The Icon, The Trend Setter, The Exorcist…

William Friedkin’s 1973 production of The Exorcist is an iconic horror film whose use of new, racier subject matter exemplifies the meaning of New Hollywood.  From the shadowy figure of the priest to young Regan McNeil, played by Linda Blair, spewing what most people refer to as split pea soup during her apparent demonic possession make The Exorcist a truly memorable film.  The introduction of the idea of demonic possession in a child and the mother’s struggle to rid her of the evil spirits was something that was seldom discussed in film prior to this New Hollywood age in film.  The film seems to point out the absurdity of demonic possession and its connection to the church, something which was considered a taboo topic until the production of this film.  The expelling of demons from an innocent child on the big screen gave other film makers the idea that it was okay to make films about such risqué topics.  It opened the doors for a whole new genre of film, and took its cues from those New Hollywood films which preceded it.  William Friedkin was one of the major film directors of the New Hollywood era who opened the doors for other greats who followed through the end of New Hollywood in 1982.  The use of different camera angles and film quality to fully capture the frightening nature of the demonic possession was something that truly makes The Exorcist stand out as one of the most notable films of the New Hollywood period.

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