American horror film released in 1973. It was directed by William Friedkin, with a screenplay by William Peter Blatty, based on his own novel. The stars of the movie included: 

The plot focuses on Chris MacNeil, an actress in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and her daughter Regan, who begins feeling unwell and soon swings into a full personality change to an angry, violent girl who exhibits unusual strength. Her behavior gets worse and worse as she mutilates herself and begins demonstrating impossible physical feats, including turning her head backwards. Medical tests produce no conclusive evidence that Regan is sick, and Chris turns to Father Karras, a Jesuit priest who is losing his faith. 

Karras decides this may be a case of demonic possession and requests permission to conduct an exorcism. His superior approves, but insists that Father Merrin, an experienced exorcist, conduct the ritual, with Karras assisting. Both priests are severely tested by the demon, and Father Merrin suffers a heart attack and dies. Furious, Karras demands the demon possess him instead, then throws himself from the bedroom window and dies, saving Regan's soul. 

Filming the movie was difficult, partly because William Friedkin was a bit of an asshole and liked to shock or strike his actors to get better reactions out of them. He also insisted on numerous reshoots and fired crew members frequently. The exorcism scene was shot in a refrigerated room that lowered the temperature to 20 degrees below zero so the actors' breath could be seen. Filming went over 100 days over schedule and $2.5 million over budget. 

The set was also plagued by accidents, injuries, and even deaths. Two actors who played supporting roles died soon after they finished filming their scenes. Three crew members also died during filming, and several actors, including Blair and von Sydow lost family members during filming. Burstyn and Blair both suffered back injuries during on-set accidents, and other accidents destroyed several sets used in the film. This led to talk of a curse on the film, which Friedkin encouraged becaues it was good publicity

Initial reviews were mixed, but audiences turned out in droves -- even if they ran screaming from the theater before the end of the movie. It was a nationwide sensation, with people fainting or vomiting in theaters, church attendance soaring as terrified filmgoers sought holy protection, and kids getting "possessed" for attention. It set off a horror boom in films and books and was eventually a component of the Satanic Panic in the 1980s. 

Multiple directors have cited it as one of their favorite movies, including Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, David Fincher, John Carpenter, and Robert Eggers. And lots of people still consider "The Exorcist" to be one of the scariest movies ever made. 

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