Previous Rank: 1
Director: William Friedkin
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Jason Miller
Scare Meter: 10/10
Scare Tactics: atmosphere, music, sounds, visuals, Regan/Pazuzu
*Listed in 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die (Schneider, ed. 2009)
*Listed in Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death (Marriott and Newman 2010)
IMDb Plot Summary: "When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter."
Speaking of sheer raw power, nothing holds a candle to my favorite horror film of all time (a sentiment shared by many all over the world). When it came out, audiences were revolted, angered, upset...but they came in droves and made this a box office hit. After all, the film was as much an attack on the spirit and faith as it was on the mind and emotions. What other film could claim as much? No possession film before or since has come anywhere close to the audacity, boldness, and in-your-face brutality of the McNeils' harrowing spiritual battle. The cinematography, score, production design, sound, makeup...all come together under the masterful direction of William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his own equally terrifying novel, to make a chilling masterpiece that will shake you to the core.
As far as the ability of horror films to create a shudder in the soul is concerned, this is truly the standard against which all other horror films will forever be set.