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LISTEN: Here’s Lalo Schifrin’s original, terrifying score for The Exorcist…

January 28th, 2016 by Matt Gault Comments

There’s a lot of great websites out there that don’t get enough recognition. A prime example being Dangerous Minds (via Squareeyed). Going strong for a decade or so, this site is dedicated to bringing you the more obscure, darker corners of the internet.

Think of it as the anti-Buzzfeed. Anyway, they’ve dug up another cracking post from caverns of internet oddities in the shape of this rejected score for The Exorcist.

Of course, William Friedkin’s seminal horror film is remembered, among other things, for Mike Oldfield’s unmistakable ‘Tubular Bells’ score. However, before he settled on Oldfield’s masterpiece, Friedkin listened to another full score from Lalo Schifrin, the man behind the the sounds of Mission Impossible, Cool Hand Luke and Dirty Harry.

Here’s what it sounded like. Yes, it’s as haunting as you would expect…

His instantly unsettling score was used for the notorious, banned trailer for the film. Experience that below:

Legend has it that Friedkin wasn’t at all pleased with what Schifrin produced and showed his disapproval for the score by throwing it out the window.

Below is a snippet of Schifrin’s interview with Score magazine, where he openly discusses the strange story: “The truth is that it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, but I have recently read that in order to triumph in your life, you may previously have some fails. What happened is that the director, William Friedkin, hired me to write the music for the trailer, six minutes were recorded for the Warner’s edition of the trailer. The people who saw the trailer reacted against the film, because the scenes were heavy and frightening, so most of them went to the toilet to vomit.

“The trailer was terrific, but the mix of those frightening scenes and my music, which was also a very difficult and heavy score, scared the audiences away. So, the Warner Brothers executives said Friedkin to tell me that I must write less dramatic and softer score. I could easily and perfectly do what they wanted because it was way too simple in relevance to what I have previously written, but Friedkin didn’t tell me what they said. I’m sure he did it deliberately. In the past we had an incident, caused by other reasons, and I think he wanted vengeance. This is my theory. This is the first time I speak of this matter, my attorney recommended me not to talk about it, but I think this is a good time to reveal the truth.

“Finally, I wrote the music for the film in the same vein as that of the trailer. In fact, when I wrote the trailer I was in the studio with Friedkin and he congratulated me for it. So, I thought i was in the right way… but the truth was very different.”

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Matt Gault is a sports writer and film fanatic. He is a fully-qualified journalist and has worked for BBCNI, Sunday Life and has been published on The Guardian's website. He interns at REDNI, sub-editing for the Belfast Telegraph. He studied at Queen's University pretending to like history and literature and then University of Ulster Coleraine, where he slacked off enormously for a year and somehow got away with it. He also enjoys Captain Morgans, The Sopranos, Led Zeppelin and Hunter S. Thompson which makes him a remarkably uninteresting person.