THE EXORCIST UNTOLD (2023). Review by Steve Kirkham



3 stars
Reel2Reel Films. DVD and Digital. 11th December

It’s the 50th Anniversary this year of The Exorcist – a film many consider one of the greatest horror movies ever made. I have to say it stands up remarkably well, despite it’s age, having recently seen it on the huge IMAX screen at the recent FrightFest showing at the Empire Leicester Square. And with the new (not very good) sequel The Exorcist: Believer also doing the rounds, I guess it was inevitable that we would get a documentary exploring the original, with the difficulties the filmmakers had bringing it to the screen and the continuing cultural impact it has.

We have, in recent years, had far-reaching filmic studies of such endeavours as The Nightmare on Elm Street series, Friday the 13th and it’s numerous sequels and the just released comprehensive presentation on Robocop… so why not look at The Exorcist.

However, after these in-depth, deep dives this new investigation into one of the most influential horror films of all time felt somewhat cursory and certainly didn’t feel particularly “untold” as many of the tales were familiar.

You do get quite a few talking heads including the likes of title designer Dan Perri and others experts and scholars (many of whom I had never heard of) – Dr. Sarah Crowther, Prof Chris McGothlin and Nat Segaloff plus archival footage of both writer William Peter Blatty and director William Friedkin. They also talk to Blatty’s wife Julia.

It’s not to say that this is a bad documentary – because it isn’t – and it does feature some nice footage from back when the film was first released. It just didn’t feel as comprehensive as it might have been and pales in comparison to productions of a similar ilk which have managed to be far more exhaustive in their research and coverage of other key genre productions.

Steve Kirkham