Not until 1973 had a movie affected its audience in theaters quite like William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. This film adaptation to William Peter Blatty’s supernatural detective story, was every bit as compelling, terrifying, and unforgettable as its source material.
There have been a few ages in horror movie history before The Exorcist came out. Back in the early 50s, Hollywood came out with black and white horror classics such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man. Then Hammer studios in England came up with their own roster of classic monsters. When the 60s rolled around, horror films transformed and became a little more cerebral, with Hitchcock’s Psycho and Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.
However, as chilling as these films were, they never prepared the audience for something as jarring as The Exorcist. Viewers weren’t at all expecting the visually scarring images of a demon little by little taking hold of a little girl’s body, and all the obscenities that came with it. They didn’t expect the green pea soup-spouting, head-revolving, split-tongued Linda Blair doing battle with two Jesuit priests who looked to be losing it in every aspect of their lives.
Since then, The Exorcist has had two movie sequels, two movie prequels, and an amazing television show. Even today, The Exorcist stands tall and proud as the king of horror movies, with no other horror movie as its equal.