The Exorcist or The Shining: which one do you consider to be the scariest film in the history of cinema (with George A. Romero’s permission, of course)? I find both works fascinating, so it’s hard for me to choose, but if I had to, and because of the differences between Stephen King’s novel and Kubrick’s screenplay, I think I’d choose The Exorcist, which also came seven years earlier, bringing substantial novelties to the genre. By the way, an anecdotal note, Kubrick could have directed The Exorcist, but he didn’t find it an interesting project.

After a rather complicated shooting, the film was released in 1973 and became, from its first weekend, a huge box office success, to the point that some people consider it the first big blockbuster in the history of cinema, a title for which it competes with Star Wars (episode 4) from 1977 and Jaws, shot by Steven Spielberg in 1975 and which, strictly speaking, is the one most people point to as the starting point of this kind of films.

In any case The Exorcist was a huge success and, well, we know what studio executives usually decide when a film is a success, don’t we? Indeed, two years later The Exorcist II: The Heretic was released, a film you shouldn’t miss, especially if you like films that make you cringe and think that the almost two hours it lasts would have been better spent looking at the bottom of a pickle jar or the inside of a bag of potato chips.

Thirteen years later, in 1990, came The Exorcist III: Legion, the end of the trilogy (which was never really a trilogy in the first place), which improved somewhat on the second part, although it was still far, far away from the 1973 original. And since then until now there have been more versions, both film and television, trying to scratch at least part of the success of William Friedkin’s work, with a result, well, let’s say forgettable.

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Even so, the studios don’t stop, and those of us who were thrilled with the 1973 original want a new adaptation / version / reboot or whatever it is that is up to par. And finally, almost five decades later, and I know that in a while I will regret having said this, there is a project that aims high and could compete directly with the original. And it would be signed by David Gordon Green, responsible for the new Halloween titles, who seems to have a pretty comfortable relationship with the genre.

El Exorcista volverá como trilogía con Ellen Burstyn

And today we know from The New York Times, that this is a rather ambitious Universal project, as we are not talking about a new title based on the universe of The Exorcist, but three, with the positive difference that, in this case, the project has been conceived as a trilogy since its inception. This, for starters, already gives us some peace of mind, because we can expect the story to be consistent between the three films, which is something that unfortunately suffers from the original trilogy.

Another excellent news is that in his cast will have nothing less than Ellen Burstyn reprising the role of Chris MacNeil, the mother of Regan (Linda Blair) in the original film. In this new THE Exorcist we will also see Leslie Odom Jr. of Hamilton, who will play a father whose daughter has been possessed, and in his desperate search for help gets to MacNeil, who already went through that horrible experience decades ago.

There is no news, at least for the moment, of Linda Blair, even if it was in a sporadic appearance, so we can see Regan again. The rest of the main characters, if they appear, would have to be played by other actors, as Lee J. Cobb (Lieutenant Kinderman) died shortly after the premiere, in 1976, Jason Miller (Father Karras) died in 2001 and Max von Sydow (Father Merrin), already a nonagenarian, left us last year.

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The bad news is that we’ll still have to wait to be scared again with The Exorcist, as the premiere of this new title is scheduled for October 13, 2023, almost 50 years after the original, which debuted on December 26, 1973. Perhaps, as a way to whet your appetite, it’s a good time to watch the classic again and see that, incredible as it may seem, it’s still terrifying. And to maintain that capacity so many years later, and with how audiovisual language has evolved is, without a doubt, an enormous merit.

Images: Universal