The Exorcist is easily one of the greatest horror movies of all time, but could they make it again today?
“No you can’t because they created everything they did,” the film’s star, Linda Blair, says, citing the 1973 film’s practical effects. “I always say it’s the greatest magic show ever made on film. With the computers and so on nowadays, nobody would believe it — in my opinion.”
Still, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t prefer working with today’s technical wizardry. “I think it would’ve been swell if there were some of the special effects we have available to us nowadays,” she says.
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Blair was barely a teenager when she embarked on the nearly two-year process of making William Friedkin’s groundbreaking supernatural thriller, which gets the Blu-ray treatment with a new deluxe edition.
“Billy Friedkin is a master. Without a doubt, he was meant to make this film,” she says. “He is difficult because he wants to deliver the best. And that’s why the film has withstood time. Yes, it was hard. There’s no doubt. It was no walk in the park.”
And despite her age, Blair says she knew all the hard work was worth it as soon as she saw the finished product.
“To see all of it put together, it was incredible. I knew that my life had changed forever, I just didn’t know how,” she says. “It was when I became known around the world that my life became nearly impossible, and I just kept fighting to say no, you’re not going to take away my identity.”
Of course, after almost 40 years, things have gotten a little easier to handle. “I think that people have come to understand that I’m rather boring,” she says. “To an obsessive fan, I’m pretty normal.”
Given the chance to look back on The Exorcist, Blair is particularly struck by the reaction she and the film received — and how often she was quizzed on theology, with a recurring question being whether the devil exists.
“I was sitting in front of huge amounts of press and that was one of the main questions to a 15-year-old. It was very bizarre,” says Blair, who was raised Protestant. “They would truly ask me, as adults, if there’s God, if there’s the Devil.”