David Von Pein

The Exorcist (1973)

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DVP-Video-Audio-Archive.blogspot.com / The Exorcist (1973)

 

"['The Exorcist'] is a movie that possesses that magic combination of elements to unsettle almost anyone watching it. .... In my view, some of the most chill-inducing scenes in the movie are BEFORE Regan [Linda Blair] becomes fully possessed by evil forces. For example, there's a scene in which Regan's mother [Ellen Burstyn] enters Regan's frigid bedroom and tucks her daughter in. The camera stares directly into Regan's sleeping face as Miss Burstyn leaves the room. Then we see that Regan wasn't asleep at all, as her eyes suddenly open and she peers directly at us (the camera). An eerie scene to be sure, as we begin to wonder what forces are lurking within this cute, innocent little girl. It's that always disquieting element of the unknown that makes this movie so powerful and nail-bitingly suspenseful. .... Director William Friedkin did a masterful job of unfolding the plot in a natural and well-paced manner. .... Everything about this production seems right -- from the excellent cast, to the atmosphere created within the MacNeil house (which is downright bone-chilling once you get into that bedroom), to the Georgetown setting. It's all just perfect."

 

-- David Von Pein; June 2004

 

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tcm.com / THE EXORCIST

Edited by David Von Pein

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I will never forget The Exorcist experience. It was an Event that captured the imagination of the public.  The first time that a girlfriend and I went to see it, the movie had just been released.  We stood for almost 2 hours in a line that wrapped around the block.  We had almost made it up to the ticket window when it was announced that that showing had sold out. 

 

We went back the next week, and repeated the process all over again.  This time, we got inside.  At the first sound of what seemed to be of something being smashed in the attic....the screams began.  It wasn't long before a few people started heading for the exits.  As the film progressed, more and more people headed for the doors.  When Linda Blair's head spun around and she said 'I am the devil!'....the floodgates were opened, and people did not hesitate to run for the exits. My girlfriend and I stayed until the end, but it was not easy.

 

Never before had I seen anything affect people like that, and I never want to see such again.  I have to admit that after seeing The Exorcist, there were a couple of nights when I went to bed with the light on.  That was the last horror movie that I ever went to see.  I'm sure that today's horror films make The Exorcist look very lightweight.  However, that....is something I will never find out for myself......

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Thank you, Hookshot, for sharing your "Exorcist" experience.

 

P.S. --- Be sure to NOT visit my webpages devoted to this film. If you do, you might find yourself sleeping with the light on all over again. :)

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Thank you, Hookshot, for sharing your "Exorcist" experience.

 

P.S. --- Be sure to NOT visit my webpages devoted to this film. If you do, you might find yourself sleeping with the light on all over again. :)

 

My experience with this film was that my brothers and I (we were agnostic \ Buddhist) just laughed and felt the movie was camp,  but some of our friends,  especially the Catholic ones,  really were impacted.    At first we didn't understand why (I was 14 or so), since we never discuss religion.   So this film opened up that topic.

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My experience with this film was that my brothers and I (we were agnostic \ Buddhist) just laughed and felt the movie was camp,  but some of our friends,  especially the Catholic ones,  really were impacted.    At first we didn't understand why (I was 14 or so), since we never discuss religion.   So this film opened up that topic.

 

Couldn't have been much of a Buddhist. Buddhists do believe in the existence of demons.

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Thanks for sharing your experience with this movie, Hook. I never would have guessed audiences would be THAT scared, that they'd run out of a theater!

When it came out, I was too young to see it at 12. Through the years it gained such a reputation, I was too scared to see it!

 

Finally, as an adult I borrowed the DVD thinking I was mature enough to handle whatever it contained. After seeing ALL the parodies of the movie-especially on Saturday Night Live- none of the gruesome scenes came as any surprise, much diminishing the horror.

 

I was amazed the "crab walk" down the stairs was a real stunt person & not some type of puppet and marveled at the effects rather than being scared by them.

 

I did feel very sorry for the little girl and was chilled by that face. I found images of that face on the 'net, just like the OP and actually used the make up for Halloween one year. It's scary in the movie but kind of dumb if you just look at it as "some guy's face in make up".

The illusion of film is a powerful thing!

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I saw The Exorcist when it was first released and all the talk was around about audience reaction to the film. I do remember hearing a fair amount of nervous laughter in the audience in the film's early scenes, obviously in anticipation of what was to come. But we must have been a braver crowd than in some other theatres. No memories of anybody charging out of their seat and out of the building at all.

 

I found it an effective chiller, but it has never been a favourite of mine. For shudders, I prefer the subtlety to be found in good ghost films like The Uninvited or The Haunting.

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I distinctly remember that after people started streaming for the exits, there was one guy who headed for the door while loudly proclaiming to the audience:  "I'm just going to the bathroom!"  He never came back.  

 

After the film's release, I remember seeing accounts in newspapers about people claiming to have been possessed.  At that time, one of my co-workers (who had seen the movie) said that he was walking along on a sidewalk and suddenly found himself out in the middle of the street, and in the middle of traffic.  The insinuation was that the devil made him do it.

 

The power of suggestion (or mass hysteria?).....!  I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but at that time I was living in Los Angeles!

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I saw The Exorcist when it was first released and all the talk was around about audience reaction to the film. I do remember hearing a fair amount of nervous laughter in the audience in the film's early scenes, obviously in anticipation of what was to come. But we must have been a braver crowd than in some other theatres. No memories of anybody charging out of their seat and out of the building at all.

 

I found it an effective chiller, but it has never been a favourite of mine. For shudders, I prefer the subtlety to be found in good ghost films like The Uninvited or The Haunting.

 

While I prefer movies like The Uninvited or The Haunting more then The Exorcist,  I believe what makes The Exorcist impact people is that it isn't a ghost film but one that is based on something that they believe (or were taught to believe) that actually could \ did happen.     This puts the film into a category outside of a standard horror film.   

 

While I don't have any of those beliefs for those that do I can see how the film would have a much different impact than a standard horror film.

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While I prefer EXORCIST 3, and find that to be the creepiest film ever made, seeing THE EXORCIST during its original release was very much an event, and edge of your seat, experience.  I prefer "the version you never saw" cut of the film.

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I liked the slow build-up, with people trying to come up with a scientific explanation first: the medical tests etc. The demon chose an innocent girl to exploit the guilt feeling of the grown-ups. Chris felt she hadn't been a good mother. When the demon speaks with the voice of the subway beggar or of Father Karras' mother it's to make him doubt how God could possibly love him.

 

Then there is the atmosphere created by light vs. darkness and the music, not just Mike Oldfield but also Penderecki and other modernist composers.

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Though I don't believe in demons I do believe in the excellence of this film. It has great touches down to the last detail, including the music from Tubular Bells and the subliminals throughout the film are incredible.

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Couldn't have been much of a Buddhist. Buddhists do believe in the existence of demons.

I don't think it's that simple. My impression is that some do and some don't, depending on whether you mean it literally or figuratively. And I wouldn't presume to make a judgement on the depth of a person's religious beliefs.

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I was in 2nd or 3rd grade when The Exorcist came out and all I remember is the grown-ups talking about it in hushed tones. I remember the teen-aged daughter of one of my mom's friends went and left in hysterics and my mom (who can be kind of a "Church Lady" at times) said, "Well, it serves her right, going to see trash like that." I think that was, more or less, the reaction of most of the adults I knew at the time.

 

I came across this a while back--it's a video showing actual audience reactions to the film. I guess it was a BIG thing at the time--nobody had seen anything like it before.

 

 

 

 

I sometimes wonder what Linda Blair's parents were thinking letting her do the film at age 12.

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While I prefer EXORCIST 3, and find that to be the creepiest film ever made, seeing THE EXORCIST during its original release was very much an event, and edge of your seat, experience.  I prefer "the version you never saw" cut of the film.

 

That version tagged on a nonsensical and unnecessary ending.  The original ending is perfect as it is: Father Dyer looks down the fatal staircases, turns around, and walks away.  But in the new ending, as Dyer walks away, he sees Detective Kinderman, and the two strikes up a casual conversation about some old movie.  Obviously the scene serves to echo the earlier moments that show Kinderman as a movie fan.  This scene is also in the book, which was why it was added to the movie.  But what works on paper doesn't always work on the screen.  All it does is that it leaves the viewers totally scratching their heads as to why it is used to end the movie.  It is like when a piece a music already ends with a bang, but the orchestra is still playing on.

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