An archaeological dig in northern Iraq unearths a medallion and an artifact that represents an ancient demon named Pazuzu. Father Merrin, who was at the site at the time of the discovery, prepares to leave Iraq when he’s confronted with a group of dogs fighting in the desert and a large statue of the demon Pazuzu. Across the world in Georgetown an actress Chris Macneil is temporarily living in an appointed house with her daughter Regan and two servants, Karl and Willi Engstrom. Chris begins to hear her daughter discuss an imaginary friend named “Captain Howdy” as well as strange noises in the house’s attic. Shortly after during a party hosted at the home by Chris Regan interrupts and urinates on the carpet before Chris takes her back to bed. As Regan continues to act out of character she begins to act violently. She is taken for several medical tests to try to diagnose the ailment but nothing physically wrong with Regan is discovered. Things continue to spiral when Chris returns home to find the house empty except for Regan who is upstairs asleep while Dennings is found dead outside Regan’s window. As the disturbing actions of Regan continue to escalate Chris reaches out to Karras for help with the demonic activity. Upon meeting with Regan the spirit residing inside her claims to be the Devil himself and speaks in tongues as the Priest finds himself dragged into a spiritual battle of the ages.
The cultural icon of a film launched the day after Christmas in 1973 and was met with overwhelming interest as the film would become the second most popular film of the year earning $66.3 million. This legendary horror film not only thrust the horror genre into the mainstream by being the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture but as a Cinefantasique reviewer stated “The Exorcist has done for the horror film what 2001 did for science fiction, legitimizing it in the eyes of thousands who previously considered horror movies nothing more than a giggle”. The successful film and its subject matter also spawned the discussion of “cursed movies” as the film’s production was plagued with terrible misfortunes. The film was scheduled to shoot for 105 days but due to production problems and accidents on set it took over 200 days to finish. Early in the production, the set in New York was destroyed by a fire that started when a bird flew into a circuit breaker, later a different set was destroyed when a sprinkler system malfunctioned and activated. Cast and crew suffered injuries, McGowran died a week after completing his scenes, Maliaros passed away before the film was finished, and even the night watchman on set passed away during the film. Friedkin was quoted as saying “I’m not a convert to the occult, but after all, I’ve seen on this film, I definitely believe in demonic possession … We were plagued by strange and sinister things from the beginning.”
As always, if you’ve seen the listed film, dislike the film, or just don’t believe you would like it we have provided a list of alternative choices for you to pick from: alternative-films-for-this-spooky-season