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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu-ray presentation for Friedkin's theological thriller
The Exorcist BD
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb
Director: William Friedkin
Warner Brothers | 1973 | 132m and 122m | Rated R |

Video
VC-1 | 1080p | 1.78:1

Audio
English DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish: Dolby...
Published on Jan. 10 2011 by Steven Aldersley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Pazuzu would have no interest in a little bourgeois girl.
First of all let me say that I believe that spiritual entities exist in the context of their religions, and so its not right to take something from one faith (like Pazuzu from the mythology of Mesopotamia) and vilify it in the context of Christianity. Demons (coming from the word Daemon) were not always bad things; they were simply entities that could communicate with...
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Abdallah Z. Issa


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu-ray presentation for Friedkin's theological thriller, Jan. 10 2011
By 
Steven Aldersley (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
The Exorcist BD
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb
Director: William Friedkin
Warner Brothers | 1973 | 132m and 122m | Rated R |

Video
VC-1 | 1080p | 1.78:1

Audio
English DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles
English SDH, Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German SDH, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian SDH, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish

Discs
Two 50GB Blu-ray Discs
Digibook

The Exorcist's iconic cover claims that it's the scariest film of all time, but the makers of the movie prefer to label it as a theological thriller. I tend to agree and have always considered The Silence of the Lambs, The Shining and Psycho as psychological thrillers rather than horror. I mention those three because they represent the best that 'horror' has to offer, whether you label them as such or not.

If you have read my other reviews, you'll know by now that I'm a movie snob. When I think of horror films, the first thing that comes to mind is excessive gore and cheesy lines. I'm simply not a fan of seeing bodies hacked to pieces and I don't find any value in cheesy horror stories. So bear that in mind if you are a fan of such movies as the Evil Dead (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Instead, I look at how films are made, what they make me feel, the quality of the acting and the methods used by the director. In those terms, The Exorcist deserves to be rated among the best 'horror' films ever made.

The film plays like a book with the three main sets of characters being shown individually before the threads are drawn together for the body of the story. The story begins with Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) heading an archeological expedition in Iraq. Father Karras (Jason Miller) is shown caring for his dying mother and we are shown how he lives. Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) is shown being a mother to Regan (Linda Blair).

Regan is a pretty, playful 12-year-old girl without a care in the world. We see her demeanor gradually change as she's possessed by a demon. She seeks out her mother's bed because her own is shaking, but her mother thinks she's lying. There are noises in the attic which are thought to be rats as Chris tries to label them as something familiar. Regan's sweet nature gradually erodes and we see her lose her temper more and more frequently. She's eventually referred to doctors and shouts obscenities at them. Some of the tests she has to undergo would be frightening to a child, but everything comes back negative. A psychiatrist gets a turn and also fails to solve the problem. Denial is a powerful thing in this story as doctors continually try to rationalize the things they are seeing and hearing.

Chris is an atheist, but can see that the doctors are wrong. She eventually seeks out help from Father Karras, showing just how desperate she is to help her daughter. If you allow yourself to be drawn in to the story and consider how you would react if your own child underwent such changes, you'll feel the power of this film.

The climax of the film sees Father Karras and Father Merrin performing an exorcism after convincing the church that it was needed. Regan's transformation is impressive. When possessed, she talks in many different voices, some of which are known to the priests and the people around her. The demon is a master liar and seeks to confuse the priests and prevent the exorcism. Regan becomes a monster, reeling off obscenities and spewing foul green bile. Her face and body become covered in scars and it's hard to see anything of the original person.

In 1973, it was a real challenge to produce some of the effects seen in the film. Instead of CGI, everything had to be done by other means. Wires were used in two or three of the scenes were Regan levitates or runs down the stairs upside down. A model was made to enable the illusion that her head turns 360 degrees. The bile had to be made and then delivered using tubes. Although it's obvious that the spinning head is a model, it's still unsettling to see it happen.

Will you be scared by this movie? Visually, it's nothing compared to effects achieved by modern techniques. You might be scared if the story captures you sufficiently to make you feel that you're a part of it. Imagine yourself as Regan's parent for example. We can overlook the dated effects and take them seriously because everything else about this film is deadly serious. The acting is strong throughout, with the whole cast performing well. Friedkin tells the story simply, but effectively. The final solution is extreme, but convincing.

Like Psycho, this film was original and startling in its day. It has an important place in film history. It might not have a strong impact on people who are used to modern horror movies, but it's worth seeing for anyone who has avoided it thus far.

Video Quality 4/5:

This package includes two discs. One shows the original theatrical version (122m) and the other shows the extended version (132m). My comments refer to the extended version, although I would expect the quality to be identical in both versions.

The scenes in Iraq are bright and full of detail and the film would earn a 4.5 for picture quality if it were that good throughout. Unfortunately, much of the film is shot in dimly lit rooms and grain is dense in such scenes. All things considered, it's hard to imagine the image looking any better than it does though.

Audio Quality 4.5/5:

Friedkin mentions that the lossless audio enables him to hear effects that he had forgotten were in the film. It's certainly a strong presentation and the film benefits most of all from the audio upgrade. We can clearly hear Regan wheezing and the voices in outdoor scenes come across well in the rear speakers. Dialogue is always easy to understand and some of the louder scenes, such as furniture moving or glass breaking, carry added weight. The 6.1 version is included in the extended cut, while the original version has 5.1 audio.

Special Features 4.5/5:

There's plenty of background information included in the special features for anyone who is interested.

Director's commentary
Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist (30m, HD)
The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now (9m, HD)
Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of the Exorcist (10m, HD)
Trailers, TV Spots and Radio Spots
Director's Introduction (2m, SD)
The Fear of God (77m, SD)
Filmmaker Interviews (9m, SD)
Sketches and Storyboards (3m, SD)
Original Ending (2m, SD)
40-page booklet with pictures, cast details and background information

The Exorcist is an important part of cinematic history. Nominated for 10 Oscars, it won two, and that's unusual for this genre. It's a beautifully presented package complete with a high quality booklet and separate discs for each version of the film. The audio upgrade is huge, making the experience a lot more intense. The visual upgrade is probably the best that could have been managed considering the dark setting and the director's original intentions. I would strongly recommend this definitive version for any fan of the film or of cinema in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Scariest, April 1 2004
By 
Alex (Cincinnati, OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
Society's need for devils, demons, and the grand pooh-bah of them all - Lucifer - enables individuals to explain many terrible things in society. It might be a perverted sense of security. In The Exorcist a demonically possessed 12 year old child (...) is still spooking audiences twenty-five years after the film's release. Universally, it is regarded as one of the scariest cult classics.
It's an intriguing film, but unlike most viewers, it made me giggle at times. Flashes of a pasty-faced, red-lipped, sharp-teethed "demon" looked like a frustrated French mime bitten by a rabid racoon during an unsuccessful truffle hunt. The film challenged me to reflect on a more central question - suppose there is no Satan? Experiments on children at Auschwitz become less explainable without a Luciferian figure. Stalin's artificial famine in Ukraine where parents killed and ate their children becomes more horrific without the "comfort" of blaming supernatural evil.
Of course an absence of the devil runs contrary to my denomination's simplistic understanding of the black and white world. Yet take away Satan and life becomes more cold, complicated, and may seem pointless at times. In a real, tangible way life actually becomes "scary" without the crutch of Satan. It is less understandable. Shades of gray take over.
The cinematographic technique using darkness is brilliant. The music is haunting and there are several unsettling scenes in the film that are chilling - the child's bed levitates, she develops grotesque sores suggesting physical decay, speaks in a husky male voice challenging the exorcist-priests (Jason Miller and Max von Sydow) to sexually violate her, and the spewing of a green, soupy like substance from her mouth onto the holy knights come to battle the devil.
The film fittingly takes place in an enclave of Washington D.C. I couldn't resist asking myself whether the child was actually possessed by the negative energy of a long deceased Congressman who couldn't get back into the House Chamber to vote. I do believe that each individual life is a form of energy that can't be destroyed.
I'm not in disagreement that the child's body could house a misplaced negative energy. And I accept the widely held belief that ghosts, apparitions, and other energy sources live among us. In that sense, I didn't have to suspend my reality since I believe it. But are they evil?
Nor did I find the ability of the demon in The Exorcist to see into any soul unsettling. So what? I might be painfully embarrassed if it happened to me, but such disclosure would hardly merit condemnation for being a monster. This speaks more to our vanity grounded in human insecurity than our fear of the unknown.
Although I'm dismissive of this cult classic, it is understandable why the film continues to make so many viewers uneasy. I've personally met people who suffered nightmares because of it (maybe from eating a bad batch of pea soup the night before). Director William Friedkin masterfully balances the surreal with the real and plausible. Is the child actually possessed, or, as several doctors diagnosed, suffering from a severe chemical imbalance in the brain?
In exploring demonic possession Friedkin never goes over the top with the unbelievable. He walks a fine line between science and the many things in life that are unexplainable and seem at times supernatural. Although he does not want to offer a black and white answer, he does so by clearly leading in the direction that there are Satanic forces at work.
The film offers a plausible depiction of a parallel universe. It may have been stronger had Friedkin made the child possessed by a "demon" rather than Satan. Why would Satan try to take over the world by possessing an innocent child of an insignificant actress-mother? Using a generic energy source with a bad attitude makes more sense. Lucifer would better achieve his agenda of world control if he or a minion took possession of a Bible-thumping American president who appears deceptively presidential instead of a little girl with a sailor's trashy mouth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The scariest movie ever!, Nov. 7 2006
By 
PJ (GTA, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
Having seen the original release in 1973 (I was 15 years old at that time) in a huge movie theatre, nothing has scared me more. There were police vehicles parked outside the theatre which was indicative of the grip the movie had on some of the theatre goers.

If you cannot get the 25th anniversary version, then buy this one which has the best video/audio quality and contains a few new nasty surpises.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Horror Classic - Sleep With The Lights On!, March 31 2006
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
The all-time classic tale of demonic possession, based on William Peter Blatty's bestselling novel. Linda Blair is Regan MacNeil, a twelve-year-old girl who becomes manifested by a truly malevolent spirit. Her mother, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), an agnostic, seeks out help from a young Jesuit psychiatrist, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller, God rest his Irish soul!)who has demons of his own, and is tormented by the recent death of his mother, and his loss in the faith that he sought refuge in. After confronting the demon within the girl (and himself), Karras, although skeptical of demonic possession, is given permission by the church to assist during the exorcism. The priest selected to perform the ritual is a mysterious, elderly Jesuit, Father Lankaster Merrin (Max Von Sydow) who has seen such devilish work before. As the two clergymen face off against the demon, a police detective, Lt. William F. Kinderman (Lee J. Cobb) finds some links connecting the girl with a puzzling death and desecration in the local Catholic church.
William Friedkin brilliantly directed, and Blatty adapted the screenplay (receiving an Oscar for his efforts) and produced. The cast gives extraordinary, sensitive performances (Burstyn, Miller and Blair were all nominated for Academy Awards) and the special effects are breathtaking and still pack a punch, with veteran actress Mercedes McCambridge providing the voice of the evil entity. (The film also won for Best Achievement In Sound). The underlying theme of much of Blatty's work is evident, his philosophy being, if there's all this evil out there, why is there so much good? Metaphorically, everyone fights there own demons, and even in his last self-sacrificing moment, Karras finds his faith again and heroically gives his life to save this innocent child. How more meaningful can it be? A truly terrifying, engrossing and ultimately touching film dealing with faith and human frailty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of thebest 5 films of all time, Oct. 8 2004
By 
Frank,Frank (Maple, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
I have seen this movie the first time it came out at the theatres. I stood in line outside in the freezing cold for one hour wondering what all the hype was about. My brother and three other friends finally get into the theatre. The movie starts. The first squence is in Iraq and I'm still thinking so what. Then we are transported to Georgetown. Ellen Burstyn hears a noise in the attic and now I'm thinking the movie is getting interesting. The first time William Friedkin shows us the one second clip of the demon I knew this was no ordinary movie. When I left the theatre on that cold winter night I was not the same for a very long time. When I went to bed I would check under the bed and sleep with the blanket over my head. This movie effected me like no other movie has to this day. William Friedkin is a genius. This movie should have won more Oscars then it did (2 awards for sound and screenplay) but at that time the institution didn't give major awards to horror. It does now ie. Silence of the Lambs, another great movie. I can't believe I bought this dvd after 30 yrs. I have watched this movie a dozen times and always find something new that I overlooked. One of my favourite squence is the one in Iraq, if you get a chance listen to the director's comments on the people he encounters in this country. Another scene that I overlooked was when Burstyn walks home alone and we get to hear that unforgettable music with the nuns' garments flowing in the wind. That is film making at it's best. The movies doesn't scare me as before but I still get a kick from it and yes I still jump when I hear that phone ring (watch the movie and you'll see what I mean).
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5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm Telling You That Thing Upstairs Is Not My Daughter!", June 10 2004
By 
David Von Pein (Mooresville, Indiana; USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Exorcist [Import] (VHS Tape)
Many people rank 1973's "The Exorcist" right up there as one of the "best", the "scariest", and the most "disturbing" motion pictures of all time. And rightly so, in my opinion. All of these adjectives do indeed apply to this landmark horror film.
"The Exorcist" started scaring the living daylights out of movie-goers when it premiered in U.S. theaters on Wednesday, December 26, 1973. It's a movie that possesses that magic combination of elements to "unsettle" almost anyone watching it. I imagine even those who think they are "immune" to being scared by simply "a movie" find themselves getting a shiver or two during some of the classic and well-remembered scenes that are in this film.
In my view, some of the most chill-inducing scenes in the movie are BEFORE Regan becomes fully "possessed" by evil forces. E.g.: There's a scene in which Regan's mother (played by the fabulous actress Ellen Burstyn) enters Regan's frigid bedroom and tucks her daughter in. The camera stares directly into Regan's sleeping face as Miss Burstyn leaves the room. Then we see that Regan wasn't asleep at all, as her eyes suddenly open and she peers directly at us (the camera). An eerie scene to be sure, as we begin to wonder what forces are lurking within this cute, innocent little girl.
It's that always-disquieting element of the "unknown" that makes this movie so powerful and nail-bitingly suspenseful. First-time viewers just don't know what to expect next, which is certain to make them squirm in their seats even more.
The part of "Regan MacNeil" was performed flawlessly by Linda Blair (her third movie role). Linda, who played a 12-year-old in the film, was actually 13 (and later 14) during the course of the long 204-day shooting period. When the film finally opened in theaters the day after Christmas 1973, it was less than a month shy of Linda's 15th birthday. But, as things turned out, the protracted and grueling production schedule was more than worth it -- considering the outstanding final results on screen.
Director William Friedkin did a masterful job of unfolding the plot in a natural and well-paced manner. It doesn't in any way feel "rushed". Everything about this production seems "right" -- from the excellent cast, to the atmosphere created within the MacNeil house (which is downright bone-chilling once you get into that bedroom), to the "Georgetown" setting. It's all just perfect.
This review is for the "25th Anniversary Special Edition Widescreen Boxed Set" (VHS Edition), which includes a great package of neat stuff. In addition to a nice-looking Widescreen (1.85:1) version of "The Exorcist", this deluxe set also includes the following collectible items:
>> A terrific 52-page full-sized book (softcover) entitled "The Exorcist: The Making Of A Classic Motion Picture". The photo of Regan on Page 2 (opposite the Table of Contents) is enough to give you the creeps right off the bat. Many other high-quality photographs are included in the book, mixed in with the intriguing text, text which gives the reader an outstanding insight into the movie's creation and filming. This is one of the best "Making Of" books you'll ever run across.
>> A Soundtrack CD. (Unfortunately, however, the film's main theme, "Tubular Bells", is not included on this Compact Disc. Very curious indeed. I can't help but scratch my head regarding this odd omission.)
>> A set of 8 "Lobby Cards" (with "#1" being my favorite; they're numbered [1 to 8] at the very bottom of each card, along the white border).
>> A "Senitype Film Frame" (and an enlargement), featuring a classic image from the movie.
All of these items are housed in a very sturdy two-sectioned collector's box (with inner tray and matching slipcase). Overall, a very handsome set.
This "Limited Edition" deluxe boxed set (which was originally released in 1998, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the movie) also was produced in a DVD version. That anamorphically-enhanced Widescreen DVD variant offers up (naturally) a better-quality picture than the video on the VHS version. However, the VHS isn't too bad either, format limitations considered. The VHS audio is presented in Dolby Surround Stereo.
The VHS version runs for approximately 177 minutes, with the film itself lasting 122 minutes. The cut of the movie on this VHS tape is the "original theatrical cut", as opposed to the longer, 132-minute "Version You've Never Seen". The 55 minutes of bonus material consists of: 3 Original Theatrical Trailers for "The Exorcist", an "introduction" by Director William Friedkin, plus a behind-the-scenes documentary, "The Fear Of God: The Making Of The Exorcist". This is a top-notch featurette that is well worth seeing, which includes the likes of cast and crew interviews, screen test footage, and some outtakes not previously seen. All of the extra features are shown before the movie on the VHS tape version.
Warner Home Video allows us to bring the terror of "The Exorcist" right into our homes via this attractive deluxe boxed set. This is a most worthy addition to any horror-film library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Do you believe?, May 19 2004
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
I've never really been a fan of 70s horror movies, but this is one that quite literally scares the s**t out of me! I've seen it before, a few years ago, but after much persuasion, sat down again in front of the DVD, to relive the horror. This DVD version is apparently "the version you've never seen", with an extra 11 minutes of scenes and images deleted before the original release of the movie.
Having been a few years since I've seen the movie, and having tried to block most of it since (although I've read the book), I was interested to see it again. Apart from having to ignore the extremely 70s look of the movie, it's not instantly gripping. The start is slow, and wasn't really necessary, apart from Father Merrin's introduction.
The extra scenes include a "nervous disorder" diagnosis for Reagan; Father Merrin's arrival has been expanded before the ritual; an epilogue with Lt. Kinderman and Father Dyer; and most notably, the spider walk. The latter of which is one of the freakiest scenes in the movie, despite being horrifically short, and no more than a quick glimpse.
One of the scenes that I hated in this movie, is the scene where Regan (such a sweet innocent girl to begin with) is violently masturbating (bloodily) with a crucifix, while swearing obscenely, and nearly giving her mother a nervous breakdown. That is one scene that will stay with me, and had me crossing my legs afterwards, and for the rest of the movie. It's graphically described in the book, but to see it in the movie, and then pushing her mother's face into it, is horrible. Not a scene I wish to see again! I remember reading this scene in the book, and having it sicken me. There's a scene before this, where she masturbates, but it doesn't have much of an effect. I thought from that scene that she was supposed to do it with a crucifix, but I got told that they couldn't possibly put a young girl through that. Well, by God, William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty showed that, and on a young girl, albeit possessed by the devil, and made it to shock! In this disturbing scene Linda Blair said she had no idea what it was supposed to mean, she was just bringing down the crucifix into a box.
Most of this movie focuses on Regan (played by Linda Blair) and what happens to her, and her mother. There's also more focus on the Gabriel Byrne lookalike Father Karras (Jason Miller), and his relationship with his mother, which is seen more during the exorcism.
Linda Blair could have gone onto bigger and better things after this movie, but really, she hasn't. Whether it's been a choice of bad scripts, or just always being known as "the girl from The Exorcist", she's rarely been seen on the big screen. Apart from minor roles in one of the sequels to The Exorcist, and a reporter role in one of the Scream movies, she'll always be known for playing Regan.
Why there were sequels to such a great film? In my opinion, they could never have bettered this movie, and just wanted to cash in on its success. A film that should have been better left untouched, and un-sequeled, although I don't think that's a real word. It ruins the original, and I for one, do not want to see the sequels, as they're no doubt rubbish, and the same story, just with different actors.
There are actually two versions of this DVD out, or maybe even more! The version I own is the one with extended/new scenes, but not much in the way of extras. The extras on this DVD are: trailers; feature length commentary by William Friedkin; TV spots "Most Electrifying", "Scariest Ever", "Returns" and "Never Seen" and two radio spots "The Devil Himself" and "Our Deepest Fears". The other DVD has more extras, but doesn't have the extended scenes. So which do you go for? They're both equally interesting, and are done to milk you of your hard-earned pennies. If I see the other one at a decent price, with the extras, I'll be getting it.
This movie is not for the fainthearted, and although you'll manage to block out the boring opening scenes (which don't really do much for the rest of the movie), most of the movie will stay with you. What will you remember most from this? The festering wounds maybe? The projectile vomiting and head spinning? (Lovely) Or perhaps, the climax (almost quite literally for Regan) of the movie, the exorcism? For me, it will be that crucifix scene (legs now firmly crossed!).
What we need next is a special edition DVD which combines the contents of all the ones currently available, i.e. extended scenes, and loads of extras, including the 74 minute documentary available on the video special edition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Linda Blair, Where Are You??, May 5 2004
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
I remember when THE EXORCIST became a phenomenon back in '73. There were ambulances waiting out in front of some theatres, due to the shortness of breath, heart palpitations, etc. of certain audience members. I knew this was no ordinary horror movie! Thirty years later, this version is released on DVD with restored footage that makes it all the more terrifying! Ellen Burstyn is perfect as the moviestar mom, exhausting all options to get help for her possessed daughter, Regan (Linda Blair), who grows increasingly dangerous to herself and others. Blair captures both the sweet innocence and vile demonic presence inhabiting her body. She is an astonishing figure once the pea-soup hits the fan! We forget the little girl and focus on what she has become. Jason Miller is great as the priest who thinks he's lost his faith. He has no idea that his faith is about to be brutally challenged and subsequently enlarged. Max Von Sydow IS Father Merrin. He performs the rites of exorcism in a normal / natural way that makes it seem like a totally real event. Lee J. Cobb is the cop on the trail of whoever / whatever broke the neck of Regan's babysitter, and tossed him out the window to his death. Back to Regan herself, she is one scary little kid! Whether cussing her head off, twisting her head around backward, puking that icky green stuff, rising off the bed with those white eyes of hers, or walking down those stairs like a crab / spider, Regan is flawlessly, flesh-crawlingly mesmerizing! I read the book and found the movie to be every bit as jolting. One of THE best horror films ever made. Buy immediately...
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5.0 out of 5 stars 31 Years of Darkness and Light, March 5 2004
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
"The Exorcist" has never seemed like a horror film, unlike "Rosemary's Baby" or "The Omen" and makes it a very difficult film to come to grips with. It is, possibly, one of the most demanding and disturbing films ever produced both on a visual and thematic level. The story, as everyone knows by now, concerns the demonic possession of a young girl (Linda Blair), living with her actress mother (Ellen Burstyn) in Georgtown U.S.A, and of the her eventual rescue through the efforts of two Catholic Priests, Fathers Merrin (Max Von Syndow) and Karras (Jason Miller). The narrative is so matter of factly executed, that we, as the audience, have no problem with what we are being asked to accept, and, despite the famous special effects and shock pieces, it is this confrontation with the supernatural, and the unquestioned plausibility in the film's execution, that leaves us totally stunned and drained at the conclusion. I must admit that this restored version is much clearer than the original. This time around the movie takes it's time, which makes the descent into darkness much more effective. There is more depth on this ocassion - the agony of the mother, the doubt and inner turmoil of Karras, and the serene and hugely heroic Merrin. I also was thankful to see more of the late Lee J.Cobb in what must be one of his greatest characterisations as Detective Kinderman, something which George C.Scott could never hope to imitate, becasue it remains a defined role for all time. This is a Catholic movie- the ritual exorcisim is verbatim and the movie examines spiritual problems, both in and outside the Seminary where some of it is shot. Upon it's initial release the majority of movie goers thought that the devil actually won the battle, which both Blatty and Friedkin admitted shocked them at the time. The overwhelming image that strikes one at the conclusion is the scene where Regan, now fred from possession embraces Father Dyer. There is a close up of Dyer's collar, and even though Regan doesn't remember any of it, the significance is shattering and moving. The character of Fr Dyer along with the other priests in the film are portrayed by real life Jesuits, to whom Blatty dedicated the book. The original excised scenes between Merrin and Karras are put back, especially the scene on the stairs, and a sequence where Merrin recites the rosary. The initial medical diagnosis makes the things that follow more comprehensible , and the scene where Karras listens to Regan on a tape she has made for her Father is quite moving. Jason Miller still shines in the role of Karras, the priest with all the doubts and anguish, but who finally finds his faith again at the expense of his own life. I don't think there has ever been a performance quite like it, and think Miller should have had a bigger career in Hollywood. There are no phoney performances in the film, and acting honours go to all. It's the kind of film that you can't single anyone out as, as an ensemble, the actors are all locked together in one ultimate goal or pursuit. "The Exorcist" will affect anyone that sees it but people of the Catholic faith more than any other. Suddenly we are not so sophisticated after all, and the film has a way of saying that maybe the precepts of fire and brimstone are not so far fetched after all. It has an unsettling way of answering people who profess to believe in a God who is all loving, but not one who would consign us to hell just as easily. That would imply that we can't pay lip service to our faith and that there are certain rules to be followed as best we can, and just like the laws of our society, if we break them, we pay a price. "The Exorcist " says that all the old stories of the Old Testament are not necessarily parables after all. Indeed, the Catholic Church still retains and ordains her priests with the holy order of exorcist, which is the third minor order. There have been reviewers who have said they found the picture absurd and laughable, but I would think in the back of their minds their humour is half heared. Watching "The Exorcist - The Version You've Never Seen" is no laughing matter, not when one brings intellect to bare on the subject. It's always interesting to see Syndow in this role and compare it to the role of Jesus he portrayed in "The Greatest Story Ever Told". One thinks of an aged Peter Cushing, crucifix in hand. Indeed, Cushing himself stated that he could never have portrayed a part in the movie as "it was too like reality" He always viewed his films as fantasy or dark fairy tales. If I had one quip to make it would have been the spider walk sequence, which seems out of place and breaks the concentration slightly, but otherwise it is as close as they come to a masterpiece, of terror, of darkness, but of the triumph of universal light over that dark. When compared with other William Friedkin films the gritty realisim is there, but "The Exorcist" will always stand alone from them, like a lonely but strangely noble figure, even though "French Connection", "Crusing" and "To Live and Die in LA", are just as matter of fact and treat their subjects with just as much sincerity. The complete version does say a lot more, but in a subtle way and the fact that it is 31 years old and still is the most provocative films ever, when all the movies once labelled "infamous" have led us to wonder what all the fuss was about, puts "The Exorcist" in the front rank of truely original movies, and one that will never lose it's power and effect. In that sense, it says something about mankind as we enter the 21st century.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pazuzu would have no interest in a little bourgeois girl., Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen (DVD)
First of all let me say that I believe that spiritual entities exist in the context of their religions, and so its not right to take something from one faith (like Pazuzu from the mythology of Mesopotamia) and vilify it in the context of Christianity. Demons (coming from the word Daemon) were not always bad things; they were simply entities that could communicate with both the deities and humans. Pazuzu was the Mesopotamian demon of destruction and wind, but destruction was not always a bad thing in pagan mythology, its simply clearing the way for something new. Does the filmmaker expect me to believe that a Mesopotamian demon that has the ability to control wind and in the mythology is even known to protect newborns is going out of his way to possess a spoiled little rich girl under a cheesy name like Captain Howdy? As Implied, Pazuzu was even said to be helpful to humans. Pregenant women were known to wear necklaces of him to protect their babies.
There seems to be a similarity to when the Phoenician goddess Ashorah (better known by her Greek-assigned name Astarte) is vilified in John Milton's book Paradise Lost by being turned into a form of the Christian devil.

Other than that I thought The Exorcist was a great movie, who could have imagined a film where a priest would have a man-to-man conversation with a demon? As for the scare factor I thought this movie was more frightening than any other horror movies that I have seen but I think that I may have been scared by different scenes than most people were. The acrobatic and physical tricks which Pazuzu commenced to do with Regans body were not too frightening for me, but I was very scared of that subliminal demon face that kept appearing, and this was amplified by me thinking that it was, "the devil."
There are those who would say that because the movie deals with subjects that are evil to the Christian faith, this must also be a heretical movie, but if you watch the credits you will see that there were three, Reverend advisors credited; giving lie to that claim.
I'm deducting two stars from my rating of The Exorcist, if they wanted to vilify an entity they should have used one from their own religion, rather than one from another.
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The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen
The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen by William Friedkin (DVD - 2000)
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