Top 10 Horror Movies in the World 2024: The Exorcist Leads the Pack

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin from a screenplay by William Peter Blatty, based on his 1971 novel. The film stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, and Linda Blair, and follows the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s attempt to rescue her through an exorcism by two Catholic priests.

Directed byWilliam Friedkin
Screenplay byWilliam Peter Blatty
Based onThe Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Produced byWilliam Peter Blatty
StarringEllen Burstyn Max von Sydow Lee J. Cobb Kitty Winn Jack MacGowran Jason Miller Linda Blair
CinematographyOwen Roizman
Edited byEvan A. Lottman Norman Gay Bud S. Smith
Music byJack Nitzsche
Production companyHoya Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dateDecember 26, 1973
Running time122 minutes (theatrical)
CountryUnited States
LanguagesEnglish Arabic
Budget$12 million
Box office$441.3 million
Top 10 horror movies in the world 2024 (

The Exorcist” is a landmark in horror cinema, known for its intense and chilling portrayal of demonic possession. Here’s a detailed overview:


  • Author: The story originates from a novel by William Peter Blatty, published in 1971. Blatty based his novel on a 1949 case of demonic possession and exorcism in the United States.
  • Director: William Friedkin directed the film adaptation, which was released in 1973.

Plot Summary

The story centers around a young girl named Regan MacNeil, who begins exhibiting disturbing behavior. Her mother, Chris MacNeil, after exhausting all medical explanations, turns to Father Damien Karras, a priest struggling with his faith, for help. Karras, along with Father Lankester Merrin, performs an exorcism to free Regan from the demonic entity.

Key Themes

  1. Faith and Doubt: The characters, especially Father Karras, grapple with their belief systems and the existence of evil.
  2. Good vs. Evil: The battle between the priests and the demon epitomizes the classic struggle between light and darkness.
  3. Innocence Corrupted: Regan’s possession and transformation symbolize the loss of innocence and the vulnerability of the human soul.

Impact and Legacy

  • Cultural Impact: “The Exorcist” has left an indelible mark on popular culture, influencing countless other works in the horror genre.
  • Awards and Recognition: The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning two (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound).
  • Controversies: Upon its release, “The Exorcist” sparked significant controversy due to its shocking content and intense themes, leading to debates about censorship and the impact of horror films on audiences.

Notable Elements

  • Special Effects: Groundbreaking for its time, the film’s special effects, such as Regan’s levitation and head-spinning, remain iconic.
  • Soundtrack: The use of the music piece “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield has become synonymous with the film.
  • Performances: Linda Blair’s portrayal of Regan and Max von Sydow as Father Merrin are particularly noteworthy.


The Exorcist” remains a seminal work in horror cinema, known for its deep psychological impact and ability to provoke thought about the nature of evil and the power of faith.

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