Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Movie Meme - We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Meme...

The Bumbles are taking a week off from The Monday Movie Meme this week, so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about a movie we re-watched on Friday night - The Exorcist.

Here at the Nawrot home, horror flicks are something of a favorite.  Not only do my husband and I like them, but our kids have followed in our footsteps.  We are equal opportunity horror lovers too, ranging from the classics (Halloween, The Omen, Psycho) to the newer generation (The Ring, The Grudge, Insidious).  I've even crowned my daughter the Queen of the B-Movie...she'll watch anything, and she has nerves of steel. 

With all the CGI imagery available these days however, it just doesn't get any scarier than this classic, released in 1973.  The effects are no more elaborate than a shaking bed, a spinning head, and a young girl speaking in a demonic voice.  But the results are terrifying and highly controversial.  God versus the devil, the battleground taking place over the body of a 12 year-old, underscored by the chilling theme song written by the brilliant 20 year-old Mike Oldfield.    
 



I first watched this movie in high school with my sister one night, upstairs in our home on the VCR.  I can't remember which scene freaked us out (the spinning head?  the pea soup?  the crucifix crotch stabbing?) but the two of us ran out of the room like our hair was on fire. So as we were watching the movie again on Friday night, I had to text her and share my memories.

The cast is heavy on talent with Linda Blair as the possessed Regan, Ellen Burstyn as her mother, and Max Van Sydow as the exorcist.  While this movie put 14 year-old Blair on the map, I suspect her career could never quite recover from the stigma.  For a brief period, she was actually being considered for the Oscar for her performance, until it was discovered that many of the effects were voice-overs and used a dummy.  She went through her life with people being afraid of her, and was forever typecast as a monster.  She later struggled with drugs and a string of bad relationships.

The movie was based on a novel written by William Peter Blatty in 1971, and was his magnum opus that earned him an Oscar for the screenplay.  The story was contrived from a real-life exorcism that occurred in 1949.  Blatty is still alive and continues to write, with his most recent novels published just last year.

How many of you have seen this movie?  Do you feel it stands up to the quality of movies made today?

17 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I had no idea about all that happened to Linda Blair after this movie. I love this movie also, and don't feel it has suffered from "aging."

C.B. James said...

I last saw this at a Halloween showing in the Roxie theatre, San Francisco. I remember the audience was full of youngish people, expecting a fun cheese fest that they could laugh at together. San Francisco movie audiences were often like that. That's what I was expecting.

But we were all really scarred. You could feel the tension in the room. It's not until 30 or 40 minutes into the room that something extreme even happens, something that forces you to accept the girl is really possessed and not just very disturbed.

It's an excellent movie. We all thought Linda Blair was terrific, too. Didn't she lose the Oscar to Tatum O'Neil for Paper Moon? Tatum was probably better, but Linda Blair was wonderful.

Amy said...

This is a fantastic movie. I think it's one of the most frightening, creepiest horror movies, too. It has gore, it's psychologically scary and it's filled with great dark, creepy, imagery plus it has the God vs satan dynamic that adds a whole other dimension of scary.

I don't think it suffers from not having all of today's technological wizardry. I actually think it's more genuine & a better film for not having those effects. It seems more real.

Great story about the first time you watched this movie with your sister! I didn't see this movie until I was in college. Being raised in a strict Catholic home my mother was horrified by ths movie!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I love horror movies as well! The Exorcist is one that fits into my "any scary movie made in the 1970s is even scarier" since they usually employed some quiet and haunting effect that just left me unsettled. And this is one that I will never, ever watch by myself. I think it completely holds its own and is even better than most horror movies nowadays.

caite said...

wow, it have been so long since I saw that..ok, when it first came out.
I would love to see it again, on the Big Screen and state of the art sound. that your be cool.

christina said...

I am a huge horror fan myself. Diane cringes at them. Before we got serious and she was trying to impress me (I think?) she agreed to watch Cabin Fever. I didn't realize her aversion to horror; innocently, I truly just wanted her to experience one of my fave directors - Eli Roth.

The Exorcist is a long time favorite of my mom's and mine. In fact, years ago...like ten or fifteen? She went to a store in Universal Studios and purchased a piece of jewelry that Blair wore during the film.

I have yet to see Insidious but am anxiously waiting for a spare moment to do so. I also love the cheesy B flick horror. Troma Films? LOVE THEM. :)

Zibilee said...

Would you believe that I have never seen this movie before? I have seen a couple of sequels, and as my daughter is really getting into horror movies this year, it would probably make for a good watch for the two of us. That photo you've included is seriously frightening! Need to add this to my Netflix queue right now!

Stephanie said...

I loved horror movies growing up in the 80's (Poltergiest, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween) but remember that The Excorsit was the first scary movie that gave me nightmares (watched it with my best friend from HS while lounging on a pull out couch)! Now I'm a totally scaredy cat and could NEVER watch any of the new scary movies, as they aren't as cheesy as those horror films from the 70's & 80's!

bermudaonion said...

This book is way to scary for me. I've seen bits and pieces but can't sit and watch the whole thing.

sdk_2010 said...

Shame about the movie meme, its been a little irregular lately. Anyway moving onto The Exorcist. I think its a great movie and would say that its much much better than most of the horror movies of today.

Today, horror movies are all about the "torture culture". This doesnt float my boat. I much prefer the traditional suspense and plot based horror movie such as Halloween(1978) and Candyman(1992). Today they just try and push to rediculous proprtions. I suppose that the banning of The Exorcist in the UK until 1999 was for the same reasons, and I wasnt around to see it when it was released so I have a distorted view of it watching it in recent times. Still a good movie though. If its horror you like, please stop by my blog every Wednesday for "Wicked Wednesdays" where I review a horror film. I hope the Monday meme is back soon. Nice review by you here though.

Martha@Hey, I want to read that said...

We just re-watched this movie with my daughter(her first time) last weekend. It really is a great piece of film making.

Anita said...

I read the book at age 12 or 13, paperback bought at the drug store coming home from middle school. My mom didn't even know I was reading it. I still remember the purple cover. My mom agreed to take my best friend and I to see it in the theater, it was so graphic and awful and I think my mom was more disturbed that she had taken us...LOL. I think the movie was very well done, the acting, the special effects, the story...the music. I believe it still has the ability to scare today.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

What a coincidence! My daughter watched this on Saturday night when she spent the night at a friend's house ... all she could talk about when she came home was Linda Blair and her spinning head (and vomit!).

Bybee said...

I've only seen it once, on TV & it was heavily edited and cut up with commercials.

Care said...

I have never seen The Exorcist and do not share your love for horror flicks. Unless you count Rocky Horror in there somewhere. And I am still scared of poor Linda Blair.

Jenners said...

I have never seen it and I never will. I don't have nerves of steel. I never really got over Jaws.

Jenny said...

I saw this when I was about 13 but I don't really remember it! Definitely a classic though. I used to love the horror movies from that time frame but I am such a wuss now! And the movies today ate just not the same. Although Im sort if interested in that one with Katie Holmes that's just coming out!