The Terrifying Subliminal Image Hidden in The Exorcist

When director William Friedkin’s The Exorcist opened in 1973, it quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed and financially successful horror films of all time. Unlike the slasher movie antagonists of the 1980s, Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel was uninterested in winking at the audience. He was interested only in terrifying them, which he did to unprecedented effect.

Local newscasts reported viewers fainting, vomiting, and fleeing the theater, shaken by the film’s explicit depiction of a young girl named Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) possessed by demons and exhibiting blasphemous behavior. But it’s possible they may have been just as unsettled by what Friedkin decided to insert into the film surreptitiously—a frightening, subliminal image that was funneled straight into the audience’s subconscious.

According to The Exorcist fan site CaptainHowdy.com, the white-faced demon seen below briefly flashes onscreen at 45 minutes and one second into the film, during a dream sequence featuring Father Karras, the priest charged with drawing malevolent spirits from Regan’s body:

In an extended cut of the film, the face is seen earlier: at 31 minutes and 29 seconds in, when Regan is undergoing a medical examination. In the same edit, marketed as The Version You’ve Never Seen for home video, the demon materializes once more at 56 minutes and three seconds in:

In the theatrical version, the second and most prominent shot of the face comes one hour, 43 minutes, and 13 seconds in, when Regan is being exorcised:

The fleeting shots were part of Friedkin’s strategy to unnerve moviegoers using both visuals and sounds that he felt stood the best chance of creating an uneasy atmosphere. The face was intended to represent one of the demons inhabiting Regan and appears for roughly an eighth of a second each time.

Interviewed by Entertainment Weekly about the technique in 2012, Friedkin lamented that home video gave most of his secrets away. “You couldn’t catch it before VHS,” he said “And now you can stop the DVD and stare at it.” Not that you'd want to.

Target Has Launched a Harry Potter Line of Clothing, Accessories, and Home Goods

Target
Target

No more blending in with the mediocre Muggles—now wizards can decorate and accessorize like the magical creatures they are with Target's brand-new line of Harry Potter clothing and home goods.

Target shoppers will feel like they’ve stepped through Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station as they wander the Harry Potter-stuffed aisles. Popsugar reports that Target will carry more than 500 Harry Potter-themed items, including socks, lanterns, pillows, dolls and much more.

You’ll be able to wake up in your Hogwarts sheets, have your morning coffee in a Slytherin mug, and take a ride on a foam Nimbus 2000 replica while rocking a Potter t-shirt. Not sure what house you’re in? No sweat! Target is even carrying a real-life sorting hat.

Whether you need a gift for the kiddos, or just want to treat your inner witch, Target is sure to have the perfect find in its Wizarding World line.

House Boasting a ‘Harry Potter Room’ Under the Stairs Hits the Market in San Diego

Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Matt Robinson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When Harry Potter fans dream of living like the boy wizard, they may picture Harry's cozy quarters in the Gryffindor dormitory at Hogwarts. One home owner in San Diego, California is trying to spin one of Harry's much less idyllic living situations as a magical feature. As The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, a listing of a three-bedroom house for sale in the city's Logan Heights neighborhood boasts a "Harry Potter room"—a.k.a storage room under the stairs.

In the Harry Potter books, the cupboard under the stairs of the Dursley residence served as Harry's bedroom before he enrolled in Hogwarts. Harry was eager to escape the cramped, dusty space, but thanks to the series' massive success, a similar feature in a real-world home may be a selling point for Harry Potter fans.

Kristin Rye, the seller of the San Diego house, told The Union-Tribune she would read Harry Potter books to her son, though she wouldn't describe herself as a super fan. As for why she characterized her closet as a “large ‘Harry Potter’ storage room underneath stairs" in her real estate listing, she said it was the most accurate description she could think of. “It’s just this closet under the stairs that goes back and is pretty much like a Harry Potter room. I don’t know how else to describe it," she told the newspaper.

Beyond the cupboard under the stairs, Rye's listing doesn't bear much resemblance to the cookie-cutter, suburban home of 4 Privet Drive. Nearly a century old, the San Diego house has the same cobwebs and a musty smells you might expect from the Hogwarts dungeons, the newspaper reports. But there are some perks, including a parking spot and backyard space for a garden or pull-up bar. The 1322-square-foot home is listed at $425,000—cheaper than the median price of $620,000 for a resale single-family home in the area.

If you want to live like a wizard, you don't necessarily need to start by moving under a staircase. In North Yorkshire, England, a cottage modeled after Hagrid's Hut is available to rent on a nightly basis.

[h/t The San Diego Union-Tribune]

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