Indisputably the most famous horror movie of all time, owing to all the outragous newspaper articles it provoked. The story for this infamous 1973 shocker revolves around young Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). A typical 12 year old girl who lives with her actress mother Christine (Ellen Burnstein) in the predominantly catholic area of Georgetown, Washington D.C.
She initially appears to be your average kid, but as the film progresses it appears that all is not well. Young Regan claims to hear noises in the attic and also says she can hear voices. She also claims her bed shakes for no reason, and later starts having violent fits and becomes extremely foul mouthed.
Unable to explain this strange behaviour, her Mother takes her to the doctors but they fail to find anything wrong. Things get progressively worse, as she then starts reacting violently towards visiting doctors, gets a bad skin condition and throws green bile over a visiting priest (Yay!).
After claiming she is possessed by the devil, the doctors believe her problems to be psychological and refer her to a local priest, Damien Karras (Jason Miller) to ask if he'll perform a "mock" exorcism, believing it would cure what they think is a mental condition. But after consulting fellow priest Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow), they realise that her possession is all too real, and as they try to perform the ceremony all hell literally breaks loose.
Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty and directed by William Friedkin, though the Exorcist can rightfully claim to be a true horror classic, the film undoubtedly achieved a lot if its undue notoriety due to the ludicrous stories perpetuated by the media, about people running from the cinema screaming in terror (yeah right). Which was also fuelled by the religious community, claiming the film was "evil" and "sacreligious". Though speaking as a lifelong atheist, I thought the more contentious parts were hilariously funny.
Banned on video in the UK up until 1999, I had to go to a special late night screening at some cinema 40 miles away when I wanted to see what all the fuss was about in the early 90s (oh how times have changed). Still a great film and having also seen this at a special Halloween screening since, would argue it still holds up well and is still a damnsite better than the CGI laden imitators that have come out since.