Just in time for Halloween season, some rare, never-before-seen special effects test footage from The Exorcist has shown up online.
Bloody Disgusting has the goods, saying it's been given to the site by a secret source, and promises to deliver four clips over the next three days.
The footage is taken from a 16mm print identified as "Warner Bros color timed anamorphic test—The Exorcist," with the director's name handwritten on the label. While the footage is taken from this 16mm print, it was actually shot in 35mm and probably reduced so that William Friedkin could watch the tests in his office or at home.
For real film geeks, the site also points out that the footage appears to have been shot in "scope"—the anamorphic 2:35:1 format that makes for a really wide picture—indicating that Friedkin may have intended to shoot the picture this way before choosing the more common 1:85:1 aspect ratio (still wide, just not as much).
It's also noted that a man standing in some of the shots may be William Peter Blatty, who wrote the original novel and was a producer on the film.
But the most notable thing of all is that even in test footage form (which almost makes it look like found footage), these scenes of Regan levitating or being hurled around her bed have an eerie power—a testament to the craft and dedication that went into making The Exorcist the scariest film of all time.