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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The Exorcist stands in the most hallowed of halls when it comes to horror, having been voted as recently as 1999 the scariest movie of all time by fans. I envy those who find this film so remarkably frightening, as it really doesn't strike me as particularly scary - unsettling at times, but not scary. The addition of twelve minutes of new footage plus a remastering of the soundtrack make The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen) the definitive movie adaptation of William Peter Blatty's best-selling novel of demonic possession. The additional material brings the film much more in line with Blatty's original vision, and I find it a little strange that director William Friedkin seems to get most of the credit for this new version of the film when he was the one who cut the respective scenes in the first place and, in some cases, resisted their inclusion in this special re-release.
The plot should be familiar to just about everyone. Linda Blair, in a truly remarkable performance, plays Regan MacNeil, the sweet and innocent twelve-year-old daughter of actress Chris McNeil (Ellen Burstyn) who becomes possessed by a demon. Jason Miller is Father Karras, a Jesuit priest battling his own demons of guilt over his mother's final days on earth and starting to lose his faith at the constant scenes of misery he sees all around him. After all medical and psychiatric tests and treatments fail to stop Regan's utter deterioration into a disturbed abomination of a child, Chris contacts Father Karras in an effort to arrange an exorcism. Max von Sydow plays Father Merrin, the pinnacle of good in this film who has battled this demon before and won; he is the exorcist in this ultimate battle of good versus evil.
The Exorcist truly is a powerful movie experience, filled with several of the most shocking scenes to ever appear on film. I was surprised that so many of the more controversial aspects of the story actually made it from novel to screen, especially in the original 1973 incarnation of the film. It's really impossible for me to say which is better, the film or the novel. There are several subplots and very significant details in the novel that did not make it to the big screen, and a few little things in the movie are hard to interpret outside the context of the novel. Among the most disturbing images in this film are those of the medical tests Regan undergoes after the onset of her problems. I find it much easier to watch the most graphic scenes wherein the demon within Regan attacks her and those around her, although Regan's appearance is shockingly horrible in the later stages of her possession. The demonic manifestations and exorcism are done extremely well in the movie; Friedkin did a much more powerful and convincing job than my own imagination in terms of showing the demonic manifestations. The movie adds several things to the exorcism itself that do not appear in the novel and, by and large, gives the exorcism itself more prevalence than Blatty himself did, yet it also manages to capture and express quite well the inner struggle and soul-rending doubts and fears of Father Karras. This inner struggle of good vs evil, of faith vs hopelessness strikes me as the heart of this story, and the movie communicates this surprisingly well.
The added scenes in this updated version of the film are crucial to the integrity of the story, though there are of course other fans who will argue that the new scenes do damage to the power and vision of the original. The film is just too rushed without the new footage, and the original film strikes a discordant note with Blatty's authorial vision. The most memorable scene that, until now, was not shown in the movie was the spiderwalk scene wherein Regan climbs down the stairs in an impossible and deliciously creepy position; I can't imagine for the life of me how that scene could have been left out of the original film. I had several questions along these lines, so I made it a point to listen to the film's commentary by director William Friedkin. Friedkin's initial discussion of the filming of the opening scene in Iraq is fascinating, but throughout the rest of the film he does little more than summarize what is happening, oftentimes quoting characters line for line. I think he makes a couple of misstatements about what we are seeing, and much to my surprise he offers motivations for the characters that I disagree with rather strongly. He tells us nothing about the making of the film, offers no praise for Linda Blair, says nothing about the ways in which the demonic scenes were produced, and mentions the new additions to the film only in passing if at all. There is very little "making of" material among all the DVD features, which is the one disappointment I take with me from this release of what is arguably the most significant and famous horror movie ever made.
on 27 November 2010
I will talk about the blu ray quality of the discs as everyone knows the film.
On disc 1 we have the directors cut of the movie and on disc 2 we have the original theatrical version both versions have a great transfer and which version you prefer is personal preferance Cinematographer Owen Roizman and director William Friedkin where both involved in the mastering on the blu ray discs and there is plenty special features to keep fans of the movie happy so in my opinion The Exorcist is definately worth purchasing on blu ray.
on 17 October 2010
I'm not going to review the film. We all now it's the paragon of horror cinema. I simply want to tell that I didn't know that an enhancement of picture and sound quality can actually increase the scare factor of a movie. That's exactly what I experienced with this BD release of THE EXORCIST. The first thing I watched when receiving it was the documentary 'Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist'. The interesting never before seen on-set filming footage (the quality of which is, understandably, at times below standard) is interspersed with Hi-Def shots of the film itself. Seeing these brief high quality flashes made it feel as though I was really there, witnessing an actual event, registering reality, a truly unsettling experience. This BD release of THE EXORCIST is indeed, as stated, `a must-own for any Hi-Def collector', containing both versions (I personally think the original theatrical version is still the best), with a whole range of interesting extras and comments. This is what any high quality horror film fan deserves.
There seems to be two classes of people who have seen this film... those who found it really scary and deeply disturbing - and those who found it totally over the top, not scary at all, and even funny... well, I am definetly of the former variety, and I know why... this film will affect you if you let it, and if you allow yourself the necessary level of 'suspension of disbelief', you will probably find this scarier than anything else you've seen.
This film works on many levels...it's is a horror movie that builds up momentum steadily and then takes you on a rollercoaster ride until you genuinely fear what you are going to see next. At the same time, it is a masterpiece of suspense, and is brilliantly acted by those involved. The film suffers slightly due to the rather dated special effects (which are legendary in their own right), but the essence of what is trying to be conveyed is still clear, namely the inhuman power of the demon taking hold of an innocent human being. Another slight quibble is in the sound quality which is pretty harsh, but doesn't spoil the movie...
On the DVD, I particularly enjoyed the commentary by director William Friedkin. The commentary is very much based on the discussion of the story and the meaning/significance of certain scenes as opposed to the 'how I did this' approach that I had expected. He discusses in detail the more subtle aspects of what the film is about, and adds value to the overall package greatly.
Of course, the director's cut includes several deleted scenes which also add to the film, including the infamous 'spider walk', although the commentary does not reveal why that particular scene was omitted (although I know from hearing Friedkin previously that it was removed because it comes immediatedly after another 'traumatic' scene, where Chris McNeill is told of Burke Denning's death, and the 'double hit' of trauma was deemed by Friedkin to be too much!) He sheds some interesting light on a number of other scenes, for example, the fact that most people said they thought that the most disturbing scene in the movie was the one where Regan has a spinal.. I could think of one or two other scenes that would qualify as a bit more disturbing if you ask me!!
All in all, this film is a classic and a must see. It raises a multitude of interesting issues and is ultimately a good old fashioned battle of Good versus Evil, where Good (God/Faith) ultimately prevails, despite interpretations to the contrary from a vocal minority who see the film as a satanist's charter... at times this film is difficult to watch, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to the faint-hearted (or the easily offended!), but broadminded people who like a challenge and something deeper and more profoundly interesting than your average horror, will find this DVD a welcome addition to the collection.
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.
on 13 February 2014
I saw this when I turned Eighteen, my Dad had been to see it, and told me of pretty nasty scenes which made me curious. I didn't realise it starred Linda Blair, I had already had a pre-pubescent crush on her with her earlier TV movies. I was in my religious mode back then, and after watching the film I found it to be blasphemous and disturbing, I hated it. It was then originally released on video, (before the ban) so I gave it another go. I then realized I'd missed the multi layered psychological aspects to this story. This I thought was just a shock horror film. It is not. It is a story of great depth, even God knows how many years on still comes up with possible conundrums to my questions. The film is flawless, the Directors cut not needed, if it isn't broke don't try to fix it. Just put all those scenes onto the extras. This film was never about gore, why the blood scene after the spider walk. ? Should have stayed on the editors cutting room floor.
I at long last I got to meet Linda Blair a couple of years ago. She was lovely, I asked her to marry me in front of my wife and the security guards dragged me away. Doh!