The documentary feel has helped with the film???s success. The film opened to large amount of controversy, but despite this, it became a smash hit in the United States. The film is also considered the progenitor of the genre, predating both Halloween and Friday the 13th. It has received much praise from critics, mainly because its gritty and unsettling background that made it seem real. The Museum of Modern Art purchased a print of the film for its permanent collection. Critics have called it one of the scariest movies ever made.
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