1973 *****
Original theatrical version runs 122 mins.
The Version You've Never Seen/Extended Director's Cut runs 132 mins.

The Scariest Movie Of All Time.

Many people this day and age don't agree with that statement. I couldn't count how many times I've heard, "That movie's funny! I couldn't stop laughing." In a world where horror films are everywhere, teens and young adults don't find a film "scary" unless it has a lot of cheap, sudden shocks, and the existence of God is becoming more and more of a myth, people don't appreciate this film for the sheer terror it really possesses (no pun intended).

The first time I saw this film, I was utterly petrified, and I vowed never to watch it again. Of course, the fact that I was around ten to twelve years old at the time probably had something to do with it. However, the memories of watching this film that first time are still with me. One day, a few months later, I was home sick from school, and I decided to watch it again. Now, it is one of my all-time favorite films, and I own multiple copies of it on home video.

Plus, for this film to have come out in mainstream theatres in 1973 also added to the horror. Audiences weren't prepared for what this film had to offer. Many people left the theatres, too scared to see the film to its conclusion. For a film to have such an effect on its audience is a sign of true billiance and artistry that is hard to find in a world of pointless PG-13 remakes of classic, albeit trashy, R-rated slasher flicks.

The story centers around the strange behavior of a twelve-year-old girl (played wonderfully by Linda Blair) and the desperation of her mother (Ellen Burstyn) to help. Through the help of a troubled priest (Jason Miller), various possibilities are ruled out, leaving only one. Enter: The Exorcist (Max von Sydow).

In 2000, a the film was released as The Version You've Never Seen, or as I refer to it, The Version You Never Should Have Seen. Granted, I would still give this version five stars and a place on my Top 25 if it had been the only version of the film ever to be released. However, after seeing the film in its original version, the scenes added are redundant, pointless, and/or forced. It's still interesting, though, to see these scenes restored to the film. For the blu-ray release in 2010, this version was re-titled the "Extended Director's Cut," which is just a slap in the face. In 2000, William Friedkin was adamant that this version was not his preferred version, but an alternate version assembled by him at the request of the author, William Peter Blatty, and the studio. It seems he's changed his mind, which is just sad.

So, here you are: The Scariest Movie Of All Time. Not to mention, one of the best.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Rated R for Strong Language and Disturbing Images.

Ellen Burstyn + Max von Sydow + Lee J. Cobb + Kitty Winn + Jack MacGowran + Jason Miller + Linda Blair

Screenplay by
William Peter Blatty
Based on His Novel

Directed by
William Friedkin

Kenneth Starcher's YouTube Review of THE EXORCIST

Motion Pictures