‘Exorcist’ Blu-ray offers fresh perspective on thriller classic

By Mike Cidoni, AP
Thursday, October 7, 2010

‘Exorcist’ Blu-ray offers fresh perspective

LOS ANGELES — They’ve scared up something new for fans of “The Exorcist.”

This week’s Blu-ray debut of director William Friedkin’s 1973 thriller classic delivers behind-the-scenes material never before released to the public.

“While we were filming the picture, Owen Roizman, the cinematographer, had a handheld camera,” Friedkin recalled. “He was recording various things that happened during the preparation, during the makeup tests, during the manifestation techniques.”

Roizman’s footage shows then 13-year-old star Linda Blair at ease and then at work, giving a performance while often strapped to an array of uncomfortable special-effects contraptions.

“One minute she’s smiling, laughing, acting like a 13-year old, and two seconds later, she’s into the character,” Roizman said.

Blair, now 51, said she’ll never forget the pea soup that doubled for the vomit her demon-possessed character spews all over co-stars Max Von Sydow and Jason Miller.

“I really do think they put in some other things for the substance, the texture,” Blair noted. “The smell was beyond foul.”

To prepare the original footage for Blu-ray release, Friedkin said he spent months poring over the film, frame by frame. Only when that was done, did he sit down and watch the movie for the first time in “a long time.”

“It worked for me, after 38 years,” Friedkin said. “I think it has great power.”

will not be displayed