Director - William Friedkin
Year - (1973)

First I should preface by saying that I was surprised that there wasnt a review for this movie. For one thing, with the horror genre primarily populated with axe-wielding maniacs, The Exorcist stands as a tower of originality, terror and creativity. This is thereason why it is worthy of the Scariest Movie Ever title. Fire hose vomit not withstanding. Secondly, the extended cut that was released a few years back offers a better, more fleshed out storyline and the creepiest moment in horror movie history. Bold statement, I know, but I am talking about the spider walk scene. But Ill say more on that later.

Now, its time for a little history lesson. Way back in the 1970s, disco and bellbottoms ruled the Earth. Scarier than the thought of disco fever sweeping the nation, everyone seemed to be focused on the religious cults that were spreading like wildfire. Whether it was Charlie Mansons fun bunch, those Unitarian wackos, or the Existential movement, people were getting into large groups to smoke pot, sometimes wreak havoc, and generally freak out the squares of society. Oddly enough, this bled into the movie business, where flicks featuring cults or Satanist ruled the theatres like Rosemarys Baby, The Omen, and The Howling (featuring a werewolf cult). All of these are now revered as classics; however, The Exorcist stands at least a spinning head about the rest.

Why you may ask? Well, for starters, I remember my mom telling me that when the movie was first released in theatres, not only were the theatres equipped with doggie bags in case of puke, but the original version had to be re-edited on account of some unfortunate heart attacks resulting from watching this movie. Sad news, of course, but for a horror movie, I got to say, Kick ass! Most of you already know the plot: thirteen-year-old Regan (Linda Blair) has been acting strange. Swearing up a storm, predicting death on others and urinating on the carpet all point to a diagnosis of an un-well girl. Her movie actress mother, played by Ellen Burstyn, is at her wits end, with Regan becoming more and more violent and doctors offering no sound explanation. Then, Regan begins to speak in a voice not her own, and the furniture begins to move on its on. Summon the young priest and the old priest.

What else can I say? The crucifix scene, the spinning head, the floating Regan, the lime green vomit and Youre mothers here with us, would you like to leave a message? line are all legendary. (There is a mother line more popular than that, but this is a PG-13 review.) It is still rare to have this kind of movie leave that kind of mark on American Society. The performances are great, with a lot of subtext and character building, particularly on the young priest, I mean Father Damien Karras, played by Jason Miller. The makeup, sound effects and cinematography were all top notch. All of this added together, and youve got a five star horror movie.

But, now we tread on to the real meat of the story. What about thissupposed version youve never seen? Whats been added? Well, for starters, all those little subliminal frames that had to be cut out because they, well, made old people with heart conditions die; theyre all back. Glimpses of a demonic face, skulls and poisons all work on your subconscious, making you more and more scared as the movie progresses. Horror movies have advanced a little more, in terms of cinematography and setting up atmosphere to make you get frightened, but seeing a single frame of a demonic visage spliced into the film works as an old school, yet effective technique. Finally, I can tell you that I remembered hearing about that spider-walk scene years ago, and when my friends mentioned the look and the overall creepiness of the scene, I thought, Hey, that sounds cool. But seriously, that had to be the best/scariest/creepiest/most surprising moment I can remember in a movie. Ever.

So, even though this review is like thirty years late for the original version and five for the re-release, watch it again. With Halloween coming up, I cant think of a better movie to give myself the heebies and force me to scare other little kids when they come for candy. Just so I can say Im tougher than they are.

Reviewed By - Evil Ash

Rating ( 5 of 5 )



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