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10 Movies That Were Supposedly Cursed


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'The Exorcist'
Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Father Karras (Jason Miller) attempt to draw out the demon possessing Regan MacNeil (played by a teenaged Linda Blair). Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Father Karras (Jason Miller) attempt to draw out the demon possessing Regan MacNeil (played by a teenaged Linda Blair). Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

This 1973 film, based on a novel by Peter Blatty, shocked audiences with its depiction of a young girl possessed by a demon and the efforts of a Catholic priest to save her. The dark subject matter led to reports of a film curse. Controversy surrounded the film upon its release, since many believed it exerted a demonic influence on audiences.

It's safe to say the curse surrounding "The Exorcist" is the work of a film studio marketing department. Virtually every report of the dire curse can be traced to a single source: an "E! True Hollywood Story" episode titled "Curse of the Exorcist." Padded to last two hours, the episode creates incidents out of whole cloth (a crucifix on a nearby church being struck by lightning during the film's premiere in Rome), greatly exaggerates minor incidents (Ellen Burstyn's minor back injury during filming became a "spinal injury"), makes unsupported claims (supposedly nine people died during filming) and gives charlatans center stage (Billy Graham claiming the actual physical film the movie was printed on was infused with demonic power).

A lot of film curses are really startling coincidences that appear to form a pattern, but there's no coincidence with the"Exorcist"curse. The "E! True Hollywood Story" episode about the curse was broadcast on Aug. 15, 2004. An "Exorcist" prequel, "Exorcist: The Beginning," hit theaters on Aug. 20, 2004.