Every decade has a film that absolutely rocks their world. The movie that did the job for the 1970's was "The Exorcist." Not only did it shock audiences at the time, but it continues to now, even 42 years after its original release. I first viewed this masterpiece when I was around 13, and it was way too much to process at the time. Now after watching it again last night, I feel absolutely mind blown by how great the film is. With fantastic performances across the board, a feeling of raw terror that can not be topped, beautiful filming, and powerful messages of redemption and faith, this film is not one to miss.
"The Exorcist" tells the story of a young girl named Regan and her mother Chris. Chris is an actor, and Regan is just about the most adorable girl ever. When the personality of this golden child takes a turn for the worst, Chris must begin a search for a cure, with the help of priest Damien Karras and many, many doctors.
On the surface, "The Exorcist" seems like a vulgar, dark, and mean spirited movie, and while one could understand this perception, it does not reflect the true meaning of the film at all. This is a story of regaining faith, of being redeemed from sins, and making the ultimate sacrifice for the ones that you care about. This makes the movie one of the most beautiful, yet haunting of the genre.
It blows my mind that there weren't Oscars won for acting(the film won for writing and sound), because the performances in this film were above and beyond by everybody. Linda Blair gave a haunting and painful performance as the lead Regan, and I can only imagine how physically and mentally taxing the role was on her. Ellen Burstyn gave a stressful performance as Chris, because it was apparent that the anguish of her character rubbed off on her. Jason Miller was stellar as Damien, because one could easily tell how many demons the character was going through by Miller's expressions, and his breakdown scenes were frighteningly realistic. Max Von Sydow did a great job as Lankester Merrin, because his lines were spoken like a priest, and the faith coming from them was extremely strong. I actually felt like I was in a mass as he was saying the prayers. This kind of authenticity is very rare in a role like this, and I give him major props for it.
The special effects and cinematography were absolutely gorgeous, and they made everything feel much more realistic. The makeup on Linda Blair was grotesque and frightening, and I felt that it made her character even more convincing. It was interesting to see her become more and more battered as the film went on, as it showed how physically hard this situation was on her. The scenes where her bed was shaking and her head was turning were absolutely terrifying even by today's standards, because they were realistic in a way beyond comfort. The camera shots were pretty impressive, especially the panorama views of the desert. Every scene was intricately done, and it showed the high quality production of the film.
If you are a fan of horror, then you must see "The Exorcist." While "Halloween" is my favorite, this one is only a hair behind as the greatest horror movie that I have ever seen. It was shocking, haunting, and a thrill ride that could not be repeated by any of its rip offs.