Quick recap: A young girl undergoes a personality change and after several tests, the doctors conclude she is possessed because that’s how medicine operated back then, I suppose. A priest performs the exorcism and everything returns to normal. Or does it???
Yes. Yes it does.
Fun (?) fact: In order to give the actors genuine reactions of fear, director William Friedkin would shoot a gun into the air right before filming.
My thoughts: Although I stand by my last post, I feel sort of silly for being so afraid of The Blair Witch Project. I’m proud to say that my fear only lasted until daybreak and then it was gone completely,so in order to make up for my scaredy cat ways, I decided to go and watch The Exorcist on the big screen, arguably one of the scariest movies every made. This is the movie that many people flat out refuse to see for fear of,I don’t know, being possessed themselves? Or maybe these people already have a phobia of split pea soup and have no desire to sit through two hours of scenes featuring it. Whatever the case might be, I was ready to scare myself silly and live to brag about it.
….And I wasn’t scared. Like, at all. I’m not really sure I believe in people being possessed to begin with, so that might have something to do with the lack of fear. Or it could be because when I look back at Regan’s transformation into demon, the first word I think of is gross, not scary. Honestly, the scariest parts for me were the hospital scenes when Chris is trying to figure out why her daughter’s personality has changed so much. As a parent, that’s a top fear of mine (no, not demon possession), that my son could get sick and I would be powerless to help him. Beyond that, though, I just don’t get the hype. Torture Porn (think Hostel and Saw) has been a big thing for awhile, meaning the more gore, the better. A girl projectile vomiting is gross, but not an image that would keep me up all hours of the night. After about an hour and a half of The Exorcist, I sort of became desensitized to the whole thing. I knew that even if I dwelled on a scene too much, it wouldn’t matter because it would soon be replaced by an even more horrifying scene.
Even though The Exorcist wouldn’t make my top 5 scary movie list, it’s hard to ignore its impact on society. There is such a stigma to this movie, to the point that people feel they are committing blasphemy by sitting down and watching it. If anything, however, this movie is a champion for the Catholic church, who stepped in and saved a little girl’s life. There are several scenes that would offend most people and that’s what causes the stigma, but as a whole, the movie is rather hopeful since it shows good triumphing over evil.
I’d also like to add that, minus all the gross out/blasphemous scenes, the movie is fascinating. It made me want to research the history of people believing they are possessed as well as the Catholic Church’s stance on exorcism. I loved the character of the priest Demi and his crisis of faith. I believe that alone would be a compelling enough of a movie. On the other hand, the gross scenes are an art of their own, showcasing techniques that no one had ever done before. I was absolutely shocked to see that The Exorcist came out in 1973 because it seemed so modern, compared to other films around that time.
Final review: 4/5. I watched the director’s cut at the Alamo Drafhouse and I have to say, I disagree with putting the ‘spider walk’ scene back in. It doesn’t fit and just seems to be thrown in there for one last scare.
Up next: more Horrorfest