10 Horror Movie Background Scares That Will Scar You For Life

9. Floating Pazuzu Face - The Exorcist

Ouija Origin Of Evil
Warner Bros.

Once hailed as the scariest horror film of all time, The Exorcist has been out-spooked by many a chiller since then, as directors continuously push to make theirs the film that wets your seat (looking at you, Ari Aster). Nevertheless, the 1973 classic holds a permanent place in the canon as the one of the gruesome godfathers of modern horror.

And why wouldn't it? Spider-crawling down the stairs, masturbating with a crucifix, puking green something all over the bedroom walls – it's got everything! And that's including one of the all-time greatest background scares.

The demon Pazuzu's possession of young Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) is anything but subtle, as he quite literally bends her right out of shape, but elsewhere in the house his spirit roams free. Most notably, In one scene, lights flicker throughout the MacNeil house and Regan's mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn) is in the kitchen when the demon's face flashes in the dark behind her.

Originally included as a cutaway, advances in digital technology allowed the face to be inserted briefly into the frame for the director's cut, immersing the horror in the scene itself. And this is only one example of many: Director William Friedkin sought to unnerve viewers by having Pazuzu's face flash onscreen throughout the film. And, given the film's notoriety and longevity, it looks like this gambit worked.


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