'The Exorcist' holds its weight in gold for the horror genre and shook the world when it first screened back in 1973. Almost everyone has a memory of The Exorcist, whether it's simply making some form of blood curdling noise to head spinning to the soundtrack 'Tubular Bells', that really does stay with you. Everyone is fully aware of the hype, the people fainting in cinemas, the priests blessing people as they left, the banned material that they didn't want us to see! It's all there! It was met with mixed reviews when it first came out, some claiming it was one of the scariest films they had ever seen, others stating it was trashy gore with a poor script. Regardless of the reviews people wanted to see it and they did, and for a kid seeing The Exorcist sat on the shelf in all of its VHS glory was enough to make my pants twitch.
'The version you've never seen' weighs in at 127 minutes and does not muck about. No cut footage, no watered down scenes, it's all there and its awesome!
The plot is thoroughly enjoyable and everyone has their own story unfolding however the main plot is one of a girl called Regan, played by Linda Blair. After playing around with a Ouija board, Regan's behaviours start to change. Her mum passes it off, but as signs persist she takes her to the doctors. They believe it to be a problem with Regan's temporal lobe and run the necessary tests, however find nothing to be wrong. As things progress and freaky occurrences are becoming a household trend Regan's mum Ellen calls in a priest. Without going into too much detail the rest of the film becomes a battle between good and evil as Regan's body is used as a vessel for the devil.
The Exorcist is gritty and isn't afraid of scenes that are a full blown attack of the senses! It doesn't get much more offensive than Regan stabbing her own vadge with a crucifix and shouting "Jesus fuck you, Jesus fuck you!!!", but it's still in the film and I think that level of shocking cinema opened up everyone's eyes. The fact that Linda Blair was 11 when this was filmed helped with shock value, at a time when children were children and would never imagine to use such profanity and here's an 11 year old using every curse in the book!! Including my personal favourite "You know what she did, your CUNTING daughterrrrrrrrrrr". Brutal!
There's not buckets of gore but effects are pretty sick and given the date the effects team did a damn good job of making everything as real as they could! From the pea green projective vomiting, to Regan's head doing a complete 360. Some effects teams to this day can't produce better. Where The Exorcist shines is atmosphere. As Regan's conditions worsen her bedroom becomes an evil tomb, a room where you know the shit is going down! The battleground for the priests and the devil! Acting is solid throughout with convincing performances from all. The script is well planned and for once were left free from cliché one liners.
It's great to think that this is where it all started, just take a second to think of all the films that have followed, possessions, body contortions, exorcisms!!! Without this film they would be non-existent! Most are merely a carbon copy and go straight to the shit bin but some are a nice take on the classic, either going down the traditional possession road or taking alternative plots, either way they all owe a nod to The Exorcist for being the grand daddy!
Overall for true horror fans you're going to struggle to say a bad word about The Exorcist. 127 minutes might be a little long for some but in my opinion it leads to a deeper plot with a meaningful background. For once you actually care about the characters something that lacks from most modern films.
The Exorcist is one of those films that you'll watch before bed and then watch some normal TV like 'American Dad' after, just to help you forget and get some good sleep! For the younger generations it might be hard to see what the hype was about but try and put yourself back in the cinema's at 1973, you've never witnessed anything like this before and maybe then you will appreciate The Exorcist for what it is, the best pant churner of its time!