on 7 July 2004
When you are so deeply passionate about films, your search for the greatest ever movie is always changing, but for me, The Exorcist is the film I always come back to. I like to describe the film as "pure cinema", in that it does everything a film is meant to do, which is to comletely transport you for the two or so hours and to take you on an emotional, engaging and magical journey.
To me, the film is very much an epic. However, not in the sense of huge sweeping shots and hundreds of extas, Lawrence of Arabia stlye (another fantastic film by the way) but in the sense of subject matter. There are many films themed around good versus evil but never has there been one so deeply religiously rooted, which is why I believe it is the most epic kind of a story you can tell. I am not a religious person at all, but I find the subject to be extremely interesting cinematically, and for those 115 minutes or so, I was a believer!
The plot is simple: Young girl gradually becomes possessed by a demon and the exorcist is called in to drive out the evil spirit. The film is full of magical movie moments such as the rotating head, the levitation and lets not forget one of the most visually striking shots in film history: father Merrin lit by the eerie shaft of light coming from the Mackneil second floor window. I believe a large portion of the films success is due to William Friedkin's direction. He brought a sense of realism to the film which is exactly what it needed, but, at the same time, keeping it a "movie" movie. This is the genius of The Exorcist.
There are some great extra features on the dvd, the best of these being "The Fear of God" documentary. I was dissapointed with the two sequels, but let's hope the fourth will be better. For the meantime however, the greatest film of all time time will do!
on 14 January 2017
The movie that always tops most horror lists. William Friedkin did a sterling job bringing the late William Peter Blattys (R.I.P) novel to the cinema and terrifying the 70's crowds all over the world and still does to this day. So many imitations over the years that fail on most levels to even come close to this masterclass in horror. If any version of this brilliant movie deserves to be in your collection it is this one.
on 20 December 2009
This is not, nor never was intended to be, a Director's Cut of The Exorcist (shame on you Amazon!) - Friedkin has never deviated from his view that what he directed and released in 1974 was the definitive version. As Producer and Writer, Blatty has never been happy with Friedkin's original film and has now given us his amended vision of how he thought the film should have been released, combined with some inserted digital technology and a re-mixed 5.1 soundtrack.
Is it better than the 25th Anniversary version of the film released on DVD in 1999?
Well yes and no. The re-mastered print is noticeably superior to the original release, and the 5.1 remix of the soundtrack is stunning in its use of space. However the inserted digital effects of the demon are clumsy, and detract from the power of the story. Blatty's need to be a writer also pulls the film off-track by inserting dialogue between Karras and Merrin on the staircase mid-exorcism when Friedkin's silence in the original was far more powerful. The much discussed "spider-walk" is a different version to what has been seen before as an out-take, is crudely inserted, and looks as though it came from a cheapo 1960's Hammer horror. I didn't like the added semi-humorous "life goes on" dialogue at the end between Kinderman and Dyer, even though the source of this was Blatty's own novel. In my opinion, Friedkin's original vision of leaving the audience pondering the nature of good and evil works far better.
All in all, The Exorcist remains one of the most powerful films ever made - even with this amount of tinkering, it is still a five star movie. However, I would like to see Friedkin's original version re-mastered to this standard with a similarly re-mixed 5.1 soundtrack. Then it could genuinely be described as a Directors Cut.
on 26 October 2006
Watching `The Exorcist' today reminds me of the story of the old lady who went to see `Hamlet' for the first time. When asked her opinion she thought it was great, but full of clichés. This was an innovative movie, and still is; sadly, its inventions have been copied and copied ad nauseam over the last thirty years, and so the horror has been watered down by custom. That said, this really is a marvellous treat; rare for horror movie, Blatty's tale has well-formed subplots and characters (the loss of faith of the young priest and his feelings of guilt, the atheist mother who is forced to turn to the Church, the old sick exorcist who is to face his nemesis one more time). And the suspense is kept up to a maximum throughout. Even today, the crucifix scene manages to scare audiences and to shut up the hecklers. And the threads of this believable tale draw together and meet in a final devastating climax. Whether this is the scariest movie of all times begs the response `huh it didn't scare me', but that really isn't the point here. `The Exorcist' a great movie, regardless of its theme - well-scripted, beautifully filmed, exciting and intelligent. This is one of the finest films ever made.
on 8 November 2004
I've been a fan of the original Exorcist for over 10 years now, it probably would have been longer but as you may or may not know the film was banned in the UK for many years & unless you were "in the know" it was nigh on impossible to get a copy on video.
Anyway, here's my 2 cents on the new "version you've never seen before" versus "the original version"
On the whole I was very happy with the changes that had been made, I think Friedkin has made some very shrewd additions & tweaks in the newer version. There are some nice touches especially the images of Pazuzu popping up when you don't expect it to, leading to the "did I just see that?" scenario. Also there is a new segment of Regan's medical tests, my only gripe with this was that it was put in the movie too early, no mention had really been made that she was ill, next thing you know she is swearing at doctors & acting like a moody teen. I think these scenes would have been better placed just after the party scene or there abouts.
The spider walk scene was a bit cheesy in my opnion, I had seen the original outake & it was much better, I just didn't get why she had to have a mouthful of blood when she reaches the bottom of the stairs? The Exorcist has never been a about gore & cheap shocks, and I felt it was just a tacky shot that wasn't needed.
I really liked the new ending though, nice exchange with Kinderman & Dyer, not as much as a downer as the original version.
Anyway, on the whole I think this newer version is worth a look, especially if you are a fan of the original, I guess if you haven't seen either it doesn't matter which one you watch. ut in a time where versions of older films are almost changing beyond recognition (Star Wars Trilogy anyone?) It's good to see that subtle tweaks can still be as effective.
on 6 September 2001
Definately for collectors this one, but you really need to own the original as well, if only for comparison. I do however have a couple of criticisms: In Mark Kermodes (like him I watched it when I was 13 and I've never got over it) brilliant documentary we are treated to footage of the missing scenes, but in "the version you've never seen", the scenes are different. Take the "spiderwalk" for example, in the documentary Regan comes down the stairs and turns before flicking her tongue out, whereas in the new version with the scene added, she dos'nt turn, but instead opens her mouth and vomits blood. Both good, but decidedly different. The only other problem I have with it, is the enhanced soundtrack, which has had bits added unecessarily in my opinion. But these are minor quibbles as there are plenty of great creepy extra scenes and some "shocking" subliminal additions which take you by surprise.
on 27 June 2004
If you watched this movie in 1973 down a local cinema and expected nothing more than a little fright this film could have changed your life thats how powerful it is. The Exorcist combines stunning sound and creepy atmosphere(cold rooms and chilling dialogue) to deliver a truely shocking period of viewing which until 1999 was unattainable anywhere in the U.K due to the BBFC not granting it a certificate.
The story goes that the demon Pazuzu takes over the body of Reegan(Linda Blair) while she is stupidly playing with a ouji board(shhh kids!!) and cue for the priests and co to help this poor child.
For me the scariest moment of the entire film is the brilliant sound of the tubular bells at perfect timing during the movie even the scenes during the day are terrifying. For its time The Exorcist really did scare the wits out of people and still does even if it is as accessible as "The Lion King". The question we all should ask is does the masterbation and vomiting scenes really need to be in there and the answer has to be yes! If all this new generation has to say about the film is that then they miss the entire point of the plot.
Personally I rate The Exorcist very highly and do not recommend you watch this movie on your own unless you enjoy sleepless nights! As for the directors cut there is a little difference but the original is sufficient. The Exorcist remains a film that stimulates and rewards time after time. Classic!
on 7 November 2006
I first started to watch the Exorcist in the summer of 2000, before this drector's cust was released. About 20 minutes in, a family emergency intervened and forced me to miss the film, thankfully! While the film is great without the infamous deleted scenes, it is those few minutes that prove to be the scariest moments of the Exorcist.
I rented the Director's cut the next year, left my windows open to chill my bedroom and watched it in the dark and alone when everyone had gone to bed - the only way to enjoy the film. Some may claim that the film has been overrated, not so for me. I feel it is worthy of all the horrific praise it has been given. The creepy beginning, the spinning, head, the crucifix shot, the green vomit and of course the final exorcism ('The power of Christ compells you') are outstanding, however, those scenes deemed too scary in 1973 are the best parts. The shots of the clown in flashes are simply terrifying, especially if you have the guts to freeze frame it, and the spider walk made my blood run cold.
One of the greatest horror films of all time with one of the best child performances of all time and one of the best soundtracks ever. Just make sure you buy the director's cut.
on 22 October 2001
This really is what a special edition should be, The new footage adds invaluble pace to the film which did seem a bit slow before. However the most interesting features are the images added to existing scenes, pay attention to the whole scene before the spider walk (from when mrs mcneill gets in and the lights go out) and notice creepy flashes of imagary around the rooms as well as the demon statue creepily fading out of the wall in regans room, just before the spider walk. There are plenty of creepy bits like this throughout the film, so if youve seen the original it may take two or three viewings to notice all the new images and hear the brilliant new music put in here and there, which was sorely lacking in the original. However this film has become a victim of its own sucsess and has been ripped off and hyped beyond belive, so in order to enjoy this film and to get the most impact out of it follow these three simple rules (like gremlins)
1. Watch it in the DARK.
2. Watch it ALONE or with 2 or 3 poeple who appriciate cinematography and will not talk throughout.
3. The most important....play it LOUD.
Trust me if you do this youll be in for a highly enjoyable and scary cinematic experience. Enjoy!!!!
on 13 March 2016
QUALITY: The quality to this is great, who knew a film from 1973 could look so good? The picture is super sharp, very detailed and the lighting works brilliantly. Especially in the Iraq scene at the beginning of the film, as unnecessary and boring I found the scene, it looks fantastic. It's hard to believe it was filmed in 1973. The 16:9 crop is great too. The picture doesn't look stretched or squashed at all and you only lose about 5% of the frame, maybe even less. There is a fair amount of grain, this is most noticeable during darker scenes and direct shots of light, which is a bit of a shame, but it didn't bother me that much. Don't let that put you off, it's definitely worth buying this! 7/10
PRESENTATION: The case is quite bland looking, but that's not a problem, I can understand why they wanted to keep the original poster for the film. But the back has no excuse, it's just black with white text, no pictures, no symbols, no nothing. I get that they want to keep it vague, but they could have tried a bit harder with that. The discs themselves all have the same design, they're blue with silver text. But I like that, as much as they don't fit the theme of the film, they're pretty looking. The menus all have the same design as well, it's Regan/The Demon looking creepy, with the logo in the corner. It's simple, but I like how it's a screenshot of the film, but with photoshop colour. The music in the background is also really creepy, definitely scarier than any music used in the movie. 6/10
VERSIONS: Before I start on the extras themselves, let's talk about the 2 versions of the film. People will complain that having 2 discs for only 10 minutes difference is unecessary. But I think having both versions is a really nice touch, you get to make your own deduction as to which version is better. Instead of the Blu-ray deciding for you. If you ask me, I think the directors cut is best for first time viewers, or people who haven't watched in a long time. This way you won't miss out on any scenes, especially the spider walk scene, the movie's not the same without it. And I think the original is best for people who are looking to rewatch it, then you can properly see the differences between the two. The quality is consistent throughout the two versions, which is surprising. You'd think the directors cut would have the better quality, but nope - they both look awesome, which is another reason to give both a chance. The aspect ratio is the same for both as well.
EXTRAS: The extras were my favourite parts of the set. You get roughly 9 hours of behind the scenes footage, providing you with great trivia about about the film. This is the main difference between this 40th anniversary edition and the other Blu-Ray set. Even if you already own the other Blu-Ray, I'd definitely recommend getting this for the extra hours of entertainment you get. 9/10
(The extras support HD by the way, I thought I'd point that out since not all Blu-Ray extras do.)
Overall a brilliant release, the best way to enjoy the film. The only things that keeps it from being a perfect score is the trivial packaging and the slightly grainy picture. The reason why the grain brings down the score is because there are other sets better looking than this. It's not due to incompetence while remastering the movie, it's as good as it can possibly look. If you're a fan of the film or even haven't seen it yet, buy this one! You won't regret it.
Overall Score: 8/10