Widely considered to be one of the scariest horror films of all-time, “The Exorcist,” based on the book by William Peter Blatty, was released in 1973. Because the book had been such a widespread success, expectations for the film were very high. And few fans were disappointed, the movie brought the book's scares to life.
The movie stars Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, a movie star shooting a film in Georgetown. Her 12-year-old daughter, Reagan (played by Linda Blair), becomes possessed by a demon. Doctors spend a lot of time examining her, with no success. The demon becomes more powerful inside Reagan. Eventually, it is suggested to Chris that she go to a priest, so Reagan can get an excorism. This leads her to Damian Karras (played by Jason Miller), a priest and physiatrist whose mother just died.
The film is very well directed by William Friedkin, director of "The French Connection." Like that film, he gives "The Exorcist" a realistic feel. After the demon takes hold of Reagan, she is tied to a bed in her room. Friedkin makes the room appear very cold. He also makes the exorcism scene very memorable.
Friedkin also gets strong performances out of the cast. Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair and Jason Miller all earned Academy Award nominations for their great performances. Also strong is Max von Sydow, who plays an elderly priest. Equally good is Lee J. Cobb, playing a film-loving detective.
“The Exorcist” is a must see, and it is a great choice for Halloween.