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The A-Z Blogging Challenge is something that I am taking part in for the first time. It has been going for a few years and is more popular that ever. The premise is very simple. Each day in April with the exception of a few Sundays, bloggers from around the world blog for 26 days in April with each day’s blog beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, so April 1st is “A”, the 2nd is “B” and so on. The subject of each blog can be anything as long as it is to do with the appropriate letter. Some people blog about anything, some people theme their blogs. I hope you enjoy reading some of my posts and if I would love to read your comments about my challenge.

“E” Is For Exorcist

xorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed. Depending on the spiritual beliefs of the exorcist, this may be done by causing the entity to swear an oath, performing an elaborate ritual, or simply by commanding it to depart in the name of a higher power. The practice is ancient and part of the belief system of many cultures and religions. – (Source : Wikipedia). The horror movie genre likes this subject, a LOT!

Once dubbed “the scariest movie of all time” by some media, the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist based upon the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty finally emerged from its self-imposed “ban” in the UK in 1999. It is widely believed that the film was banned. This is in fact untrue. Warner Bros never actually submitted it for rating in the UK fearing that it would not pass the newly introduced Video Nasty laws.

I saw the movie and although it was disturbing, it wasn’t that scary, but back in 1973, I suppose it must have been as nothing like this had been done before. The graphic images of masturbation with a cross, demon possession, foul language and of course projectile vomiting must have caused quite a stir amongst movie goers and film critics alike.

The film follows the story of Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) who becomes possessed by an evil demon and has to undergo an exorcism performed by two priests, Father Karras (Jason Miller) and Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). Along the way, there are things that the demon does to try to dissuade the religious duo from performing their duties, but perseverance will triumph in the end, or will it. It’s definitely worth a watch even just to say you have seen it. It was directed by William Friedkin.

Sequels followed and the first of these was called Exorcist II : The Heretic. This movie stars Richard Burton as Father Lamont who is investigating the events of the previous film for the Church, who, in an effort to modernise are trying to find Father Merrin guilty of posthumous heresy charges and deny the existence of The Devil. This movie wasn’t as good as the original and the box office agreed. The film only took around £30M and that more or less out an end to the series. That is until 1990.

William Blatty himself made a third Exorcist movie, entitled with the most care and originality The Exorcist III. I have to admit that I haven’t actually seen this one and perhaps I will at some point to cast my highly critical eye over it. It’s a movie that Blatty was in fact very pleased with, but it only just made more that its budget and we wouldn’t see another movie in the franchise until 14 years later when in 2004 Exorcist : The Beginning was made.

It had been a long time since an Exorcist movie and this more commercial Hollywood version of this particular story was made. Another was made called Dominion : Prequel to the Exorcist. The stories are the same, even the main actor playing Father Merrin was the same, Stellan Skarsgård. Both are the prequel to the events that happen before the 1973 movie and we encounter the demon Pazuzu once more, the same one referenced in the original movie. I thought it was ok, but just another run of the mill horror movie. At the box office, The Beginning broke even and wasn’t a hit.

Overall though, in terms of box office success, the franchise has taken six times its estimated budget, but this is mostly down to the huge success of the 1973 movie and in that movie alone a hit series was born. I haven’t watched it for a number of years and should probably try it for size once again and give it a proper review on here to see if it still shapes up to the horror classic that everyone hails it as. Here is the original move trailer…