film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, October 7, 2023

The Exorcist 1973 * * * 1/2 Stars


"There are no experts". Not at the moment Damien Karras but Father Merrin is on the way. Got to get those evil spirits out of a little teenage girl.

With a brilliant musical score and a sense of foreboding that is equal parts broad daylight and deadened night, 1973's The Exorcist changed the way an audience could perceive conventional horror. Just imagine what it was like in '73, seeing a young Linda Blair spewing green vomit and talking like a Hall of Fame potty mouth as her character is being possessed by the actual Devil (at least that's what I thought). "Exorcist" has a shock value that is off the charts. At about age 37, director William Friedkin had cojones the size of watermelons. Hey, it paid off.

Now is The Exorcist the greatest scary movie ever made? I think so. I saw it when I was barely 13 and it numbed me for days. And does "Exorcist" benefit from taking a risk with its scaring imagery and subject matter looking to offend certain religious groups? Oh heck yeah. Filmmakers have tried to imitate The Exorcist over the past five decades but they can't equal its grainy feel, its guilty tenor, and/or its early 70s swank. "This sow is mine". Indeed.

The Exorcist is shot with incredible extremity and atmospheric decadence by helmer Friedkin. I'll let his small slips in editing slide by. The images William conjures up didn't have CGI (it wasn't around back then) and that just makes him more blazing for it. Kudos to Friedkin's make-up artists for turning a young, head-spinning female into the afreet to end all afreets.

George Lucas lack of magic aside, "Exorcist" has one attribute that has always haunted me but in a good way. I mean why doesn't the controlling of a girl by a demon never make it past one's inner circle? You know the doctors, the relatives, and the priests. I mean how does the media never get a hold of what's going on here? Crazy. It's like the whole timeline of incidents gets kept out of the loop, like it's in cahoots. Whatever. That's probably the most brilliant thing about this film and I can't explain why. "The power of Christ compels you". Natch. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment