Viral Video Of Audience Reactions To ‘The Exorcist’ Revives Conversation

“I saw it when it came out. I am 61 years old today and I still cannot watch it when it comes on,” recalled one commenter.

July 20, 2021
13th March 1974: The exterior of the Leicester Square Warner cinema in London, which is showing 'The Exorcist'.  [via Getty Images/Evening Standard]

13th March 1974: The exterior of the Leicester Square Warner cinema in London, which is showing 'The Exorcist'. [via Getty Images/Evening Standard]

13th March 1974: The exterior of the Leicester Square Warner cinema in London, which is showing 'The Exorcist'. [via Getty Images/Evening Standard]

Sparking a nationwide dialogue and a five-film franchise, William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic The Exorcist is once again creating a buzz. A recently posted Reddit video of audiences’ reactions to the film has gone viral as viewers from the past and present discuss the movie’s fear factor.

A post by Reddit user @FunPeach0 showing people’s visceral reactions to William Friedkin’s The Exorcist goes viral.

“I have a friend in there alone, and I don’t want to leave her in there alone,” a pale young woman says to the camera. In a post by Reddit user @FunPeach0, similar responses, spliced together with shots from the film and an eerie soundscape, paint a picture of communal shock. A figure lays prone on a theatre lobby couch. Two friends huddle together, one firmly asserting, “I’m not going back in there.” A man stutters through a response and shakes his head, seemingly at a loss for words. When it was released in theatres, The Exorcist affected audiences in ways no one could have imagined.

The film, which was not expected to do well due to budget concerns and a lack of well-known actors, opened for a theatrical run in just 30 theatres. Within its first week it had grossed $1.9 million, ultimately setting a box-office record for R-rated horror films that would go unchallenged until Stephen King’s It hit theatres in 2017. Shortly after its release, theatres saw lines like those in the viral video wrapped around the block. Movie-goers waited for hours in freezing temperatures to see the film that was reportedly so disturbing it caused attendees to be sick or faint.

Even today, those who sit through the film in theatres reflect on their experience with some trepidation. “I saw [sic] it when it came out. I am 61 years old today and I still cannot watch it when it comes on,” recalls one commenter. That sentiment is repeated throughout the thread, as viewers who saw the movie on the big screen verify the reactions from the clip. “I walked out of the theater terrified the first time she started flipping around on the bed,” claims another Redditor. “I'm 47 now and I STILL refuse to watch that movie again. My cousins and I watched it in the early ‘80s and we all had nightmares about it,” comments a third.

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