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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2005
Seeing the Exorcist again now after nearly 30 years, I'm struck by how it stands out from its genre. Friedkin had already shown himself to be a master of characterisation and ambiguity with the extraordinary French Connection, and the Exorcist is definitely as good. The scenes between Karras and his mother are beautifully and subtly scripted, as are J Lee Cobb's scenes. Maybe the shock value of the possession scenes has faded a bit over the years, but the encephalogram scene is still incredibly powerful and affecting, showing the terrible ordeal Regan has to go through. Friedkin's commentary track is a bit disappointing, being little more than a step outline, but it is nonetheless interesting to hear his very personal confession of faith.
Horror movies (and genre movies in general) are fascinating when they step outside of the boundaries set by their genre, and the Exorcist - probably because it was written by the novelist himself - shows a depth of characterisation that few horror movies ever reach or even attempt to. Compared to the rash of stereotyped and unimaginative exorcism movies in recent years, the Exorcist has lost none of its power and stands head and shoulders above the rest of the crop. You don't have to like the horror genre to appreciate and be moved by Regan's suffering and her mother's desperation, and, for me at least, this is what the movie is about.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2013
I was torn between purchasing a version of the Blu-ray that was £17.99 and this version £6.50. Reason being, the latter did not state whether it had the extended director's cut version along with all of the extras. However I chose to purchase this version [ASIN: B00BMVCYYG].

Now that I own this copy, I'm extremely satisfied and thought I'd do those who would like to know what's on this Blu-ray, a favour and list the details of what's on this version as it may prove helpful to some. I won't review the film as I don't think it needs one - it's The Exorcist and an excellent transfer considering original film stock.

Region Free + UV Copy

Disc 1:

Extended Director's Cut (2000 Version) 132 minutes
Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist (Documentary)
The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now (Documentary)
Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist (Documentary)
Commentary by Director William Friedkin

Disc 2:

Original Theatrical Cut (1973 Version) 122 minutes
Commentary by Director William Friedkin
Commentary by Producer/Writer William Peter Blatty
Feature Length 1998 Documentary - The Fer of God: The Making of The Exorcist
Interview Gallery Covering the Topics: The Original Cut, The Final Reckoning and Stairway to Heaven
Original Ending
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2006
I did not find this scary, well, in fact I lie, I did at the age of seven where I accidentally watched five minutes with my grandmother, before she realised what it was! But now, watching it fully and being able to appreciate its brilliance, this film makes you think long and hard, especially as I am not atheist. And entirely by the way, watching this film if you have any belief in God, then it is best not to take it seriously as it is terrifying. I am not decided about religion and I watched it not as a scary film, but a tragedy. Regan, played by Linda Blair (who is alive and well if anyone has heard the rumour she killed herself after filming it) and an array of other cast, bring the ideas behind the Devil to life. If you laugh through this film I think you are denying your true understanding of it as in no way is it funny, it is horrific to see how the Devil forces the girl to some controversial things, still controversial today, come to that. Being 16, I still have a lot left to understand about how the world works, but it is still enough to make you realise how precious life is, and I assume when you are older to respect the film even more. It is one of those films that sticks with you for a long time, one that you will never forget, and if you are in a thinking mood you can go to it to question the motives of living things.

The music, Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' makes a recurring rendition in your mind as the eeriness of the story evolves. The most shocking scene is where the priest enters the room and sees his sick mother in the place where Regan should be; the clever change in colour makes it all the more startling. Many refer to the more famous parts, like the 360-degree turn of the head, but its fame makes it less scary. Another upsetting scenes is where Regan has not been possessed fully, but is being flung about on her bed as she screams for her mother, this is emotive and therefore scary as it is not so far from reality. I wont give away any more parts of the film, as you must enjoy it for yourself.

It is a masterpiece, beautiful in idea and visually, if ever you get the chance to watch it then watch it, the trouble is, today's society doesn't appreciate it as apparently gore is scary and all the horrors that come out today are filled with it, so if you have an appreciation for adrenaline, then go to the oldies.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2006
Without question The Exorcist has to be the definitive horror movie, if you only get to watch one horror film in your whole life make sure this is it.

I've seen alot of horror over the years but I can honestly say that only The Exorcist has everything, a chilling story based on true life events (the real facts of which are yet to be fully uncovered), stomach turning special effects, brilliant acting and of course features the ultimate villain: The Devil.

The reason I titled this review "Perfect Horror" is because that's what this movie is. Even if you don't look at The Exorcist as a horror movie but instead study the film for what it really is you'll inevitably find that this is movie perfection. The casting is spot on, personally I can't imagine anybody but Linda Blair playing the possessed character of Reagan. All of the characters are well rounded and interesting, Father Karras (played by Jason Miller) being one of the more memorable as he battles with his own personal torment resulting from the death of his mother. The makeup and special effects are excellent and very cleverly done, making the young girl's gruelling ordeal all the more believable.

The Exorcist has always been hailed as being the most disturbing and terrifying movie ever made, and I would probably have to agree. The film deals with some very sensitive subject matter that even today is rarely touched upon, the thought alone of a defenseless young girl being possessed by Satan is a difficult matter to deal with - but when the grim reality is thrust in your face with all the subtlety of a freight train, its not pretty.

Although this movie was made over three decades ago, it still remains as shocking and frightening as ever. I would highly recommend that you take the time to watch The Exorcist, even if you're not a fan of horror you will still find this to be a thought-provoking and deeply moving piece of movie history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2010
Overall I think both versions of the film look excellent. With a few scenes, especially the very beginning in Iraq, I wouldn't even guess that they were filmed in 1973, it's that good. However, I noticed some dark scenes that are a bit grainy, the scene with Father Dyer drinking with Karras after his mother's death for example. It wasn't bad enough to distract me from the film though.

The extras are also worth some praise. One of the commentaries contained a sound effects test which involved Blair's voice being compared/mixed with McCambridge's, that was pretty awesome. The new 3-part documentary was good, albeit a little short in my opinion. I still prefer the older documentary 'Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist' (located on disc 2) which I think covered a broader range of the filming. Nevertheless, all the extras put together (including the three commentaries) gives you a clear idea of what it was like filming 'The Exorcist' and you learn a great deal about the film (which the director calls a story about "the mystery of faith", and you see why) and the effect it had on the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2011
William Friedkin's 1973 horror masterpiece came hot on the heels of the success of his other challenging film, The French Connection. Such has been its impact that it has achieved a sort of legendary status among horror fans.

In brief, 12 year old Regan (Linda Blair) becomes possessed by a potty-mouthed demon, prone to outbursts of violence, masturbating with a crucifix, foul language, very quotable insults, and occasional projectile vomiting at her distraught mother (Ellen Burstyn) and the two priests ( Max Von Sydow and Jason Miller) tasked with her exorcism. As the possession takes a firmer hold on her she becomes steadily more gross in her appearance, with a revolving head and an ability to walk upside down on all fours down the stairs. Sure, some of the special effects may be a little ropey by todays standards, but no matter. The power of The Exorcist lies with its ability to unsettle the viewer. In this respect, it is a masterclass in mood, atmopsphere and audience manipulation, traumatising and often hard to watch but utterly compelling, and it stays with you a long time after it has finished.

This blu-ray release contains both the original theatrical cut and the Director's extended cut. The 2001 Director's cut contains the infamous 'spider-walk' scene, but otherwise adds very little in my opinion, so the theatrical cut is the one to watch. Whichever your preference, the blu-ray transfer is simply outstanding for a film approaching its 40th year. The detail is quite stunning and textures and colours are fine, bringing the best out of Owen Roizman's brilliantly creepy cinematography; a lovingly restored horror classic and well worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2009
We were struck by a last-minute urge to watch The Exorcist with friends we were visiting in their remote house: candle-lit communal spook-out with the windy dark outside, you know the sort of thing. As they had no copy and this was a Sunday afternoon, we had to "do a Bullitt" to get to a store due to close in a nearby town. Two of us waited in the getaway vehicle whilst the other two raced into the shop to fingers-crossed acquire. This was the version they emerged with - actually, we got the reduced-price anthology whilst they went for this updated cut - so our viewing also had an element of surprise to enjoy, in terms of any new material and the hopefully improved quality in this later version. We planned to relax and absorb the revised version and maybe compare with the original cut (which we all reckoned we remembered pretty vividly in any case) from the anthology afterwards: nice mix of cinephile connoisseurship and shared horror-thrill evening.

First of all, then, let's note that the revised cut still delivers all the power of the original. Not easy to disagree entirely with the "Greatest Film Ever Made" tag on the box, in many ways. But you probably all know the immense virtues of the original film, so let's concentrate on this latest edition. The print is absolutely beautiful; indeed, having seen this first in a 70s cinema, with the technology of the time, and subsequently on video-tape and the earlier DVD transfers, I have to say that the visuals here are breathtaking all over again and even truer to what must have been the original cinematography - the Iraq scenes are gorgeous and the later domestic and urban traumata play out with new vivacity on this disk.

The sound, meanwhile, is skilfully mixed to surround, so that scenes like Karras in the subway and his disturbing visit to his hospitalised mother (with those shrieks and murmurs from the other women) are especially effective - note those sounds are brought back later into Reagan's chilled bedroom when the demon impersonates the priest's mother: spine-chilling. There's also one particularly good bit of jump-out-of-seat intrusion from the rear speakers, when the demon blasts out Merrin's name from upstairs just after he arrives.

On the downside, there are a few too many unnecessary music cues brought in. These are never especially jarring in context, just superfluous - so we shouldn't be too put off by them. Also the extra "subliminal" flashes tend more towards distraction than enhancement of what is already a sphincter-relaxing essay in suspense. This stuff only really serves to remind us what a fabulous job Friedkin originally did in staying in the "authentic, character-driven-thriller, documentary" mode he'd made his own with French Connection for this genre-busting "horror film" (indeed, I'd certainly go with "best horror film ever made" on that basis alone). So, in many ways, it's the absence of "spooky" cliché that helped to make this film such a stunner: and these extra little images aren't necessary, mere novelty... but, again, nothing to trouble us too much.

The Spider-Walk is back, of course; but in a form truncated from the one many of us will have seen from documentaries and such. This is probably the best solution to the "double-climax" problem - Dennings' death followed by the extended "spider/snake" appearance of the daughter - of Ellen Burstyn having to react in depth to both. Here, we get a sudden shock and quick cut away that actually reminds us how "modern" the movie is in terms of cutting and narrative agility. So this bit is just past "take it or leave it" and into "take it."

Overall, then: this is the version I'd probably play with film-loving friends - as above. The clincher for me is the reinstatement of the gentle scene at the end between detective and priest as the latter turns from the fatal stairs, a favourite element of the novel and one which does make sense (despite Friedkin's known wish to "leave it to the audience" after the action). The scene works beyond simply defusing the tension - it allows the patterned repetition from earlier of a great bit of tenderly sarcastic shtick around film-buffery ("Othello? Who's in it?" / "Ophelia, Debbie Reynolds!" / "...I've seen it" etc.). Look, anything that puts the wonderful Lee J. Cobb on screen for a little longer is all right by me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 October 2010
"The Scariest Movie Ever Made" Even scarier on Blu-Ray "The Scariest Movie Ever Made" is the tagline for the movie and when I saw the film back in '74 I would have agreed with that. Nearly forty years on, it still has the power to scare and shock.
The Blu-ray set consists of 2discs - Extended Directors cut from 2000 and the Original Theatrical release. In addition, both discs are heavily laden with extras, most of which have been included on earlier DVD releases. However, there are some new cast interviews and a Georgetown locations featurette. The picture quality of the main features is very good overall with the Iraq location shots particularly vivid. The darker interior scenes are less well defined but this does not detract from the enjoyment of the film. Surround sound effects and music track have also benefited from a worthwhile upgrade. Warners have produced an excellent set here and I can highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2011
This review is about the quality of the blu-ray film is still very gripping and i sure if you are buying this you do not need another review on the film. There are two versions here the original release and the extended version, Firstly it appears the original version does not suffer from drops in picture quality like the extended version, each extra scene you can clearly see a drop in quality however parts in both versions when the contrast is low look like you are watching the film through a snow storm. More care appears to be taken with the sound and the DTS sound is good in both version. So is it worth it yes if you have not got it but do not expect a massive leap in quality. the extras are good mostly the same a s th DVD with the BBC excellent documentary the fear of God. The rating for the transfer not the film which is a 5 star film
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2004
I'm too lazy to do an in depth analysis of the film. If you want that read Mark Kermoude's BFI book or another customer review.
What I will say is that this is not really a B-movie and just an ultra scary movie. There is artistry here. There is such a wonderful collision of worlds here, between the religous and real, such beautifully draw characters and such a high powered conflinct that you can safely call this art.
I have seen it more than once and it is incredibly subtle.
More than just a horror film I would recommend this to anyone who is put off by its "Scariest film ever" reputation and too take the plunge.
The DVD commentary is pointless in that it pretty much just tells you are seeing in the picture.
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