Despite these new pretenders to the throne William Friedkin’s The Exorcist remains the most powerful and the most shocking iteration and this is down to Friedkin’s expert handling of the William Peter Blatty story and to the performance of Linda Blair. It’s an uncomfortble watch due to the maturity of the acting on display as the transformation begins and the rot sets in.
One of the most terrifying performances in the film comes from someone who is never on-screen, and initially went uncredited until Friedkin agreed to add the name of Hollywood actress Mercedes McCambridge to the credits against the name of Demon (voice). The work McCambridge did, which included starting to drink again after years of abstinence, is undoubtedly one of the many reasons why this film works so well but I came across a video of a number of scenes from the film as originally filmed with Linda Blair’s voice and they do cast the scenes in a new, eerie light.
Hearing her voice certainly adds a different dynamic to the scene, and I’d love to see the whole film without the demon’s voice if only to know what lines they asked Linda Blair to say instead of the more colourful language employed.
Here’s the clip, as would be expected it’s NSFW unless you work in an Exorcists, which I’m pretty sure don’t actually exist.
The video is a little temperamental so if it doesn’t play here click here to watch on You Tube.