'The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition' Announced for Blu-ray

Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:35 AM PDT by

A head-spinning 40th Anniversary Blu-ray double dip is coming in October.

In an early announcement to retailers, Warner Brothers has revealed 'The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition' is planned for Blu-ray on October 8.

'The Exorcist' tells the now-famous story of a girl's demonic possession, and a gripping fight between good and evil. Linda Blair, in a breakout role, plays Regan, a young girl who starts to exhibit strange, arcane behavior. Her mother (Ellen Burstyn) calls upon a priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller) to investigate. But Karras, who has a spiritual crisis of his own, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan's possession. Father Lankester Merrin (Max Von Sydow), an archeologist-priest, is called to help, and a horrific battle for her soul begins.

When 'The Exorcist' was first released in 1973, viewers were frightened out of their wits, and literally out of their seats. A true cinema landmark, the theological thriller is one of the top ten box-office performers of all time, earned ten Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture) and won two Oscars, for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound. Subsequently, the film went on to become a multi-million dollar franchise. Directed by Friedkin (Oscar-winner for 'The French Connection') and written by William Peter Blatty, the film is based on Blatty's best-selling novel, which sold nearly 13 million copies domestically and was the #1 book on the New York Times Best Seller List for 57 weeks, 17 of them at #1.

Regarding the Extended Director's Cut, Friedkin says, "After my final cut of the original 'The Exorcist,' I took out 12 more minutes before we actually released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I'd consider reviewing some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it into a new version. Bill gave me the best piece of material I've ever received and because of that and because the film had such a major reputation over some 25 years, I agreed to revisit all these scenes. When I saw them, I came to realize that Bill was, in fact, right. With technical advances, scenes that didn't work then could now be fixed with CGI and there were others that I thought strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film. Warner agreed and released a whole new theatrical print in 2000 which we called 'The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen.' And I now agree with Blatty that this is the best and most complete version."

Specs have yet to be revealed, but the release will include both the theatrical and extended director's cuts of the film and supplements will include: Introduction by William Friedkin; Two Audio Commentaries with William Friedkin; Audio Commentary with William Peter Blatty; The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist (1998 BBC Documentary); Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist; The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now; Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist; Interviews: The Original Cut, Stairway to Heaven, The Final Reckoning; Sketches & Storyboards; Original Ending; Radio Spots; TV Spots; and Trailers.

New features will include: Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist: 40 years after his novel was published, The Exorcist author, screenwriter and producer returns to where it all began. First stop is a cabin/guest house in the hills of Encino, California, where Blatty wrote the novel. The author visits the place for the first time in 40 years and shares not only memories of writing the book, but also discusses how it inspired him. We then meet Blatty in two key and iconic locations; Georgetown University where the film was shot, and at the now-famous Exorcist steps. Throughout, Blatty reads from his novel, including an excerpt from a chilling newly published passage; Talk of the Devil: While at Georgetown University, William Peter Blatty heard about a true case of possession from Father Eugene Gallagher. At the time the film came out, the priest talked at length about exorcism, the true story and about Blatty; this footage is now available for the first time in many years. It is as revealing as it is shocking; plus an excerpt from Friedkin's new book, "The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir."

Suggested list price for the Blu-ray is $49.99.

You can find the latest specs for 'The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition' linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where it's indexed under October 8.

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Discs mentioned in this article: (Click for specs and reviews)
The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
Tags: Disc Announcements, Warner Brothers (all tags)