Video Picks Archive

January 3, 2001
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>

This week my picks are The Exorcist ("The Version You've Never Seen", 2000) (1973 - ) and The Exorcist (Original Cut) (1973 - ).

Normally, I pick two films each week to review for the video picks. Under special circumstances, I'll pick more. However, this week I want to recap the differences between two versions of the same film. Last Fall, Warner Bros. released a new version of The Exorcist, touting it as "The Version You've Never Seen". The venture paid off, but many were unsatisfied with the results. The screenwriter and original novelist, William Peter Blatty, had written some scenes that he wanted in the film, which were shot, but left out of the final cut in 1973. Director William Friedkin rightly saw that these scenes only slowed down the film, sometimes even changing the tone when inappropriate. He finally relented, and put this version out, allegedly agreeing now with Blatty that the scenes should have stayed. I mentioned some of these changes in my full review of the re-issue, some of which have been used in various broadcast versions of the film. In this new shape, the film is still very good -- far better than any other horror film from last year -- but it's a pale shadow of the original cut. I docked it a half-star from what I would have given the original, so this article exists primarily to give the 1973 cut an "official" four-star rating. Now, you can judge the differences in the comfort of your own home. Your video store should still have copies of the original, and newly-released copies of the 2000 cut. Of course, you can still buy both versions online, but if you want widescreen VHS, you have to buy a special box set of the 1973 cut. If you want standard pan&scan VHS, you have to go with the new one (which is priced to rent at the writing of this article). On DVD, the original costs only slightly more than the new cut, but you get many more special features, and a better film to boot!
Full review from September 25, 2000


For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
The Exorcist (1973)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
The Exorcist ("The Version You've Never Seen") (1973) -- VHS
The Exorcist ("The Version You've Never Seen") (1973) -- DVD
The Exorcist (Original Cut, Special Box Set) (1973) -- VHS Widescreen
The Exorcist (Original Cut) (1973) -- DVD
The Exorcist, a novel by William Peter Blatty -- Paperback
The Exorcist, a novel by William Peter Blatty -- Audio Cassette (read by the author)
Music Excerpts from The Exorcist -- Compact Disc


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