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If you already own the horror classic on Blu-ray, there's no need to upgrade, but for those who don't, the power of Christ compels you...
Warner / 132 Minutes / 1973 / Rated R / Street Date: October 8, 2013
Widely considered the greatest horror film of all time, few films can claim to have generated as much controversy as The Exorcist. In the forty years since it premiered to shocked audiences in 1973, it has subsequently been banned in nearly a dozen countries and condemned by various religious groups as being the work of the devil himself. If there is such a thing as evil incarnate burned onto celluloid, it would have to be The Exorcist.
Just about everybody knows the story, that of an innocent 12-year-old girl possessed by one very angry (and foul-mouthed) demon. Although some have argued that the main reason for the film's domestic success was due to the United States being a largely Catholic state (i.e., non-Catholics just find it funny), the worldwide box office numbers don't really bear this out. Let's face it, the devil is pretty damn scary no matter where you live! Despite debunking my Catholic upbringing years ago and having seen the film over a dozen times now, there is still that small corner of my mind that thinks "What If?" Could the devil really be real? Is there such a thing as Evil with a capital "E"? Maybe, maybe not. But what I believe continues to earn the film its classic status isn't just the shocks and the hideous imagery, but the filmmakers' earnest belief in the rather silly tale they are telling and their ability to convince us that such hokum is absolutely plausible.
As a testament to the film's enduring power, over two decades after its enormous success, critical acclaim and multiple Oscar nominations, The Exorcist again generated controversy and strong box office with The Version You've Never Seen in late 1999. Inserting 11 minutes of new footage, this "revisiting" of a classic excited some, angered others and left a few still wondering what all the excitement was about.
And now we have a new question upon us: seeing as The Exorcist (in both of its incarnations) was released as an excellent Blu-ray set three years ago, is there reason to upgrade to this 40th Anniversary Edition? Let’s break it down…