Thursday, August 25, 2016

Don't Watch This Alone!: THE EXORCIST

Welcome to another installment of DON'T WATCH THIS ALONE!, where we review the best, the worst and everything in between in the world of horror. This week we review a classic in the genre...THE EXORCIST.

This film has had a tremendous influence on the horror genre, to say the least. It's also regarded as one of the best horror films in cinematic history and is also the first to be nominated for an Academy Award. I've seen The Exorcist several times, however, I didn't realize it's cinematic significance until I viewed it in a summer film class with an emphasis on the horror genre. The physical pain that a young Linda Blair endured as Regan frightened and beguiled me at the same time. There is also a great deal of emotional turmoil in this film. It was heart-wrenching to watch Regan's mother react to what was happening to her daughter.

Some of the scenes made me cringe such as when Regan's head spins or throwing herself all over the room. The special effects in this film were amazing for that time period. That being said, this film was an assault on all my senses. It was unfathomable that all those obscenities would come out of a 12 year old girl's mouth. But, it wasn't her. Something had taken her over...

The Exorcist is a based on a novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, who also wrote the screenplay. There was much contention between him and Warner Bros. about who would direct. He wanted William Friedkin, who was known for The French Connection, and after much consideration, Blatty got his way. There was also issues with casting certain roles such as Regan and Father Lankester Merrin. The material would've been difficult for a young actress, even a talented one. Warner Bros. wanted Marlon Brando for the role of Father Lankester Merrin, however, Friedkin was against this choice.

The production of the film had some snags along the way, besides casting and directorial issues. It took over a year to complete, with both Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn getting injured during production. Some even say this film was cursed, but I guess we'll never know.

It is possible to not enjoy a film and to still see it as well-made. The Exorcist is a prime example of that. This film made me think about what role religion plays in our lives. It even caused a rift within the Catholic Church, itself. It was thought-provoking and provocative. Watching this film reminded me of passing a bad car accident, you want to look away, but you just can't.

The Exorcist is a very important piece of cinema because it spawned an entire genre of films that have come out since 1973 dealing with the subject of exorcism, some good, some bad. Sometimes religion and/or science can't explain everything. So, if you're a film fan, especially if you're a horror fan, definitely check this one out, if you haven't already.

Lisa's Score: 8/10

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