The true story that inspired The Exorcist

Generations and generations have been traumatized by the film adaptation of the bestseller The Exorcist. The announcement that the franchise will resume excited fans. And, as incredible as it may seem, the story was inspired by a real experience. That’s right. Part of what we saw was true.

The record dates back to 1949, in the United States, when Father Raymond J. Bishop was called to perform a series of exorcism sessions on a 13-year-old boy, who would have been “possessed” after playing with an Ouija board. Raymond needed the help of another priest, and the entire procedure was recorded in a journal. From the records, the Jesuit priest Walter H. Halloran was called to lead the session.

The two priests were respectful but skeptical from the start about the “possession”. This was the case that author William Peter Blatty used to create his story. According to the diaries, the mattress on the bed shook during prayers, the boy, Roland, broke Halloran’s nose in the process, and after the exorcism, the boy led a normal life. However, the case was reviewed and, in 1993, the conclusion was that although disturbed, Roland was not possessed, he was just a hysterical boy who had fits to run away from school. In the review, the stories in which he changed his voice and spoke Latin were exaggerated as well. The story actually took place in Maryland (where the film is set), but many of the “facts” were verbal accounts. changed according to the source.

The story practically became a legend and when Blatty released the book 50 years ago, it was a success. Two years later, in 1973, the best seller became a box office phenomenon with the film The Exorcist. In 2000, Roland’s story was the basis of the film Possessed by the Demon, with Christopher Plummer and Timothy Dalton.

The birth of a classic that made history

The Exorcist made Linda Blair a star and “ended” her career too. It was also one of the American films for which Max Von Sydow became internationally famous. Ellen Burstyn, not yet consecrated, was the only actress who agreed to play the role rejected by all the stars of the time.

The film was released in December 1973 and although it did not delight critics, it immediately won over audiences. The box office success contributed to it being the first horror film to be nominated for an Oscar. In fact, there were 10 nominations, winning for Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound. It is considered one of the best films in the genre.

The soundtrack – spectacular – also made history. Initially. Lalo Schifrin was going to write the song, but his material was considered too heavy and ended up being discarded after it was done. The chosen one was the progressive rock musician, Mike Outfield with his Tubular Bells, apparently calm, but tense in his tempo. The score for The Exorcist influenced other classics, like Halloween, but that’s another story…

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