When THE EXORCIST was released in 1973 it rapidly gained a reputation that reportedly led to cinemas offering ‘barf bags’ for their customers and ambulance services would be on standby at screenings in case anybody fainted inside. Such was the power of the film that word soon got around about the shocking content of the movie which people feared was corrupting the minds of impressionable young audiences.

Despite the controversy surrounding the film what director William Friedkin managed to achieve with great success was to merge various themes within the narrative; maternal love, religion and unconditional faith, all inter-weaved around genuine scares and gross out horror. The plot is relatively straight forward; a woman seeks help from a priest when her daughter is possessed by an unknown entity. However, certain scenes remain shocking to this day (especially the crucifix section) and it’s legacy remains due to it’s head spinning imagery that left shocked cinema-goers thrilled and repulsed.

DirectorWilliam Friedkin

CastEllen BurstynMax von SydowLinda Blair

Most gruesome scene

Take your pick gore-hounds! Spinning head, projectile vomiting, misuse of crucifix etc!