Before last night, any version of The Exorcist was the version I’ve never seen. I remember being somewhat obsessed with this when they re-released the film in 2000, continually asking my father what it was like.
And, as fate would have it, my brother and I were on a binge of rented horror movies from our local video store not ten minutes away (a lot of those we watched I’ll review – refer to “Upcoming Reviews”).
You know the score: girl is possessed, pea soup, crucifix-dildo. The whole shebang.
What this wasn’t, however, was what Scary Movie 2 had led me to believe: a girl is posessed and it’s scary and an old man attempts an exorcism.
I’m still sort of in schock at how much more it was than that and how amazed I am over the film.
It’s quite a long one, and though as we get older, long movies tend to be watched less and less, I’m definitely going to watch this when it comes out on Blu-Ray many times over.
The simple fact about this film, apart from its age (70s and 80s horror movies immediately earn my respect, at the very least interest in watching it) is, unlike a lot of horror movies, at least nowadays, the horror is built up around character. It’s not “This is scary, so be scared.” It’s the film-makers locking a connection to the audience before little Regan is possessed and the sheer emotion that makes this scary, not the actual event. It’s the reactions to the event that make this scary.
If this movie was not released in the early seventies and was recently released as is, there would be people (mostly ignorant teenagers) that would laugh at quite a few of the things in this. While I found some effects in some scenes to have been executed primitively, this film was made almost forty years ago. That’s to be expected.
The thing I got out of this film as well, and I’m not sure whether or not this was my interpretation or what, but there is a substantial amount of subject matter orbiting around mental illness and psychiatry. While, in the seventies, this would have purely been about a girl that is possessed, I found more meaning in the simple fact that Regan is taken over by a demon and people she loves, and people she’s never met as well, want to help her. That is something I have experienced when I had depression and it was at is worst, so I related to that aspect of the film – whether that was intentional or purely interprative on my part is to be determined…
As a film on its own, however, there’s hardly anything wrong with it, I believe, maybe except for old-school effects (which is one of the reasons I love older horror movies). The acting is fantastic, especially on Ellen Burstyn and Jason Miller’s parts, as well as the sheer chutzpah on Linda Blair’s part. As the credits started rolling, I felt compelled to write a letter that consisted only of the sentence “Thank you, Linda, for bringing Regan to life.”
The film, for me, is so personal and so outstanding that once you watch this it is easy to understand why so many horror films suck (the majority of them, at least). I can’t say anything other than how much I loved it. I loved it. This is truly deserving of the five-star (ahem, skull) rating.