Some 37 years after the movie appeared in theaters, many people still believe that The Exorcist
is the scariest movie ever made. Director William Friedkin's bone-chilling shocker about a cherub-faced young girl (Linda Blair) possessed by a demon and her mother's (Ellen Burstyn) desperate efforts to have a priest perform an exorcism on her daughter is truly the stuff of nightmares, but Blu-ray Bob can think of something scarier. Friedkin, now 74 years old, was recently given final say on the color-correction work for the Blu-ray debut of his The French Connection
. There has been a lot of chatter on the web by fans who watched the Blu-ray only to find that the restored classic has a weird pastel palette that makes it look like aliens from the planet Easter Egg abducted and had their way with it.
The Exorcist has been available in several DVD incarnations over the years, including the theatrical version and what was called The Version You've Never Seen that featured additional footage that Friedkin had cut from the film, including Blair's "spider walk" crawl down the stairs. Friedkin and most fans agree that this is the ultimate version of The Exorcist, and it’s the one Warner Bros. restored for the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Exorcist: Extended Director's Cut on October 5. The real horror, given his work on The French Connection, will be if the studio again lets the director—clearly possessed by a colorblind demon of his own—tinker with the colors of his finest movie. We like our pea soup vomit bright green, thank you very much.
If you want to see the new restored version on DVD, you're not going to get much in the way of bonus features. The two-disc Blu-ray, however, comes packaged in a 40-page book with a personal letter from Friedkin as well as photos, cast bios, production notes and more. The first BD includes the Extended Director's Cut and three new exclusive documentaries: "Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist," "The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now," and "Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist." The other BD includes the theatrical version of The Exorcist with all the previous DVD extras, including the Friedkin introduction, interviews, sketches, storyboards and much more. Here's to hoping the restoration of this classic horror film is fantastically scary in the way it was originally intended.