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RELEASED: 1973, Cert. R (X)
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 122 mins
DIRECTOR: William Friedkin
SCREENPLAY/PRODUCER: William Peter Blatty
MUSIC: Jack Nitzsche & Mike Oldfield
Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow as Father Merrin
Jason Miller as Father Damian Karras
William O'Malley as Father Dyer
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Priest Father Merrin, whose hobby is archeology, is a member of a team of people on an expedition to Iraq where he unearths an amulet which is engraved with a demon known as Pazuzu. Merrin suddenly becomes very uneasy as he has had dealings with Pazuzu in the past.
A little later and back in Washington, a 12-year-old girl, Regan MacNeil, finds an amulet in the street and takes it home. Before long, her mother Chris notices Regan displaying some increasingly worrying strange behaviour, so she arranges for her to see a psychiatrist. After many tests and baffled as to what could be wrong with Regan, the psychiatrist suggests she may be suffering from a complex personality disorder.
Part of Regan's sudden oddness involves her using an Ouija board, making contact with a character she calls Captain Howdy. The more Regan communicates with Captain Howdy, the worse her behaviour becomes. Further sessions with the psychiatrist suggest that Regan may benefit from an exorcism, as although he and the girl's mother have no religious convictions, the psychiatrist feels such may help Regan through the power of suggestion.
Father Karras visits the MacNeil household, but feels inadequate to deal with the problem. He then calls on the expertise of Father Merrin for advice and assistance.
When at age 18 I first saw The Exorcist, it scared the living daylights out of me. Occasional continued viewings over the years have affected me largely in the same way, but with the self-control and cynicism that comes with age, I can now watch it without being nervous of going to bed....but, the film for me hasn't lost any of its power.
The atmosphere created right from the beginning of The Exorcist is superbly uncomfortable and jarring, continuing throughout the film. However, I feel that once Regan displays behaviour that is too bizarre to be credible, the seriousness of the storyline gets a little damaged. Some special effects are used that beggar belief (such as the famous head-spinning), and I do think Linda Blair's makeup artist could have created something less outrageous so as to keep within the realms of believability. When all is said and done, I would have preferred it if Regan's condition and its effects be kept low key and subtle, although I suppose it is the over the top aspect and the special effects which mutate The Exorcist from a psychological thriller into a horror film.
The best part of the atmosphere for me is the first thirty or so minutes of the film, where Regan still looks like a normal girl, yet her highly disturbing behaviour is causing great consternation to her mother and the medical profession.
The music to The Exorcist is respectably chilling, comprising some semi avant-garde classical work by Jack Nitzsche, with extracts from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells being used as the main theme.
The Exorcist as a story brings up a moral dilemma issue for Father Karras, and from start to finish, brilliantly conveys what I see as a double-edged sword in that there is the quiet, gradually deteriorating sinister behaviour of a young girl, set up against something quite foul that she becomes. The earlier part of the film is edgy, dark and disturbing yet laid-back, and the latter part is loud, in your face and extremely hard-hitting.
As far as the overall acting is concerned, I've never been too impressed with Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, and Linda Blair's performance is very uneven....good at some points yet not so good at others. My own personal favourites are Max von Sydow as Father Merrin and Jason Miller as Father Karras respectively, although I do feel that Miller over-acted somewhat towards the end of the film.
Back in its day, The Exorcist was a film which people either were truly terrified or truly amused by, and I fell into the former of those two camps. I still can get the same sense of horror from it as I did back in 1973, but it now comes across as more of an uneasy, creeping sensation rather than being scared out of my wits.
Providing anybody who watches The Exorcist can accept that the film, especially the acting style, is very much from the early 1970s, I feel that it still projects the same levels of power as it did when newly released and doing the cinema rounds. Also, a little bit of me feels that those who declared The Exorcist to be amusing when they first saw it, perhaps were using the vehicle of humour to mask their own fear?
I do recommend The Exorcist as it has gone down as an all-time classic as to this day it is still truly horrifying and there is no doubt it is an exceptionally powerful film, but at the same time I warn those of a delicate disposition in that it did and still could seriously upset some people. As to whether it could be considered appropriate Halloween viewing, such is a matter of personal opinion.
At the time of writing, The Exorcist can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.83 to £21.66
Used: from 74p to £7.00
Collectible: from £3.80 to £15.99 (all appear to be used)
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Whilst shopping one day at my local supermarket and putting in my basket everything but what I went in for, I came across the DVD of The Exorcist protruding from the shelf. Even the front cover gave me chills. The black opaque cover with just a pictorial of a single eerie lamplight glow streaming on the bedroom window of the possessed (the inspiration from which was taken from a 1954 painting, "Empire of Light" by Rene Magritte) procurred a hot and cold persperation bead to my forehead. I gingerly transferred it from shelf to basket with the same caution I would use if handling a black widow spider for the first time.
I had seen the trailer but not gone beyond so it was time for me to lose my 'The Exorcist' cherry. At 10.00 pm that evening, alone, cloaked in darkness with a few tealights and the beam of the TV, I prepared myself for what has been critically described as one of "the scariest movies of all time".
The Exorcist is a 1973 horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, was inspired by a REAL case of a boy named Roland Doedeals in 1949 which makes for more chilling viewing.
The story is based in Georgetown, Washington DC and of a demonic possession of a young girl and her mother's desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests. Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a young priest at Georgetown University, who is doubting his faith while dealing with his mother's illness and Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Siddow) an older priest and archaeologist.
Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) is a successful actress and mother and while making a film near her temporary residence in Georgetown notices sudden dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior of her 12-year-old daughter, Regan (Linda Blair). Chris initially believes Regan's changes are related to puberty; or an emotional breakdown, however, doctors suspect a lesion on her temporal lobe. Regan endures a series of unpleasant medical tests. When X-rays show nothing out of the ordinary, a doctor advises that Regan be taken to a psychiatrist, whom she assaults. Paranormal occurrences continue, including a violently shaking bed, strange noises, and unexplained movements as well as a deterioration of Regan's outward behaviour and appearance which is out of character. When horrific events ensue and all medical explanations exhausted and after being attacked by her daughter a desperate Chris consults Karras to try to drive out the evil spirit within Regan.
A film director, Burke Dennings (Jack MacGowran), visiting the MacNeil home is violently killed, possibly by the young girl. A Police Lieutenant named Kinderman (Lee J. Cobb) investigates and tries to unravel the mysterious, heinous events that are taking place in this quiet Washington suburb.
The film opens in Iraq on an archaeological dig with Father Merrin (Max von Siddow). I found both the music and sounds used and the atmosphere disturbing and what with the desert location and the cruelty of the climate having a significant effect on the old priest, his discomfort made me even more uncomfortable. The two dogs interrupting his plight loudly, fighting savagely in the background beneath a looming statue of Pazuzu, a fictional character allegedly a demon of the wind, and the catalyst of the problem, added to my tension. I felt a strange, threatening emotion in the pit of my stomach.
This film to me is disturbing and I will tell you why. It has pauses in all the right places, it stops deadpan sometimes without sound before an horrific or unsettling event giving the scene an almost depressive aura; especially in the scene where Karras sees his mother from afar in the street in a dreamlike state which has no music or sound attached to it, giving the scenario more poignancy. This is down to the clever direction and the way the film is shot. It is almost like a stand-up comedian, if the timing is wrong the punchIine isn't funny no matter how good the joke.
I think the fact they produced the special effects manually enhances the film it makes it more true to life, as I find digitally/computerised effects leave me cold. Linda Blair is fantastic and the make-up artists have to be applauded as they contribute to making this visionally compelling. The innovative concepts of the head-spinning scene as the head is turned slowly spouting blasphemy with a voice that does not belong to a child is scary. The transition from a cute, ordinary little girl and the way the demon enters her with the sound of scurrying rats in the attic and her pronounced stare with eyes wide open and opaque enhanced pupils metaphorically could suggest the starting of puberty and sexual awakening which is prevalent in a person of such an age and the transformation from a child to an adult.
The presence of Father Karras (Jason Miller) as the troubled priest and his guilt over his mother and his questionnable faith is enigmatic the reason being due to both his performance and striking dark good looks.
Being a child of the 70s this film had a nostalgic ambience for me.
The extended edition gives you privvy to some tit-bits of the behind the scenes and how everything was done. Including how Meredith McAndrew had to smoke numerous cigarettes to get the rasping voice of the demon and how everyone had to endure freezing cold temperatures in the bedroom scenes as four air conditioners were installed to get the cold breath effect.
The fact that there were quite a few unexplained deaths and strange incidents on set didn't do much for my laundry either and made this film even more frightening.
Disturbing, compelling, depressive and innovative for its time - this film is one of my top horror films of all time - fantastic!!!!!
Constantly deemed "the scariest movie of all time", the Exorcist deals with the terrifying possession of a twelve year old innocent girl by a fictional demon. I have avoided this movie for years. Not because it's a bad movie - it's a brilliant movie! But because I've feared watching it since I walked in on the 360 degree head spin scene when my sister was watching it. That scene still gives me chills to this day! In fact, this whole movie always creeps me out!
So, I finally decided to face my fears and watch the Exorcist...alone. I found to begin with that the movie had a fairly slow build up - we follow a priest situated in Iraq on an archaeological dig. Here, he finds a statue of a demon known as Pazuzu and an ancient coin also embedded with the head of the antagonist. We are also introduced to the mother of young Reagan (victim of Pazuzu) who appears to be a filmstar. About an hour into the movie, we begin to see sudden changes in Reagan and peculiar occurances at home. Examples include; Reagan spitting and swearing at doctors and being thrown violently around her bed by an invisible force. It's from here on that the film reaches it's climax...
The Exorcist is still today, as shocking and scary as it was back in 1973. The blasphemy, Reagan using a crucifix for self mutilation, the head spins and the Exorcism itself. The special effects are very ahead of their time such as the stomach churning projectile vomit - awesome scene! The Exorcist is renowned for causing viewers to faint and vomit upon watching it in cinema's upon it's release. Now that may seem unlikely compared to movies released after this but put yourself in 1973 when you'd seen nothing like this at all. Personally, I can definately understand how this movie had such a huge impact on it's viewers in it's time because of the spectacular special effects.
What make the Exorcist so frightening for me however, is that the concept of possession is in fact, possible. Also, the way in which Reagan begins as an innocent young child before slowly deteriorating both physically and behaviourally. She becomes almost impossible to look at (big praise for the make up and Linda Blair's acting is needed here), and shows blasphemous and abusive behaviour, adding to the shock value of the movie.
Another aspect which I enjoyed about the Exorcist, is how much atmosphere is created. The shiver enducing Tubular Bells composure, the quick flashes of the face of Pazuzu throughout the film and the freezing temperatures in Reagan's bedroom during the Exorcism - the priests are seen shivering and their breath is visible in the cold air.
All in all, The Exorcist is another movie which I have ALOT of respect for. Although people have mixed views on this film - people have commented to me that it isn't scary at all - I believe that this film is as frightening as it was almost forty years ago, and that is quite an achievement! To really experience the film, you need to take yourself back to the 70's, turn the lights down and watch this alone. See how well you sleep after that...
Despite assurances about the quality and power of this film, it's never really been something that has appealed to me, if I'm honest, and so when I watched it the reason was more because I'm working my way through Empire's 500 top movies than because I really wanted to.
What I encountered is without doubt a top class film, but this doesn't necessarily mean I found it amazing. You can see why it had initial exposure as much as it did, with its attacks on religion and science, and the frankly disturbing scenes featuring Linda Blair as a possessed 12 year old girl are enough to explain why so many people have reported being scared ever since, be it of the dark, of horror films or anything else.
Based on a true story, The Exorcist focuses on the possession of 12 year old Regan. When she starts acting strangely, her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn) explores all kinds of scientific explanations, with doctors trying all kinds of techniques to treat her. Once these have been exhausted, she turns to a priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller) to perform an exorcism on her. Karras in turn has help in the form of Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) by the end of it, and the scenes just keep on getting progressively more disturbing......
Aside from the attempts at putting forward the argument for religion vs science, this film really does broach the nature of possession and looks to shock. Language, visuals and the script all combine to make sure that the tension stays at the highest level pretty much from the beginning, even as we start with Merrin finding evidence of demonic presence as he makes archaeological findings in the Iraqi desert. When the scenes shift to urban America, the music and generally dark visuals keep this pressure on, making the viewer constantly watch for fear of being shocked without being aware of things coming.
But the shock isn't the sudden jerky kind that some films like to employ. This is full force in your face possession, with (dodgy) special effects, offensive and blunt language and quite disturbingly prolonged scenes. The acting from Linda Blair is excellent, although I can't say it's a pleasure to watch it. Burstyn is very good as the mother whose refusal to accept it's something demonic is quite pride inducing despite the annoyance it then produces - you just want to scream at the screen sometimes. Miller's Karras is wrestling with his own demons in the film, and it's quite interesting to see how he questions his own faith at the same time as realising how present evil is in the world when confronted with his mother's diminishing mental health and the obvious possession of Regan. Miller plods through the film in a bit of a daze, and many have said his performance was a bit lacklustre. However, I thought it portrayed perfectly a man who has almost given up on his faith but wants to give it one last go.
Conversely, Von Sydow's performance, albeit fleeting at the beginning and the end, is the complete contrast in terms of personality. Merrin's faith is strong, so much so that his confidence and trust in God surpasses everything else. When he comes into play to aid Karras, his selflessness is commendable, whereas you feel Karras is holding something back. The two actors show great contrast on screen, and the results are quite surprising, shocking almost.
As the film draws to a close, I don't know what I had expected to feel. I was certain of the understanding of why people had been so shocked - language and disturbing scenes don't often affect me, but this was very surprising in here, especially how brutal and blunt some of it was. It's not something I'm likely to watch again, but I can recommend it if you're unsure whether it's worth a go or not. If you are easily shocked, then think twice, and if bad language offends you, then you're not going to like some of the suggestions coming out of the possessed Regan's mouth. Director William Friedkin certainly doesn't hold back with William Peter Blatty's script, and he adds to it with the haunting music that has now become so instantly recognisable, whether you know it as The Exorcist's music or not.
A recommendation from me then, albeit one that comes with serious warnings. This is highly likely to shock or disturb, although the now dated special effects take some of the edge off and things don't look completely real. This a shocking film, one I'm glad I have finally watched, but I am assured in my previous sentiment of not being fussed - I don't feel like I've been missing out too much.
The Exorcist is a horror film that was released in 1974 in the UK and based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, as well as being based on the case of the exorcism of Robbie Mannheim. I never knew either of these facts until quite a while after I watched it for the first time. The film was originally rated as X in the UK but has since been changed (1999) to an 18 due to strong language and disturbing images. The director's cut is 132 minutes long while the original version is 122 minutes long.
The plot is extremely basic. When Chris MacNeil notices her daughter acting strangely, wonders what is happening. The 12 year old girl gets possessed by a demon/ the Devil (something like that) although this isn't known for a while. Chris thinks that Regan (the girl) is suffering from stress and takes her to see a doctor and psychiatrist but neither can locate the problem. Regan is confined to her bed, becoming more and more possessed by the day and showing this more graphically. With all medical options exhausted, a doctor suggests an exorcism, even though it isn't well trusted. Not knowing what else to do, Chris calls in the priests to help her daughter but it seems like everyone is completely out of their element and have trouble helping Regan. There is also a bit of a back story with the priests involved (which was taken through to the sequels) but the film is mainly about Regan.
Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil
Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras
Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
Lee J. Cobb as Lieutenant William F. Kinderman
Kitty Winn as Sharon Spencer
Jack MacGowran as Burke Dennings
Mercedes McCambridge as the voice of the demon
Father William O'Malley as Father Joe Dyer
Arthur Storch as the Psychiatrist
Andre Trottier as the Priest's assistant
I remember watching this when I was about 13 or 14 while I was babysitting with a friend. Her aunt said we were allowed to get any video we wanted so long as we didn't tell our parents so obviously, we chose the one that we knew we weren't supposed to watch. Honestly, it scared us so much that we didn't sleep that whole night, not even when my friends' aunt and uncle came home. Obviously I didn't tell my Mum that I watched it because she wouldn't have allowed me to stay there again!
Now, I cant help but laugh at this film. I understand completely why it got the reaction it did in the 70s when it was released but I'm sure I have seen a lot worse than this by now. I think that one of the reasons for the original impact was partly due to the fact that the possession was happening to a 12 year old girl. Children in horror films freak me out at the best of times and Linda Blair does such a good job for a child so young. Child actors in films like this really do impress me when they have the maturity and talent to pull it off. The way the demon takes over Regan is extremely graphic at times and parts still make me wince now. I know it has been said that this film make the audience physically sick etc in the cinemas but I really don't think it is that bad at all.
Also making The Exorcist extremely dated are the special effects. I'm guessing they were considered good for the 70s but now they are so obviously fake it's funny. I would never want there to a remake of this film but I wonder what could be done to make the effects so much better and more believable now. I think it is a shame that the effects are so bad because overall, it is what makes the film a joke to me now.
The way the film was shot is extremely choppy and unbalanced. There are times where something is about the happen and then the scene suddenly changes to something completely different. I'm not really sure what was trying to be achieved here but it certainly annoyed me more than anything else. There were a couple of times at least where I thought 'Whoa, hold on, go back a minute' because I just didn't understand why the scene changed at that particular time.
The story is huge on Religion vs. Science. When no doctor of any type could figure out what to do with Regan, they just pawned her off into the arms of priests. Why scientists would really believe that an exorcism was possible is beyond me and I just cant see that really happening. There are also questions about how strong someone's faith is which I didn't think was necessary. The priest questioning his faith because of his mother was just an idiot in my opinion. If ever you are going to question your faith, it surely wouldn't be at a time when you have just seen a little girl possessed by a demon. I would think that this would be enough proof of at least Hell existing so Heaven would go hand in hand with that for me anyway.
I guess all I can say is that this is a good horror film for really young teenagers because I cant see anyone over the age of 14 really being scared by it.
I don't even know why I am writing a review on this film, as the very thought of it petrifies me. The film was released in the UK in 1974 and was directed by William Friedkin.
** The Plot **
The film is about a young teenage girl who has her body possessed by an evil spirit (or the devil). Her mother notices that she has recently been acting strange, her mother knows that her daughter is being tortured by something, rather than her just having a psychological disorder and so a priest is asked to help banish the evil spirit away from the girls body.
** The cast **
Ellen Burstyn plays Chris MacNeil
Linda Blair plays Regan (the child possessed)
Max von Sydow plays Father Merrin
Jason Miller plays Father Karras
For a full list of cast you can visit www.imdb.com.
** My Opinion **
Firstly I want to apologise as this review may be a little sketchy as I haven't seen the film for about 10 years and quite frankly don't intend to ever see it again.
I believe this film caused me to have a real phobia of ghosts, im not joking, its absolutely petrifying. I only remember bits of the film, but they are probably the worst bits, I cant even begin to explain the events within this film as they are so sickingly violent.
I don't think there has been another horror made that remotely comes near to the scariness of this film. Even though its old, its still very chilling if anything even more so, and the fact that its supposedly based on a true story makes it even worse.
I haven't met anyone (yet) who has seen this film who didn't think it was scary, those involved in the writing of this film must have had some serious problems as no sane person could of created this.
I would not recommend watching this film, purely because its so scary. The fact that a child is the main focus within this film is also quite disturbing and some may find the events extremely upsetting, I know I would if I was to watch it now (as a grown up).
Great if you like horrors, a no no if you're a bit of a wimp (like me lol).
And here it is. The Exorcist. Perhaps the best horror of all time alongside The Shining. I'm never sure which one is better than the other. There's one thing for sure though, and that is that this horror outshines every other one you can think of. This is a class act all the way.
This is an adaption written by William Peter Blatty from his own book of the same name, and is one of the best adaptions ever written (it won an Oscar for the screenplay), and directed by superb director William Friedkin (The French Connection). It stars Ellen Burstyn as Christ MacNeil, a divorced and stressed actress, Jason Miller as disillusioned Father Karras, Max Von Sydow in the role of a lifetime as Father Merrin and Linda Blair as Reagan, the girl who is possessed. The result is a film of epic proportions and the most profitable horror. of all time (adjusted for gross, this film is in the top ten of all earners ever)
The film starts in Iraq, where Father Merrin is on an archaeological dig (in the Bible, they are digging in the area where demons were supposed to have been banished). He finds a small stone with a picture of a beast on it, and later sees a statue of the same demon, Pazuzu. Sensing that Pazuzu is present, he returns to American to await the arrival of the demon.
In the USA, disillusioned Father Karras is trying to deal with his dwindling faith while his mother dies of terminal cancer.
In a house in Georgetown, Chris MacNail and her daughter Reagan are both under a lot of stress with money problems and the fact that Reagan's father seems to care very little for his daughter. Soon, there are changes in Reagan's behaviour and Chris takes her to a doctor, thinking there could be a medical problem. An X ray shows there is nothing medically wrong, to Reagan is then taken to a psychiatrist whom she assaults. Soon, she becomes violent and there are unexplained noises and incidents in the house. Finally, the demon really does come to light and Chris goes to Father Karras for help. The demon claims to be Satan, leading Father Karras to suspect that it's psychological. However, after even more incidents, he becomes convinced that she is possessed and Father Merrin is brought in to perform an exorcism. This leads to one of the most horrific but compelling climaxes in any film, let alone just horror and has pure terror pouring from it.
This film is just about perfect. Though now it's a little dated, it's still a must watch for everything. The acting, especially Max Von Sydow, is perfect and the direction, lighting and moments of horror never stop. Just fabulous.
The Exorcist is a 1973 horror film based primarily around demonic possession and exorcism. The story centres around a twelve year old who becomed possessed in an extreme way after using a Ouija board. The girls mother is a well known actress who using her money calls in a range of doctors and psychiatrists to try and cure the disease she thinks her daughter has, all to no avail. As her daughters condition deteriorates she is forced to call in a priest...
Adapted from the novel by William Peter Blatty the film is overall executed well. The actors used were not major headlining stars at the time and this was beneficial as the director recalled how he wanted the film to be about the story and not the actors something I think he carried off.
The story is portrayed in a realistic way although watching the film today some parts can seem slightly comical compared to todays over the top horrors. The characters are believable making this film truly terrifying.
The visual and audio effects they used were very good in context of the time period, the film watched in the dark with the volume cranked up. This film really ease a classic with the eerie theme tune and the legendary moment when Lankester Merrin steps out of the taxi into the mist below the street lamp. Classic!
There are some horror movies I can safely say didn't scare me much and there are some that are just plain ridiculous. However, the Exorcist doesn't fall into either category and was just terrifying mainly because of the fear of the unknown and how something like this can happen. From the atmospheric but creepy music to the shock value of this movie it's one to watch if you can.
This was the first major blockbuster in horror movie history when it was released in 1973. I doubt there has ever been a movie in this genre that has been given as much hype before release then and nowadays.
The movie itself was inspired by newspaper reports of a 13 year old boy from Maryland in America whose body had supposedly been taken over by demons and possessed.
There is fairly lengthy prologue in this movie that you really need to have read the book to understand, but then the first half of the film sets the scene and the essential characters and their relationships. Regan MacNeil is the star of the movie played by Linda Blair. She is the cute daughter of divorced mother Chris played by Ellen Burstyn. Things are fine at home and they lead a pretty normal life despite the divorce, until one day things start to take a worrying turn for the worse.
One night when her mother has dinner guests round, Regan wanders down almost in a trance like state, not quite awake and not quite asleep. She prophesies the death of her mother's acuqaintance before urinating on the floor in front of her startled guests. Further odd behaviour develops in the next few days, so much so, that she is taken to the hospital for medical tests. These test all prove inonclusive and her mother is urged to seek the help of the church.
This she does and eventually manages to convince her priest Damien Karras played by Jason Miller to perform an exorcism on her daughter. Along with more experienced exorcist Father Merrin played by Max von Sydow they go to the house but with trepidation.
This sets the scene for the intensity of the second half of the movie which focuses on the struggle between good and evil as the priests battle against the demon within this little girl.
I found the movie quite disturbing and frightening as this little girl was consumed by something within her that made her do terrible things and the power struggle to free of this evil before it destroyed her. A real fear of the unknown is what makes this movie so great to watch and so frightening at the same time. The music is famous now for it's creepy tones that just add to the heightened tension.
Worth watching if you've never seen it but can be slightly scary at times
This 1973 classic stars Linda Blair as a child who becomes demonically possessed, leaving her mother (Ellen Burstyn) in despair and terrorised by her. Eventually, she calls upon some Catholic priests to rid her daughter of her possession.
As a lot of us know, this film was banned here in the UK for quite a number of years before finally getting a release in the late 90's.
I can see why it was, the subject matter is very controversial and it was bound to upset a lot of people, Catholics and religious people in general.
It was even said that the film, when in cinemas, caused people to physically vomit and have heart attacks.
While this is hard to believe, especially in today's world, this type of movie was relatively a new thing back then.
As a film, I actually find it to be rather mundane. It's pace is pretty slow and when something is about to happen, the scene ends and cuts to something else.
It's one thing to leave something implied but it's quite another to leave a viewer frustrated when they get thrust into the thick of things and then be cut off abruptly and moved on with another sequence.
As someone who wasn't around in the 70's, obviously a movie like this to someone like me wasn't anything new and so it wasn't particularly terrifying.
The Exorcism scene at the climax is particularly effective, though, with a lot of tension throughout the sequence.
Linda Blair's performance is excellent! For a child, she deserved an Oscar for this role and I can only imagine the stress she must have gone through with filming this.
I will say the same for Ellen Burstyn, who apparently, was injured when filming some scenes.
The direction is top notch from Friedkin and the score is as memorable as ever!
But, typically after being banned after so many years, it did come off as a bit of a dissappointment but only because the film moves along at a snail's pace.
It's not a film I would say that lived up to it's reputation but then I am sure someone who was born before the 70's would have a different opinion.
I will still recommend this because I am sure people there are those that have not seen it and will wonder what the hype was about and will want to check out a "classic".
In Georgetown America, actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) is busy shooting her latest movie, whilst her 12 year old daughter Regan (Linda Blair) is busy going through a tough time. Regan's behaviour is beginning to drastically differ from the sweet young girl she once was. When doctors examine Regan they find that she turns violent and screams profanities at them which she has never done before. Doctors decide that a psychiatrist may be the best option for Regan, but when all else fails Regan's Mother is forced to turn to the church...
I wasn't around when The Exorcist was first released back in 1973 but have heard numerous things about the film growing up, both good and bad. I've always been intrigued to watch the film but have always been hesitant due to all the harrowing things I've heard about it. The film has been named 'The Scariest Film Of All Time'... fitting? I still don't know. I have heard about people committing suicide after seeing the film but curiosity got the better of me and surely 36 years after it's initial release the film wouldn't be able to achieve the same shock factor would it?
That I can't effectively answer, after seeing the film I felt it was shocking, but the scariest film of all time I think may be a stretch too far. If you've ever seen this film then I'm sure you'll agree that it's not one for the fainthearted - seeing an innocent young girl being converted by what or who we're led to believe is the devil was never going to comfortable viewing and this plays out onscreen somewhat as you'd expect. The fact that this film is so notorious it has meant that there have been numerous spoofs and over the years I've seen many clips of some of the 'nasty' scenes that appear in the film, this I feel ruined it for me somewhat as I watched the film in some sense knowing what to expect therefore in a way the shock factor didn't resonate with me as well as I imagine it would have done back in 1973 when no one knew what to expect.
I have mixed feelings about this film. I know people that have seen it that have told me it was laughable however I always thought that that was merely a way of masking their true fear at what they saw. Surely a film synonymous with being the most frightening film of all time wouldn't be something to be laughed at would it? Well in a way I feel it is, at some points, one in particular the film had me sniggering nervously at what I was watching. A scene where Regan goes into a crab shape and runs down the stairs with blood dripping from her mouth did make me laugh as it was very unexpected and was pretty irrelevant to the actual film.
I sat through the film very uncomfortably for the most part, not uncomfortable because of the actual subject matter but because I wasn't sure how to react to it. As aforementioned there are some parts which are laughable however the humour of it also comes from the fact that the film isn't relatable for anyone (or anyone I know) therefore you don't know if the film is completely over the top, or if worse the film is 100% accurate which is when the chilling aspect makes it's way into your head. How you take this film is entirely down to the individual watching it therefore I personally don't think it's entirely effective as a horror movie. The film focuses on the fear of the unknown and in that respect it's a big success but I feel that it's over the top nature may alienate some viewers and will lack the affect that it could have had if it wasn't quite so eccentric.
I have to say that comedic or frightening the film is memorable; despite it's over the top nature all actors involved do a superb job. Linda Blair stands out for obvious reasons with her performance of the possessed young girl, however how much of the character Regan was actually her is questionable. The voice of the supposed devil that Regan possesses at times is laughable, especially with the foreign accents and the constant groaning that we hear in the background that I found very irritating. Some of the time Regan's character was chilling though, when she's screaming profanities at the priest and telling them things about their personal lives which Regan couldn't have possibly known are snippets of the film that wholeheartedly capture your attention and drag you into the unnerving atmosphere that should have, but unfortunately wasn't present for the films entirety.
Infact instead of finding the film captivating I actually found it to be quite lacklustre for the majority. The film begins in Iraq with an archaeological dig, this I found to be totally irrelevant to the film at hand and I became very restless waiting for the film to focus on Regan. The film runs for approximately 132 minutes and I was surprised at how much time was taken up by the introduction and the subsequent introduction to the troubled Priest. All in all the audience don't actually see a lot of Regan which I was also surprised about as the film is supposed to revolve around her. When we do see Regan in her possessed state we never see her for too long, this I imagine is to capture the audiences attention and to keep them alert for when Regan does appear on screen but I found it irritating that we only see her for a few minutes until the film draws to a close.
The exorcism itself doesn't begin until a long way into the film, I was expecting this to be the most shocking part of the film however with what we witness throughout the film I felt that the exorcism itself fell short of matching what we'd already witnessed. Regan did nothing to outdo herself and all in all I felt a little let down with the end of the film. Infact the ending happened very quickly indeed and overall I was very disappointed with how the film was wrapped up.
Ellen Burstyn was very good as the Mother driven to despair over her daughter's escalating possession, she was very convincing throughout and I found her performance to be subtle yet believable. The main Priest, played by Jason Miller is also thoroughly convincing however his back-story concerning his Mother's illness was totally irrelevant. It did rear it's ugly head near the end of the film but without the back-story it could have easily been substituted for something more relevant and prominent in the story.
It's safe to say that the film hasn't aged well, the special effects are dire and that's the main letdown of it. Granted, the dated feel of the film shouldn't effect it's affect on audiences but unfortunately it does. Scenes that may have shocked and scared in the 70's are laughable in this day and age, we witness Regan's head spinning and her bed shaking like she's on some sort of dodgy fairground ride. Overall the special effects really bring this film down.
Overall I can't quite make my mind up about the film, I'm not a religious person so maybe that effects my perception of this. I imagine that if you believe in good and evil then this film will have a profound affect on you however what about all the atheists in the audience? This film has a very specific target audience and if you're not part of that audience then the film is more than likely to disappoint. This of course isn't helped by all the hype surrounding the film, it's without doubt the most famous horror film of all time and I'm sure it will remain to be for years to come. I'm glad that I can finally say that I've seen the scariest film of all time, but in all honesty I don't think I have...
The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.
This review was originally written by myself, here:
The Exorcist is sadly used by some as an example of how 'tough' they are when it comes to horror films - indeed, some of them even claim to have found it humorous. This is a great shame, as it is rather different and superior to the horrors that these people enjoy - Hostel, and such. The effects may have dated but it still retains its power to disturb and to shock.
The plot begins with a priest (Max Von Sydow) at an archaelogical dig who discovers an artefact in Iraq. This has been criticised for its slow pacing, but in my opinion it builds a nice eerie atmosphere whilst also giving a slight hint at the origins of the possible demon. We are then shown the events of a typically middle class house in the USA, where an actress attends to her family. Her daughter, Reagan, appears to be gradually getting more aggressive - this is dismissed by the doctors as merely her going through puberty (which is certainly more plausible than her being possessed by a pesky demon). Her mother, Chris, asks her director one day to look after young Reagan - the director is eventually found dead. A friend of Chris, Burke Dennings, has a close relationship with Reagan, something I will explore in another paragraph. The film is essentially three different plots woven together - troubled Reagan, the finds in Iraq early on and also Father Karras's disintegrating faith as his mother dies of cancer.
The aforementioned Burke Dennings is a key factor of the film. It can be argued (and it will be by myself) that the possession of the girl and her increasingly aggressive nature is due to her abuse by Dennings, and that the appearance is merely her close acquaintances denying the possibly truth - that reagan is being abused. Several scenes point to this possibility: the doctor's examination (where she tells the doctor to keep his hands away), Reagan's calls for help whilst being possessed ("HELP ME" incarved on her stomach) and her suppression of her memories of the ordeal after the exorcism. The face of Pazuzu, or Captain Howdy, could certainly be Reagan's image of Burke - an evil face which she does not want to be reminded of.
It certainly needs a rewatch (so perhaps it isn't deserving of its positioning in this list) for me to explore further themes, especially with Karras's faith, but The Exorcist is one of the deepest and for me the most terrifying horror ever made. It is often hailed as the defining moment in which mainstream films began to become more violent and rely on controversy for its appeal, but it has done a lot for helping the horror genre increase in popularity.
The film has two separate editions (sadly not released together in a box set); the original and The Version You've Never Seen. The latter has been editted to general include more occasions of cheap shocks, with more usages of the 'Captain Howdy' face at seemingly pointless times. It also has worse special features so I would recommend the original version, though the image quality is not quite up to the standard of the reissue.
The Exorcist was adapted from William Peter Blatty's bestselling book and directed by William Friedkin following on from his success with The French Connection. This film was one of the biggest hits of 1973 and despite being hugely controversial this film has managed to last the tests of time to still be classed as a classic of the horror films.
This film sees 12 year old Reagan (Linda Blair) as a young girl who ends up suddenly extremely ill and despite numerous tests nobody can quite figure out what is going on and when things escalate to the point that her mother Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) calls in priests to check over her daughter and when they find that Reagan is in fact possessed the decision is taken to carry out an exorcism but will they manage to save the girl before she is lost forever to this possessive entity?
The film was one that I had heard a lot about and personally I did not find that it lives up to the hype of one of the scarriest films of all time as there are many parts that are truly great horror moments but they do not make for a scary film. The film despite this manages to be a truly fantastic film that has an amazing atmosphere throughout and manages to be exactly right in every area thanks to an amazing cast and script and in no small part down to Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' which manages to make the entire film feel ultra creepy throughout.
If you like your horror films then this is one for you but don't watch this expecting to be scared witless as the horror is not as scary now as it was back in 1973 when the film was originally released. You will however be likely to love the film thanks to everything feeling right about it.
This is my favourite horror DVD that I own and favourite horror of all time. This is the 25th Anniversary Edition. The movie was originally released in 1974 and ended up being banned in a number of countries.
Directed by William Friedkin and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty this movie won two Oscars.
The first thing I want to point out is that I believe you get out of this film what you take in. If you 'believe' that this could happen then you are in for a terrifying experience. It is simply the scariest film I have ever seen and that isn't because of the cheap frights modern films use, or over excessive gore. This film gets you on a psychological level.
The cast chosen for this film were indeed the right choices, Linda Blair who plays 'Regan MacNeil' brings a presence to the screen which makes her character more believable after seeing how she interacts with others as a sweet child. There are powerful performances brought by Jason Miller and as 'Father Karras' and Ellen Burstyn as 'Chris MacNeil'. There are other actors that also play their characters well but these three make the movie with their stunning performances.
This DVD has deleted scenes which were removed from the original. The added 'spider' scene is one that will have you remembering for a long time after. The director obviously went to a lot of effort to make this film the classic that it is. It wasn't rushed at all and every scene has meaning and purpose. Having read the book the DVD is every bit as good.
You'll understand how people from when it was first released were actually ill when watching it, some even escorted to hospital. You are left thinking about acts of good and evil and the fights that you are challenged with if have a belief in faith. There are many different levels to the film and it isn't just a horror movie which makes it more enjoyable, there is so much you can take away from watching it.
5 out of 5.
I am a huge film fan but am often disappointed with myself for the gaps in my knowledge - what I mean by this is the acknowledged classics that I've not seen. Tonight I remedied that fact that I'd never seen THE EXORCIST by watching it on DVD.
Directed by William Friedkin, this is not a film that I think that I can say that I enjoyed. Enjoyment implies 'liking' something, and I can't say that I like a film that shows a 12-year-old girl doing and saying the things she says in this film. It is very disturbing, but of course that is exactly what the creators of the film were intending. The story is of the possession of this girl by a demon, and the attempts to exorcise the demon out of her.
I'm glad that I've finally seen the film, and I fully intend to watch the sequels, but I can't say that I'm likely to want to watch this particular film again.
Director William Friedkin was a hot ticket in Hollywood after the success of The French Connection, and he turned heads (in more ways than one) when he decided to make The Exorcist as his follow-up film. Adapted by William Peter Blatty from his controversial best-seller, this shocking 1973 thriller set an intense and often-copied milestone for screen terror with its unflinching depiction of a young girl (Linda Blair) who is possessed by an evil spirit. Jason Miller and Max von Sydow are perfectly cast as the priests who risk their sanity and their lives to administer the rites of demonic exorcism, and Ellen Burstyn plays Blair's mother, who can only stand by in horror as her daughter's body is wracked by satanic disfiguration. One of the most frightening films ever made, The Exorcist was mysteriously plagued by troubles during production, and the years have not diminished its capacity to disturb even the most stoical viewers. --Jeff Shannon