An exhibition showcasing movie poster designs rejected by Hollywood studios over the years features two rare Exorcist posters.
It’s hard to imagine The Exorcist being promoted without the iconic image of Father Merrin stepping out of that Georgetown cab and walking into the beam of light from Regan’s window, but Warner Brothers almost went in a different direction.
Designed by graphic artist Bill Gold, who began working for Warner Brothers art department in 1942, the two posters are part of a gallery at Daybees.com which also includes rejected designs for movies such as Unforgiven, A Clockwork Orange, Batman, and Pulp Fiction.
The first (my favourite, as seen above) depicts Regan’s bedroom door cracked open from a low angle, hinting at the evil that lurks within. The other, a much simpler composition (see below), shows a smiling Linda Blair in a wholesome photo album picture with the caption “Deliver her from evil.”
I find the most glaring deterrent for these rejected posters is the unusual choice of typeface used for “The Exorcist” title. It’s more wholesome than eerie and doesn’t reflect the film well. Of course, it’s easy to say after the film’s success and being so used to seeing the “Merrin arrives” designs.