William Peter Blatty, who wrote the book, thought that if there are demons then there are also angels and life after death. He couldn't see why people thought it was scary. I've seen it about times and every time I see something I haven't seen before". Director Martin Scorsese placed The Exorcist on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time.
On December 26 a movie called The Exorcist opened in theatres across the country and since then all Hell has broken loose. Despite its mixed reviews and the controversies over its content and viewer reaction, The Exorcist was a runaway hit.
The crowds gathered outside theaters sometimes rioted, and police were called in to quell disturbances in not only New York but Kansas City. The New York Times asked some of those in line what drew them there.
Those who had read the novel accounted for about a third; they wanted to see if the film could realistically depict some of the scenes in the book: "We're here because we're nuts and because we wanted to be part of the madness", said others. A repeat viewer told the newspaper that it was the best horror film he had seen in decades, "much better than Psycho. You feel contaminated when you leave the theater. There's something that is impossible to erase".
Many made a point of saying that they had either never waited in line that long for a movie before, or not in a long time.
Reports of strong audience reactions were widespread; many including accounts of nausea and fainting. A woman in New York was said to have miscarried during a showing. Other theaters arranged for ambulances to be on call. Some patrons had to be helped to leave the places they had hidden in theaters. Friedkin speculates that it is easier to empathize with Regan in that scene, as compared to what she suffers while possessed later in the film. In , The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published a paper by a psychiatrist documenting four cases of what he called "cinematic neurosis " triggered by viewing the film.
In all he believed the neurosis was already present and merely triggered by viewing scenes in the film, particularly those depicting Regan's possession. He recommended that treating physicians view the movie with their patient to help him or her identify the sources of their trauma.
Three separate production histories were published. Journalists complained that coverage of the film and its controversies was distracting the public from the ongoing Watergate scandal. Much of the coverage, in fact, focused on the audience which, in the later words of film historian William Paul, "had become a spectacle equal to the film".
He cites an Associated Press cartoon in which a couple trying to purchase tickets to the film was told that while the film itself is sold out, "we're selling tickets to the lobby to watch the audience. Within a year of The Exorcist ' s release, two films were quickly made that appeared to appropriate elements of its plot or production design.
Warner took legal action against the producers of both, accusing them of copyright infringement. The lawsuits resulted in one film being pulled from distribution and the other one having to change its advertisements. Abby , released almost a year after The Exorcist , put a blaxploitation spin on the material.
In it a Yoruba demon released during an archeological dig in Africa crosses the Atlantic Ocean and possesses the archaeologist's daughter at home in Kentucky. Director William Girdler acknowledged the movie was intended to cash in on the success of The Exorcist. Warner's lawsuit early in resulted in most prints of the film being confiscated; the film has rarely been screened since and is not available on any home media.
Later in Warner brought suit against Film Ventures International FVI over Beyond the Door , which had also been released near the end of , alleging that its main character, also a possessed woman whose head spins around completely, projectile vomits and speaks with a deep voice when possessed, infringed the studio's copyright on Regan.
Judge David W. Williams of the United States District Court for the Central District of California held first that since Blatty had based the character on what he was told was a true story, Regan was not original to either film and thus Warner could not hold a copyright on Regan.
Even if she had been a creation, she could not be copyrighted since she was subordinate to the story. The writers of the FVI film had also further distanced themselves from an infringement claim by having their possessed female, Jessica, be a pregnant adult woman.
However, he found that some of Beyond the Door ' s advertising graphics, such as an image of light coming from behind a door into a darkened room, and the letter "T" drawn as a Christian cross , were similar enough to those used to promote The Exorcist that the public could reasonably have been confused into thinking the two films were the same, or made by the same people, and enjoined FVI from further use of those graphics.
The film's success led Warner to initiate a sequel , one of the first times a studio had done that with a major film, launching a franchise. While many of the classic horror films of the s, like Frankenstein and King Kong had spawned series of films over the decades, they had always been secondary properties for the studios.
The other big-budget horror films made in the wake of The Exorcist also led to sequels and franchises of their own. The Exorcist was nominated for ten Academy Awards in , winning two.
It is the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture. MaryStewart MaryStewart. Lee J. Cobb as Lt. Linda Blair as Regan. Jason Miller as Father Karras. Most recommended streaming services. Synopsis William Friedkin directs one of the most horrifying movies ever made.
This monster of a drama is both beautiful and bold. It has class and purpose. It takes the audience into the darkest recesses of humankind and then brings them back through a message of hope and self-sacrifice.
The movie is NOT anti-religion, it's anti-evil. Anyone who likes smart, clever, meaningful horror-drama should see this film at least twice. It is surprisingly touching and amazingly powerful. That said, the cast deserves a hand for their wonderful performances. Ellen Burstyn perfectly conveys the tension of a mother of the cusp of tragedy; Max von Sydow is hauntingly perfect as the story's ray of light; Jason Miller embodies the sadness of a defeated man; and Linda Blair is far above average even at her young age.
Once again, see this movie. You won't forget it. Sign In. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. For all you trivia buffs out there, Blatty once sued the producers of Columbo, stating they based Peter Falk's character on Kinderman.
If memory serves me correctly Blatty lost that one. As for Director William Friedken, although he won the best director award for The French Connection, for me The Exorcist will always remain his defining film. The Final half hour of The Exorcist are still as dynamic today as they were 31 years ago, French Connection car chase be damned.
It seems that to many of the younger movie audiences of today, The Exorcist has become more of a joke than anything else. That's not surprising considering how many times it has been lampooned, even by Linda Blair herself in Repossessed. Yet, if they were to view the film in a more serious vein, not as just another creature feature, they may just find that there really is more to this film than a little girl spewing pea soup and spinning her head around degrees.
It is the ultimate battle between Heaven and Hell and Good and Evil. It is the story of the complete and total degradation of innocence. It is a study in character, and whether a man torn by the forces surrounding him, can regain his faith and his belief in God and mankind to save the life of a little girl, caught up in forces beyond her control.
Call it a horror film, call it a religious film, call it what you want. For me, The Exorcist is and will always remain a classic in every sense of the word. And if I regard you as a classic of any kind I have no choice but to leave you with my grade, which for The Exorcist is an A. And it's called genius.
Never have I seen a film matched in shock, terror, writing, or performances. This isn't a horror movie. The film itself is both a moving and terrifying drama that takes a realistic look at what would actually happen if a young girl were possessed in modern America. William Peter Blatty's script is amazing, bringing depth to the characters, and presenting the mystery of faith that they all deal with. Is Regan possessed? Is she insane? And most importantly, Is there a God?
In the course of two hours, we see a sweet and innocent young girl become a cross masturbating, head spinning, murderous, creature. We see a successful actress overcome skepticism to save her daughter, and we see a brilliant psychiatrist struggle with his devotion to God as a priest.
Friedkin's direction is marvelous, with wonderful uses of light, dark, and color throughout the film. Jason Miller as Damien Karras is beautifully subtle in his first film acting role. Max Von Sydow and Lee J.
Cobb provide engaging supporting performances as the experienced priest who senses his impending doom, and a detective who senses something sinister is at work. Ellen Burstyn gives a brutally honest performance as a grief stricken woman trying to save her daughter. And most of all, a year-old Linda Blair gives one of the most terrifying, convincing, and beautiful performances ever shown on film.
Her range of emotion and connection to Regan are astonishing. She deserved that Oscar! It is an incomparable masterpiece of film, done without the aid of computers and special effects.
It relies on story and performances to give us a marvelous and terrifying piece of work. In the end, it makes us ask ourselves what we believe, and keeps us wondering and shuddering at exactally what might be out there. The Exorcist is one of the best movies to come out of the 70's and deserves better than slowly descending down the top It's one of those essential films you have to see in order to understand what a movie truly is and this is more than a horror film.
Unfortunately there are so many people who are saying they got bored, I think because they expected a terrifying movie, people! This isn't a slasher movie, this isn't some scary Michael Myers that you can shoot, this is a story about normal people in a normal house and upstairs there is a little girl who happens to be possessed by 'The devil himself'. Faith is so strong and when it's shaken, anything in your imagination can run wild.
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