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The Exorcist Blu-ray Review

“The Exorcist” Blu-ray is a must own for fans of the horror classic.“The Exorcist,” which revolves around a young girl possessed by a demon, is often dubbed the scariest film of all time. Personally, I never understood that claim. Perhaps it’s one of those films that needed to be seen in theaters at the time of its release, but alas, I was not around then. Nowadays, I find the film to be rather tame. Plus, it’s been so spoofed and copied that the film has somewhat lost its uniqueness. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the film. Mike Oldfield’s score is iconic, there are some effective scares (like the devil flashes), the make-up work is some of the best in cinematic history, and the film also boasts great performances by Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, and especially Linda Blair. So what’s the real problem you ask? For me, it’s the plot structure. The film has a slow build-up (especially with the overlong archaelogical dig scenes in Iraq) and the editing is so choppy that it takes me out of the movie. Pacing is everything for a horror film and jumping around from character to character is distracting. One could also even say the story is even unfocused in parts.

Summary: Complaints aside, I realize this film has a large fanbase in the horror community and those fans will undoubtedly love this Blu-ray set as it contains a boat load of extras and both the extended director’s cut and the original theatrical version in 1080p.

I can’t say I was impressed with the 1.85:1 1080p picture quality. The film is heavy on the grainy side and I also spotted dirt specs and wavy lines here and there. Granted, some of the exterior shots and colors look solid, but this is far from one of the better looking classic films on Blu-ray.

The director’s cut 6.1 DTS-HD audio track is very layered and is clearly the best audio on this set. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track on the original theatrical version of the film isn’t as effective as the 6.1 track but it’s satisfactory enough.  

Extras:
* A personal message (on paper) from William Friedkin.
* A booklet containing trivia, information, and cast member profiles.
* 2 trailers, 3 TV spots, 2 radio spots for the director’s cut.
* “The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then And Now”- Self-explanatory.
* “Faces Of Evil: The Different Versions Of The Exorcist”- See above comment.
* “Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist”- A great making of that contains topics that range from the novel, the cinematography, the make-up, the cast, etc. Set footage and interviews are included. Make-up and effects tests are also included which was interesting to see.
* 3 trailes and 4 TV spots for the original theatrical version.
* Interviews with William Friedkin and author William Peter Blatty talking about the original cut of the film, their visions of the material, religious themes, interpretations of the material, etc.

* An introduction by William Friedkin.
* Sketches and storyboards.
* The original ending.
* “The Fear Of God”- Another making of that touches upon the film’s popularity, the story, the scares, the novel and so on.

* Two commentaries by William Friedkin (one for the director’s cut and one for the original theatrical version). Anyone who has ever heard Friedkin talk knows that he can talk about anything and everything. Here he discusses at great length about location shooting, behind-the-scenes stories, his directorial style. Well worth listening to (especially if you’re a filmmaker).
* Commentary by William Peter Blatty (with sound effects tests). He talks about story inspirations, his book, his life, etc. An interesting commentary from a writer’s perspective.

October 28, 2010 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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