31 Days of Halloween Day 30 – The Exorcist

31 Days of Halloween – Day 30

The Exorcist (directed by William Friedkin, 1973) It seems improbable that a film with this subject matter could gain the critical and commercial success that The Exorcist has over the past forty years. Film goers in the early seventies were not quite as desensitized as we are in current times. Mainstream cinema had its fair share of chilly movies; Psycho, of the Dawn of the Dead, Rosemary’s Baby and Night of the Living Dead had seen wide distribution, and were all fairly successful. These movies, while considered scary for the time, could not prepare audiences for what was released on December 26, 1973. Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), a young spirited girl, and her actress mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn) are taking residence in Washington D.C. while Chris is there for work. During their stay, Regan begins to exhibit strange behavior; anxiety, aggression, physical abnormalities. These symptoms are accompanied by strange noises and physical disturbances in the house. After a battery of tests is performed on Regan, it is determined that there are no physical sighs to indicate a cause. Regan’s condition becomes dire, and Chris becomes desperate to find help for her daughter. At the suggestion of a doctor, Chris turns to the church for help. She seeks out Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller). Karras himself has been questioning his faith because of his mother’s death. After an initial visit with the afflicted young girl, Karras decides to help the family. Whatever is inside Regan is making claims to be the devil, and knows things that the twelve year old would not know? Father Karras enlists the help of Father Lancaster Merrin (Max Von Sydow), who has experience in the field of exorcism. The ensuing battle between good and evil is shocking and intense, and has dire consequences. The Exorcist is one of those films that have a lasting impact on the viewer, whether positive or negative. The film is polarizing, but undeniably brilliant. It is the type of movie that you think twice about watching alone. The are some first class shocking moments in this film, all delivered by an amazing performance by a young Linda Blair. These scenes would not be half as messed up if an adult was doing the blasphemous things that are taking place. The actors are all great. Max Von Sydow and Jason Miller are convincing servants of god, fearless in the face of the subject matter. Director William Friedkin (French Connection, To Live and Die in L.A.) took something that would seem almost laughable in a story of demonic possession, and created a film that shocked and terrified, but most importantly, changed horror cinema forever. Not only did audiences take notice, but critics also saluted the film. Multiple Academy Award nominations and two Oscar wins were well earned. Possession films are a dime a dozen now, and none of them are really that good. The Exorcist set the bar so high that it will never been duplicated. There will come a time when Hollywood will try to remake this beauty, but they will fail miserably. How do you improve on perfect? This Halloween, watch The Exorcist. The power of Christ compels you.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  • Day 23 – The Exorcist III
  • Day 24 – The Evil Dead (1981)
  • Day 25 – The Blair Witch Project
  • Day 26 – The Shining
  • Day 27 – Trick r Treat
  • Day 28 – An American Werewolf in London
  • Day 29 – The Changeling
  • Day 30 – The Exorcist

T.

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