Is the Exorcist Movie Really Scary?

The Exorcist is a classic horror movie that has been scaring audiences since its release in 1973. Directed by William Friedkin and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, the film tells the story of a young girl named Regan who becomes possessed by a demon.

But is The Exorcist really as scary as people make it out to be? Let’s take a closer look.

The Plot

The Exorcist begins with a prologue set in Iraq, where Father Lankester Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) discovers an ancient artifact that may have demonic powers. We then cut to Georgetown, where we meet Regan (played by Linda Blair), her mother Chris (played by Ellen Burstyn), and Father Damien Karras (played by Jason Miller).

Strange things start happening to Regan, including violent outbursts and speaking in strange languages. After medical doctors are unable to diagnose her condition, Chris turns to Father Karras for help. He eventually convinces the church to allow an exorcism, which is performed by Father Merrin and Karras.

The Scary Elements

The Exorcist is certainly a scary movie, but what makes it so frightening? There are several elements that contribute:

  • The Possession: The idea of being possessed by a demon is inherently frightening, and Linda Blair’s performance as Regan is chilling. Her transformation from innocent young girl to foul-mouthed demon is one of the most memorable parts of the movie.
  • The Special Effects: The practical effects used in The Exorcist were groundbreaking for their time and still hold up today.

    From Regan’s spinning head to her projectile vomiting, the effects add a level of realism that makes the horror feel more immediate.

  • The Soundtrack: The music in The Exorcist is haunting and adds to the overall atmosphere of dread. The use of tubular bells in particular has become iconic.
  • The Theme: The Exorcist deals with themes of faith and doubt, which adds a layer of psychological horror to the movie. Father Karras’s own crisis of faith and guilt over his mother’s death make him a relatable character.

The Legacy

The Exorcist was a massive success upon its release, grossing over $400 million worldwide. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won two (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound). The movie has since become a cultural phenomenon, spawning sequels, spin-offs, and parodies.

But perhaps the most lasting legacy of The Exorcist is its impact on the horror genre. The movie paved the way for other horror classics like Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and its influence can be seen in countless movies that followed.


So, is The Exorcist really scary? The answer is yes.

While some aspects of the movie may feel dated by today’s standards, there’s no denying that it still has the power to terrify audiences. From Linda Blair’s unforgettable performance to the groundbreaking special effects, The Exorcist remains a classic of the horror genre that should not be missed.