as reviewed by Skylaire Alfvegren
Woe to this generation; how ever will it learn the difference between right and wrong when the difference between good and evil is so tricky to navigate?
Evil has always existed. The ancients had deities which embodied it; we have soul-sucking movies which are released like a weekly plague of locusts to devour our frontal lobes and corrupt our souls. The Jerry Bruckheimers of the world are multi-millionaires, while the Terry Southerns die in poverty. How can one not believe in evil?
Theoretical evil and in-your-face evil are different beasts, however. And no film has surpassed The Exorcist, William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece of demonic possession, in portraying pure, tangible evil. When The Exorcist was first released, modern psychiatry had all but swept such fantastical notions under the carpet; although possession still occurred in the modern, Western world, it was not something the Church wanted to admit to. By the time The Exorcist had racked up ten Academy Award nominations, Milton-Bradley was popping out more ouija boards than McDonald’s was cheeseburgers.
Possibly the most frightening film of all time, The Exorcist tells the story of Regan, a sweet young girl (Linda Blair) who becomes possessed by a legion of discarnate spirits (as well as the devil himself) after fooling around with a ouija board.
Regan’s mother (Ellen Burstyn) subjects her bedeviled daughter to a squadron of child specialists before contacting Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) in desperation. It takes a lot of convincing before Karras, more a man of science than the cloth, petitions the church for an exorcism for the girl. Using single frame subliminal imagery (like Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club) and a soundtrack filled with backwards-masked demons, Friedkin had no trouble convincing audiences of Regan’s possession.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve at least seen the parodies: Blair levitates, vomits pea-soup, masturbates with a crucifix. But thanks to the good folks at Warner Brothers, you too can be scared out of your wits and catch The Exorcist on the big screen.
Featuring eleven minutes of footage cut from the original release, the new cut provides necessary back story for the title character (played by a cosmetically aged Max von Sydow), as well as a new audio mix in six-track digital surround sound.
If you can look past the dated costuming and the fact that everyone in the movie is constantly puffing on cigarettes, The Exorcist will have you checking under the bed for beasties, no matter what your religious convictions.