Linda Blair

WIHM: Honoring Linda Blair

The Exorcist (1973)For Women in Horror Month, I asked myself what actresses were iconic and helped to make genre-defining films. That in mind, for this piece I decided to write about the prolific Linda Blair. Every horror fan should know Linda Blair and the role she is most famous for; this role is Regan MacNeil, the possessed victim of a demon named Pazuzu in The Exorcist. Filmed in 1973, this film put possession and exorcism films on the map as a sub-genre of horror. Starting her career at the young age of five, Linda was first a model and then out of 600 applicants, she was chosen to portray Regan in The Exorcist. The role quickly catapulted her to fame and won her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and even got her nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Terrifying viewers for decades, The Exorcist is still acclaimed as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and it is largely because of Linda’s portrayal of the possessed. It is incredible that Linda, as young as she was at the time, created such a memorable performance. It is certainly a performance that will be stamped into your mind. Her career does not stop with The Exorcist although most people will say that even to this day, it is the pinnacle of her career. By the age of twelve, Linda had appeared in 75 commercials and hundreds of magazine catalogs. After The Exorcist, she appeared in various TV movies and The Exorcist II: The Heretic as well as the horror-comedy Repossessed, a work that draws heavily on The Exorcist.

Linda BlairTragically, after being peer pressured into purchasing cocaine at 18, her career was quickly limited to B-movies and an occasional guest appearance on tv shows. She also appeared in 1981 in the horror classic Hell Night, as Marti, one of four college pledges who must survive a night in a mansion. It would be remiss of me and probably upsetting to Linda herself if I did not mention her other passion, which is animals. Though an icon because of The Exorcist, it never stopped her from being an animal activist. In fact, some would say that her film career pales in comparison to what she has done for animals. Incredibly, once Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, she personally rescued 51 dogs that had been displaced and left to die. An incredible woman with an even more incredible list of accomplishments from her role as Regan to her selfless work as an animal activist, Linda Blair deserves to be recognized for her life and for what she accomplished as a woman in horror. House of Tortured Souls honors her for all that she has done for horror and for animals!

Linda Blair

Linda Blair

Posted by Spencer Evatt

I have a degree in Philosophy and Literature with an obsession for all forms of horror, especially the more extreme underground stuff. I also plan to have Vampirella as a bride and spend a large amount of free time battling zombies in Resident Evil

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