'The Exorcist' was released 46 years ago and took America by storm as movie-goers fainted, or left the theater, nauseous and trembling while others even vomited at the graphic content, recounts the article
The Exorcist remains one of the scariest movies to have ever been made. It seems like not much has changed since its first release. The film still continues to scare the bejeebers out of people who dare watch it. This has become clear since a Reddit user stumbled upon a New York Times article published in 1974 of the writer recounting their experience of watching the movie during its initial release. The film celebrated 46 years of release on December 26, 2019, and is still a favorite among horror enthusiasts.
The Reddit user shared the article in which the writer, Judy Klemesrud, observed how the "New York phenomenon, the longlonglonglonglong movie line, was carried to new lengths in recent weeks after William Friedkin's Christmas offering, The Exorcist, opened on Dec. 26 at Cinema I." Klemesrud compares these long lines of people to sheep waiting in the cold weather to be able to see the story of a 12-year-old girl being possessed by a demon. the lines were unruly and impatient to which a security guard said, "It was like a riot," and added, “We had to cancel the showing.” The guard said he had even been offered bribes as high as $110 to let people jump to the head of the line.
The movie was in high demand even though the reviews weren't that great and the crowds that rushed to watch it could only be controlled when the movie was moved to three other theaters. According to the NYT article, "The first week's gross was a record $94,903.50; the attendance was 28,183. On the single highest day, Saturday, Dec. 29, 4,658 people jammed the theater, paying $16,222.50." But no one understood why. It left the people absolutely terrified with some of them vomiting in the movie theatre because of the graphic scenes. A lot of people fainted, some ran out of the theatre trembling halfway through the movie, some people even had heart attacks and a woman supposedly also had a miscarriage.
The writer joined the rowdy lines to try and find out why most of the people were there to watch the movie. She found out that most of them were kids, with a majority crowd of people who had read the best selling book of the same name from which the film was adapted and wanted to compare it to the movie. "After the “I‐read‐the book” people, were the “I must ‐be ‐crazy ‐to ‐be here” people, the article said. The writer then states that the movie, with all its gore and blood, should have been rated "X" instead of "R" so kids could have been spared the horror.
"I also wonder what effect this film will have on the borderline psychotics. Will they think they're possessed now, rather than mentally ill? At any rate, there is at least one indication that the mental hospitals will find their business increasing. A recent item in a Chicago newspaper said six people who had seen The Exorcist in that city wound in a psychiatric hospital," Klemesrud said.