YMMV / The Exorcist

The Exorcist
  • Adaptation Displacement: Not many people are aware that there was a novel first.
  • Awesome Music: The perennially-creepy Tubular Bells, courtesy of Mike Oldfield.
  • Complete Monster: Pazuzu, the ultimate source of everything wrong within the series, was an ancient demon who possessed the young girl Regan MacNeil in the original film, in the hopes of getting revenge on Father Lankester Merrin for exorcising him from a boy in Africa. Causing Regan to go into violent body spasms and staying in her "until she rots and lies stinking in the Earth," it is implied that Pazuzu causes Merrin to suffer a fatal heart attack, before it takes control of Father Karras in an attempt to dispose of Regan. In the second film, Pazuzu, among other actions, attacked an African town with locusts. Seeking to hurt Karras after the events of the first film, Pazuzu took the soul of the executed Gemini Killer and transferred it into Karras's body, thus setting off the Gemini Killer's further spree. In the prequel, Exorcist: The Beginning, Pazuzu systematically corrupted and killed anyone who arrived at the pagan temple, only leaving a sole priest in the process. Towards the end of The Beginning, all of the soldiers and the local tribes had killed each other due to Pazuzu's influence, leaving Merrin and a young boy as the only survivors. An obscene, destructive abomination, Pazuzu gleefully ruins the lives of everyone around it and has well-earned its status as an icon of horror.
  • Contractual Purity: The inverse happened to Linda Blair when she tried to break into romantic comedies.
  • First Installment Wins: Only one in the series whose quality is undisputed.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In the book, Pazuzu's rage when Father Merrin dies. Father Merrin was, presumably, a good, faithful priest. His death means he is likely in Heaven (or will be relatively soon if you believe in Purgatory,) the one place Pazuzu will never be able to reach him.
    • The film lost something by having Pazuzu giggle when Merrin died rather than yelling at him to come back.
  • Fridge Horror: The spider-walk scene in the book is less terrifying at first than completely, inhumanly alien. Blatty's description doesn't sink in for a minute. Then it hits you.
  • Hype Aversion: The cover art declares it to be "The Scariest Movie Ever Made." That can definitely turn people away or lead to disappointed viewers.
  • Moral Event Horizon: If Pazuzu's possesion of Regan wasn't bad enough, when he posseses Karras at the end, he immediately moves forward to KILL Regan since he doesn't need her anymore. Bastard!
    • There's also the fact that in the third film, he convinced the spirit of the late Gemini Killer to possess Karras's body and was responsible for countless human deaths that Gemini Killer caused when he took Karras's body.
  • Memetic Mutation: Ever saw a screamer? If yes, there's a 99% chance demon-possessed Regan jumped in your face at least once.
    • Or an image of Captain Howdy.
  • Narm: Most people find it scary, but quite a few find it downright hilarious mostly due to just how over the top it gets: a good example would be the restored spider-walk scene.
    • The silver medal in that department has to be the "The power of Christ compels you!!" scene.
    • Some feel that the possessed Regan's voice has aged badly, since nowadays the voice of a Creepy Child often seems creepier than something inhuman. A good number of the comments to this video are saying that they find Linda Blair's real voice creepier than the dub.
    • The pea soup vomit.
    • Burstyn's overwrought screaming and general overacting whenever she's confronting the demon.
  • Nausea Fuel: Most people were physically ill and fled theaters during the medical scenes, especially the spinal tap. Then there is all the vomiting by the possessed Regan.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The Exorcist in 5 Seconds
    • Some find the effects work a bit outdated.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Considering how much further effects have come, and how more subtle and subdued later films would take the premise, the film has this effect to some modern-day viewers.
  • Signature Line: "YOUR MOTHER SUCKS COCKS IN HELL!!!"
  • Signature Scene: The part when Regan's head spins a 360 as the rest of her body sits still is probably the most memorial part of the film and is often mimicked in other horror movies/shows/video games.
  • Squick
  • Tear Jerker: "Why you do this to me, Dimmy?"
    • His uncle gives Damien a vitriolic What the Hell, Hero? after she dies, because he chose to follow God instead of taking a lucrative job as a psychiatrist. If he had, he'd have been able to take care of her, instead of letting her live in a dirty, crowded tenement apartment where they didn't know she'd died til a smell came from her room. To punctuate his guilt and frustration, he's furiously pounding on a punching bag to vent his anger.
    • When Regan is finally out of it. It was like she woke up from a bad dream and not remembering what it was, but knowing how terrible it is. She is alone, scared and calling for her mother.
    • When Father Dyer has to give his dying friend Karras the last rites. He can't even speak the latin without tearing up.
      • Karras is so battered and bloodied by his fall down the steps that he can't even vocally answer Dyer. All he can do is squeeze Dyer's hand in affirmation, and even then, he's barely able to do it.

Exorcist: The Beginning
  • Foe Yay: The demon making Sarah strip in front of Merrin comes across as this. The line doesn't help either.
    Pazuzu: What's the matter, don't you wanna fuck me anymore?
  • Nausea Fuel: The decaying stillborn baby.
  • Sequelitis: It received negative reviews on the box office and that the movie feels more like a splatter horror than a psychological horror.

Dominion: The Prequel to The Exorcist
  • Contested Sequel: The film continues to divide fans, with some considering it a major improvement over The Beginning, but others deeming it to be even worse, for not only having most of the flaws of its remake, but being boring as well.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Some people say that it's this when compared with Exorcist 2, 3, and The Beginning.