Watch the First 'Exorcist' Audiences Get Scared Out of Their Minds

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

More than forty years after its release, The Exorcist’s graphic depiction of demonic possession and corrupted innocence still has the power to shock. Back in 1973, however, audiences had never seen anything like it. There were reports of moviegoers fainting, becoming nauseous, and running out of the theater — all of which can be seen in this video, which shows footage of The Exorcist’s original theatrical audience reacting to the film. The camera operator lingers in the lobby as shaken viewers exit the movie, trying to compose themselves after watching young Linda Blair’s terrifying ordeal. A couple of women literally collapse, and there’s a short interview with a theater manager explaining that this is a regular occurrence, for which he stocks smelling salts. (We don’t know the origin of the video, but it shares footage with this twenty-minute documentary, which appears to have been put together for promotional purposes not long after the film’s premiere.) Obviously, the extreme audience reaction didn’t hurt The Exorcist’s box office. The film immediately sold out in its limited release of 30 theaters, and remains one of the highest-grossing movies of all time in the U.S. — thanks to those curious gawkers and repeat viewers who lined up around the block, waiting hours in the cold to be scared out of their minds.