10 Fun Facts About “The Last Exorcism”

Ever since sending shockwaves around the world in 1973, no other film has reached the level that The Exorcist did in terms of cultural impact. In fact, most horror filmmakers try to find ways to subvert the tropes set forth by that classic film.

One such movie that does a particularly interesting job of this is 2010’s The Last Exorcism. Produced by Eli Roth, it’s both a found footage movie, as well as a meta-commentary on possession itself.

So, in honor of its 10th anniversary today, we thought it would be fun to look at 10 interesting facts about The Last Exorcism!

1. To prepare for the very demanding role of Nell, Ashely Bell spent a month doing extensive research into manias and post-traumatic stress disorder. She also read “The Invention of Hysteria”.

2. Part of Bell’s audition involved having an actual exorcism performed on her to rid her of any negative spirits.

3. Initially, director Daniel Stamm instructed Ashley Bell to watch every exorcism movie she could, but then changed his mind and told her not to, so as to have a fresh approach.

4. The film was in part inspired by the 1972 film Marjoe. It was a documentary that also served as an expose, shining a light on the corrupt nature of “church tent” culture. While it was being film, the subject Marjoe Gortner was unaware of the documentary’s true intention.

The movie itself was quite controversial when it came out, and wasn’t even released in certain Southern markets due to its critical nature of evangelicals.

5. During the exorcism scene, Ashely Bell was able to perform all the contortionist moves on her own, without any special effects or CGI. Apparently she has hypermobility, which roughly 15% of the population has.

6. Patrick Fabian absolutely loved the smoking cross prop, and said his only regret from the movie wasn’t smuggling it home after shooting.

7. Fabian said the biggest challenge while filming was having to look at the camera because it was a “documentary”, because for 20 years as an actor, he was trained not to look there.

8. Nell was originally scripted to be barefoot for most of the movie, but the insurance company was afraid of Ashley Bell sustaining injuries (or bug bites) to her feet, so they added the boots to the script.

Having the boots also allowed Bell to better perform the contortion stunts because they could be nailed to the floor.

9. The night they shot the climax of the movie, there were 20-30 foot flames in the air, and according to Ashley Bell, there were a tons of moths flying through the air. One even caught fire and flew into her mouth!

10. Despite not reaching “blockbuster” status, The Last Exorcism was a huge financial success, grossing $67.7 million on a $1.8 million budget.

Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!

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