Marcel Vercoutere, the genius behind the ground-breaking special effects in The Exorcist, has sadly passed away at age 87.

Long before the use of CGI, Marcel had the challenge of bringing the visual effects required for The Exorcist to life – right in front of the camera. From shaking beds, demonic convulsions, and levitation; to the icy-cold atmosphere of Regan’s bedroom and shooting Jason Miller in the face with pea soup. There was no task too big or too small that Marcel wouldn’t tackle head-on, assisting in creating some of the most memorable and frightening scenes of all time.

Marcel was also responsible for the unforgettable head-spinning dummy double of Linda Blair which he built alongside make-up artist Dick Smith, and often recalled fond memories of the pair testing it out on unsuspecting victims whilst driving around New York City in a rented taxi.

“Whenever we pulled up to a red light, we’d wait until people looked and then I would start to turn the head. I’d take it all the way around and it would freak ‘em out, and the cab driver was laughing his head off. The cab driver wanted to do it all day. I mean, when is he gonna get another chance to do that? Drive around and have someone’s head spin around in the front seat!”

The LA Times report Marcel died on April 13 at his home in Burbank, due to complications with dementia. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time, and may he rest in peace.