In the history of horror movies there have been many that have been over the top and beyond frightening to the point that they made people actually get up and leave the theater or simply wet themselves where they sat. The Exorcist has been surpassed many upon many times by a long parade of horror movies, but it will always be given the distinction of being one of the most absolutely terrifying films that was ever created. In its time it was one of those that you didn’t watch alone simply because you were bound to be too frightened to do much more than lock your eyes on the screen and let the terror fill you from the inside out. But as time has gone on it’s become a parody as well as a legend that people refer to quite often when it comes to horror. In fact those among the cast that are still with us probably recall just how terrifying the experience was at some points.
Let’s see what happened to the cast.
Jack MacGowran – Burke Dennings
The ill-fated sitter that was tossed out of a window in the movie, Jack had a long and successful career that saw him start in the early 50s. In fact The Exorcist was his final movie as he ended up passing away that same year. He had a wide assortment of movies and TV appearances throughout his life and was a well-respected actor.
Jason Miller – Damien Karras
Miller is someone that a lot of people should remember since he did manage to make it into the Exorcist 2 and was also an important part of the well-liked movie, Rudy. His role in this movie was of course the part of the young priest that was a bit shaky in his faith at that time but managed to make the biggest sacrifice of them all when he took the demon into his own body shortly before throwing himself out the window to spare those around him. Miller passed away in 2001 of a heart attack.
Max Von Sydow – Lankester Merrin
Max was one of those individuals that almost everyone loved seeing since he brought a level of professionalism to the set that was unmatched by many and had the grace and the poise of a man half his years if not younger. He’s starred in great films and campy films alike and he even had roles in Game of Thrones and The Force Awakens. His style of acting was something that was hard to dislike since he appeared haughty at times and yet he could also be one of the friendliest characters in the film or show. Sydow is still around and he still shows up from time to time when he can.
Ellen Burstyn – Chris MacNeil
Ellen can be the kindly older woman or she can be an absolute nightmare depending on what character she has to play. She’s also one of the few that have won the Triple Crown of Acting, meaning she’s won an Academy Award, and Emmy, and Tony Award. Like Linda however she was tossed about a bit during the making of the movie and was subsequently made to feel uncomfortable since it didn’t seem like safety was a key idea in the production. Since this film she’s been highly active and has been just as prominent in TV. She’s even showed up on Law & Order: SVU a few times as Stabler’s eccentric mother.
Linda Blair – Regan MacNeil
If the making of this movie took a toll on anyone it probably took the most out of Linda since she actually went through a good deal of the effects and the hate that came from those that thought her role was blasphemous. The inability of so many to separate the actor from the movie is kind of disheartening in a way since this role had plagued her throughout her life, but Linda has done her best to step away from it at this point. She had some trouble during her teens and later on as she was relegated to B movies and having to listen to people talk about what a horrible actress she’d become, but during this movie there was no doubt that she was able to keep pace with adults with an ease that was nothing less than incredible, especially considering the caliber of those she was working with.
It’s kind of obvious the film was blasphemous as the main point of the story was that a young girl had been possessed by a demon that was attempting to control her and kill all those that came near. The idea that people can’t simply watch a movie for the entertainment value is something that persists today and is just as infuriating to be honest. But throughout their careers the cast members at least had the ability to gain some recognition and go on to other things as the years went by.