Friedkin fans have long been tantalised by the knowledge that several scenes from The Exorcist were left on the cutting room floor. And, almost exactly two years after the disturbing demon-child classic was finally unleashed by the censor, they're being given the opportunity to witness this official "Director's Cut", which not only includes the missing footage, but also uses the latest audio jiggery-pokery to roll out a new jitter-sustaining soundtrack.
On its original release, writer William Peter Blatty's reality-inspired story about the Satanic torments of a young girl (Linda Blair) had considerable kick. Long before Blair Witch had audiences heaving into their popcorn buckets, The Exorcist made '70s audiences faint, rush for the exit signs and even attend church. And though today's cinema-goers are definitely a hardier species, this horror benchmark still speaks with a remarkably eerie, disconcerting voice.
Reinstating the chilling spider-walk sequence and further mid-exorcism dialogue between Fathers Merrin (Max Von Sydow) and Karras (Jason Miller), this new version thankfully enriches director Friedkin's old cut, which was an intense experience but felt somewhat abridged. Blatty had always argued that the original film stunted both the emotional and philosophical impact of his novel - and this release proves him right. The story itself is more satisfying, while the power of the jolts is boosted by the immaculate sound and sneakily effective subliminal extra frames. See it and shiver.