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The Exorcist’s most vile scene was actually an accident

The Exorcist is still one of the best movies ever made, and a defining film in the horror genre. Its most disgusting moment, though, was actually an accident.

Linda Blair as Regan in The Exorcist

The Exorcist is a stone cold classic; a movie which has been terrifying horror fans since the ’70s. A brilliant script perfectly executed, The Exorcist remains one of the very best horror movies of all time, and among the best movies of any genre.

Upon its release, the film was so viscerally shocking that it caused some audience members to faint, and even vomit at certain scenes. One of those scenes was, undoubtedly, when Regan herself vomits on Jason Miller’s Karras, with her puke hitting him in the face and mouth. Yuck.

The infamous moment, however, was actually unintentional. While Linda Blair’s Regan was meant to projectile vomit, the liquid had been intended to strike Miller in the chest.

But, due to the angle of the tube and Miller’s position where he was stood, the vomit actually landed in the actor’s mouth, making things even more gross than they had originally been conceived. You can check the scene out for yourself below.

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Miller would go on to admit that his initial reaction to the mistake had been one of anger and disgust, though he recognized that the accident improved the scene. It’s a common misconception that the projectile vomit in the moment was actually pea soup, however, director William Friedkin (who died on August 7, 2023) had clarified that the concoction was actually porridge, with green pea soup coloring.

“Over the years, everyone refers to the vomit here as pea soup, but it was really porridge with pea soup coloring,” he said, in a 2008 interview with a the DGA. “It had a much better texture than pure pea soup.”

Continuing on about the scene, he explained, “We used a very thin plastic tube that ran from the side of Linda’s mouth underneath her nightgown right down to the floor, where a special effects technician was stationed with a jerry rigged pump and a hand crank. On cue she would tilt her head the right way and he would pump the stuff up through the tube and, seemingly, out of her mouth. The consistency of the porridge is what determined the speed at which it would move through the pump.”

Now, go learn about the hidden scare in the movie you definitely missed, and the boy who inspired The Exorcist. If that’s not enough spookiness, see our picks for the best Netflix horror movies you can watch right now.