This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aishvarya Kavi.
In the spirit of Halloween, hundreds gathered in Georgetown near the steps from the 1973 film, “The Exorcist” on Friday – and thankfully no one reenacted Father Karras’ infamous plunge.
Instead, they came to see the well-known staircase in Georgetown officially join D.C.’s list of landmarks in a ceremony that included the film’s director, William Friedkin, screenwriter William Peter Blatty and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“This monument will be seen by thousands, tens of thousands, and eventually, perhaps more, that will come through here, that will associate the film that we made with this beautiful and historic community,” Friedkin said. “I’m really proud of that and grateful.”
Both Friedkin and his former colleague and long-time friend Blatty, who wrote the movie’s screenplay as well as the novel “The Exorcist” that served as the inspiration of the film, spent the afternoon autographing memorabilia before speaking and being honored at the commemoration ceremony.
Foggy Bototm’s Council member Jack Evans also revealed a resolution during the ceremony that designated Oct. 30 as Exorcist Day in D.C.
During the signings, crowds formed a line that wound down Prospect Street past the Exorcist House, some dressed like the film’s characters.
Other attendees, like John Blazer, a former photography student in D.C., were extras in the film, returning to see the creators of a movie they never knew would become the cultural icon it is today.
“I think I ended up on the cutting room floor,” Blazer, 66, said. “I was studying photography at the time, so I took a lot of pictures of the actors and the directors and the cameramen and the crew. It was fascinating experience.”
While signing posters, DVDs and even an iPad, Friedkin rattled off a list of his favorite horror films including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and a lesser known Japanese film, “Onibaba” by Kaneto Shinto.
“In time, the Rockies will crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they’re only made of clay. But these steps are here to stay,” Friedkin said.
Bowser, who opened the commemoration, spoke about her efforts to put D.C. “on the map” as a film town, a process she began with the creation of the new Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment in D.C.
Along with Bowser and Evans, Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia spoke at the event. Blatty, a graduate of Georgetown, said that he still thinks of the university as home.