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Wadrick's Celluloid Dungeon

The Exorcist (1973)

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


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  1. Amen Wadrick. This flick will never be topped.

    Posted by faystar | September 13, 2009, 5:25 am
  2. Another great review Wadrick…

    A true classic…

    Still manages to freak me out every time…

    In fact, every time I watch it, I think: Maybe Reagan won’t get possessed this time. Maybe it’ll turn out to be just some chemical imbalance or neurological disorder they’ll sort out with medication…(Please)
    But, alas, an hour or so later I’m desperately joining in with Merrin and Karras: ‘The power of Christ compels you!’


    Posted by Decoy Spoon | September 13, 2009, 9:48 pm
  3. that is funny about the vomit bags, imagine how many we would need in cinemas these days with the modern horrors!

    the film is rather scary though. makes it more so being true story i think

    Tina from
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    Posted by Tinam | September 17, 2009, 5:08 am
  4. @Faystar
    Never will be topped…but I live in fear of the day when some fool decides to remake it.

    We all have those thoughts, that maybe Regan will be OK this time. Perhaps Merrin will have a fun time in Iraq. Karras is off the booze and only questioning why he ever questioned anything at all. No one gets thrown out the window, breaking their neck. That The Exorcist is merely your standard adolescent coming-of-age tale, no more sinister than Stand By Me.
    But alas…it never will be.

    You’re right…if some of the films released today were released in 1973, I think we would have seen some heart attacks in the theatres rather than upset stomachs.
    .-= Wadrick´s last blog ..The Exorcist (1973) =-.

    Posted by Wadrick | September 17, 2009, 6:45 pm
  5. The Exorcist is a good film if you enjoy sensationalism. It is based on a true story but that doesn’t mean that being possessed is how they portrayed it in the film. It was purposely overdone I think, in order to make the story more appealing. In fact, possession isn’t quite like as it is often portrayed in films. Try reading, Hostage To The Devil by Malachi Martin to get a better idea of what happens when one is possessed by a demon (from a Catholic point of view).

    Often, possessed people can and usually do appear to have a mental illness of some sort, to the unsuspecting or the untrained. But in fact, possession often mimics the symptoms of having mental illness, which means often the possessed and their families/friends, medical folks, etc are unaware of what is really going on, and that’s dangerous.
    .-= Gemma´s last blog ..gemmaweirs- Im thinking of writing a tutorial or two for WebDesign Tuts at some point within the next month or so ¬¬ =-.

    Posted by Gemma | October 29, 2010, 4:51 pm

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