It is 25 years since William Friedkin's tale of demonic possession first visited its horrors upon the public, yet the film's graphic depiction of Linda Blair's rape (for that is what it is) by doctors and the Devil still has the power to shock and unnerve. From its eerie prologue in Iraq to the heart-stopping exorcism climax, the film is a relentless visual and aural assault on our sensibilities, and a masterpiece of manipulation. Horror may be experiencing a renaissance at present, but nothing produced in recent years has come close to equalling the terrifying power of this genre landmark.
Catch Friedkin's intelligent chiller, remastered and stereophonically enhanced, at a cinema now; it will probably never be re-released on video in the UK.
On general release