Film composer, Lalo Schifrin, has spoken recently to Score magazine about his career and the unused score for The Exorcist (1973) was mentioned by the interviewer. The classic Hollywood frightener famously used Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, in key scenes, but largely dispensed with a traditional score because it would have affected the ambience and carefully orchestrated shocks too much.
Schifrin gave the mag the low down on what happened and why it was jettisoned by director William Friedkin. The only time the music was used was on a teaser trailer subsequently banned for being way too intense, so the story goes.
"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, cause by other reasons, and I think he wanted vengeance."
Approximate rendering of William Friedkin's reaction to Schifrin's score:
Dare you watch the trailer embedded for your viewing terror below? We've also added a video download of Schifrin's disregarded score, which emerged online a few years ago via Youtube.
Don't have nightmares...
The Banned Teaser Trailer:
Lalo Schrifin's unused score: