The Exorcist (1973)


Yes, this is the film that's in every critics top 10 list of the scariest movies of all time. Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, with a story that was supposedly based on actual events, many may remember seeing this in theaters and witnessing the audience vomiting, fainting, screaming, and even leaving. It was apparently so bad that paramedics were on call, and all this hysteria caused the film to be considered one of the most "controversial" movies of all time.

Of course back then audiences hadn't seen much, and obviously today's audience wouldn't necessarily react the same way. After three decades the movie still manages to scare and creep out today's audience, and remains as popular as it was before, especially with the recently released "version you've never seen", which gave it another big screen release. It’s been reported that the studio originally eyed director Stanley Kubrick to take the helm, but he declined the position and it was then given to William Friedkin.

In this newly restored version, we get an additional 6 minutes of footage that offers more character development and "scary" scenes. We also get to see some cool, but brief, glimpses of the eerie white face in various scenes, and the much talked about "spider-walk" sequence, which I personally found very effective. Sadly, I must confess that before seeing this recently, I had never actually viewed the film in its entirety. I never saw it growing up, nor pursued it in the video stores. I ended up seeing all the main scenes on TV, and eventually lost interest. Then with the new release of the prequel, my interest was once again sparked and now here I am typing this review after finally seeing the whole movie. Yay for me!

So let’s go over the story (like you don't already know), we follow a mother/actress and her 12-year-old daughter as they struggle to find the reasoning behind the young girl’s sudden madness. At first her illness is brushed off by doctors as just some sort of mental disorder, but then a priest by the name of Damien Karras is then brought into the mix when the men of medicine decide that the disorder may be caused by more supernatural means. The conflicted priest investigates and discovers that the talk of the girl being possessed may be true, and after the failed attempt at exorcising the demon himself, he receives the aid from an older experienced priest named Father Merrin. The duo work together as they try to relieve the girl from the demon's grasp.

When I first viewed some of this movie I was younger and uninterested in slow-movie horror flicks, so naturally The Exorcist didn't appeal to me much. Now when I finally view the film in its entirety I can appreciate and enjoy it more than I could have as a young horror fan growing up in the slasher craze in the 80's. This movie is near excellence in my opinion. The directing, cinematography, story, and effects were all ahead of its time.

Originally I had the movie set for a 9-rating, but the more I thought about it the more I appreciated it and I decided that if I was going to finally give a movie a 10-rating it'd be for The Exorcist, right? You may wonder that since this was my first viewing of the entire film whether or not I got scared. The answer is no. There are a couple somewhat creepy scenes, but I found all the lead sequences to be rather tame. You still have to admire the movie for successfully creeping out an audience after so many years.

A good movie that still manages to scare. With excellent directing and sweet effects, this movie is a MUST for any horror fan.
A good movie that still manages to scare. With excellent directing and sweet effects, this movie is a MUST for any horror fan.