A Horror Movie A Day: Day 6 – “The Exorcist” (1973)

Again, I’m having loads of problems uploading to my wordpress for whatever reason. I’ve stopped using scheduled uploads now, but considering I’m about 5 posts behind, it’s looking like they’re all going to pop up at random times so sorry if I start clogging up your newsfeeds.

I got The Exorcist today. The film I most fear. Considered a masterpiece by many, William Freidkin’s adaptation of the synonymous book by William Peter Blatty was nominated for 10 Oscars (winning 2). It was also the first (and only until 1991’s Silence of the Lambs) horror film to be nominated for the ‘Best Picture’ at the Academy Awards. So you can probably assume that on top of being scary, it’s actually a good film as well, which is undoubtedly extremely rare.

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It’s about the possession of a young girl called Reagan MacNeil (Linda Blair – Academy Award nominee “Best Supporting Actress”) and how her mother (Ellen Burstyn – Academy Award nominee “Best Actress”) attempts to win her back from the forces of evil by turning to a pair of Catholic priests (Jason Miller – Academy Award nominee “Best Actor” and Max Von Sydow) to perform an Exorcism.

It really is an awesome movie. Terrifying, shocking and so eerie you won’t want to go to bed alone for at least a couple of nights. There are just certain scenes that remain etched in your memory and will do for the rest of your life; it’s that shocking (for example, the crucifix scene).

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I was absolutely gob smacked by Linda Blair’s (14 at the time) performance. The maturity required to perform such a haunting, creepy performance really shows how much of a talent she was. We’ve seen so many older actresses (see Lili Taylor in “The Conjuring” or even Jennifer Carpenter in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”) put in laughably bad performances in an attempt to make these scenes scary, but Blair managed to absolutely nail it. Not too much hollering, screaming or whooping. Just eerie, creepy little lines. She absolutely deserved her Best Supporting Actress nomination and it’s such a shame she blighted her career so early on by taking part in the sequels (more of that later).

The rest of the cast also performed at the top of their game, but with all others being experienced actors/actresses, Ms Blair deserved a special mention for her performance.

William Freidkin’s use of practical effects deserved their Academy Award. They made the room -40 degrees Celsius in order to show the breath clouds. There was also a scene where Ellen Burstyn was pulled with a harness so abruptly production had to be halted for a few days because she damaged her spine. I’m probably going to do a Top 10 List sometime, listing the top 10 facts about the Exorcist; there are so many interesting things about the production of this film to be honest.

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The creepy goings on didn’t just happen on screen however, there are some famous (unconfirmed) legends surrounding the blighted production of this film. For example, apparently the whole set burned down apart from the bedroom the Exorcism took place in. Creeeeepy. Also it was based off of a real life exorcism, from which Blatty interviewed witnesses and the priests to get ideas for his book. This only adds to the horror you see on the screen.

Onto the sequels, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. Some of the WORST movies you will ever see. Please heed my warning. I’m not even going to bother talking about them, but i’ll list their names so you know what to avoid. The Exorcist 2: The Heretic, The Exorcist III and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. Take it as a rule of thumb to ignore anything that claims any relationship to this movie.

Honestly, I don’t like watching this film because I really feel uncomfortable watching it. I may be overreacting though and if you think I am, feel free to say in the comments below. It’s a good movie nonetheless.

TRAILER:

RATING: 7/10

CATEGORY:

Paranormal: Creepy, unsettling and downright scary

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