31 Days of Scares- #4 ‘The Exorcist’ Spider Walk Scene

Jason McDonald

The 31 Days of Scares isn’t a countdown of the best horror movies.  In fact, it’s not even about the best movies. It’s simply about some of my favorite “scares” or scenes from horror movies and they’re in no particular order.  So there’s no need to debate countdown order. It’s pretty random.  With that said: on to the countdown!

Today’s scare is a bit different from all the other ones we’ve done so far.  Can you guess how it’s different? I’ll let you ponder it for a second . . .

Give up? The difference between this scare and all of the other ones is that it never actually appeared in the original version of the film.  Though the spider walk scene is an iconic moment from “The Exorcist” it actually wasn’t used in the original theatrical version.  Right before the film was released in 1973 director William Friedkin decided to cut the scene out of the film.

So why would he cut such a terrifying moment? Well for two very practical reasons.  The first being that the effects in the scene didn’t look all that great.  The wires used in the scene were clearly visible and at the time it would’ve been an extremely difficult task to remove them from the scene.  The second reason is that Friedkin felt that the scene was too extreme to happen so early on in the film.  And when you look at the scare it’s easy to see what he means.

Eventually the scene was reinserted into the film (with the wires digitally removed) in time for the 2000 re-release of the film.

This is an incredibly effective scare in the film because it happens so fast, giving audiences little time to react.  In the span of seconds we hear Regan bounding down the stairs and then we’re hit with the image of this body bent in odd directions scampering along.  And before we can even digest that she suddenly opens her mouth, spilling blood all over the floor, and emitting a horrific cry.  This literally takes six seconds for it to all unfold.  It just hits like you like a train, leaving you with no time to react or think until its over.

For scare number 4 on our countdown we’re checking out the spider walk scene from “The Exorcist.”  Check it out below.



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