The film’s screenplay was based upon author William Peter Blatty’s 1971 best-selling theological-horror novel of the same name. It is a horror movie with a true good vs. evil plot. Or as some like to call them, Psychological Dramas.
It was also one of the most controversial and opposed films to ever to have been released at that time. Mainly due to the content and the graphic nature of the scenes. The 360 degree head-rotation, self-mutilation, masturbation with a crucifix, the projectile spewing of green vomit and the shocking horror story about devil possession and the subsequent exorcism. The victim a 12 year old girl (Linda Blair) becomes possessed and her mother (Ellen Burstyn) tries to save her. What happens next is true movie horror.
This is not the typical slice ’em and dice ’em horror movie that reign in our theaters today. This movie has a real plot with real characters and has something to give to the audience. It takes the audience into the darkest recesses of humankind and then brings them back through a message of hope and self-sacrifice. Both Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn are extraordinary in this film, and to think Linda was only 12 years old when she filmed this movie.
The Exorcist was notable for being one of the first ‘blockbusters’ in film history, and surpassed The Godfather as the biggest money-maker of its time. It was presented with ten Academy Award nominations, two of which won (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound). The other eight nominations included: Best Picture, Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Miller), Best Supporting Actress (Linda Blair), Best Director, Best Cinematography (Owen Roizman), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing. Until Silence of the Lambs, The Exorcist was the only horror film to be nominated for Best Picture in Academy Award history.