A Classic Horror Experience
When it comes to classic horror films, The Exorcist is arguably the most memorable and obvious example of a film taking a simple concept and turning it into an engrossing, horrific ride. Highly regarded as one of the scariest movies of its time, there’s no denying The Exorcist has quite the powerful cult status in the history of cinema. A lot of this is thanks to the cinematography which is very impressively crafted and does well to hide some of the inconsistencies with the story.
The story itself begins with the infamous theme of Tubular Bells playing in the background as a shadowy figure approaches a dark house, illuminated by a solitary burst of light. This single, masterfully crafted frame sets both the tone and mood of the film, hinting at the horrors to come. The shadowy figure happens to be a priest whose task is to exorcise a grotesque demon that’s possessed a young girl, causing havoc inside the house. While viewers nowadays will be desensitised to the shocking plot developments and overall stylistic feel of The Exorcist, it’s not difficult to see why this film became such a cult hit all those years ago.
While the plot develops in a rather predictable fashion toward its eerie, climactic finale, The Exorcist’s strength lies with the cinematography and technical achievements which are masterfully executed to make the most of the horror elements throughout. The use of colour and unnerving camera angles is really impressively crafted with many films nowadays drawing inspiration from this classic.
The possessed girl Regan (Linda Blair) is the star here and her chilling performance as the deranged, possessed demon is incredibly believable but every character alongside her, including Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), Father Karras (Jason Miller) and the concerned parents of Regan, all put in a convincing performance themselves.
If there’s one thing The Exorcist does better than most horror films out there its the use of sound and here The Exorcist is outstanding. Tubular Bells is such an iconic theme and the way it’s used alongside a mixture of terrifying sound effects and well placed bites of intense string segments really helps heighten some of the more frightening moments that occur in this film.
There’s no denying that The Exorcist is one of the best horror films to ever be released. While there have been scarier films since and the story feels a little simplistic at times, the cinematography accompanying the narrative is where this classic horror excels and it’s here that the film comes alive. Whether there will ever be another film like The Exorcist that grips the world quite as intensely as this one remains to be seen but as a spectacle, The Exorcist is a well written roller-coaster of fear worth experiencing at least once.