Exorcising Hollywood’s Demons

         It is regarded as one of the all-time horror classics and has been scaring audiences for years. Even today it still holds up as a terrifying movie experience. The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin in 1973 and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, is one of the most influential horror films of all time.

         The story concerns an actress (Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter (Linda Blair), whose lives become filled with terror when evil spirits possesses daughter Regan, including one claiming to be the Devil. After trying various methods to cure her, Chris, her mother, has no other alternative but to call in a priest for an exorcism.

         This movie was highly shocking and scary due to its graphic content of the little girl being influenced by dark forces. The movie also triumphs in the fact that unlike many horror movies, the script, direction and acting are all very well done. This movie not only goes for the throat with its scares; it also is just plain good, as anyone who has seen it can attest to.

         Critics and audiences alike certainly thought the same. The film was a huge international hit and has accumulated over the years up to 402 million dollars in box office gross, which, if it were adjusted for inflation, would make it the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. The film even got award recognition. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won four Golden Globes, including Best Picture–Drama.

         In its wake there have been numerous parodies and imitators, but it seems as though with the exception of a few, The Exorcist is the one that still stands tall after all of these years. There have been many religious-themed horror films and possession-themed horror films since (including The Omen) both its original version and 2000 re-release. The Exorcist, however, still stands the test of time and is still highly regarded by critics and horror fans alike today.

Joseph Stone

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