I saw "The Exorcist" on the big screen when it was a new film. Since that time, I have never viewed its equal in horror despite numerous sequels, and big budget films involving major stars like "The Omen". The Exorcist stands alone.
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Director William Friedkin made a very important film in "The Exorcist". Based on a purportedly true story, "The Exorcist" does not rely on high-tech computer graphics to stun the viewer, but light and shadow masterfully captured by the camera, and a soundtrack by Mike Oldfield that will send chills up your spine. The tension slowly builds as the girl, Regan, marvelously played by Linda Blair, appears to get sicker and sicker, exhibiting strange behavior and changing appearance.
She has been playing with an Ouija board. The mother (Ellen Burstyn) is beside herself, trying every medical possibility. Nothing helps! She finally gets a youthful psychiatrist of her acquaintance, who is also a priest, to look at Regan. There is only one problem: Father Karras is losing his faith, having served as counselor to too many priests who had doubted their vocation. Finally, after many horrific happenings, he comes to the conclusion: she is demon possessed. By this time, the mother is willing to try anything. The church agrees to the exorcism, but only if a more experienced priest performs the rite. It so happens an older priest has just returned from a dig in Iraq. He has performed the rite of exorcism successfully in the past. He arrives at the house by night...
The exorcism is one of the scariest scenes ever filmed, with the demon exhibiting every vile trick at its command, defiling the body of Regan and rendering it almost unrecognizable as a human being. Finally the old priest can take it no more and slumps over, dead of a heart attack. I will leave the exciting ending to your viewing pleasure.
Directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection) and starring Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, and Jason Miller. From the novel by William Peter Blatty who also adapted it to the screen.
"The Exorcist" shunned the typical horror movie genre of monsters and goblins to explore the terror that lives in the minds of all of us. Throughout the film, we see the demon probe the darkest secrets of each person who comes into its presence. It can read their minds. That is the scariest thought of all, that we really are transparent and our innermost thoughts can be exposed.
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