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(1973/2000) (Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Smoking Tense Family
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Horror: A mother calls in several Catholic priests to perform an exorcism on her 12-year-old daughter who's apparently possessed by the Devil.
Chris MacNeil (ELLEN BURSTYN) is an actress living in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. with her 12-year-old daughter, Regan (LINDA BLAIR). Working on her latest film with director Burke Dennings (JACK MacGOWRAN), Chris seems content with her life. That isn't true for Father Damien Karras (JASON MILLER), a psychiatric counselor for the Catholic Church who's also working in Georgetown. Beyond feeling that he's possibly lost his faith, he worries about his elderly mother who's sick, lives by herself in another city and doesn't have the money to better either condition.

After some strange events occur in the MacNeil's home related to Regan, Chris has the medical community give her the once over. Although they don't find anything wrong with her, Regan's attitude and behavior continue to worsen, with her language coarsening and her body doing odd physical feats. Chris begins to worry that something might seriously be wrong with Regan, and the sudden, seemingly suspicious death of Burke outside their home doesn't help her emotional state.

Having failed to come up with any physical or psychological malady regarding Regan's complete transformation into a now evil being, the doctors eventually suggest that Chris look into exorcism. Although she doesn't believe in that sort of thing, she contacts Father Karras who similarly doesn't believe in the archaic religious ritual that, as far as he knows, hasn't been conducted in several centuries.

Nonetheless, Karras meets with Regan and soon begins to suspect that she may indeed by possessed, and not by just any demon, but the Devil himself. After collecting enough information for the Church, Karras teams up with Father Merrin (MAX VON SYDOW), an elderly priest who's reportedly performed exorcisms - albeit secretly - in the past. As local police detective Lt. Kinderman (LEE J. COBB) investigates Burke's death, the two priests confront the seemingly possessed girl, hoping to save her from the entity that's possessed her body.

If they're into horror films or have heard all about this particular film but have never seen it, they just might (teenage boys seem the likeliest viewers).
For strong language and disturbing images (edited version).
  • ELLEN BURSTYN plays an actress and single mom who worries and doesn't know what to do when her daughter becomes possessed by the Devil. She does use some profanity, smokes, and drinks.
  • LINDA BLAIR plays her 12-year-old daughter who becomes possessed by the Devil and thus says and performs all sorts of crudities, albeit without knowing that she's doing so.
  • JASON MILLER plays a young priest who worries that he's lost his faith but nonetheless uses it in his attempt to rid the girl's body of the evil entity. He drinks, smokes and makes a great sacrifice to save the girl and others.
  • MAX VON SYDOW plays an older and frail priest who leads the exorcism and puts faith in his faith that he and Karras will be victorious in their battle versus the Devil.
  • LEE J. COBB plays a gruff local detective who investigates a suspicious death.
  • JACK MacGOWRAN plays a movie director who gets drunk in one scene and accuses Chris' hired help of being a former Nazi.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in the re-release of this R-rated horror film. Considering its basic plot of two priests battling the Devil for control of a 12-year-old girl's body and soul, the film may strike a strong nerve with Catholics and/or those with strong reactions to demonic material.

    For them and everyone else, many such related scenes and others might be disturbing, suspenseful and/or downright scary. Along with creepy and scary music, there's the sight of the possessed young girl (with her torn up looking face, glowing eyes, head spinning around on the body, etc.), the demonic and otherworldly sounds emanating from her, and all of the supernatural occurrences and related material.

    Beyond that, profanity consists of at least 13 "f" words (most said by the possessed 12-year-old) and other expletives and colorful phrases. That possessed girl makes several sexually explicit comments and violently masturbates with a cross during one such scene (a bloody scene that joins other bloody scenes as well as some that include some viscous and/or projectile vomiting). Several people are killed (mostly off screen), while the possessed girl hits, grabs or otherwise attacks others.

    Some characters smoke and drink, with one man being drunk and belligerent at a party. Various instances of tense family material are also present (an absent father, a character's mother dies, etc.). Due to the severity and presentation of certain elements of the film, we strongly suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings should you be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it.

  • People drink something that may be alcoholic in an Iraqi market, but we never know the contents.
  • Chris has a drink.
  • We see a bottle of booze in Father Karras' mother's place and it looks like he might have a drink there.
  • People have drinks in a bar, including Father Karras who has beer with another priest.
  • Chris has a drink.
  • People have drinks at a party, where some people are intoxicated to varying degrees (including Burke who seems very drunk).
  • Father Karras and another priest drink whiskey.
  • Chris offers Father Karras a drink and he asks for Scotch and water.
  • Chris offers Father Merrin some brandy in whatever he's drinking. He says that he's not supposed to have any, but does anyway.
  • We see a Church statue that's been defaced with what look like horns sticking out from the breast and crotch areas, all of which are bloody.
  • We see a needle going into Regan's arm and then some blood going into a vial for testing.
  • We see Regan's urine hit the floor between her feet as she stands in her nightgown at one of her mother's parties.
  • Megan spits on a doctor.
  • After a doctor inserts a catheter into Regan's neck, we see blood rhythmically squirting out of it in little spurts. We then see some blood traveling through a tube.
  • We see blood pouring out of Regan's mouth.
  • As Regan's possession deepens, her physical appearance deteriorates. As such, we see bloody cuts on her face and lips that become more severe as the movie continues (a later shot shows the same on her body).
  • We see Regan repeatedly jab a cross into her crotch (in a violent, masturbatory act), but don't see its penetration, although there's plenty of blood on her, the sheets and Chris' face (after Regan holds her mother's head down there).
  • Regan does some projectile vomiting onto Father Karras and we see the pea-green vomit come out of her mouth and cover his face and shirt.
  • Regan spits a gob of yellow phlegm onto Father Merrin.
  • More green and thick vomit oozes from Regan's mouth.
  • We see a bloody slash mark on Regan's leg as holy water is tossed onto her.
  • We see a small pool of blood next to a body as well as blood on the hand.
  • Those opposed to Ouija boards might not like a scene where Regan and her mother briefly use one (for fun and laughs).
  • We see a Church statue that's been defaced with what look like horns sticking out from the breast and crotch areas, all of which are bloody.
  • As Regan slowly becomes possessed, she gets a progressively worsening attitude until the Devil completely takes over her body (and obviously has extreme cases of both types of attitudes).
  • A drunk film director badgers a waiter about being a former Nazi.
  • Another priest tells Father Karras that he stole their bottle of whiskey from some college students.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling, disturbing or suspenseful to some viewers, as might the whole possession aspect of the story.
  • Father Merrin stands before a monstrous looking statue in an Iraqi desert while some frightening music plays on the soundtrack.
  • Chris hears some odd noises coming from the attic in one scene (at night) and then hears more of them again another night. She then goes up into the dark attic with just a candle (the light is out) and then slowly makes her way around the cluttered area (where she hears more sounds and a person then suddenly surprises her just as her candle suddenly flares up by itself).
  • We see a split-second image of a demonic face in a scene.
  • Chris hears Regan screaming at night and runs into her bedroom to find the bed violently shaking on its own.
  • Doctors enter Regan's room to see her being thrashed up and down in her bed as if doing violent, involuntary sit-ups. The sight and sounds of her being possessed (eyes rolled back into head, deep, demonic voice and a large lump in her throat - among other things) may be scary, disturbing and/or unsettling for viewers and occur in many more scenes.
  • As the lights flicker in the kitchen, we see a brief demonic face.
  • Chris goes into Regan's room and notices that it's ice cold (with visible breath). When she leaves, we see an image of the earlier monstrous statue on the wall.
  • Regan descends the stairs like an upside down crab (in a creepy looking scene).
  • Chris goes into Regan's room to find everything flying around inside it.
  • We see Regan repeatedly jab a cross into her crotch (in a violent, masturbatory act), but don't see its penetration, although there's plenty of blood on her, the sheets and Chris' face (after Regan holds her mother's head down there). She then slaps her mother across the room, causes large pieces of furniture to come at her and then spins her own head around backwards.
  • From that point on, every encounter with the Devil possessing Regan, including the final exorcism, consists of scary sights of her (including the words "Help Me" written on her body from the inside as well as her levitating and her head spinning completely around) as well as odd and scary sounds/words emanating from within her.
  • Rifles: Carried by some Iraqi guards.
  • Phrases: "You motherf*cking worthless c*cks*cker," "You f*cking bastard," "F*ck me" (sexual), "F*ck you," "Bullsh*t," "He doesn't give a sh*t," "My ass," "Bastard," "Shut up" and "Shove it up your ass, you faggot."
  • We see some kids jumping on a car in a bad part of a city.
  • The sudden loud sound of a telephone ringing might startle some viewers.
  • A person suddenly surprises another person just as a candle suddenly flares up on its own.
  • A heavy amount of ominous, suspenseful and downright frightening music occurs during the film.
  • None.
  • At least 13 "f" words (9 used sexually, 1 used with "mother"), 3 "s" words, 3 slang terms for/using male genitals ("c*ck" and "c*cks*cker"), 1 slang term for female genitals ("c*nt"), 3 asses, 2 damns, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "G-damn," 4 each of "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God," 3 each of "For God's sakes" and "Oh God," 2 of "Oh Christ" and 1 use each of "Christ," "God," "Jesus," "My God" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • Chris shows some cleavage in her nightgown.
  • We see a Church statue that's been defaced with what look like horns sticking out from the breast and crotch areas, all of which are bloody.
  • A doctor tells Chris that Regan told him to keep his hands away from her "g*ddamn c*nt."
  • During a medical examination, we can see the top of Regan's bare breasts.
  • Now possessed by the devil, Regan repeatedly tells several doctors who've come into her room, "F*ck me!"
  • We see Regan repeatedly jab a cross into her crotch (in a violent, masturbatory act while stating, "Let Jesus f*ck you. Let Jesus f*ck you. Let him f*ck you"), but don't see the actual penetration, although there's plenty of blood. She then repeatedly states, "Lick me!" and holds her mother's face down to her crotch.
  • Regan (still possessed) tells Father Merrin, "Stick your c*ck up her ass, you motherf*cking worthless c*cks*cker." She then states, "Your mother sucks c*cks in hell, Father Karras." She then rapidly and suggestively licks her tongue at Father Karras.
  • Father Karras smokes around five times, while Chris smokes (or hold cigarettes) a few times, and various other minor or miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • We learn that Regan's parents are separated or divorced and Chris is upset that her (former) husband hasn't called Regan on her birthday.
  • Father Karras worries and feels guilty about his mother after his uncle put her into a mental hospital (they couldn't afford anything else). We later learn that his mother has died.
  • Chris understandably worries about Regan.
  • The reports that the film was loosely based on a true story.
  • Possession and exorcism.
  • Why Regan was the target of possession.
  • The ages old battle between good and evil.
  • Father Merrin sees some dogs viciously fighting in an Iraqi desert.
  • A drunk film director badgers a waiter about being a former Nazi until the two are each at each other's throats and must be separated.
  • Now possessed, Regan strikes a doctor in the face, sending him to the floor. Others then hold her down as she's given a sedative.
  • We hear that Burke was killed when he was thrown down a flight of outdoor steps and broke his neck (with his head being turned around backwards - not seen, but described).
  • Regan causes a picture to fall to the floor and then grabs a doctor by the crotch, sending him to the floor with her on top of him (others pull her off).
  • We see Regan repeatedly jab a cross into her crotch (in a violent, masturbatory act), but don't see its penetration, although there's plenty of blood on her, the sheets and Chris' face (after Regan holds her mother's head down there). She then slaps her mother across the room.
  • The Devil then causes the walls and doors to crack and splinter and for the whole room to shake violently.
  • Regan hits Father Karras on the back, knocking him to the floor.
  • We see a dead person but don't know if the Devil killed him or if he died of a heart attack, etc.
  • Father Karras grabs and throws Regan to the floor and repeatedly punches and tries to strangle her.
  • A man purposefully throws himself out through a window and then tumbles down a flight of outdoor steps, resulting in his death.

  • Reviewed September 7, 2000 / Posted September 22, 2000

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