It’s slightly surprising, perhaps, that I’ve never seen this horror classic, given my sometime, occasional, interest in the genre. But then, it wasn’t available or was hard to get in the UK for the core years when I might have seen it.
Turns out it’s on iPlayer just now, so I rectified the situation.
Except I almost didn’t get past the first ten minutes. Honestly, I was so bored with the slow, tedious Iraq-set grave-robbing scene that has nothing to do with the rest of the story!
And the film as a whole is weirdly fragmentary, disjointed after that, at least for the first half.
Then the last third is just one big advert for the Catholic church. Though I would note that the exorcism fails, the old exorcist is killed offscreen (and weirdly, he turns out to be the archaeologist/grave robber from the start).
It’s the self-sacrifice of the doubting Jesuit Father Karras, that gets the demon out of the girl. His ending is one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen in a film. And those steps were the scariest thing in this film.
Presumably the necklace/coin-like artefact that somehow made its way from Iraq was supposed to have had something to do with allowing the demon into the girl, but no use or sense of that was made in the story.
Decent effects. good makeup, and a great performance from Linda Blair (if slightly wooden performances from most of the rest of the cast) leave this as just OK, and far from the classic of its repute.
In my humble opinion, of course.