When The Exorcist, based on the novel by William Blatty, came to theaters in 1973, it captured the public imagination. Or more accurately, the public's nightmares.
Exorcisms aren't just the stuff of horror movies — hundreds of thousands of Italian Catholics reportedly request them each year. But when William Friedkin directed the movie, he'd never actually seen an exorcism. It would be four more decades before he actually witnessed one.