For those who don't know about this film, it was originally banned in Britain because it was deemed to shocking to be screened in its original form. Looking at it, its hard to see why it was banned. In this day and age, we are used to shocking films, and in fact this reviewer has Stigmata, a very similarly themed film sat in front of him ready for review at this moment.
Having seen many films in my 30 years of life, I have become somewhat accustomed to hype surrounding a film, and if this film was released for the first time now, I'd have to say it would be over hyped... But it wasn't, in fact it was released in 1973, and back then things were much different. That said though, it is a masterful piece of horror filming, with some great suspenseful moments, and a few shocking ones thrown in. I think we all know about the spinning head scene, and in fact Steve Martin actually made a reference to it in the comedy Parenthood.
For a film released in 1973, the picture quality is nothing short of amazing, all I can say is that the film stock must have been very good quality to start with, and has been stored in perfect conditions. In fact the transfer to both DVD and VHS in its new form was supervised by director Freidkin.
Sound though is odd....Although the Dolby Digital logo appears on the back cover, sound appears to be in Mono only (this is what I would have expected), that said, the music at the end appears to be in stereo....Very odd indeed.
The extras should also get a note, because they are superb...Exactly what you would hope on an anniversary disc as this one is, with the 1998 BBC Fear Of God documentary heading the list. Its just a shame that the extras were not included on a second layer, they are instead on the other side of the disc.
To sum up, this reviewer is rarely shocked these days by films, but that's not to say that this is not a shocking film. Linda Blair plays her part brilliantly and when possessed, is menacing to say the least. It is however a very good film, and a much better standard of horror than we get released these days. Buy it, if only to laugh at the hilariously bad TV spots.
- The Fear of God - Documentary
- Eight Trailers
- Six TV Spots
- The Original Ending
- Separate Commentaries by Friedkin and Blatty
- Sketches and Storyboards