Reports of audiences fainting and vomiting were a common occurrence during the release of William Friedkin’s chilling tale of a young girl possessed by the devil, The Exorcist. Actor Jack MacGowran played the doomed director in the film, Burke Dennings, and succumbed to the flu shortly after filming wrapped.
So what makes The Exorcist as one of the Top 5 cursed Horror movies ? There are at least eight other deaths associated with the production. The set for the MacNeil home burned down in a studio fire, but Regan’s (Linda Blair) room was supposedly untouched by the blaze.
Many believing that an evil entity took up residence in the celluloid itself. So plagued was the production by strange occurrences that E! aired a two-hour special a decade ago to collect all of the stories together, ranging from on-set fires to nearly a dozen mysterious deaths in the immediate families of crew members.
At several points a real priest was brought in to bless the set, and he seemed sure that Satan didn’t want the film to be made. Furthering belief in the alleged curse is the fact that Jack MacGowran, who played Burke Dennings, died of influenza shortly after completing his scenes. Other oddly timed deaths included actress Valsiliki Maliaros, Max von Sydow’s brother and Linda Blair’s grandfather.
At one screening in Rome, a 16th-century church nearby was struck by lightning after the audience filed into the theater, a giant cross landing in the plaza below.