Local politics, the wind chill, the price of parking: Chicago has its share of frights. But few have rendered the city so unnerving as Fox’s locally filmed Exorcist reboot, which has aired five episodes since its premiere last month.
From the el to Misericordia, the Exorcist paints Chicago as a place where nightmares come true. Below are four familiar spots the show has turned to downright horrorshows. Spoilers abound; proceed at your own risk.
North Lawndale as West Englewood (1950 S. Christiana)
As Chicago prepares for a Papal visit, the city’s demonic underground is making plans of its own. In the final moments of episode two, a fleet of murderous organ harvesters break into every home on a West Englewood block (actually North Lawndale), slaughter the residents, and make off with their organs in coolers.
The el can be a harrowing place as is, but when a possessed millennial unleashes hell on a handsy Lincoln Park bro? Oh, children. In episode three, a bewitched Casey Rance (Hannah Kasulka) is riding through the Loop when a group of white-bread Chads board her train and start assaulting her. In a rare sympathetic moment, the demon haunting her soul eviscerates the would-be rapist, leaving behind a heap of entrails and a hazmat situation for the CTA’s custodial staff.
Misericordia Home as the Convent of Mother Bernadette (6300 N. Ridge)
Chicago actor Deanna Dunagan (the fearsome matriarch of August: Osage County) appears in The Exorcist as Mother Bernadette, a nun of equally frightening stature. In episode four, she holds an exorcism in her convent’s greenhouse, which West Rogers Parkers may recognize as Misericordia Home, a center for the developmentally disabled run by Chicago’s Sisters of Mercy.
Shapiro Developmental Center (100 Jeffery St., Kankakee)
Though not within city limits, downstate Kankakee is at least familiar to Chicagoans. In the show’s pilot, a former asylum there (now a center for the developmentally disabled) is cast as a retreat for “broken priests.” There, the show’s brooding protagonist Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrara) meets Father Simon (Steppenwolf ensemble member Francis Guinan), an old cleric who turns out to have a demonic third eye rolling around in his skull.
These Chicago actors are killing it in The Exorcist.
As Bishop Egan, a slightly smarmy power broker in the local diocese who believes in psychiatrists over priests, and denies Father Tomas’s request to perform an exorcism.
As Maria Walters, a wealthy Catholic with a fabulous apartment, an unnervingly ill husband, and eyes that say she knows more about Satan than she’s letting on.
As a reformed drug addict who testifies to the powers of faith before a crowd of volunteers at a church-run soup kitchen. Her testimony is followed by a demon accosting one of the volunteers.
As a gruesomely skinny man who keeps popping up among Chicago’s homeless and who looks like hell warmed over.
As the aforementioned Mother Bernadette, a mighty nun who invites Father Marcus to an exorcism at the convent.
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