Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max Von Sydow, Lee J Cobb & Linda Blair.
Written by William Peter Blatty.
Directed by William Friedkin.
An actress named Chris (Burstyn) lives in Georgetown with her 12 year-old daughter, Regan (Blair). When strange sounds are heard in the attic and Regan begins to display erratic behaviour, Chris exhausts the resources of countless persons in the medical profession to understand what is happening. Believing the young girl may be possessed by a demon, her mother decides to approach the Church for help. In steps Father Karras (Miller), a reluctant priest already questioning his faith, to examine the child and determine if an exorcism is warranted. The Exorcist, at 36 years old at the time of writing, has lost none of its incredible power. Famously, it was the film that saw cinemas distribute vomit bags to audiences at the time of release, with many people fainting in the theatre at the horrific sights on screen. And indeed, the vision of an obscenity-screaming preteen indecently applying a crucifix to herself still remains one of the most unforgettable in cinema history, even by today’s “torture porn” horror film standards. But The Exorcist is more than just a piece of celluloid designed to shock. Adapted from his own novel by William Peter Blatty, and scoring him an Oscar in the process, the story is a complex examination of the power of faith. In the hands of lesser mortals, The Exorcist would no doubt have been a morally repellent exercise in exploitation, but in the tough paws of director William Friedkin it transcends the horror genre to become a classic of modern cinema.
By Wadrick Jones