Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Exorcist (1973)

I watched this movie for the first time last week. I was 13 when it came out, and had no desire to see it at the time. I was still easily frightened by movies, was going through a very religious phase in my life, and thought such a film was evil. Well, I was wrong.

The movie is obviously dated but I enjoyed the fashions, hairstyles, and cars from the period. By today's standards, the 1972 special effects are as dated as the automobiles. The exorcist is, by today's standards, a psychological horror movie. It follows the grand good versus evil tradition. The script and filmography combined with solid acting performances tell a story that isn't what I was expecting. Yes there was projectile vomiting, pea soup, and head spinning, but to me those were not at all the most powerful scenes in the movie. 

I loved the opening in Iraq. I would have been happy for a whole movie of Father Merrin and what he found in the digs. The scene where he stands facing the demon's statue is wonderful. The movie then switches tone, and we see the initial scenes of Regan and Chris and their happy life. 

I did not expect so much of the film to be looking for medical answers, yet that too was interesting. And what passes for modern medicine, as portrayed in the movie, can seem pretty barbaric. 

Father Karros's story was also interesting, and the way his story of religious doubt interwove with Chris's story of growing belief in the forces of good and evil intertwined quite well.

I  re-watched the movie with commentary. It lost all atmospheric value that way, but it did explain things that I just did not pick up on the first time through.

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