Shudder: Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist

The Exorcist. Image Courtesy Shudder
The Exorcist. Image Courtesy Shudder /

Horror streaming service Shudder has announced another upcoming exclusive, Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist.

Shudder Original series Cursed Films included a full episode devoted to 1973’s The Exorcist, which received a staggering 10 Academy Award nominations, winning two (for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing). In fact, The Exorcist was the first horror film to receive a Best Picture nomination.

Consisting of five episodes, Cursed Films  focused on horror movies with reputations for being “cursed.” The Exorcist episode featured on off-set deaths and on-set injuries. Ellen Burstyn injured her back when she was manipulated with cables during the scene where Regan slaps her, and Linda Blair suffered a back injury when she was filming the levitating bed scene.

Cursed Films was certainly popular, quickly becoming the most streamed content on the Shudder platform. Taking into account the enduring popularity of The Exorcist, it’s expected that Leap of Faith will be just as successful.

William Friedkin had quite a reputation for using harsh techniques to pull strong performances from his actors. He is said to have slapped William O’Malley (Father Joseph) before the last rites scene in order to get the air of solemnity that he wanted and he told Jason Miller (Father Damien) that the pea soup in the infamous vomiting scene would hit him in the chest. In fact, it was hurled directly into his face so the look of disgust on Miller’s face was genuine.

The Exorcist. Image Courtesy Shudder /

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist is described by Shudder as “a lyrical and spiritual cinematic essay,” which explores Friedkin’s methods and his life. It’s the sixth feature-length documentary from Alexandre O. Philippe, who brought us Doc of the Dead in 2014.

Phillipe is also the creator of another horror-related documentary called 78/52, which deconstructed the shower scene from Psycho. The doc included interviews with Jamie Lee Curtis and Osgood Perkins (the son of Anthony Perkins).

Leap of Faith was an official selection of 2020 Sundance, and will stream as part of the Nightstream Film Festival. It will receive its exclusive Shudder premier on November 19.

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