The Exorcist is regarded as one of the scariest films ever made, and with damn fine reason, but there’s also a strongly-held belief among many fans of the film that the production was cursed.
For starters, numerous people involved with the movie’s production died during and shortly following shooting, with actress Ellen Burstyn being quoted as saying “there was an enormous amount of deaths connected with the film”.
Here’s the lot, as reported by What Culture:
Actor Jack MacGowran died of flu complications before the movie was released, Vasiliki Maliaros (who played Father Karras’ mother), died albeit of natural causes at the age of 90 shortly after shooting her part and actor Lee J. Cobb died of a heart attack a little over two years after the movie came out.
Ellen Burstyn also insists that Max von Sydow had a brother who died during production, a cameraman’s wife gave birth to a stillborn child, the set refrigerator also passed away, Linda Blair’s grandfather died during filming, and one of the set’s night watchmen also apparently died.
In addition to all this, a fire on one of the movie’s sets delayed production for 6 weeks, Ellen Burstyn suffered a permanent spinal cord injury while performing a stunt, and director William Friedkin ended up asking a Reverend to perform an exorcism on the set.
He refused, but agreed to bless the set anyway. All this for a horror movie. Was it worth it? $441 million in box office receipts will make many a studio executive shout a resounding “yes!”