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Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Exorcist!

Number three in date order and not scare order: the Exorcist!

Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty it tells the story of a young girl and her actress mother. The mother begins to notice some peculiar behavoral changes in her daughter.

When things turn really nasty and there is no avoiding her little girl is possessed, as incredible as it seems, the mother contacts a priest to ask about an exorcism.

However, she soon finds the Church is not that quick to respond. First, they will carefully weigh the need for such a thing.

What follows is the heart of the film which is far more horrific than the bits leading up to it.

We see Regan change horrifically as the possession becomes total. There is no going back. She is possessed by demons.

At last Father Karras and Father Merrin, an experienced exorcist arrive to perform the ritual.

The depiction of evil is horrifying as Father Karras finds his own personal life is used by the forces of evil to try to weaken his resolve. But he is undeterred.

Then, as the two priests are performing the exorcism, with the eldery priest leading it, I found myself saying with them: "the power of Christ compels you...!"

Talk about getting swept into a film! I was there, in it with them!

You have to relax after this film, it is that powerful.

Sitting in a theater and not your own home, is how the film should really be viewed--with no distractions whatsoever.

This film is as powerful as the novel was. This is serious stuff.

Church attendance by the way zoomed as a result of this film, so pollsters say and I believe it.

Author James Garcia, Jr., author of the horror novel, Dance on Fire,  recently reminded me of the power of the film. I did indeed think back to it and remembered how I felt when I first viewed it. It was heavy going for me! 

I viewed it again and found it still was! Hence, its inclusion in my list, thanks James!

It is a film you will never, ever forget. The utter evil that the film addresses is frightening, hair-raising stuff.

If there is such a thing as possession, who among us is safe? What do we do? How do we ensure that we will not be affected?

I am not a fundamentalist, however, I feel and am greatly affected by the power of this film whenever I see it because I experience something that affects and disturbs me.

The film is a classic and deservedly so.

Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair are great as the mother and daughter. There are also powerful performances by Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller and Lee J. Cobb that make this film the masterpiece that it is.

The direction is superb with William Friedkin directing.

next week: Carrie (1976)


James Garcia Jr said...

Carole, I have been waiting for this post! The first year that I began building my DVD library, I had some free selections coming to me, so I ordered The Exorcist. I had only seen bits of it on television. It took me three days to watch the film and supplemental information between getting out of work and when my mother would drop the boys off. They would walk slowly into the house and ask, "Are you watching that Exorcist?" "I turned it off already," I would say. I've told this story before, but my wife had a potted plant with large leaves atop a table. It was against a wall right beside the couch that I was sitting on. At one point during the viewing (no one was home, remember), the DVD froze, momentarily. Regan's ugly, demon-possessed face was staring at me. Just then, one large leaf became animated. For whatever reason, as if suddenly too heavy to stand any further, it slid down the wall. I practically leapt out of my seat. I turned and commanded angrily: "Don't do that!"
The Exorcist is a powerful film. It is well-produced, directed, written and acted. It is not to be taken lightly. When we get this close to subjects that we were not meant to deal with, we run the risk of making ourselves extrememly vulnerable to suggestion or worse. I apologize for the sermon, but it is Sunday! LOL!
It is a great film, and I recommend it...if you have a strong constitution. After I watch it, it takes me at least two days before it leaves me. During those days, while laying in bed, waiting for sleep to take me, I do not dare open my eyes. I just know Regan will be hovering over me or sitting at the edge of the bed. Staring at me.
Have a great week, Carole. And thanks for the mention.

Anonymous said...

wow! what a comment! thank you!
The leaf scared the daylights out of me, btw!
But I know what you mean, James. I'm older than you and I saw it when it came out. I must have waited on line for 40 minutes in January in New York! True story: when the house lights dimmed, BEFORE THE FILM STARTED, a girl screamed from somewhere inside the theater!
You rightly say it is deeply affecting.
I like this quote from you: 'we run the risk of making ourselves extrememly vulnerable to suggestion or worse.'
I agree! There is a great book, I ought to have a post about it, think i will when i get to non-fiction books. Malachi Martin, Catholic Priest and author wrote, HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL. The stories are of five demonic possessions of contemporary Americans. Read it you will never forget it! I'm going to re-read it myself and blog about it. It will make you put away all of the house plants! Not kidding!
Thanks and have a great weekend, too!

Anonymous said...

I've only ever seen this movie one time, about 15 years ago, and I've not gotten the courage to watch it again, it's so scary-disturbing!!

I did, however, visit the stairs upon which Father Karras fell when I lived in Washington DC many times, and back in law school I dated a guy whose aunt had dated Jason Miller. Mr. Miller lived for a long time in Scranton, PA, which is very near the town where I grew up!

THere's a movie coming out this summer called The Last Exorcism which looks to be pretty good, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Nicole!
Jason Miller was nice, I remember him.
One time eh? Well I can see that because it's the sort of film a person approaches carefully and thoughtfully!
Those were some steps! I remember i was even frightened of them!
Going to look out for that film, The Last Exorcism! thanks for mentioning it!
and thanks for dropping by!

Lee said...

It was a hell of a film for it's time and I loved it. I still like it, probably more than in my younger days. But I do have to add that I love the prequel, most people I know hated it. I thought it was awesome.

And the music rocks!