Scenes cut from The Exorcist have become almost as famous as the film itself and have been the subject of a long running dispute between the director and the writer. There were many scenes that were left out, many of which Blatty felt were needed, but which Friedkin felt slowed the film down. Not surprisingly the most infamous scene is the notorious Spider Walk, a sequence in which Regan walks down the stairs on her back like a tarantula. There have been calls for the scenes to be reinstated into the film, Exorcist buff Mark Kermode uncovered the scenes in 1997. The scenes could possibly be reinserted into the film, but only time will tell. Below are descriptions of the scenes along with pictures.
This scene remains the most famous among Exorcist fans. It in fact was cut out of the scene very early in the post-production stages, simply because Friedkin couldn't believable portray Chris's reaction to the spider walk on top of hearing about Burke's death (the scene which the sequence would immediately follow). The stunt was in fact performed by Linda R. Hager, who was attached to a rig created by Marcel Vocoteur. This allowed it to appear that Regan was crawling backwards, spider-like down the stairs. Hager was then replaced by Linda Blair in minimal make-up and with a flicking tongue, who would crawl towards Sharon and Chris. This scene was recently provisionally spliced together for the Fear of God documentary.
|The Casablanca Ending
This scene appears in Blatty's novel and in his revised script and was filmed but later edited out, to Blatty's horror. It is the most debated scene among Blatty and Friedkin. The sequence involved Kinderman arriving just as Chris and Regan leave at the end, and striking up a conversation with Father Dyer. Kinderman then asks Dyer the same question he asks Karras earlier (Do you like films?) and Dyer, like Karras, has seen Kinderman's intended flick. Kinderman and Dyer walk into the distance, with the kindly detective quoting Bogart ('I'm reminded of a line from Casablanca'). Blatty felt this scene re-assured the audience that good had defeated evil and that everything was back to normal. Friedkin felt it was unnecessary and remains quite adamant.
|The First Medical
Friedkin cut this scene to cut down the running time, though its being removed would create a gap in the story. This sequence would involve Regan being tested for her strange behaviour by Dr. Klein and being prescribed the pills we hear Chris talking about later. The scene's absence would cause some confusion: in the party scene after Regan has urninated on the carpet we hear Chris saying she's been sick then when putting Regan to bed saying to the girl, '...just take your pills and you'll be fine.' What pills? Friedkin felt the scenes would cause frustration among audiences eager to get to the possession, his ethos: why have more medical scenes when the audience knows what's wrong anyway?
|Trip to Washington
Like most of the others, this scene was cut out to reduce the running time and was felt to be unnecessary. The scene was actually filmed (as the stills prove and their recent showing on the Fear of God documentary prove) and later removed after a conscientous decision between Friedkin and his editors. The sequence began with a montage of clips showing Chris and Regan taking in the sights and sounds of Washington D.C. It would end with a sombre conversation between mother and daughter, in which Regan asks about death.
|Conversation on the
Again, this scene was shot, but edited out and is another topic of hot debate between Blatty and Friedkin. The sequence involved Merrin and Karras, in a brief interlude between the exorcism, discussing Regan's possession and asking why. This scene appears in the film as merely a moment of profound silence. Friedkin cut the scene because he felt it was stating the obvious: the conversation was telling the audience what they already knew. Blatty disagrees, but Friedkin stands his ground.