Friday, October 30, 2009

HORROR EPICS: The Exorcist (1973)

Man, did this movie ever scare the CRAP out of people when it hit the theaters! I personally know a few Baby Boomers who claimed they barely slept for the next month after seeing The Exorcist. Others fainted in the theater and one woman reportedly went into a goddamned miscarriage! Maybe some of the special effects don’t stack up against today’s CGI, but try watching it with the lights off and the volume up. But I think the effectiveness is determined by how much of a religious background you have, to some extent. Personally, I don’t have much of one. Had I been raised Catholic, I might see The Exorcist much differently. That said, I still get into how the three stories cross paths. First is Father Merrin, the older priest. While on an archeological dig, he unearths a stone bearing the face of the demon Pazuzu. After seeing a statue with the same face, he determines that bad times are ahead and returns to the United States. Second is the younger priest, Father Karras. The church psychiatrist is losing his faith, along with his terminally ill mother. Third is, of course, the tale of the preteen girl possessed by the Devil himself, for all intents and purposes. None of this would’ve ever happened if her famous actress mother weren’t a single mom and a blasted atheist. You remember that the next time your parents pester you about going to church! Which I think was really supposed to be the point to all of this, but that whole message flies over my head anyway. I’m just left with this voyeuristic view of demonic possession dealt with by a priest who picked a bad time to struggle with his religious convictions. That’s good enough for me. I still think it’s ominous and creepy today. Based on the book by William Peter Blatty, which you knew already. Followed by two sequels, a prequel, and Repossessed, a parody starring Linda Blair.

The ORIGINAL trailer, which was rejected for being “too frightening.”
I say it was rejected for being "too awesome."

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