The Exorcist

The power of Christ compels you!

From The Exorcist 1973

Lines were long in front of the movie theaters in 1973, when the movie The Exorcist was released. Laden with state of the art special effects and a violent intensity then unseen in public forums, The Exorcist raised more than its’ fair share of boycotts from churches across the country. Unbeknownst to most Americans at the time was the fact that, during the actual production of the movie, several deaths occurred, and several instances were recorded where instances seemed to “leap” out of the script, haunting the cast and crew with, even today, unexplained phenomena.

The Exorcist begins with the unearthing of some odd relics in Iraq, followed by some disturbing occurrences, and ultimately, the discovery of a demonic statue. The following sequence hints that this is the releasing of this demon from a prior prison to haunt the earth, thus setting the stage for a frightening storyline. The released demon eventually chooses his target, a young girl by the name of Regan.

As the symptoms become evident, they manifest themselves in the beginning as things moving in and out of place, furniture moving on its’ own, doors opening and closing, and levitation. As Regan’s mother, Chris, witnesses these events, she frantically searches for the answer to what is going on in their home. After calling a large battery of doctors and psychologists, all of which fail, she is led to the possibility that this may be a demonic possession.

Chris contacts two priests about the condition of her daughter, Regan. As the priests arrive, the manifestations and events turn from mild to violent, as the demon becomes increasingly uncomfortable with their presence, turning even to murder in its’ hatred of the two men. Eventually, the demon is lured from the little girl, into the body of one of the priests, who then wrestles the hateful spirit within, and commits suicide, to ultimately drive the spirit out, and back into oblivion.

The Exorcist, even now, remains one of the most shocking and disturbing movies ever made available to the American public. Full of seemingly accurate demonic depiction, both on and off screen, the cast and crew are to this day affected by the production sequence of that movie. With the enduring affects more than thirty years after its’ making, The Exorcist is sure to have an influence on generations to come. This is a great movie to watch on Halloween. It is one of the most scariest movies I have ever seen.

The Exorcist is definitely one of the most horrifying films ever to grace the silverscreen. The story of a little girl being possessed by the devil himself and a priest attempting to exorcise her, it clearly showed the fierce battle between good and evil. The thought of the devil being able to occupy the body of an innocent girl is too terrifying to even think about, much less actually see. And the priest's frustration in being unable to drive the devil out casts viewers into despair.

The scenes showing the little girl defiling herself were, to say the very least, controversial. The profanities committed by little Regan (Linda Blair) seemed much too much for a twelve year old girl to endure. And the aftermath of each episode showed the toll it's taking on the little girl's mental and physical state. The tiring episodes were too much for anyone to handle, and viewers with weak countenance are either left feeling nauseated or angry.

The priest's attempt to exorcise the demon was frustrating to watch, as the demon found ways to thwart the attempts and mock the priest's faith. This was very painful to watch, as it was implied in the film that the priest was going through a period of doubting his own faith. Viewers are left to think how he can drive the demon out when his own faith is unstable. And it was heartbreaking to see that he had to master himself before he was able to drive the demon from the girl.

The helplessness of the girl drove spikes to the viewers' hearts as she was not only subjected to exorcism, but she also had to undergo medical exams, futher violating her in a sense. The family's grief at seeing their little girl getting hurt and doing things against her will was heartrending. Each character in the film played a very important role in keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats, whether with anger or fright or both, only each individual viewer can tell. And when the priest finally managed to drive the demon out, the immense relief and gratefulness that flooded each character in the film was felt by viewers as well.

The Exorcist is surely a masterpiece, from the great effects involving simple materials such as pea soup and oatmeal, to each actor/actress that portrayed each character. It is truly entrancing, capturing viewers and drawing them in deeper into the story, makign them one with those in the film. One of the greatest horror films of all time, The Exorcist would make it difficult for each one to sleep with the lights off. It is highly recommended, whether to watch for leisure or to take a step into the mysteries surrounding one's faith.

Exorcist is one of the many horror films that were released in 1973. It is based on a fictional work of William Peter Blatty. The plot is taken from exorcism of Robbie Mannheim. The character of Robbie Mannheim is named as Regan MacNeil in this story. Linda Blair played this role. Other actors include Ellen Burstyn (Chris MacNeil), Max von Sydow (Father Lankester Merrin), Lee J. Cobb (detective), Mercedes McCambridge (Pazuzu and demon’s voice), Jason Miller (Father Damien Karras), Arthur Storch (psychiatrist) and Father William O’Malley (Father Joe Dyer). Warner Bros. Pictures distributed this horror movie directed by William Friedkin and edited by Norman Gay. Jack Nitzche and Mike Oldfield scored its music, and credit for its cinematography goes to Owen Roizman.

The film starts with discovery of a strange stone at an archeological site in Iraq. The archeologist excavating this site is Father Merrin. The stone discovered is not very large, but it has a fearsome carving, resembling a devil like being. Merrin then goes to Pazuzu to see another statue with a head that bears resemblance to the strange stone that was found at his archeological site in Al-hadar.

The next scene brings audience to Washington, D.C., more precisely to Georgetown University. Here, Father Damien Karras, is rather unhappy because his mother is incurably ill. The young priest starts questioning his belief in god because of his trials.

Chris MacNeil has come to Georgetown for filming a movie. She is an actress. Here, in Georgetown, Chris starts finding her daughter’s behavior becoming a cause for concern. Regan MacNeil is only about 12 years old. However, she starts getting these attacks during which she becomes extraordinarily strong and violent, uttering profanity in a voice that resembles that of a man. Though concerned, Chris is able to treat these changes as those caused by hormones at puberty. However, she is unable to reconcile with it when Regan starts doing more bizarre things like levitating. So Chris takes her daughter for a medical check up. Here, the doctors do an extensive medical examination to confirm whether such behavior is due to any lesions in the girl’s brain. But X-rays find nothing unusual. This prompts the doctors to suggest that Regan should meet a psychiatrist. Regan gets one of her attacks when she is with the psychiatrist, and so she assaults the psychiatrist. With each day, Regan becomes more and more difficult to handle. Now more unexplainable things start happening in MacNeil household such as some strange movements and noises, and on one occasion Regan’s bed rocking very rapidly. One day Chris asks the director of her film to babysit her daughter only to find his viciously mutilated dead body outside her home.

Unable to understand the phenomenon scientifically, doctors ask Chris to seek the help of an exorcist. Doctors try to explain that such behavior may be psychosomatic in nature. According to the doctors, profound belief in devil, and devil’s ability to take possession of the body might have triggered such psychosomatic reactions.

Following this advise, Chris approaches Father Karras, who is also a psychiatrist. The priest spends sometime observing Regan and finds that Regan believes herself to be the devil. Exorcising devil requires Church’s permission. So Father Karras approaches the church for permission. The permission to exorcise Regan is granted by the church. Father Merrin is called from his archeological expedition as he has some prior experience in such paranormal activity. Together, the two priests try to remove the devil from the young girl’s body. The devil resorts to hurtful remarks and even physical attack. In the process, Father Merrin, who is quite old, gets a massive heart attack. Father Karras is unable to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. All through Father Karras’ attempts to revive Father Merrin, Regan and the devil in her keep on laughing and inciting the priest. Father Merrin does not survive. Regan’s gigling annoys Father Karras who tries to strangle the girl challenging the devil to enter him. The devil does just that.. At this, the priest jumps from the bedroom window to his death on steps below. But before he dies, Father Dyer completes the last rites. Regan becomes normal again and leaves Georgetown with her mother. She remembers nothing about this phase in her life.

The movie opens with Father Merrin who is in Iraq on an archaeological expedition. He encounters some weird omens and comes across a statute of a demonic figure. Back in Washington, we meet the McNeil family. Chris McNeil is an actress who lives with her twelve year old daughter Regan, personal assistant Sharon and two housekeepers. We learn that they have all been experiencing some strange phenomena and hearing noises in the attic which they assume to be rats. Chris is working with a man called Burke Dennings on a new movie and on her walk home, Chris notices Father Damien Karras watching her. Father Karras has a background in psychology and because he feels that he is losing his faith, he asks to be transferred to another parish. Karras has an elderly mother who lives alone in poor conditions in New York.

Strange occurrences continue to happen in the McNeil household and the local church is desecrated. Father Karras’s mothers’ health deteriorates and unable to provide funding for her care in a private hospital, she is taken to a hospital for mental patients and dies there. Chris holds a party at her house and Regan appears from her bed and urinates on the carpet in front of the guests whilst telling the astronaut that he will die up there. The guests go home and Chris bathes Regan then puts her to bed. Not long afterwards there is a loud noise and Chris goes into Regan’s room only to find her on the bed and the bed is shaking violently and lifting itself off the floor. The next day, Chris brings Regan for a series of tests and the Doctors are unsure of what could be the matter but they suggest that there may be a lesion on Regan’s brain. Nothing is found on the brain scan.

Chris turns to a psychiatrist who mentions the possibility of a demonic possession and that an exorcism may be necessary as the family is going through divorce mediation at the time. This is when Chris turns to Father Karras but he says that exorcisms are hardly ever performed and that it would be difficult to get one approved by the Bishop. Burke ends up being killed and Chris later realizes that it was Regan who killed him. The church agrees to the exorcism and Father Merrin is called in to assist Father Karras. By now, Regan looks unsightly and speaks in a male voice and often in several foreign languages. Her face has legions and she refers to herself as the Devil.

When Father Merrin arrives at Chris McNeils house, he warns Father Karras not to talk with the demon as it will use all sorts of lies to try and trick him. Upon entering Regan’s bedroom, they are greeted with obscene words and profanities and constantly curse’s the priests. She manifests extremely strange phenomena such as rising up in the air by herself and extending an abnormally long tongue. She then proceeds to talk to Father Karras in his mother’s voice at which point Karras breaks down. Of no use to him, Father Merrin sends Karras out of the room and while he is gone, Regan kills the frail man. When Karras returns to Regan’s bedroom, he sees Father Merrin’s dead body and Regan laughs hysterically. Outraged, Father Karras jumps on top of Regan and demands that the entity takes him, and it happens so immediately. For a split second Karras returns to himself and aware of what would happen if he were to stay in the room, he leaps out the window and falls to his death. Regan returns to normal and the family leave Georgetown.

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