Pop Junk’s 31 Days of Halloween: #7 the Exorcist

Most people hail The Exorcist as the scariest movie of all time and in a lot of ways it’s very difficult to disagree with that sentiment.  I’m actually pretty happy I didn’t see this movie until I was a teenager because holy hell this movie is down right terrifying.

The movie is based on a book by Novelist William Peter Blatty basing it on the last known Catholic sanctioned Exorcism.  For the film Blatty transformed the little boy in the 1949 incident into a little girl named Regan, played by 14-year-old Linda Blair named Regan who after we meet her as a sweet innocent girl begins to transform before our very eyes as a very nasty, profane and exhibiting some really bizarre behavior.   Here mother Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn, although Blatty reportedly based the character on his next-door neighbor Shirley MacLaine) becomes concerned about her daughters behavior and begins to seek medical and psychological help. When Regan gets completely out of hand, Chris calls in young priest Father Karras (Jason Miller), who becomes convinced that the girl is possessed by the Devil and that they must call in an exorcist: namely, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). His foe proves to be no run-of-the-mill demon, and both the priest and the girl suffer numerous horrors at the hands of the demon inside this little girl.  Father Merrin finally gets the demon to posses him and he uses his last bit of strength to throw himself out the window, killing himself and the demon.

Some movies are scary but for some this movie was down right scaring, mostly due to the performance of Linda Blair as she transforms into this demon that has possessed her body.  This flick is a total nightmarish onslaught on adolescence that had never been seen in a movie before.  The filmmaker (William Friedkin) is just relentless with the horror he exudes on screen and nothing is off limits.  The two Priest’s struggle with faith and science and because of those themes some have labeled this film a  religious exploitation piece but I think those people may have missed the point which I believe was just using religious tropes to scare the holy hell out of people.

Besides Linda Blair all the actors shine in this movie as they deal with what they believe is the Devil himself.  Another note of contention is that the score is just chilling through out the whole movie.  This flick is legitimately scary and has zero bits of levity so it’s kind of a downer but worth it if you in for a good scare.  What really grabs the audience and why the filmmaker’s played with a lot of religious themes is that it seems some what tangible.  If you believe in the scary side of religion your leaving this flick hoping you don’t even see this nightmare play out for real.  It’s not a vampire or a space alien, it’s the devil and if you believe in the devil then this movie might effect you pretty heavily.  Another reason it’s so effective is the special effects are top notch and they pull off some really graphic shit, especially for the 1970’s.  For these reasons alone this film should not be missed.

 

 

 

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~ by ATOM on October 25, 2011.

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