Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Only Die-Hard Exorcist Fans Know About The Movie's Demon

Naturally when a film truly shocks audiences, becomes a huge box office hit against all expectations, and inspires an onslaught of sequels and ripoffs, it's going to become the stuff of legend. 

The 1973 horror hit "The Exorcist" quickly became infamous: not just for how people reacted to the images of pea soup vomit and twisting heads, but for what it took to make the movie at all. This included Linda Blair suffering a terrifying injury as well as director William Friedkin scaring the actors while filming, and that isn't even the full extent of the troubles the production of "The Exorcist" had to face. Hard to blame Friedkin for bringing in a priest to exorcise the set itself

The notorious history and brilliant, dense storytelling of the movie means that it's been exhaustively dissected and analyzed by horror fans and critics. However, even intense "Exorcist" watchers who've run through the film repeatedly to catch hidden details may not have caught onto this fact about the demonic entity who possesses Regan.

The demon of The Exorcist is based on fact

The demon is technically never named in "The Exorcist" film, but in the novel, he's known as Pazuzu. Friedkin only suggests Pazuzu in the film by showing a statue in modern Iraq that father Merrin finds. The demon is based on an actual Pazuzu, a demon in Babylonian mythology associated with ill winds and plague. However, Pazuzu could also protect humans from them as well, whereas the movie character possessing Regan is completely malevolent (World History Encyclopedia).

It wasn't until "The Exorcist II: The Heretic" that Pazuzu was mentioned in the movies properly, as he once again returns to haunt Regan for the sequel. Akin to Jason or Freddie Krueger, the entity would come back for each entry in the franchise, and most recently he possessed Regan's daughter, Casey, and Regan herself again, in "The Exorcist" FOX TV series from 2016.

You can currently stream Pazuzu's first appearance in "The Exorcist" on NBC's streaming service Peacock.