Flashback: The Exorcist and its sequels and prequels

At least they waited until the day after Christmas to release the film.

It was 40 years ago today that a movie called The Exorcist came out in theatres and proceeded to shock its way to box-office success. But the film did more than jolt people with its images of outrageous demonic behaviour; it also subverted the assumptions of modernity by suggesting that there was more to us than science and psychology could understand, and in its own roundabout way, the film became an expression of faith (certainly on the part of its screenwriter, William Peter Blatty, though his particular brand of faith might not be exactly conventional or orthodox).

To mark the anniversary of the film’s release, I have re-posted my reviews of the original film and its prequels, and I have compiled a few links to other blog posts that I have written about the film. Check ’em out below the jump.

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Review: The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen (dir. William Friedkin, 1973/2000)

The Exorcist shocked, startled, and sickened audiences when it first came out in 1973, and if the cheesy sequels, rip-offs, and even spoofs that have come out since then have drained the film of its grotesque novelty, it remains a powerful, creepy moviegoing experience.

As you probably know, the film concerns a girl named Regan (Linda Blair) who, around the time of her 13th birthday, is possessed by an entity that is variously identified as the ancient Babylonian demon Pazuzu, the Christian Devil, and a ouija-board spirit named “Captain Howdy”. Regan’s behaviour turns increasingly bizarre, from pissing on the carpet at one of her mother’s parties to masturbating violently with a bloodied crucifix. The doctors are at a loss to explain Regan’s behaviour, so finally, reluctantly, her mother calls for some priests to perform an exorcism.

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