The Exorcist (1973) Blu Ray

Tagline: “Something beyond comprehension is happening to a girl on this street, in this house... and a man has been sent for as a last resort. This man is The Exorcist.” He's called Father Merrin, they have names you know. 

Premise: Film based on the William Peter Blatty novel about a twelve year old girl who is possessed by a demon, and her mother's desperate attempts to help her.

Delivery: "Specifically; what did she say?"

"Well, specifically, she advised me to keep my fingers away from her 'God damned cunt.'"

I was very excited to watch my Blu Ray of the Extended Director's Cut of The Exorcist. Although, because it had been about a decade since I last watched the theatrical edition, I won't be comparing the two- simply reviewing this version. William Friedkin was the director whose cut this is, and my first concern was that while scrolling through his IMDb page I saw that Friedkin cites The Babadook as the scariest thing he's ever seen. That's worrying, as I've flushed scarier away.

Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow (who has been in his late seventies for about half a century it seems), Jason Miller and Linda Blair play the main characters, and all give good performances. Burstyn was up for an Oscar for her role, but to me she'll always be Mrs Goldfarb, cleaning the flat in fast forward. “I'm gonna be on television.” Despite looking decades apart in The Exorcist, in reality there's just three years between von Sydow and Burstyn- both continue to make films and that is wonderful, frankly. 

The scariest thing about the opening hour of The Exorcist, as Reagan (Blair) has her odd behaviour examined, is the terrifying seventies diagnostic equipment. The machines look like the kind of horrific yet somehow kitsch creations of a Steampunk animator having a mental breakdown. Those things would quite literally scare the Devil out of anyone else. However, when science fails-who you gonna call? Catholic priests! You might be tempted to make a joke here about unattended priests in the room of a twelve year old tied to their bed: but you'd be wrong to. Reason? These priests are trying to take something out of the child. Nothing to see here, move along please!

There is also a rather unique, now infamous, and still somewhat shocking scene involving oral contact with a bloodied vagina. What was weird was that my initial thought was, "is that the most shocking blood-vagina scene I've viewed?" Because there is one in a film called Excision that's pretty shocking, but funny. Plus from memory there's a few in Teeth, although something of a spin on that theme. I think what I have concluded is that I watch too many weird films.

The Exorcist remains a good film, it looks fantastic, is well made with some great special effects, and it's excellently acted. It has also got a bit of the nostalgia effect about it now. A vintage feel which if hipsters could bottle and flog in Dalston at a pop up boutique; they absolutely would. However, and I know I keep saying this about horrors at the moment, but I do not find The Exorcist scary. This time- whereas I did last time a decade ago. Is it because I am in some way over exposed to the genre? Or am I just a triple hard bastard? I'll let you decide on that one. 

Bedsit it? Conversely, I think that The Exorcist has gone up a bit in my opinion; I found it less spine tingling this time but it hit more of an aesthetic nerve. Ah, the Seventies. Must be the potion I bought from that weird bearded guy in Dalston. It's the kind of horror you could probably sell to someone who didn't always love the genre, but that begs asking who are these people and why are you letting them have a say? 8/10.


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