Although released in 1973, The Exorcist is still one of the most chilling horror films of the century. The Exorcist’s emphasis on blasphemy towards God and the theme of loss of faith is inherently disturbing. In the film, Satan takes the form of Regan, a young innocent girl. When Satan possesses Regan’s body her face begins to mesh with the demonic being and she acquires inhumane qualities that scare audience members to the core. Regan says absurdly vulgar things in a dark and menacing voice, creating the most unsettling environment. Her completely cryptic behavior includes turning her head 180 degrees, spider crawling down the stairs, and participating in sexually explicit activities with a crucifix is utterly disturbing. The morally threatening nature of Reagan is even scarier than her physically threatening appearance, which is also quite repulsive.
The special effects used in The Exorcist are unlike anything viewers would see in current horror films. One of the most terrifying scenes in the Exorcist is during Father Karras’ nightmare when audience members see the demonic being for the first time. The camera cuts from a faceless picture of Karras’ mother to the demon for merely 2 seconds, instilling an absolutely horrific image of a skull with piercing eyes that sends chills down your spine.