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Did people exaggerate about The Exorcist movie?

211 replies

EbbyEbs · 09/09/2022 20:16

DH and I have just been talking about horror movies and we have both heard the same stories off our parents about how people were fainting in the cinema and how there were constant ambulances being called to the cinema etc

I saw someone saying this on a documentary about it too that there were “ambulances lined up outside the cinemas”

Surely not?

We’re not old enough to know for sure but these stories are exaggerated surely? It wasn’t even that scary! Most of the film is pretty boring if we’re being honest!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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FlibbertyGibbitt · 09/09/2022 21:02

When Silence of the Lambs was going to be released in the UK, there were all sorts of stories that in the USA people had died of heart attacks watching it.

Wasn’t that frightening !


DashboardConfessional · 09/09/2022 21:03

It frightens me - and I am a diehard horror fan. I think it's how brightly lit and matter-of-fact it is - they just walk into the bedroom in full daylight and there she is, rotting face, grunting and all. I watched the re-release in 1998 when I was 13 and wished I hadn't.

I am not however scared of any of the other supposedly terrifying classics like The Shining although we did turn off Rec for a few minutes to compose ourselves when they were about to go into the attic...


Netrandom · 09/09/2022 21:03

I miss Woolies and point of thread


mrsfollowill · 09/09/2022 21:04

100% it was horrifying at the time- nothing like that had been released before - my burly Dad had a 'pirate video' of it and had to put the cassette in the garage overnight after he had watched it. Could not bear to have the tape in the house it freaked him out so much. This was early 80's? I was not allowed to watch it!

I saw it in the cinema early 1990's - was still very scary then- I looked at the floor through most of it- but I think I would laugh at it now and how dated it looks and the effects were crap by today's standards. Same with 'American Werewolf in London' - scared the crap out of 16 yrs old me- switched it off after the pub scene when they are turfed out onto the moors... oh and Nightmare on Elm Street - could not sleep after that one.

We are so much more used to gore/horror these days and let face it it's special effects. Even the first season of The Walking Dead gripped me massively and made my heart beat faster but now I'm like 'meh more zombies' smash their head off that'll do it. I still hate supernatural stuff though and don't watch- but basic violence, gore and horror bring it on.


User148563 · 09/09/2022 21:04

I would probably like to watch it again, when it was first released it was really hyped up, which always leads to disappointment.


alwaysdarkestbeforedawn · 09/09/2022 21:06

I also saw it when it was re released at the cinema. I remember being really nervous because I’d heard about all the faintings etc when it originally came out. I almost didn’t go. But I was really underwhelmed by it. It was offensive and crude but not at all scary.

I agree with others who have suggested we must be desensitised now. There’s a BBC film called The Stone Tape which was also broadcast in the early 70s and was apparently terrifying. I watched it recently. It’s extremely sexist and slightly creepy. Terrifying? Definitely not.


EbbyEbs · 09/09/2022 21:12

Slushycuppa · 09/09/2022 21:01

See I thought paranormal activity was scary. But my DH was going through a sleep walking phase around the time we saw that. So I was a bit freaked out by the bits when she stood there for hours at night.

Does anyone remember that Ghostwatch programme in the 90s with Sarah Greene and Michael Parkinson. That scared the shit out of me when I saw it!!

Yes! Pipes the ghost? They made out it was a live investigation? Now THAT was scary. It was in the news that someone committed suicide after watching that as they thought it was real and it terrified them so much

OP posts:

Mrsjayy · 09/09/2022 21:14

I was about 20 when that ghost watch programme was on far too old to be scared😳


MingeofDeath · 09/09/2022 21:14

The scariest thing I ever watched was the kids tv programme The Children of the Stones. Those of a certain age will remember that. Then again the 70s were like that. TV shows were made to scare the shit out of kids.
Spirit of Dark Water anyone?


woodhill · 09/09/2022 21:16

Even 70s Dr Who was scary and Hammer house of horror with the doppelgängers


MingeofDeath · 09/09/2022 21:17

I remember the doppelganger one very well !


Mrsjayy · 09/09/2022 21:18

Oh Hammer house of Horror was scary my nan used to let me watch it on a Saturday night !


woodhill · 09/09/2022 21:19

Did it end with an ambulance and the beginning was a hitchhiker?


Hambledy · 09/09/2022 21:20

Mostly horrors are frightening in their time.

They're frightening because they tap into existing fears, and different cultures/generations have different common fears. At the time The Exorcist was released more people in the UK/USA were religious and even for those who weren't it still set a kind of background societal tone. So any horror involving religion had a stronger psychological impact.

Also the special effects jar at us a bit now because they look a bit clunky compared with others we've seen since as technology has improved, so that kind of knocks our concentration off.

I don't think we're desensitized. There are some images in it that are way more "horrific" than horrors that have been made since. But it doesn't have the same effect on audiences today because we're different from audiences at the time culturally and wrt tech effects.


oakleaffy · 09/09/2022 21:20

The Exorcist had terrible reputation of causing people to vomit while watching it, and /or pass out.
I had a friend who advised me never to watch it at the cinema.
I haven't.
But back then, there were so few scary films, that The Exorcist may have rocked all the boxes for uber scary.
I have seen clips on You Tube, and it does look quite eerie.

The attic we had in the Family home as kids had a staircase leading up to it much like on the image of the back of the book, and one day, all alone, {Parents had gone away for weekend} the attic door rattled repeatedly.

I was terrified.
Grabbed my tennis raquet and shouted ''Who is that!!??'' only for it to rattle again.

It was the cat.
He must have sneaked up there and dad closed the door on him by mistake.

Scared the daylights out of me.


NeverDropYourMooncup · 09/09/2022 21:23

mamabear715 · 09/09/2022 20:41

Actually, this post just reminded me - I worked in a department store back in the olden days, lol - the toy dept stocked OIUJA BOARDS.. I kid you not.. :-0

They were originally a toy. Made by a toy company.


PuppyMonkey · 09/09/2022 21:24

I remember watching that 1980s Ghostwatch thing and being Grin at how hammy and fake it was even at the time.


Pugdogmom · 09/09/2022 21:24

I thought it was so frankly ridiculous , I laughed. Watched it in the late 70s and underage.
Now the Omen....that was terrifying as much more realistic 😳


Mrsjayy · 09/09/2022 21:27

I loved the Omen films they are proper scary but not gross .


Dfg15 · 09/09/2022 21:30

I’ve read the book, that was scary enough, so have never watched the film and have no desire to. I’m a coward where horror films are concerned


Ginger1982 · 09/09/2022 21:32

My parents walked out of the Omen. My father was a minister. I'm guessing they didn't have previews of movies in those days as God only knows how he didn't know what it was about!


MingeofDeath · 09/09/2022 21:34

Hasbro still make ouija boards


Mrsjayy · 09/09/2022 21:34

Did your dad not have an inclination Ginger1982


Pumpkinsanddaisies · 09/09/2022 21:39

I like the quote that I think is from the author of The exorcist, something like, God never talks but the devil keeps advertising.


Vecnasnurse · 09/09/2022 21:44

Ffs, I'm flicking between threads and somehow managed to screen project the speech from the hot french prime minister onto the TV while reading this thread. Scared the crap out of me to suddenly hear someone speaking French in the next room.

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