Warner Brothers reissues this 1973 horror film about a 12-year-old girl possessed by the devil.
Before you read this review: I will be mentioning some rather disturbing imagery seen in this film. I do this so that you will understand why I feel everyone should pass on supporting this film. If you are opposed to a graphic discussion, please pass on this review. And for heaven’s sake, pass on this movie. At the time of the first release, “The Exorcist” was captivating for many movie-goers because of the subject matter and also the graphic and lurid images never before seen on the silver screen. The language was raw and profane and it was coming mainly from a woman. That’s no big deal now, but it was fairly new then and used to show female empowerment, I suspect. Hollywood was taking Helen Ready’s anthem “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” a step further. If a man could use the F-word, why not a woman? Equal rights and all that. Ellen Burstyn, whose character claims she is not religious, uses profanity and obscenity every time she is frustrated. And she gets frustrated a lot. She screams profanities at the doctors, her co-workers, her hired help, and finally, at the priests who are battling the evil presence in her child. Then there was some pretty spooky imagery, what with an innocent baby-faced preteen suddenly spitting up green slime by the gallons and stabbing herself with a crucifix. Here was a child, seized by an evil spirit, and uttering the most offensive and destructive verbiage imaginable. And with super human power, she was able to toss her opponents across the room with ease. The reissue is supposed to contain 11 minutes of never-before-seen footage, with Blatty suggesting that a more spiritual message now comes forth. What that spiritual message is missed me. Years ago I interviewed Father Keiser of “Insight” fame. He was impressed with “The Exorcist” because he felt it would cause non-Christians to further investigate spiritual matters. I really liked Father Keiser. With his theatrical and television productions he wasn’t aiming at the Christians. He was trying to reach non-believers. “The more I spread the Good News,” he told me, “the more it means to me.” However, when he first saw that film, it was a rarity. Now, so many films contain profane language, exploitive sexuality and excessive violence, that what positive message we can receive from a production like this is probably outweighed by the sheer amount of offensiveness. One important thing I did get from this film. I have always maintained that we should not use Ouija boards for entertainment purposes. It deals with the occult. I think the Word is clear about such practices. “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.” Leviticus 19:31 In “The Exorcist” we are not given an explanation as to how the little girl was taken over by a demon, but she is seen playing with an Ouija board, and being taught how to use it by her own mother. Did this open the door to spiritual possession? Well, you know the old saying, “You play with fire, you’re gonna get burned.”