The Exorcist is an influential and successful 1973 horror film, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name.
Blatty based his novel on a supposedly genuine exorcism from 1949, in Cottage City, Maryland. Several area newspapers reported on a speech a minister gave to an amateur parapsychology society, in which he claimed to have exorcised a demon from a thirteen-year-old boy named Robbie, and that the ordeal lasted a little more than six weeks.
In the film, a young girl named Regan, living in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., with her mother, (a famous actress) becomes ill after receiving a talisman from the Middle East. She undergoes a series of physical and psychological changes.
After unsuccessful medical help, Regan's mother turns to religion. The girl is examined by a priest, Father Damien Karras, who is convinced of the diabolical nature of the case. He turns to the local bishop, who appoints a second priest, Father Merrin, to perform an exorcism. The lengthy exorcism tests the priests, both physically and spiritually.
The Exorcist contained a number of disturbing special effects, engineered by makeup legend and pioneer Dick Smith. The effects were so graphic that Roger Ebert writes "That it received an R rating and not the X is stupefying."
The film originally contained several key sequences from the novel, which were cut prior to release by director Friedkin, despite Blatty's protests. These scenes were later restored and — along with a number of new digital effects — inserted into the re-release subtitled "the version you've never seen" in 2000.
" Director William Friedkin was a hot ticket in Hollywood after the success of The French Connection, and he turned heads (in more ways than one) when he decided to make The Exorcist as his follow-up film. Adapted by William Peter Blatty from his controversial bestseller, this shocking 1973 thriller set an intense and often-copied milestone for screen terror with its unflinching depiction of a young girl (Linda Blair) who is possessed by an evil spirit. Jason Miller and Max von Sydow are perfectly cast as the priests who risk their sanity and their lives to administer the rites of demonic exorcism, and Ellen Burstyn plays Blair's mother, who can only stand by in horror as her daughter's body is wracked by satanic disfiguration.
" One of the most frightening films ever made with a soundtrack that's guaranteed to curl your blood, The Exorcist was mysteriously plagued by troubles during production, and the years have not diminished its capacity to disturb even the most stoical viewers. Don't say you weren't warned!" --Jeff Shannon Amazon.com.