Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Exorcist- Then and Now

I was recently in Washington D.C. on vacation and I decided to find many of the locations used in the classic 1973 horror film, The Exorcist. Above is the film's famous poster shot of the Exorcist approaching the house.
The film stars Ellen Burstyn as actress Chris MacNeil and Linda Blair as her daughter Regan. In the film, the two are living in a rented house at the corner of 36th and Prospect in the D.C. neighborhood of Georgetown. Chris is in town to shoot a movie on the Georgetown University campus. Slowly Regan starts to exhibit bizarre behavior after playing with an Ouija board. She's taken to many doctors and psychiatrists who can find nothing wrong with her. Finally, Chris turns to the church to have an exorcism performed on her daughter.
The actual house still stands but you'll notice many things missing from the film. The left side of the house was a fake front built so Regan's bedroom window would be closer to the long set of stairs that lead down to M Street. In the film, Regan throws film director Burke Dennings out her window where he falls to his death at the bottom of the stairs. The filmmakers also built up the roof so there would be enough space to allow for an attic.
Looking down Prospect St. towards the Georgetown campus. There was no filming inside the house. All interior photography took place on a soundstage in New York.
Many of the buildings surrounding the house look exactly the same. Above you can see The Tombs bar, located directly across the street from the house. This is where the film's bar scenes were shot.
The "do not enter" sign is still crooked! This is actor Lee J. Cobb who plays Lieutenant Kinderman. Cobb was nominated for the Oscar twice, first for "On the Waterfront"(1954) and then for "The Brothers Karamazov" (1958).
Here are some shots of Father Dyer walking towards the stairs along the side of the house. Dyer was played by real life Reverend William O'Malley.
This view is from the side of the house, looking towards the stairs that lead to M Street.
This set of stairs can be found in Healy Hall on the Georgetown University campus. This is where Father Karras, played by Jason Miller, goes to seek the church leaders approval to perform an exorcism.
Lee J. Cobb ascends the famous Exorcists steps as he looks for clues in the murder of film director Burke Dennings.
These steps were known for years as the Hitchcock steps.

Each step was lined with padding for the scene where Father Karras throws himself out of Regan's window and down the steps.

This is Healy Hall on the Georgetown Campus, where the movie within a movie was shot. Above is Chris MacNeil talking to her director, Burke Dennings, played by actor Jack MacGowran.
The student protest scene was filmed on the front steps.
Here's a shot of Father Karras walking away from the filming going on in front of Healy Hall.
After a long day of filming, Chris walks home from the campus. Above is a now and then comparison of the stairs next to the campus library, with Healy Hall in the background. Looks pretty much the same.
Here Chris takes a relaxing walk through the streets of Georgetown. This is where you first hear Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" music, made famous by this film.

This is Dahlgren Chapel on the Georgetown campus.
This is where the church desecration took place.

The side door to Dahlgren Chapel, where the priest enters to change the flowers.
The statue of Mary is no longer there, so it was either added by the filmmakers or taken out by the school at some point.

The inside of the chapel looks similar, minus the red walls, statues, and old pews.
Here is where Father Karras took communian. That's it for this post!