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Horror - Demons

The Exorcist (1973)


Duration 2h 2m Rating (UK) X
Source of story A real exorcism in Ameica on which the novel by Peter Blatty of the same name is based.
Director William Friedkin
Writers/Script William Peter Blatty
Starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Linda Blair, Mercedes McCambridge

Elevator Pitch: An actress is filming in Washington DC and living in large house with her daughter. The daughter, Regan,  finds a Ouija Board and after having a go with it, and identifying an unknown spiritual communicator, begins to exibit strange behaviour. The mother calls the doctor, and the child undergoes an arteriogram, a real and very disturbing medical procedure at the time. Then she consults a priest as the child’s behaviour becomes more extreme, and finally a priest who has had experience of an exorcism is called in to help.

Content: Everything written about this film identifies masturbation with a cross, but it is implied rather than shown. However as the child is possessed by the demon, furniture floats about, she is levitated and becomes visually repugnant and well as projectile vomiting green vomit and having her head rotate through 360 degrees. But to start with we see the veteran priest in the desert confronting a statue of the demon which we see flashes of later. There is a subplot involving the younger priest and his mother. If there was any smoking or drinking I did not notice.

A View: Even today this is pretty alarming stuff, some things unexpectedly surreal, particularly the radiography which was apparently exactly what was done at the time. It won a couple of Oscars and was nominated in many categories, and has been well liked by the critics over the years. To tell the truth I found some of the acting a bit wooden but the overall effect is alarming. When it was first shown in the cinema people fainted, and while it is unlikely to have that effect today it is still well worth watching for the cost of a download. But choose the 2000 “extended version”.

Additional Info: The 2000 extended version has in it the “spider walk”, which for a variety of reasons was left out of the original. It is disturbing!

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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