The Greatest Horror Movie Of All Time Is Leaving Netflix

By Matthew Creith | 7 days ago

scariest horror movie ever

The horror movie genre is a unique part of cinema where fans intersect with the macabre and frightening tales that haunt our dreams. The desire to be scared has kept viewers flocking to movie theaters for decades, as well as the option to seek out classic horror films on streaming platforms worldwide. Netflix has become the streamer of choice for fan-favorite titles, which has included The Exorcist, which is due to leave the subscription streamer on June 30, 2022.

The Exorcist first premiered in theaters in 1973 and had a remastered version that included extended scenes in 2000. Since its debut, the conversation surrounding religion and the supernatural has led to filmmakers choosing a variety of projects to scare their audiences, with The Conjuring and Annabelle as prime recent examples. Assisted by an all-star cast and a spine-chilling score, The Exorcist went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the 1974 Academy Awards, the first horror film to ever achieve that goal.

Coming off the heels of the commercially successful run of The French Connection, William Friedkin took on directing duties for The Exorcist, aided by a script written by William Peter Blatty. Blatty adapted the screenplay from the popular novel he wrote of the same name and chose to produce the film himself. Ellen Burstyn starred as Chris MacNeil; the actress mother of a girl named Regan who becomes possessed by a demonic spirit. Unable to control her daughter’s demons, MacNeil is forced to look to the Catholic church for answers and brings in two priests to exorcise the devil out of her child. The priests were portrayed to perfection by Max von Sydow and Jason Miller in roles that helped elevate both actors’ careers.

Despite the exceptional leads that The Exorcist gave audiences at the time, the true star power of the film belongs to young Linda Blair. Playing Regan to absolute perfection, Blair won the Golden Globe and was nominated at age 14 for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, losing to another youngster, Tatum O’Neal. The psychological torment of playing such a horrific part was a lot for Blair to take on, but William Friedkin believed he had the right girl for the role, according to an interview he gave later with Awards Daily. Famed actress Mercedes McCambridge was brought in to do some voice-over work for some of the lines that Regan yells while being possessed towards the end of the film.

But, even with a film as remarkable as The Exorcist, there are bound to be issues with behind-the-scenes work, production, and the overall reception of the project. In the same interview with Awards Daily, William Friedkin admitted that they went through several casting options before landing on Ellen Burstyn, which included Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft. Jason Miller had very little to no acting experience before being cast as Father Damien Karras, and Burstyn herself wasn’t exactly a household name at the time. After casting concluded and production began, a fire broke out that destroyed a lot of the set and the two main actresses were present for other accidents which caused them to have long-term injuries. The budget for the film ballooned to $12 million, and principal photography took almost twice as long as originally planned. To top it off, Friedkin had the set chilled to 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the exorcism scenes in Regan’s bedroom, which was quite a hectic shoot for the cast according to American Cinematographer.

regan devil

Despite the production problems, the legacy of The Exorcist is one for the cinematic history books. Ranked by the American Film Institute as #3 on its list of 100 Years…100 Thrills, the film went on to gross over $441 million at the box office. It is regarded by many critics as the greatest horror film ever made and was the highest-grossing R-rated horror film until It took the crown in 2017. Rotten Tomatoes ranks the film with 84% on its Tomatometer of 86 reviews. The Exorcist spawned three sequels, one of which starred Linda Blair in a reprisal of her work as Regan. Recently, it was announced that Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions are filming a reboot of the film, and Ellen Burstyn is set to star as Chris MacNeil once again.