Between the internet and GPS devices, it's never been a better time to be a horror tourist who seeks out iconic locations from memorable movies. One staircase in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. could potentially become a landmark thanks to its appearance in the original The Exorcist.
Andrew Huff is leading the charge to have the staircase officially recognized, having previously hosted a ceremony in 2015 with the film's director, William Friedkin, and author of the book upon which the film was based, William Peter Blatty, in attendance to adorn the location with a plaque to recognize its legacy.
"It's deserving," Huff told AFP. "When I have friends visiting, I prefer to bring them here rather than to the Capitol or the White House, especially at the moment. They have become a tourist attraction for the city."
The film focuses on a girl who begins to exhibit bizarre behavior that traditional science fails to explain. A local priest intervenes and conducts an exorcism in hopes of ridding the girl's body of a nefarious being. The film ends with the priest becoming possessed by the demon before launching himself out of the girl's bedroom window and onto the stairs below, killing himself and preventing the demon from inhabiting anyone else.
"The scene had to be shot three times," Huff noted. "Even if the steps were covered with half-an-inch of rubber, it was still a long way down for the stuntman."
The stairway dates back to 1895 and consists of 75 steep steps. Those seeking a vigorous workout regularly frequent the location as scaling the stairs will get the heart pumping in more ways than one. The main reason for designating the site a historical landmark is to prevent construction in the area which could impact the stairway's surroundings.
The film hit theaters in 1973 and, 45 years later, is still regarded as one of the most effective horror films of all time. The film earned three sequels, as well as a prequel film, though none of which managed to capture the terror of the original.
More recently, the narrative was continued in a TV series on FOX that ran for two seasons, though poor ratings led to the series being canceled earlier this year.
A decision about the stairway's landmark status is expected to be made imminently.
Stay tuned for details on the future of The Exorcist series.
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