I mentioned The Exorcist in a recent review of The Conjuring. So I figured I should cover the classic.
OVERALL: Wow. What a movie! A classic movie, horror or otherwise. I can understand why people were obsessed with it when it first came out and I understand why it is still admired today.
POINTS: This is THE movie for introducing audiences to demonic possession. Along the way making the possessed victim look sickly also started here.
PITFALLS: Ok, there is one weird scene where actress Chris is having difficulty with a scene and goes and talks to the director. It just looked so phony. It looked like one of those “ooo let’s show an actress working” scene that well, just didn’t ring true. However it was a very quick scene.
FEMALE CHARACTER(S): Chris MacNeil played by the wonderful Ellen Burstyn, carries this movie and carries it well. We watch this character crumble and change going from self-assured and on top of the world to scrambling for answers. Her mental anguish is real. The audience gets to live the experience through her and it helps that Ellen Burstyn has the chops to carry the load.
Linda Blair is Regen, the possessed daughter. Surely you have heard of her as she is a celebrity on the convention circuit and has been on the popular TV show Supernatural. She was a rosy cheeked darling child when she made this movie. Her childness made her possession that much more terrifying.
CULTURAL PITFALL(S): Well this movie is very much a “white people’s problem” movie. The main family are rich and privileged. The mother, Chris MacNeil, is a famous, wealthy movie star surrounded by wealthy and famous friends. She has a full time nanny to help care for her child. So she can search for the best, i.e., expensive doctors, and afford them. How nice. I guess demons have expensive taste.
Also at one point Chris’s, in character in the movie she is making, talks to a group of student protesters and talks them down. It is so silly because well it was 1973 and just seemed wrong. Or perhaps, very establishment would be a better term.
HIGH POINT(S): The believability. * [SPOILER ALERT] * We don’t see the exorcist himself until the last 15 minutes of the movie. We don’t know about demonic possession being a possibility until an hour into the movie. What makes The Exorcist great, IMHO, is how the characters discover the truth and don’t believe it – at first. They slowly and naturally come to the conclusion. It feels real and unforced. Plus the characters in the end did not want to talk about what had happened and that seemed real too. The movie felt real and that made is terrifying. END * [SPOILER ALERT] *
Oh and Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. The theme of The Exorcist creeps up on you – just like the movie. Suddenly your are surrounded by the sound and power of the music. It captures the entire movie so well. It was a brilliant stroke of genius to use this music. I still have a friend who says she cannot hear the song without wanting to run and hide. If you want to hear the song, listen to this clip on YouTube. Oh and the music isn’t scary. It can even be describe as jubilant. However it builds and thus it creeps up on you and thus it is perfect.
IMDB: The Exorcist (1973) Check out this site and click the Raising Hell link. You get short documentaries on the movie.
OFFICIAL MOVIE WEBSITE: The Exorcist
DVD/BLU-RAY WORTHY: That’s how I watched it. I was an adult in my 40s and was finally ready to watch it. So good. Oh and BTW, I don’t just watch The Exorcist. I have to make sure I won’t be too scared afterwards. Yes I have watched it several times and yes I will watch it again. But it’s scary. So I gotta be prepared.
LION PAW PRINTS: 5 of 5. It’s a classic for a reason folks.
For horror movies only: HUBBY’S HORROR RATING. “When I was a child, it was the scariest movie I had ever seen. It is an average horror movie now. This is because it was the first movie to do what it does and now they use CGI. It was the best horror movie before CGI – no doubt. Every horror movie has benefited from The Exorcist since.”