bedroom was built inside a freezer so that the cameras would capture the actors' breath during possession scenes.

What do people believe was the real reason the boy that inspired the story seemed to be possessed?

Some skeptics think the boy pretended to be possessed, others that he was mentally ill. Father Walter Halloran, a priest who took part in the exorcism, said he couldn't go on record as saying whether or not the boy was really possessed.

For how many Academy Awards was the film nominated?

It was nominated for 10 awards and it took home two -- Best Sound Mixing and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay.

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About This Quiz

Decades after its release, it is still one of the creepiest and scariest movies ever made. How much do you know about "The Exorcist"?

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