- The Exorcist (film)
name = The Exorcist
caption = Theatrical release poster
William Peter Blatty Noel Marshall
William Peter Blatty
Ellen Burstyn Linda Blair Max von Sydow
music = Steve Boeddeker
editing = Norman Gay
special effects = Marcel Vercoutere
December 26, 1973
runtime = Theatrical cut
language = English
budget = $12 million
gross = $441,071,011
website = http://theexorcist.warnerbros.com/
amg_id = 1:16331
imdb_id = 0070047
"The Exorcist" is a 1973 American
horror film, adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, dealing with the demonic possessionof a young girl, and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcismconducted by two priests. The film features Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Lee J. Cobb, Jason Miller and Mercedes McCambridge. Both the film and novel took inspirations from a documented exorcism in 1949, performed on a 14-year-old boy. The film is one of a cycle of 'demonic child' movies, including "The Omen" series and " Rosemary's Baby".
The film became one of the most profitable horror films of all time, grossing $402,500,000 worldwide. [http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1973/0XRCS.php The Exorcist - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information - The Numbers ] ] The film earned ten
Academy Awardnominations—winning two, one for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay, and losing Best Picture to " The Sting". Along with the novel on which it was based, Blatty's script has been published several times over the years.
Based on the 1971 novel by
William Peter Blatty, "The Exorcist" marries three different scenarios into one plot.
The movie opens with Father Lankester Merrin (
Max von Sydow) on an archaeological dig near Nineveh. He is then brought to a nearby hole where a small stone head is found, resembling a grimacing, animal-like creature. After talking to one of his supervisors, he then travels to a spot where a strange statue stands, specifically Pazuzu, with a head similar to the one he found earlier. He sees both an ominous figure and two dogs fight loudly nearby, setting the tone for the rest of the film.
Meanwhile, Father Damien Karras, a young
priestat Georgetown University, begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother's terminal sickness.
In the central storyline, Chris MacNeil (
Ellen Burstyn), an actress filming in Georgetown, notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her twelve year-old daughter Regan MacNeil( Linda Blair). Regan exhibits strange, unnatural powers, including levitationand great strength. At first, Chris believes that Regan's rapid mental and physical changes are products of the trauma of Chris's recent divorce. Regan is forced to endure a series of unpleasant medical tests as doctors try to find an explanation for her bizarre changes. When X-Rays show nothing out of the ordinary, Doctors retire the belief that Regan has brain abnormalitiescausing her bizarre behaviour . Chris is advised by a doctor that Regan should see a psychiatrist. After Regan assaults the psychiatrist, supernaturaloccurrences continue to surround her at the MacNeils household, including violently shaking beds, strange noises and unexplained movement. The director of the film Mrs. MacNeil is starring in is found brutally murdered after being asked to babysit for Regan.
When all medical possibilities of explaining Regan's worsening condition are exhausted, a doctor recommends an exorcism, explaining that if Regan's symptoms are a
psychosomaticresult of a belief in demonic possession, then an exorcismwould likewise have the psychosomatic effect of ending such symptoms. Chris consults Father Karras, since he is both a priest and a psychiatrist. Despite his doubts, Damien is eventually convinced that he should request permission from the Church to perform an exorcism.
Father Merrin, who in addition to being an archeologist is also an experienced exorcist, is summoned to Washington to help. In a climactic series of scenes, He and Father Karras try to drive the spirit from Regan. [ [http://imdb.com/title/tt0070047/plotsummary The Exorcist (1973) - Plot summary ] ] Regan, or rather the spirit, claims she is not possessed by a simple demon, but by the
At the climax of the exorcism, Father Merrin dies of heart failure and Father Karras challenges the demon to enter him. The demon does enter Damien, but the priest immediately throws himself through Regan's bedroom window in order to stop the demon from murdering her. He falls down the steps outside and is killed. Regan is restored to her normal self, and according to Chris, does not remember any of the experience. The film ends as the MacNeil mother and daughter leave Georgetown to move on from their ordeal.
*Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras
Ellen Burstynas Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydowas Father Lankester Merrin
Lee J. Cobbas Det. Lt. William F. Kinderman
Linda Blairas Regan MacNeil
Kitty Winnas Sharon Spencer
Jack MacGowranas Burke Dennings
Mercedes McCambridgeas Pazuzu (voice)
*Rev. William O'Malley as Father Joe Dyer
*Andre Trottier as Priest's Assistant
The agency representing Linda Blair overlooked her, recommending at least 30 other clients for the part of Regan. Blair's mother brought her in herself to try out for the role.
Pamelyn Ferdin, a veteran of science fiction and supernatural drama, was a candidate, but the producers may have felt she was too well-known. Actress Denise Nickerson(who played Violet Beauregardein " Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory") was considered, but her parents pulled her out, troubled by the material. In an interview on the January 12, 2007broadcast of the Mr. KABCradio program it was revealed that actress/comedienne April Winchellwas being seriously considered for the part of Regan MacNeil however she had developed a serious kidney infection which caused her to be hospitalized and ultimately taken out of consideration. [ [http://www.aprilwinchell.com/archive/ 5 things you don't know about April Winchell, Mr. KABC Radio Show audio archive] , accessed February 8, 2007] At one point the search for a young actress capable of playing Regan was so trying that Friedkin claims he even considered auditioning adult dwarf actors. The part went instead to Linda Blair, a relatively unknown actress.
The studio wanted
Marlon Brandofor the role of Father Merrin. [http://www.notstarring.com/movies/exorcist The Exorcist - Trivia ] ] Friedkin immediately vetoed this by stating that with Brando in the film it would become a "Brando movie." Jack Nicholsonwas originally up for the part of Father Karras before Stacy Keachhad been hired by Blatty to play the role. Friedkin then spotted Miller in a Broadway play. Even though Miller had never acted in a movie before, Keach's contract was bought out by Warner Bros. and Miller was cast in the role (Blatty would later give Keach the leading role in " The Ninth Configuration"). Other actors considered for the role at the time included Gene Hackman. Jane Fondaand Shirley MacLainewere approached to play the role of Chris MacNeil. Fonda reportedly called the project a "capitalist piece of shit." [ [http://www.horror-wood.com/exorhist2.htm Behind The Screams Of "The Exorcist"-Part Two ] ] Audrey Hepburnwas approached, but said she would only agree if the film were to be shot in Rome. Anne Bancroftwas another choice, but she happened to be in her first month of pregnancy and was dropped. Ellen Burstyn agreed to doing the movie.
Vasiliki Maliaros, who played Father Karras' mother, had never acted in a movie before. She was discovered by William Friedkin in a Greek restaurant. Her only acting experience was in Greek stage dramas. Friedkin selected her because she bore an uncanny resemblance to his own mother and William Peter Blatty felt she resembled his mother too.
Warner had approached
Arthur Penn(who was teaching at Yale), Peter Bogdanovich(who wanted to pursue other projects, subsequently regretting the decision) and Mike Nichols(who didn't want to shoot a film so dependent on a child's performance). John Boorman(who would direct "") said he didn't want to direct it because it was "cruel towards children". Following the success of "The French Connection" (1971) the studio finally agreed to sign William Friedkin for the film.
Friedkin went to some extraordinary lengths, reminiscent of D.W. Griffith's manipulation of the actors, to get the genuine reactions he wanted. Yanked violently around in harnesses, both Blair and Burstyn suffered back injuries and their painful screams went right into the film. Burstyn later reported that she had permanent back injury after landing on her
coccyxwhen a stuntman jerked her via cable during the scene when Regan slaps her mother. After asking Reverend William O'Malley if he trusted him and being told yes, Friedkin slapped him hard across the face before a take to generate a deeply solemn reaction that was used in the film, as a very emotional Father Dyer read last rites to Father Karras; this offended the many Catholic crew members on the set. He also fired a gun without warning on the set to elicit shock from Jason Miller for a take. Lastly, he had Regan's bedroom set built inside a freezer so that the actors' breath could be visible on camera, which required the crew to wear parkas and other cold-weather gear.
Lalo Schifrinwas hired to write music for the film but his score was rejected, and a frustrated Friedkin reportedly threw the reels out into the street, dubbing the score "fucking Mexican marimba music" and deeming the parking lot the best place for such music (see also 1979's " The Amityville Horror"). In the liner notes for the soundtrack to his 1977 film "Sorcerer", Friedkin said that, had he heard the music of Tangerine Dreamearlier, he would have had them score "The Exorcist". Instead he used modern classical compositions, including portions of the 1971 Cello Concerto by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.
The original soundtrack LP has only been released once on CD, as an expensive and hard-to-find Japanese import. It is noteworthy for being the only soundtrack to include the main theme "
Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield, which became very popular after the film's release, and the movement "Night of the Electric Insects" from George Crumb's string quartet "Black Angels".
The movie's eerie opening sequence was filmed in the
Iraqitown of Sinjar, just below the Syrian border. The people of Sinjar are mostly Kurdish members of the ancient Yezidisect, which worships a deity often equated with the Devil. [http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20061106&s=diarist110606] The archaeological dig site seen at the beginning of the movie is the actual site of ancient Ninevehin Hatra.
The "Exorcist steps", stone steps at the end of M Street in Georgetown, Washington DC, were padded with 1/2"-thick rubber to film the death of Karras. The stunt man tumbled down the stairs twice.
Georgetown Universitystudents charged people around $5 each to watch the stunt from the rooftops.
The MacNeil residence interiors were filmed at CECO Studios in
Manhattan. The bedroom set had to be refrigerated to capture the authentic icy breath of the actors in the exorcizing scenes. The temperature was brought so low that a thin layer of snow fell onto the set one morning. Linda Blair, who was only in a thin nightgown, says to this day she cannot stand being cold. [http://www.thefleshfarm.com/exorcist/exorcist1.htm William Friedkin's - The Exorcist ] ]
Urban legends and on-set incidents
There are stories which claim the film is cursed. Blatty has stated on video [ [http://"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6n0pgaYJVg"] ] some strange occurrences.
Ellen Burstynhas indicated that some of these rumors are true in her 2006 autobiography "Lessons In Becoming Myself". The interior sets of the MacNeil residence, except for Regan's bedroom, were indeed destroyed by a studio fire and had to be rebuilt. Director William Friedkin also notes that the set sometimes appeared "cursed." He has also claimed that a priest was brought in numerous times to bless the set. Filming would go smoothly for a short while, before the priest would have to be brought back again when things went wrong again. ["The Directors: William Friedkin", retrieved on 1/8/08] Other issues include Linda Blair's harness breaking when she is thrashing on the bed and injuring the actress. Burstyn also noted that she was slightly hurt when Regan throws her across the room.
The scene where Father Merrin asks Chris the child's middle name (Teresa) was cut for the 1973 release, but there is still the scene where Merrin exorcises Regan and uses her first, middle, and last names.
The film's original ending had Kinderman meeting Father Dyer after the departure of Chris and Regan; the two converse and strike up a friendship as they walk down the street. This was cut for timing reasons, and the release version ended slightly earlier, with Dyer looking down the staircase where Karras had died. For the 2000 re-release, the longer ending was restored, in order to tie the film in better with the events of "
The Exorcist III".
The "spider walk"
ContortionistLinda R. Hager was hired to perform the famous "spider walk" scene, filmed on April 11, 1973, but deleted by William Friedkin before the film's December release. He felt it was "too much" of an effect because it appeared too early in the film before the possession was fully established by the end of the first hour of the movie. Almost 30 years later, Friedkin changed his mind and restored the scene for the special edition theatrical release. Hager used a harness and flying wires hung above the staircase in the set.
There are a few different versions of the "spider walk" sequence. The one ending with blood pouring from Regan's mouth is the one used in the 2000 re-release of the film. Since the previously unused scene had been published in a documentary several years earlier, the bloody version was used instead for shock value. The second, actually more faithful to the book, has Regan flicking her tongue like a snake and chasing Chris and Sharon. This can be seen in the 25th Anniversary documentary 'The Fear of God'. A third rumored take had Regan biting Sharon on the leg. The sequence has been copied in "Ruby" and other low-budget films.
Network TV version
The network TV version was edited by Friedkin. He dubbed the Demon's more obscene lines himself because he didn't want to work with
Mercedes McCambridgeagain.Fact|date=July 2008 "Your mother sucks cocks in hell" became "Your mother still rots in hell" and "Shove it up your ass, you faggot" became "Shut your face, you maggot".
The Warner re-release (included in the 25th Anniversary collector's set) omits the main theme ("
Tubular Bells") and "Night of the Electric Insects" for rights reasons, but includes 15 minutes of music that Lalo Schifrinoriginally composed for the film.
US critical reception
Upon its release on December 26, 1973, the film received mixed reviews from critics, “ranging from ‘classic’ to ‘claptrap'."Travers, Peter and Rieff, Stephanie. "The Story Behind ‘The Exorcist’", Pg. 149, Signet Books, 1974. ISBN 978-0451062079]
Stanley Kauffmann, in " The New Republic", wrote, “This is the most scary film I’ve seen in years — the "only" scary film I’ve seen in years…If you want to be shaken — and I found out, while the picture was going, that that’s what I wanted — then "The Exorcist" will scare the hell out of you.”Kauffmann, Stanley. "New Republic" review reprinted in "The Story Behind ‘The Exorcist’", written by Peter Travers and Stephanie Rieff, pgs. 152 - 154, Signet Books, 1974. ISBN 978-0451062079] "Variety" noted that it was “an expert telling of a supernatural horror story…The climactic sequences assault the senses and the intellect with pure cinematic terror.” [cite web|url= http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117790769.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&query=The+Exorcist |title=The Exorcist|accessdate=2007-11-03|first=|last=|publisher=Variety.com] In " Castle of Frankenstein", Joe Danteopined, “ [A] n amazing film, and one destined to become at the very least a horror classic. Director William Friedkin’s film will be profoundly disturbing to all audiences, especially the more sensitive and those who tend to 'live' the movies they see…Suffice it to say, there has never been anything like this on the screen before.”Dante, Joe. "Castle of Frankenstein", Vol 6, No. 2 (Whole Issue #22), pgs. 32-33. Review of "The Exorcist" ]
Vincent Canby, writing in the " New York Times", dismissed "The Exorcist" as “a chunk of elegant occultist claptrap… [A] practically impossible film to sit through…it establishes a new low for grotesque special effects...”Canby, Vincent. "New York Times" review reprinted in "The Story Behind ‘The Exorcist’", written by Peter Travers and Stephanie Rieff, pgs. 150 - 152, Signet Books, 1974. ISBN 978-0451062079] Andrew Sarriscomplained that “Friedkin’s biggest weakness is his inability to provide enough visual information about his characters…whole passages of the movie’s exposition were one long buzz of small talk and name droppings…"The Exorcist" succeeds on one level as an effectively excruciating entertainment, but on another, deeper level it is a thoroughly evil film.”Sarris, Andrew. " Village Voice" review reprinted in "The Story Behind ‘The Exorcist’", written by Peter Travers and Stephanie Rieff, pgs. 154–158, Signet Books, 1974. ISBN 978-0451062079] Writing in " Rolling Stone", Jon Landaufelt the film was, “ [N] othing more than a religious porn film, the gaudiest piece of shlock this side of Cecil B. DeMille(minus that gentleman’s wit and ability to tell a story) …”Landau, Jon. "Rolling Stone" review reprinted in "The Story Behind ‘The Exorcist’", written by Peter Travers and Stephanie Rieff, pgs. 158 - 162, Signet Books, 1974. ISBN 978-0451062079]
Over the years, "The Exorcist"’s critical reputation has grown considerably. The film has a 89% favorability rating on the
Rotten Tomatoeswebsite, out of 37 reviewers surveyed. [cite web|url= http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/exorcist/ |title="The Exorcist" (1973)|accessdate=2007-11-03|first=|last=|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes] Some critics regard it as being one of the best and most effective horror films; admirers say the film balances a stellar script, gruesome effects, and outstanding performances. However, the movie has its detractors as well, including Kim Newmanwho has criticized it for messy plot construction, conventionality and overblown pretentiousness, among other perceived defects. Writer James Baldwin provides an extended negative critique in his book length essay " The Devil Finds Work".
The film earned $66,300,000 in distributors' domestic (U.S. and Canada) rentals during its theatrical release in 1974, becoming the second most popular film of that year (trailing "
The Sting").Gebert, Michael. "The Encyclopedia of Movie Awards" (listings of 'Box Office (Domestic Rentals)' for 1974, taken from "Variety" magazine), pg. 314, St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1996. ISBN 0-668-05308-9. "Rentals" refers to the distributor/studio's share of the box officegross, which, according to Gebert, is normally roughly half of the money generated by ticket sales.] After several reissues, the film eventually earned $89,000,000 in domestic rentals. [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/business |title=Business Data for The Exorcist |last=|first=|accessdate=2007-11-19|publisher=www.imdb.com] To date, it has a total gross of $402,500,000 worldwide; if adjusted for inflation, this would be the top-grossing R-rated film of all time. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and also won four Golden Globes, including the award for Best Picture – Drama for the year 1974.
United Kingdom, the movie was included in the ' video nasty' phenomenon of the early 1980s. Although it had been released uncut for home video in 1981, when resubmitted for classification to the British Board of Film Classificationafter the implementation of the Video Recording Act 1984it was refused a release and no video copies were to be sold in the UK. However, following a successful re-release in cinemas in 1998, the film was resubmitted and was passed uncut with an 18 certificaterating in 1999, signifying a relaxation of the censorshiprules with relation to home video in the UK. The movie was shown on terrestrial television in the UK for the first time in 2001, on Channel 4.
The British film critic
Mark Kermodeis famous for claiming "The Exorcist" is the greatest film ever made on his weekly film review program on BBC Radio 5 Live.cite book | last = Kermode | first = Mark | title = The Exorcist (BFI Modern Classics) | publisher = British Film Institute | date = 1998 | location = London | isbn = 0851706738 ]
Special effects and filmgoer reception
"The Exorcist" contained a number of
special effects, engineered by makeup artist Dick Smith. Roger Ebert, while praising the film, believed the effects to be so unusually graphic he wrote, "That it received an R rating and not the X is stupefying." [ [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19731226/REVIEWS/301010310/1023 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews :: The Exorcist (xhtml) ] ]
Theaters provided "Exorcist barf bags". [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20061104/ai_n16829894 Screen shockers | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ]
Due to death threats against Linda Blair, Warner Bros. had bodyguards protecting her for six months after the film's release.
Alleged subliminal imagery
"The Exorcist" has also been controversial due to its use of alleged subliminal imagery. A detailed article in the July / August 1991 issue of "
Video Watchdog" examined the phenomenon, providing still frames identifying several usages of subliminal "flashing" throughout the film.Lucas, Tim and Kermode, Mark. " Video Watchdog" Magazine, issue #6 (July/August 1991), pgs. 20 - 31, "The Exorcist: From the Subliminal to the Ridiculous"] In an interview from the same issue, Friedkin explained, "I saw subliminal cuts in a number of films before I ever put them in "The Exorcist", and I thought it was a very effective storytelling device... The subliminal editing in "The Exorcist" was done for "dramatic" effect — to create, achieve, and sustain a kind of dreamlike state."Friedkin, William. Interviewed in "Video Watchdog" Magazine, issue #6 (July/August 1991), pg. 23, "The Exorcist: From the Subliminal to the Ridiculous"] In the re-released version of the film, the face of the demon (dubbed Captain Howdy) is much more prevalent, even showing up as a disembodied head on the chrome exhaust vent over a stove at one point. An Exorcist fansitedocuments several of demonic face images as seen in "The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen", an extended version of the film released in 2000. [cite web
title=The Exorcist Fansite » Subliminal Images
However, these quick, scary flashes have been labeled " [not] truly subliminal" [cite web
title=Dark Romance - Book of Days - The 'subliminal' demon of The Exorcist
first=] and "quasi-" or "semi-subliminal" [cite web
title=Films that flicker: the origins of subliminal advertising myths and practices.
first=] . In an interview in a
1999book about the movie, "The Exorcist" author William Blatty addressed the controversy and said, " [T] here are no subliminal images. If you can see it, it's not subliminal." [Cite book | author=McCabe, Bob | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=The Exorcist | date=1999 | publisher=Omnibus | location=London | isbn=0-7119-7509-4 | pages=pg. 138 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=iK1VyIuJp4AC&pg=PA138&dq=%22It%27s+none+of+that%3B+there+are+no+subliminal+images.+If+you+can+see+it,+it%27s+not+subliminal.%22&sig=3gxcXYKA4qHsgJfLiBXDRsP9uhE] True subliminal imagery must be, by definition, below the threshold of awareness. [cite web|url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/subliminal|title=subliminal - Definitions from Dictionary.com|] [cite web |url=http://people.uleth.ca/~vokey/pdf/Submess.pdf|title= Subliminal Messages|] [cite web |url=http://www.csicop.org/si/9204/subliminal-perception.html|title= Subliminal Perception|] [cite web |url= http://www.snopes.com/business/hidden/popcorn.asp|title= Subliminal Advertising|)]
The cigarette scene
Regan's mother first meets father Karras in a park where she asks him for a cigarette. She is then seen finishing and throwing away the cigarette. Immdediately after she is seen smoking the cigarette again. This is such an obvious lapse of continuity that some have speculated Friedkin purposely included the seeming mistake in order to heighten the surreal quality of his movie.
Awards and recognition
"The Exorcist" was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards in 1973. At the 46th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, it won two statuettes.
Academy Award for Sound
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay— William Peter Blatty
It was nominated for
Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Actress— Ellen Burstyn
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor— Jason Miller
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress— Linda Blair
Academy Award for Best Director— William Friedkin
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Film Editing
Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Golden Globe Awards
"The Exorcist" won four Golden Globes
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture— William Friedkin
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture— Linda Blair
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
American Film Institute recognition
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills- #3
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains
Regan MacNeil- Villain #9
equels and related films
John Boorman's "" was released in 1977, and re-visited Regan four years after her initial ordeal. The plot dealt with an investigation into the legitimacy of Father Merrin's exorcism of Regan in the first film. In flashback sequences we see Regan giving Merrin his fatal heart attack, as well as scenes from the exorcism of a young boy named Kokumo in Africa many years earlier. The film was so sharply criticized that Director
John Boormanre-edited the film immediately after its premiere. Both versions have now been released on video.
The Exorcist III" appeared in 1990, written and directed by Blatty himself from his own 1983 novel "Legion". Jumping past the events of "Exorcist II", this book and film presented a continuation of the story of Father Karras. Following the precedents set in "The Ninth Configuration," Blatty turned a minor character from the first film — in this case, Det. Kinderman — into the chief protagonist. Though the characters of Karras and Kinderman were only related through the murder investigation in "The Exorcist", and that Kinderman was fond of Karras, in "Exorcist III" Blatty has Kinderman remembering Karras as "his best friend".
A parody entitled "
Repossessed" was released the same year, with Blair lampooning the role she played in the original.
televisionfilm entitled "Possessed" was broadcast on Showtimeon October 22, 2000. It claimed to follow the true accounts that inspired Blatty to write "The Exorcist". It was directed by Steven E. de Souzaand written by de Souza and Michael Lazarou, from the book of the same name by Thomas B. Allen. Main characters were played by Timothy Dalton, Henry Czernyand Christopher Plummer.
Blatty directed "
The Ninth Configuration", a post- Vietnam Wardrama set in a mental institution. Released in 1980, it was based on Blatty's novelof the same name. Though it contrasts sharply with the tone of "The Exorcist," Blatty regards "Configuration" as its true sequel. The lead character is the astronautfrom Chris' party, Lt. Cutshaw.
A prequel, ' (2004) attracted attention and controversy even before its release. It went through a number of directorial and script changes, such that two versions were actually produced.
Paul Schraderwas originally hired as director, but the studio ultimately rejected his version. Renny Harlinwas then hired as director, and permitted to reuse Schrader's footage, and shoot new footage as he saw fit, to create a more conventional shocker film. Harlin's film, ' was released, but was not well received. Schrader's original version was named ' and subsequently released. Like " Exorcist III", both films made significant changes from the original storyline. The plot of these films centered around an exorcism that Father Merrin had performed as a young priest in Africa, many years prior to the events in " The Exorcist". This exorcism was first referenced in the "The Exorcist", and in the first sequel ' flashback scenes were shown of Merrin exorcising the demon Pazuzufrom an African boy named Kokumo. Although the plot for both "Beginning" and "Dominion" centered around Merrin's exorcism in Africa, they both took a significant departure from the original story, making no effort to be faithful to those original details.
A 1974 Turkish movie "Şeytan" (Turkish for "
Satan", the original movie was also shown with the same name) is almost a scene-by-scene remake of the original. It has gained a reputation among cult movie enthusiasts as the "Turkish Exorcist". That same year the German film "Magdalena, vom Teufel besessen" was also released with an Exorcist plot.
blacksploitationfilm was also released in 1974 titled "Abby". While the films "Seytan" and "Magdalena, vom Teufel besessen" were more legally free to be made due to being filmed in other countries, the makers of "Abby" (filmed in Louisiana) were sued by Warner Bros. and was pulled from theatres, but not before making 4 million dollars at box office.
Alternate and uncut versions
There have been several versions of "The Exorcist" released and altered. In both the TV-PG and TV-14 versions of the network version, the image of the obscenely defiled statue of the Virgin Mary stays intact. It stays on screen several seconds longer for the TV-14 version. On original TV airings, the shot was replaced with one where the statue's face is smashed in but without other defilement.The Special Edition released on DVD for the 25th Anniversary includes the original ending, not the new one used in the "Version You've Never Seen". The Special Edition DVD also includes a 75-minutes documentary titled "The Fear of God" on the making of "The Exorcist". The documentary includes screen tests and additional deleted scenes. "The Exorcist: The Complete Anthology" (
box set) was released in October, 2006. This DVD collection includes the original theatrical release version "The Exorcist", the extended version; "The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen", the sequel with Linda Blair; "Exorcist II: The Heretic", the supposed end of the trilogy; "The Exorcist III", and two different prequels: "Exorcist: The Beginning" and "Dominion: A Prequel to The Exorcist".
Limited edition deluxe box set
This box set was released in 1998. It was limited to 50,000 copies, with available copies circulating around the Internet. There are two versions; a special edition VHS and a special edition DVD. The only difference between the two copies is the recording format.
On the DVD
*The original film with restored film and digitally remastered audio, with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, introduced by director
*An introduction by director William Friedkin
*The 1998 BBC documentary "The Fear of God: The Making of "The Exorcist"
*2 audio commentaries
*Interviews with the director and writer
*Theatrical trailers and TV spots
In the box
*A commemorative 52-page tribute book, covering highlights of the film's preparation, production, and release; features previously-unreleased historical data and archival photographs
*Limited edition soundtrack CD of the film's score, including the original (unused) soundtrack (Tubular Bells and Night of the Electric Insects omitted)
*8 lobby card reprints.
*Exclusive senitype film frame (magnification included)
* [http://theexorcist.warnerbros.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.captainhowdy.com/ The Exorcist Fansite]
* [http://www.strangemag.com/exorcistpage1.html The Haunted Boy of Cottage City: The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired The Exorcist, by Mark Opsasnick]
before = "
after = "Chinatown"
title = Golden Globe for Best Picture - Drama
years = 1974|
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.