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Posts tagged “William Friedkin

Willliam Friedkin – The Deadline Interview

Check out this awesome interview with William Friedkin as he revisits The French Coonection, The Exorcist and Sorcerer. At Deadline HERE


William Freidkin on Australian Film The Babadook

Check out these tweets from a man who knows how to make a scary movie. High praise indeed for The Babadook.

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Dick Smith R.I.P.

The-Exorcist_Dick-SmithRenowned Makeup FX Wizard Dick Smith has passed. His contribution to the genre and the world of Makeup FX, so integral to horror and cinema at large, is impossible to overstate.

Born in 1922 in Larchmont, New York, Smith began his career in 1945 as the first staff makeup man at NBC. Until his official debut in feature films in 1962, Smith applied makeup on a host of television series, including two remarkable visages in episodes of the anthology series WAY OUT (“Soft Focus,” “False Face”).

Pioneering the use of foam latex for intricate, richly detailed designs, Smith’s work was perhaps most stunning (and best known) in William Friedkin’s 1973 classic The Exorcist. Smith also considered it his most accomplished work, and in a 2007 Washington Post profile, his former assistant and now FX legend Rick Baker helps illustrate why:

” ‘The Exorcist’ was really a turning point for makeup special effects,” Baker says. “Dick showed that makeup wasn’t just about making people look scary or old, but had many applications. He figured out a way to make the welts swell up on Linda’s stomach, to make her head spin around, and he created the vomit scenes.”

Of course, Smith’s filmography and influence extends farther than just The Exorcist. In 1965, Smith penned the essential DICK SMITH’S DO-IT-YOURSELF MONSTER MAKE-UP HANDBOOK and his entire career is an index of fantastic, otherworldly work including the likes of Dark Shadows, Little Big Man, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Burnt Offerings, Altered States, The Fury, Ghost Story and Amadeus, for which he won an Oscar in 1984. Smith’s second Oscar came in 2011, when the technician of horror received an Academy Honorary Award for “for his unparalleled mastery of texture, shade, form and illusion.”


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So this is on today…

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The Exorcist – 40th Anniversary Poster

the-exorcist-regularPrinted by New Flesh on 140lb Arches Hot Press Watercolor with two deckled edges and embossed logo. THE EXORCIST (Variant) is signed and numbered with an edition of 25 and also signed by director William Friedkin. This limited run is available on the 29th October HERE


Mercedes McCambridge – The Exorcist


Mercedes McCambridge

The Exorcist_Mercedes McCambridgeCarlotta Mercedes McCambridge (March 16, 1916 – March 2, 2004) was an Academy Award-winning and Golden Globe-winning American actress. Orson Welles called her “the world’s greatest living radio actress.”

McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, the daughter of parents Marie and John Patrick McCambridge. She graduated from Mundelin College in Chicago. She began her career as a radio actor during the 1940’s while also performing on Broadway.

Her Hollywood break came when she was cast opposite Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men (1949). McCambridge won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role, while the film won Best Picture for that year. McCambridge also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and New Star of the Year – Actress for her performance.

In 1954, the actress co-starred with Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden in the offbeat western drama, Johnny Guitar, now regarded as a cult classic. McCambridge and Hayden publicly declared their dislike of Crawford, with McCambridge labeling the film’s star “a mean, tipsy, powerful, rotten-egg lady.”

McCambridge played the supporting role of ‘Luz’ in the George Stevens epic, Giant (1956), which starred Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean in his last role. In 1959, McCambridge appeared opposite Katherine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer. 

Of more interest to casual readers of this site, McCambridge provided the dubbed voice of the demonically possessed child Regan in The Exorcistacted by Linda Blair. McCambridge was promised a screen credit for the film’s initial release, but she discovered at the premiere that her name was absent. Her dispute with director William Friedkin and Warner Bros. over her exclusion ended when, with the help of the Screen Actors Guild, she was properly credited for her vocal work in the film.

In the 1970’s, she toured in a road company production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as Big Mama, opposite John Carradine as Big Daddy. She appeared as a guest artist in college productions such as El Centro College’s 1979 The Mousetrap, in which she received top billing despite her character being murdered less than 15 minutes into the play.

In the mid-1970’s, McCambridge briefly took a position as director of Livingrin, a Pennsylvania rehabilitation center for alcoholics. She was at the same time putting the finishing touches on her soon-to-be released autobiography, The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography (Times Books, 1981).

McCambridge died on March 2, 2004 in La Jolla, California, of natural causes.


The Exorcist – 40th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray

The Exorcist_40th Anniversary_Banner“’The Exorcist is both my own favorite film and the greatest film ever made.” — Mark Kermode, Sight and Sound Magazine

THE EXORCIST

CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY OCTOBER 8

Blu-ray™ Includes the Extended Director’s Cut, Theatrical Version

with New Special Features and Premiums

Burbank, Calif. June 20, 2013 – When The Exorcist was first released in 1973, viewers were frightened out of their wits – and literally out of their seats. Now Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Academy Award® winning director William Friedkin’s suspense masterpiece that haunted and intrigued the world, with a new Blu-ray release featuring the Extended Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version with new special features and premiums. Available October 8, just ahead of Halloween, this 40th Anniversary Edition will include two new featurettes: “Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist” and “Talk of the Devil,” as well as an excerpt from Friedkin’s book The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.

A true cinema landmark, the theological thriller is one of the top ten box-office performers of all time.* The Exorcist took 10 Academy Award® nominations[1], including Best Picture, and won two Oscars®[2], for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as winning for Best Sound. Subsequently, the film went on to become a multi-million dollar franchise. Directed by Friedkin (Oscar®-winner for The French Connection – Directing 1971) and written by William Peter Blatty, the film is based on his best-selling novel, which sold nearly 13 million copies domestically and was the #1 book on the New York Times Best Seller List for 57 weeks, 17 of them at #1.

Regarding the Extended Director’s Cut, Friedkin says, “After my initial cut, I took out 12 more minutes before we released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I’d review some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it back in a new version. In so doing I believe we strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film.”

Celebrated for his directorial role in this seminal film, Friedkin is still very much in the limelight. His new book, The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir, recently published by HarperCollins, extensively discusses the background and casting of The Exorcist. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films will honor Friedkin this month with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his continually influential work in genre entertainment at this year’s Saturn Awards. Friedkin recently received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, where he will present the restored version of Warner Bros.’ Sorcerer. And Friedkin and author Blatty will attend a special 40th Anniversary screening of their film at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. on October 30. The film will also have an exclusive theatrical engagement October 31 through November 7th at the AMC Georgetown.

Synopsis

The Exorcist tells the now-famous story of a girl’s demonic possession, and a gripping fight between good and evil. Linda Blair, in a breakout role, plays Regan, a young girl who starts to exhibit strange, arcane behaviour. Her mother (Ellen Burstyn, Oscar-winner for Best Actress Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) calls upon a priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller) to investigate. But Karras, who has a spiritual crisis of his own, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan’s possession. Father Lankester Merrin (Max Von Sydow), an archeologist-priest, is called to help, and a horrific battle for her soul begins.

Special Features:

  • Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist (NEW) 40 years after his novel was published,The Exorcist author, screenwriter and producer returns to where it all began. First stop is a cabin/guest house in the hills of Encino, California, where Blatty wrote the novel. The author visits the place for the first time in 40 years and shares not only memories of writing the book, but also discusses how it inspired him. We then meet Blatty in two key and iconic locations; Georgetown University where the film was shot, and at the now-famous Exorcist steps. Throughout, Blatty reads from his novel, including an excerpt from a chilling newly published passage.
  • Talk of the Devil (NEW) – While at Georgetown University, William Peter Blatty heard about a true case of possession from Father Eugene Gallagher. At the time the film came out, the priest talked at length about exorcism, the true story and about Blatty; this footage is now available for the first time in many years. It is as revealing as it is shocking.
  • Two Commentaries by William Friedkin
  • Commentary by William Peter Blatty
  • Introduction by William Friedkin
  • 1998 BBC Documentary “The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist”
  • Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist Set footage produced and photographed by Owen Roizman, camera and makeup tests, and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Owen Roizman.
  • The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now — Featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot.
  • Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist — with director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film.
  • Original Ending
  • Interviews
    – The Original Cut
    – Stairway to Heaven
    – The Final Reckoning
  • Sketches & Storyboards
  • Radio Spots
  • TV Spots
  • Trailers

Premium:

  • Excerpt of The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir

The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Extended Director’s Cut Blu-ray™
Street Date: October 8, 2013
Order Due Date: September 3, 2013
Rated R
Run Time: 132min (Extended Director’s Cut);122 (Theatrical Version)
Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.

* Source: boxofficemojo.com, adjusted for inflation.


The Exorcist – Poster Art

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William Friedkin awarded Golden Lion in Venice

The Exorcist director William Friedkin has arrived in Venice to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. He’s also there for the world premiere of Warner Bros’ newly restored version of his 1977 film Sorcerer. It’s the one he’d like to be remembered for. It “came the closest to my vision of it; the result is the way I first saw it in my mind’s eye,” he said as part of a wide-ranging and animated chat with journalists ahead of his award ceremony today.

Friedkin was last on the Lido with 2011’s gritty Killer Joe. That movie was penned by Tracy Letts with whom the director also collaborated on 2006′s Bug. He said this afternoon that he hopes to make another movie with Letts and that the two have discussed “doing a contemporary western.” When, he’s not sure, though. Opera afficianado Friedkin is currently planning a new take on Rigoletto with Placido Domingo and noted that Letts is busy penning a new version of The Grapes Of Wrath for Dreamworks.

Speaking of the current state of the studio system, Friedkin lamented the lack of original ideas in Hollywood. He said Killer Joe and Bug couldn’t have been made with a studio. “Hollywood today is like a big casino… where you gamble and put all the chips on one turn of a card.” To get a movie made within the system, Friedkin cracked, “You have to have someone wearing a spandex suit with a letter on his chest flying around the world saving it from evil… Somebody who can kill vampires or zombies. I don’t want to do that. I don’t even want to watch it.” He added that the studios “have a problem” but that they will continue to exist “for a good long time to come.” The real trouble will hit if distribution methods continue to change drastically and find success. With aspiring filmmakers now able to shoot, edit and post their movies online by themselves, “You’re going to see a broadening of the number of people who enter the world of cinema and the way their films will be distributed.”

Of Sorcerer, Friedkin said, “It was a difficult film to make, but I think we were all lucky.” There were a lot of physical problems during production including malaria and gangrene. The movie brings together a group of four outcasts who must transport unstable nitroglycerin through the jungle in two scrap trucks. Friedkin called it a “metaphor for the nations of the world that can’t get along.” Alluding to the current crisis in Syria, the director insisted there is “no doubt that the world right now is on the edge of extinction… Everyone is threatening everyone today in a way I haven’t experienced since the Second World War. Only now, the weapons are nuclear and all it takes is one madman to end the whole thing… The only real solution is if the world again comes up with a Ghandi or an Anwar Sadat or a Martin Luther King Jr.” A major role of cinema, he said, is as “a way for people to come together who don’t necessarily like each other.”

The director’s classics include The Exorcist and The French Connection, which won five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and a Best Actor statue for Gene Hackman. He was asked today whether he’s eased up on his actors and recalled working with Hackman. “I was difficult with Hackman because his character was difficult. As a director I work very much like a psychiatrist… You have to provoke emotion. (Hackman) was more angry at me than the drug dealer [in the film]. This is what I intended and it’s one of the reasons his performance is so good.”

Finally, he offered a piece of advice to aspiring filmmakers. “If you are in a cinema school, leave immediately! Nobody can teach you how to do cinema. It’s something you learn by doing and seeing. Cinema begets cinema.”

While awaiting the inevitable controversial Friedkin Q&A from the festival, enjoy this excellent wide-reaching interview about Hollywood, his crazy career, and even his politics and spirituality. The Oscar-winner opens up on everything from the ratings board to the death penalty, and shares stories from his new autobiography The Friedkin Connection, about The French Connection, Cruising and much more.
Anyone interested in movies and culture will find Friedkin’s perspective fascinating, and he continues to surprise even the most jaded onlooker.


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The Exorcist – Cool Wool Artwork

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The Exorcist – Storyboards

Check out these storyboard panels from The Exorcist. Click on the image to see larger panels…

 


Killer Joe – Trailer

Deadline reports that the William Friedkin-directed black comedy Killer Joe will be released by LD Entertainment on July 27 with an NC-17 rating. The film received that rating in late February, and the decision was made after the distributor and filmmaker unsuccessfully went through the appeals process before deciding they didn’t want to change the ending.

It’s not the first time Friedkin turned in a cut of a film that drew a dreaded rating from the MPAA. While Friedkin tackled rough subject matter in films like The Exorcist and To Live And Die In L.A., he got an X-rating for the 1980 film Cruising, in which Al Pacino played a detective who goes undercover looking for a killer preying on gay men. Friedkin said he had to cut 40 minutes of that movie to get an R rating. But he won’t have to cut a frame of Killer Joe. LD Entertainment will release a trailer for the film tomorrow, and it will wear the NC-17 rating like a red badge of courage.

Killer Joe is a garish, sexy black comedy that stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church. It is provocative, but played strongly in Venice, Toronto (where it was acquired by LD Entertainment) and SXSW.

LD Entertainment’s Dinerstein confirmed the decision and issued this statement: “We support the artistic integrity of our filmmakers — Academy–award winning director, William Friedkin and our screenwriter Pulitzer-Prize winner Tracy Letts — and the film will be released in theaters on July 27th in its original version as an NC-17 film. The film has played to enthusiastic crowds at the Venice, Toronto and SXSW Film Festivals where many critics have noted this is Matthew McConaughey’s best performance to date. As our initial LD Entertainment release, we are to excited to bring this very entertaining, funny and provocative film to audiences this summer.”


Jason Miller

Jason Miller (April 22, 1939 – May 13, 2001) was an American actor and playwright. He received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play That Championship Season, and was widely recognized for his role as Father Damien Karras in the 1973 classic horror film The Exorcist.

Miller was born John Anthony Miller in Long Island City, Queens. His family moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Miller was educated at St. Patrick’s High School and the Jesuit-run University of Scranton. He then attended The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C.

Miller was launched into stardom in 1973 by winning a Pulitzer Prize for his play, That Championship Season. The original Broadway cast featured Charles Durning, Richard Dysart, Paul Sorvino, and Michael McGuire. That same year, he was offered the role of the troubled priest, Father Damien Karras, in William Friedkin’s horror film The Exorcist (1973), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Miller played Father Damien Karras, in The Exorcist, and its real sequel The Exorcist III. Father Karras was one of the priests (with Father Merrin played by Max von Sydow) who exorcises the demon from young Regan McNeil (Linda Blair). He is a Jesuit psychiatrist suffering a crisis of faith. He searches for proof to lead an exorcism, yet during his investigation he comes to realize that there is no better way for God to prove His own existence than to reveal the foul presence of a demon. During the exorcism, the demon frequently brings up the subject of Karras’s mother’s death and how he wasn’t there to see her die, which seems to trouble Karras emotionally.

Father Karras dies by throwing himself down a flight of stone steps in order to purge the demon from his own body after having coaxed it out of Regan’s.

In the sequel, The Exorcist III, it is revealed that after the demon departed, another evil spirit invaded Karras’s body. Karras was found wandering and amnesiac and was placed in the care of a mental hospital near Washington, D.C. While incarcerated there, the spirit suppresses Karras’s personality and makes forays into the bodies of other patients in order to commit a series of ritual murders.

In 1982 Miller directed the screen version of That Championship Season. Featured in the cast were Robert Mitchum (replacing William Holden, who died before filming began), Paul Sorvino, Martin Sheen, Stacy Keach, and Bruce Dern. His own film career was sporadic, preferring to work in regional theatre. He starred as Henry Drummond in the Philadelphia production of Inherit the Wind. The show is to date the longest running production in Philadelphia history.

Miller co-founded the Scranton Public Theatre. With SPT, Miller directed and starred in various productions including Blithe Spirit, California Suite, Crimes of the Heart, and The Lion in Winter. He also acted occasionally in such films as The Dain Curse (1978), The Ninth Configuration (1980), Toy Soldiers (1984), and Rudy (1993), playing a role close to his heart, Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian.

In 1998, he toured his one-man play Barrymore’s Ghost, ending the tour with a four-month run off-Broadway. In October 2000, he performed Barrymore’s Ghost in a successful and critically acclaimed production in Philadelphia. His last project was a 2001 revival of The Odd Couple for the Pennsylvania Summer Theatre Festival, in which he was to appear in the role of Oscar Madison but died before the production opened.

Miller was the father of actors Jason Patric (by first wife Linda Gleason, daughter of Jackie Gleeson) and Joshua John Miller (by second wife Susan Bernard). In 1982 Miller returned to Scranton to become artistic director of the Scranton Public Theatre, a new regional theatre company founded the year before. On May 13, 2001, Miller died of a Heart attack in Scranton, Pennsylvania, aged 62.


Linda Fiorentino

Linda Fiorentino (born March 9, 1960) is an American actress. She is best known for her roles in the films The Last Seduction and Jade.

Fiorentino was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Washington Township High School, in Sewell, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Rosemont College in suburban Philadelphia. She has studied photography, off and on, since 1987 at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Fiorentino got her first professional role in 1985 when she starred in Vision Quest, followed by After Hours, however it was not until 1994 that she became widely recognized, receiving accolades for her performance in the excellent modern film noir, The Last Seduction. A story about a sociopathic femme fatale, Bridget Gregory, who steals a bag of money ($700,000) from her drug-dealing husband Clay (Bill Pullman). Bridget drives off headed to Chicago when she happens to stop at a small town, Beston, a suburb of Buffalo, and meets Mike (Peter Berg), who is back in town after a whirlwind marriage and divorce in Buffalo. The two immediately hook up. Bridget is just looking for sex, while Mike is trying to find a way out of the small town.

Because The Last Seduction was first aired on HBO television, Fiorentino was ineligible for an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, despite glowing reviews.

Jade is a 1995 erotic thriller film written by Joe Eszterhas, produced by Robert Evans, directed by William Friedkin and starring David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Richard Crenna and Michael Biehn. An unrated version featuring additional scenes and more explicit sexual footage with an extra 12 minutes was later released to VHS, though it is now out of print; the theatrical cut was utilized for the DVD and Blu-ray editions. The unrated versions for DVD, and Blu-Ray were cancelled due to poor sales of the unrated VHS version.

According to Eszterhas’ autobiography, Friedkin changed the script so much that Eszterhas threatened to remove his name from the credits. He claimed Paramount settled by giving him a “blind script deal” worth two to four million dollars.

In an interview in Linda Ruth Williams’ book The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, Friedkin admitted that he had virtually rewritten the script. But Friedkin also said that Jade was the favorite of all the films he had made. Jade grossed less than $9 million domestically while in theatres.

Fiorentino has since featured in Hollywood films such Men in Black (1997), Dogma (1999) and Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000), however her career never fully recovered after Jade…


Linda Blair

Linda Denise Blair (born January 22, 1959) is an American actress. Blair is best known for her role as the possessed child, Regan, in the film ‘The Exorcist’ (1973), and the ‘Exorcist II: The Heretic’ (1977).

Blair was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Westport, Connecticut. She began her career as a six-year-old child model and started acting with a regular role on the short-lived ‘Hidden Faces’ (1968-69) day time soap. Her first theatrical film appearance was in ‘The Way We Live Now’ (1970). Blair was selected from a field of 600 applicants for her most notable role as Regan in The Exorcist (1973). The role earned her a Golden Globe and Peoples Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as an Academy Award nomination.

The Exorcist is a 1973 horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book was inspired by the exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests. The film features Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller and Linda Blair. The film is one of a cycle of “demonic child” films produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Omen’. 

The Exorcist was released theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. on December 26, 1973. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations—winning two (Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay), and losing Best Picture to ‘The Sting’, it was robbed. It became one of the highest earning movies of all time, grossing $441 million worldwide.

The film has had a significant influence on popular culture. It was named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly and Movies.com and by viewers of AMC in 2006, and was #3 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. In 2010, the Library of Congress selected the film to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry. 

Blair reprised her role in the sequel, ‘Exorcist II: The Heretic’ (1977). Directed by John Boorman from a screenplay by William Goodhart, the film starred Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty and Kitty Winn. The film is set four years after The Exorcist, and centers on a now 16-year-old Regan McNeil who is still recovering from her previous demonic possession. 

The film was a critical failure at the time of its release, and is often considered the worst film in the series.

Towards the end of the 1970s, Blair encountered trouble with law enforcement authorities as she was arrested and charged with drug possession and conspiracy to sell drugs: after trial, she was found not guilty of possession, but guilty of conspiracy to sell, leading her to get a reduced sentence of three years’ probation. Though she tried to act in films, Blair found it hard to restart her screen career and landed low grade films in the 1980s and later. As she herself said in an interview, her career “went down faster than the Titanic”.

Blair’s career took a new turn in the 1980s, as she starred in a number of low-budget horror and exploitation films, including ‘Hell Night’ (1981), ‘Chained Heat’ (1983) and ‘Savage Streets’ (1984).

Blair featured in the Exorcist spoof, ‘Repossessed’ (1990), and had a cameo role in ‘Scream’ (1996). In 1997, she appeared in a Broadway revival of Grease. She also hosted Fox Family’s ‘Scariest Places On Earth’ (2000-6).

In 2008 she turned up at the 18th annual Malaga Fantasy and Horror Film Festival to accept a lifetime achievement award for her work in the horror genre. She also appeared in the 2009 documentary ‘Confessions of a Teenage Vigilante’, discussing her role as Brenda in Savage Streets (1984). The documentary is included as a bonus feature on the 2009 DVD release of the film.

Blair has become an animal rights activist and humanitarian, working with PETA, Feed The Children, and Variety, the Children’s Charity. Blair also devotes time to her non-profit organization, the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, which works to rescue abused, neglected and mistreated animals.


LEGO – The Exorcist

Another nice LEGO image, this time of the classic levitating scene from The Exorcist.


William Friedkin

William Friedkin (born August 29, 1935) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing ‘The French Connection’ in 1971 and ‘The Exorcist’ in 1973; for the former, he won the Academy Award for Best Director. His most recent film, ‘Bug’ (2006) won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He’s just completed the comedy/drama  Killer Joe which is due for release later this year.

After seeing the movie ‘Citizen Kane’ as a boy, Friedkin became fascinated with movies. He began working for WGN-TV immediately after high school. He eventually started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries. As mentioned in Friedkin’s voice-over commentary on the DVD re-release of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’, Friedkin also directed one of the last episodes of ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ in 1965, called “Off Season”.

In 1965 Friedkin moved to Hollywood and two years later released his first feature film, ‘Good Times’ starring Sonny and Cher. Several other “art” films followed (including the gay-themed movie ‘The Boys in the Band’), although Friedkin did not necessarily want to be known as an art house director. He wanted to be known for action, serious drama, and for stories about an America turned upside down by crime, hypocrisy, the occult, and amorality, which he mounted up into his films.

In 1971, his ‘The French Connection’ was released to wide critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture and of course, Best Director.

Friedkin followed up with 1973’s ‘The Exorcist’, based on William Peter Blatty’s  best-selling novel, which revolutionized the horror genre and is considered by some critics to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Friedkin’s directorial ‘ethics’ however, came into serious question when filming the now notorious scene where Linda Blair smacks Ellen Burstyn, causing her to fly backwards into a break-away table. Even after warning Friedkin the stuntman was “pulling her too hard,” Friedkin prompted him to pull her harder, resulting in a permanent back injury for Burstyn. The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won the Best Adapted Screenplay Award. Check out my review/reminiscence here

Unfortunately, Friedkin’s later movies did not achieve the same success. ‘Sorcerer’ (1977), a $22 million dollar American remake of the French classic ‘Wages of Fear’, starring Roy Scheider, was overshadowed by the box-office success of Star Wars, which was released around the same time. Friedkin considers it his finest film, and was personally devastated by its financial and critical failure (as mentioned by Friedkin himself in the documentary series The Directors (1999). I had the pleasure of seeing Friedkin present a new printof Sorcerer and perform an excellent Q & A immediately after. He was honest, engaging and a great raconteur… he also signed my Exorcist poster which is now a treasured possession.

Sorcerer was shortly followed by the crime-comedy ‘The Brinks Job’ (1978), based on the real-life Great Brink’s Robbery in Boston, which was also unsuccessful at the box-office. In 1980, he directed the highly controversial gay-themed crime thriller ‘Cruising’, starring Al Pacino, which was protested against even during its making and remains the subject of heated debate to this day.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedkin’s films received mostly lackluster reviews and moderate ticket sales. ‘Deal of the Century’ (1983), starring Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines and Sigourney Weaver, was sometimes regarded as a latter-day Dr. Strangelove, though it was generally savaged by critics. However, his action/crime movie ‘To Live and Die in L.A.'(1985), starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe, was a critical favorite and drew comparisons to Friedkin’s own The French Connection (particularly for its car-chase sequence), while his courtroom-drama/thriller ‘Rampage’ (1987) received a fairly positive review from Roger Ebert. ‘The Guardian’ (1990) and ‘Jade’ (1995), starring Linda Fiorentino, received somewhat favorable response from critics and audiences. Friedkin even said that Jade was the favorite of all the films he had made.

In 2000, The Exorcist was re-released in theaters with extra footage and grossed $40 million in the U.S. alone. Friedkin’s involvement in 2007’s ‘Bug’ resulted from a positive experience watching the stage version in 2004. He was surprised to find that he was, metaphorically, on the same page as the playwright and felt that he could relate well to the story.

Later, Friedkin directed an episode of the hit TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigations entitled “Cockroaches,” which re-teamed him with To Live and Die In L.A. star William Petersen. He would go on to direct again for CSI’s 200th episode, “Mascara.”

In June 2010, author William Peter Blatty, promoting his latest novel, revealed that Friedkin has committed to direct the feature film adaptation of his thriller, ‘Dimiter’. This would mark almost forty years since their previous collaboration, ‘The Exorcist’, not counting the failed collaboration between the two on ‘The Exorcist III’. The idea for the book itself actually came to Blatty while sitting in Friedkin’s office in 1972 during the first film’s production, as he read an article concerning the then atheist-run state of Albania executing a priest for baptizing a new-born infant. He has been working on it on and off ever since 1974, and, upon its completion, sat down with Friedkin for a one-on-one interview in The Huffington Post a few days after Blatty named Friedkin as attached to direct. According to the author, his friend and director has been eager to adapt the story for the last three years.


The Exorcist – Desktop BG


Possessed Regan Electronic Deluxe Boxed Set

A mate just sent me info on this, can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before as it was released in October 2010… NECA’s Regan Possessed Deluxe Boxed Set, based on the iconic scene from 1973’s The Exorcist movie! The bed is over 7″ long, almost 6″ across and over 5″ tall, and Regan herself is articulated at the neck, shoulders, and forearms! And if that’s not enough, motorized action allows the head to rotate 360 degrees timed in sync with the actual movie scene! Presented in window box packaging, the Possessed Regan Electronic Deluxe Boxed Set, encompassing the demonically-possessed Regan and the bed to which she was restrained, features motorized 360-degree spinning head function along with the various growls and demonic grunts from the movie.

Also released this July 2011 is the Regan Bobblehead. Awesome.