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The Exorcist  (1973)

IMDB Rating 8.0/10  122 min - Rated 18 Horror | Thriller

Stars:            Ellen Burstyn,  Linda Blair,  Max von Sydow   Director:      William Friedkin

In leafy Georgetown, Washington, successful actress Chris Macneil (Burstyn) begins to worry about her daughter, Regan (Blair) whose strange behaviour eventually becomes a matter for the church.  William Peter Blatty's novel had a difficult filming. Rumours still abound today of a curse on the production that caused at least two tragic deaths and a fire that burnt down much of the studio and production offices. Controversy and trouble even followed the film into release, with some church leaders declaring it a blasphemy, and many cinemagoers were sent into a moral outrage by the language and imagery employed. However, this didn't affect the film's success (at least not adversely). In spite of the structure (the slow build is very drawn-out compared to its contemporaries) and the harrowing finale, it was a massive success at the box office, proving that intelligent and demanding horror films had an audience. But the highlight of The Exorcist has to be the final half hour in which a battle of good versus evil is played out between the possessed child Regan, strapped to her bed, and the two priests, Father Merrin (von Sydow) and Father Karras (Miller) who is experiencing a crisis of faith that might influence the outcome. The child is a shocking presence, physically deformed and spitting obscenities. It is here that Blair achieves one of the most impressive performances by a child actor in the history of cinema.  Although two sequels followed, neither achieved the grim tone captured in this formidable and essential classic.