Mark Kermode isn’t just one of the UK’s great film critics, but he’s also the leading authority on William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. In fact, he literally wrote the book on it.
His 1998 BBC documentary, The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist is an essential watch, a fascinating insight into the making of Friedkin’s horror masterpiece. With interviews from everyone involved in the making of the 1973 film (including Friedkin, William Peter Blatty, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Linda Blair), the documentary is a wonderful examination of the complex process which brought the late William Peter Blatty’s novel to the screen.
The Fear of God has now dropped on The BBC’s iplayer and you really need to check it out. It’s an extended 81 minute version of the doc, a rich and textured appreciation of one of the 20th Century’s great movies.
A personal confession: I caught The Exorcist when it was re-released in UK cinemas in 1998 (at that point it wasn’t available to view at home). I wasn’t particularly taken by it (I was just 18 years old, what did I know?). However, over the years I’ve grown to
like love Friedkin’s film and I now see it was one of the greatest films of all time (horror or otherwise). One of the reason’s behind this is Mark Kermode‘s unrivalled passion for the film.