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THE EXORCIST (1973) ****

Well, here it is. The granddaddy of them all. So much has already been written about William Friedkin’s classic that it’s hard for me to tell you anything about it you already don’t know. Since it’s pretty much immune to criticism, in lieu of a review, I’ll instead just tell you a little bit about my personal experience with the movie.

I remember the first time I saw The Exorcist. I was a teenager. I invited a bunch of friends over to watch it. All the vomiting, crucifix masturbation, and head turning stuff didn’t really bother us, but I remember people really getting freaked out during the spinal tap scene.

Later, when it was rereleased in theaters, as “The Version You’ve Never Seen”, I made the mistake of going opening night. While it was awesome seeing a classic like The Exorcist on the big screen again, the experience was marred by a bunch of lame teeny boppers laughing their asses off during the “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!” scenes. I guess these teenagers had become so desensitized by stuff like South Park that they didn’t realize this part was supposed to be disturbing and not funny. God knows what today’s teenagers would think about it.

I do have to say that for this review I watched “The Version You’ve Never Seen”. I hate that title because really, after you’ve seen it, it becomes “The Version You Just Saw”. Like most director’s cuts (or in this case “restored versions”), it has its ups and downs. The new footage doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, but it doesn’t take away from the film either. I mean the spider walk scene is cool and all, but it’s not nearly as iconic as the split pea soup puking, levitating, and neck twisting. I do have to say that the exchange at the end between the cop and the priest seems a bit superfluous. Still, I’m sorta glad it’s there because it serves as a perfect lead-in to tomorrow’s movie, The Exorcist 3, so I’ll cut it some slack.

I’ve seen The Exorcist over a dozen times, but it had been awhile since I last saw it, so I kinda forgot about the scene where Ellen Burstyn is on the phone and she cusses up a storm to the operator. It’s kinda funny because Linda Blair is in the same room with her and she hears all the obscenities her mother lays out. And then all of a sudden Burstyn acts all shocked when her daughter starts talking the same way. I thought that was pretty funny.

Speaking of parenting, this was the first time I watched The Exorcist since having a daughter myself. Now I don’t really view it as a horror film; rather a primer for parenthood. I look around at today’s teens and just kinda scratch my head. I can only imagine what things will be like 15 years from now. If you’re a parent, you can imagine the devil possession as a metaphor for tattoos and/or body piercing and/or whatever the Hell those teeny boppers are into nowadays. If my daughter came home with that shit, I probably would have the same reaction to a nose ring that Ellen Burstyn has to Linda Blair’s puking.

The Exorcist is on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of 1973 at the Number 2 spot, which puts it in between Enter the Dragon and Schlock.

Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie: The Exorcist 3.

Comments

( 5 comments — Comment )
darksteel6
Oct. 24th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Personally I can't stand South Park, not funny at all and i'm amazed it's lasted this long. As for today's teens, i'm sure plenty of people shook they're heads at teenagers in previous decades, so i'm not one to judge, it's more the adults I shake my head at, they're into even more stupid shit(like those damn Real Housewives shows) and i'm appalled at how bad some parents are(like Dina and Michael Lohan, god I want to strangle both of them so badly) no wonder kids act so crazy, I could handle piercings and tattoos as long as they didn't go overboard with em.

I'll admit I did sorta laugh at the "sucks cocks" line, but it wasn't because I was desensitized, it was because I'd heard that line parodied several times before I actually saw the film, so it lost some impact and was kinda tough to take it seriously.

Edited at 2012-10-24 10:23 pm (UTC)
thevideovacuum
Oct. 24th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
Re-reading this review, I sound like an angry old man. I actually know a few really cool teenagers. However, the past couple of times I've been to the movies, I've had to hear from a bunch of annoying teens in the audience. (Seeing Taken 2 on opening night was a rough experience.) I just never really talked about how my one and only viewing of The Exorcist in the theater was pretty much ruined until now; and all the hate I felt way back when kinda bubbled over into my review.

I still stand firm on the tattoos and piercings though.
darksteel6
Oct. 25th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
The few times i've had people talk out loud while at the movies, it's usually the older people who can't seem to put they're damn phones down, and of course there always at least one person dumb enough to drag a little kid to an R-rated movie, no child should view Hostel Part 2 or Law Abiding Citizen.
collectedcinema
Oct. 25th, 2012 09:44 am (UTC)
You know in Britain they actually banned this film right up until 1998. Sure, they showed it in cinemas at the time but they never showed it on TV or released it on video.

As a consequence I had a friend buy a bootleg copy from Greece (in 1997). It must have been like a 5th generation copy of copy of copy. It was nearly completely desaturated of colour and would nearly constantly flicker and jump (like all VHS's do).

You might think this impaired my viewing of the film but if anything it made 10 times more creepy. I've since seen the proper DVD, with all its crisp visuals, and can't help but feel that something's been lost. The only thing that still creeps me out is the subliminal flash of Pazuzu's face. I'd love to find that video copy again.
thevideovacuum
Oct. 25th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
That's pretty cool about the bootleg. I can only imagine how creepy it looked.
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